Sunday, December 13, 2015

The tendrils of Monday, and faith

On most days I wake up around six, often fixated on the obsession du jeur, whatever that is, but on Sundays I try to sleep later. Sometimes it works. Today I slept in till 7:30 or so. Mary sleeps soundly, and I envy her that, and at times even resent her ability to do so.

The irony of all this, in my mind, is that as I have progressively over the years become aware that my anxiety and control orientation derives fundamentally from a lack of faith and trust in the world at large, in the belief that everything will trend towards the best, or at least not capsize in some sort of catastrophe. My youthful and persistent inclination has been to approach all problems empirically, to try to learn and read as much as possible to get a handle on all of them. I have felt at some core level that that was and is what is expected of me.

As I have "matured," I've come to realize that that's an unreasonable expectation, that I have to let go of problems and trust that they will work out for the best, and the easiest, most consistent, most somatic way of approaching this has been to cultivate a religiosity in myself. Otherwise my brain will endlessly, recursively, loop back to fear and doubt.

Mary, by contrast, is fairly anti-religious. She expressly doesn't believe in any kind of God, and steers clear of religion. But she fundamentally believes that things will work out for the best, and therefore sleeps well, once she hauls her night owl self to bed.

A woman I went to college with, one Lisa Friedman Miller of Teacher's College at Columbia, recently came out with a book called The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thinking, the thesis of which is that parents' spirituality -- and particularly mothers' -- is hugely impactful on their childrens' well-being. I should probably read it. I like to think that Mary's implicit trust in the world conveys itself to the kids and washes over some of my struggles, which sometimes manifest themselves in crankiness and irritability.

Or maybe the book is just plain wrong. The only way to know is to read it and ponder it. I don't think I can wait for the movie.

I also need to go back to Kierkegaarde and Pascal.

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