Saturday, August 09, 2008

And now I'm a dinosaur...

Ah, kids. They say the funniest things.
My kids do, anyways.

We were recently blessed with the visit of my 3 year old niece. At lunch time, she politely clambored up on a chair, ready to share the meal, but was just barely tall enough to see over the table.

I, of course, told my oldest to grab the phone book.

Blank stare.

"The what?"
"The phone book. You know, that big yellow book over on the shelf under the cookbooks."
She shook her head. My youngest piped up to tell me we didn't have a phone book.
I told them we did. I described it. I mentioned it as the thing we use to look up phone numbers sometimes.

My oldest frowned. "Uh, mommy, that's what the computer is for!"

And that's not all. After I finished laughing, and agreed with her, and my niece pointed out that she was a big girl and really didn't want to sit on a "boost" anyway (She could use her knees just fine); my kids asked more about the mysterious phone book. First I pointed out that we do have one, a current one, they just don't see me use it very often. (It's not like I call for take out every, well, ever actually...)I told them that the phone company sends it out and people used to use it all the time to look up phone numbers and addresses of stores and even each other. I used to sit on one at my Grandma's house when I was little.

My youngest nodded sagely said "Oh, you mean before they had TV."

And my oldest wanted to know if the radio had been invented yet.

What will they do when I confess that I used to have to find my way around without GPS?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

That's One Way to Look at it...

On the brighter side, my family went to the school earlier. We were planning on spending the morning riding bikes, or at least...the kids would ride while my husband ran alongside shouting encouragement and I took pictures. It's a fun outing. And eventually my oldest even let him take a break and watch with me. :)

While there, the girls found some trash in the bushes. Some bottles, and bottletops. They read the lids and asked us about them. "Alcohol," we said, "Someone must have left those behind."

My oldest started explaining alcohol to the youngest, then. It's bad. It makes people go crazy, which is probably why they were loopy enough to litter, at a school of all places. (My husband and I had raised eyebrows, we aren't exactly prohibitionists, though we don't drink much.) Then she paused. "Except my teacher said red wine is good. It's really healthy and makes you relax if you drink a little bit and so I think we should have some a lot of the time when we grow up. But only for grown ups." She paused again, as my husband and I tried hard not laugh and asked each other whether the teacher had any idea what message she had gotten across.

"Except for Mommy, Mommy's allergic to wine, probably."
I nodded, I probably am. I wouldn't trust it. And frankly, I'm not interested enough in drinking to even take a chance. I can be goofy without alcohol, and heaven knows I'm capable of getting sick as a hangover on the most trivial seeming things.

Then her face lit up. "Mommy, you're allergic to going crazy!"
And my youngest took up the chant, and gave me a huge hug, "Yay, mommy can't go crazy! She's allergic!"

I guess that's one more blessing to count. I'm allergic to going crazy. :)
(I'll just remind myself of that fact the next time I argue with a customer service person on the telephone who's trying to tell me that corn isn't one of the top 8 and therefore isn't a "real" allergy.)

You Can't get to heaven without Gluten...

No, I don't believe it.
But, the woman who was going door to door trying to recruit for a new religious movement does. Or did. I'm not sure if I convinced her.

You see, I like to be nice to these people. I suppose that's the problem. They knock, offer to discuss theology and I smile and say I only have a minute but, sure, why not? I'm up front with the fact that I am a believer and not planning to convert. I know, I know...I present them with a challenge.

But I never walked away hurting before.

Today's evangelist is convinced that there is a Mother God in addition to (or perhaps combined with?) the well known "Father" God. I followed her reasoning, smiled and said I'd pray on it. Who am I to argue with a belief? I keep an open mind, and do my praying in private.

Then she asked if I realized that I couldn't get to heaven without taking part in Passover or Communion under the Mother God.

Um, what?

She went on, some scare tactics blanketed in a loving, concerned tone. She asked if I had ever taken part in a Passover or Communion. And her question shook me back to reality enough to sputter that I had a medical condition which prevented me from ingesting gluten grains.

Yes, even holy ones. They cause digestive damage.

"But, oh, you poor, then you can't..." the horror danced over her face, tears swam in her eyes, surely there was some way...but, just a little, it clearly states right here in Revelation that you must partake of the body and blood of Christ in order to gain entrance to heaven. You've never participated? Confusion, compassion, concern. Is this a heathen? Who can quote the bible back to me?

I was suddenly aware that my daughter was watching with wide eyes. I pulled my dignity around my shoulders like a cloaked, asked for the right words and managed to say in an even tone that if God saw fit to allow me this condition, known as Celiac Disease, then surely he wouldn't banish me from Heaven for not choosing to suffer the consequences.

She grasped my forearm, and gave me that "look". One you might give to someone you know isn't going to survive but there's nothing more you can do. And left.

Communion has been a sore spot with me for years. I wondered why my first Communion sat so uncomfortably in my stomach, and why I felt so nauseous after Communion Sundays. I quit going up front, at times I requested just the blessing.

Was God trying to tell me something?

I married a man who is half Jewish. In the Jewish culture, the Passover is celebrated with the drinking of wine and the ingesting of Matzoh. There's more to the celebration, much more, but those are the relevant points for food allergies.

Every year, around spring, the question of whether Matzoh is safe for Celiac patients comes up somewhere. And every so often, during my more reflective states, I notice the concern surrounding communion. Jesus broke bread, at the last supper (Which may or may not have been a proper Passover Seder) and instructed his disciples to break bread together, to share wine together, to eat and drink in remembrance of the sacrifice He made.

What happens when a true believer can't take and eat, or drink?

The Catholic Church has struggled with the answer, as have Rabbis. Surely God doesn't want his children to suffer intestinal damage simply for taking part in a religious ritual. And yet, what does that mean? Will he heal them for acting in faith? Or do we need to have faith that he will forgive us for abstaining?

It seems to me that the right route is often the harder one. And I doubt this case is any different. Just more emotional, because it's about devout believers debating their health versus eternal life.

I choose both. If suicide is a sin, then surely choosing to damage the body God gave you is one.

I'm not ashamed of that decision. But, the look I was given earlier continues to haunt me.
Another reminder that food is an integral part of our society. And when there is a restriction, it can impact you in the least expected ways.