alyssacogswell

Rebel. Wife. Millennial. Walker of the Way. News and TV junkie.

Month: June, 2014

Throw-Away Culture and Celebrating Divorce.

While perusing Buzzfeed today, I found an article or a list or whatever about “divorce cakes”, or the anti-wedding cake. These cakes show an ending marriage in celebration, clearly for one party or the other to say, “I am finally free. I have accomplished this feat in my life.” Today, it seems as though we view divorce as a rite of passage, much like graduating high school, pursuing a college degree, starting a job, getting married, and having children. We now see marriage as something to get through instead of something to enjoy. We see marriage as a temporary state which will have an end or an out somewhere along the way, surely because something will happen because we are content to be discontent with our partner and are looking to blame them for when everything falls apart.

 

We celebrate throwing something away. Something that we made a vow to try at forever, to hold as sacred and in the highest regard. We get joy from finding our way out of marriage. And this, simply, is a result of throw-away culture.

 

In throw-away culture, we have a limited attention span and even more limited patience. We want the newest, shiniest thing as soon as it hits the market; we throw away phones that have been out only a year for the newest version, even though it still works perfectly fine. We want information as quickly and simply as we can get it, hence the rise of Twitter and cable news networks and tabloid channels and publications. We want to be new and shiny, just like the materials we desire, so we constantly try to reinvent ourselves with crossfit, yoga, pilates, P90X, juicing, shakes, weight loss pills, going vegan: trends. And when we discover that we can’t really change ourselves like we want to, much less change the person we married into what we think our ideal partner would be like, we become frustrated. We want something new. We want to find the latest and greatest, improve upon the current model.

 

We forget to treat people like people and instead treat them like commodities, something to toss out and upgrade on a whim. We have enough issues, we don’t want to deal with anyone elses.

 

We’ve lost seeing others’ hearts and values, and instead see them at objects, impersonalizing them and stripping them of all humanity. Stripping them of any right to say that their life is just as messy and unfulfilling. Stripping them of the dignity to bring their issues to a person who truly cares. Stripping them of the right to be loved and genuinely cared about.

 

We need to start taking relationships, especially marriage, seriously. Marriage is not your cell phone contract, your cable contract, or even a car. Marriage is life. It is your life when you choose it. It should be the thing you work for most, cherish deepest, fight for the hardest. If there is something in your marriage you want/need to change, let it be you. Let it be your behavior towards your spouse. Let it be increasing your patience quotient. Let it be humbling yourself to pick up the slack where your partner lets you down. Let it be finding methods to better communicate. Let it be to find little (and big) ways to self-sacrifice. Let it be to figure out how to live life content, thankful. (Note: This is not to say stay in an abusive relationship.)

Let us be mature and realize the gravity of the commitment we have made, or the commitment we are about to or hope to make in the future. Marriage is about becoming one; sure, you’re two individuals with differing passions and tastes and habits, but you become one entity. This entity should not be split up because of frustration or boredom. Let us be more mature to solve these problems instead of declaring them “irreconcilable differences” on divorce papers.

 

I know there have been lots of blogs posts and articles on throw-away culture and lots written about marriage, but take this post to heart. I hope whomever is reading this realizes that our throw-away culture, which began coming into prominence mid-20th century with the inventions of dish washing machines, microwaves, and casseroles, drives us to have a limited attention span, which in turn affects how we view everything, from gadgets to relationships. I hope that this realization turns the reader’s attention to their amount of consumption, to the might-be-present lack of attention span and patience. That the reader begins to think anew about living in the present moment, and only this moment, with gratitude, looking to accommodate others before complaining about others not accommodating them.

 

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Why Pope Francis is a Paragon.

Ever since he assumed the post of Bishop of Rome last spring, the world has been enthralled with Pope Francis. The press follows his every move, showing a man who truly follows what he believes.

 

Have we seen a Pope like him in recent history? Who was the last Pope to love on people like he does? Why are we so fascinated with him?

 

My friends, we all probably know why we are fascinated with him, but have we looked deeper?

 

On Monday, the Pope stopped his motorcade to see and love on a disabled woman, who cannot breathe on her own, much less travel far from home. One friend of the family was quoted as saying, ““Today we can say that Christ stopped in Sibari in the vestments of Pope Francis.”

 

As Christians, we know the passages where Jesus says “Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have also done it for me”, “Let the children come to me,” and  to “Love one another as I have loved you.” At the risk of repeating thoughts which have already been said dozens, if not hundreds and thousands of times, do we live this out? Would people say of us, in our everyday lives which is our mission field, “Today I can say that I saw Christ in the person of _____”? There have always been examples of Christ’s love, Christ’s compassion, and behavior a true Christ-follower should have. But for my generation, the generation of Millennials, Pope Francis is the most visible, internationally known example we have. And I think we are being moved by his example.

 

Huffington Post has a slideshow at the end of the article about Francis stopping to see the disabled woman about different times when the Pope has shown Christlike behavior. There are many moments in the slideshow where he is doing things I frankly would be afraid to do. In one shot, he is praying over a man with bubble-like tumors on his head. He accepts and even encourages children to interact with him. He has taken a vow of poverty (as much “poverty” as a Pope can realistically live within as an international, visible figure). He loves gay people, and says who is he to judge. He desires for the poor to have opportunities to make a better living and for the selfish rich to give their money away, to make things fairer for all workers.

 

The Catholic Church did a wise thing in electing Francis pope. All of these concerns, about gay people, about fair working environments and markets, about looking for people who really live out their faith, especially faith in Christ, are addressed and assuaged in this one man. We are a generation of cynics, crying out for someone to show us authenticity, to show us that peace is possible, to show us that living like Christ can be a daily lifestyle, not just something we are free to do in a foreign country. Our hearts and spirits are broken, because in most of the Western world at least, those who proclaim Christianity are for things that are anti-Christ. Many are for Capitalism while, yes fair markets are good and choice is good and being able to start businesses on your own is good, it does not look out for the worker, who is also the consumer. Capitalism is, in fact, a form of slavery in both literal and metaphorical terms. But more on that at a different time.

 

Pope Francis motivates me, my husband, and many others I know to live more like Christ. To truly live more like Christ. We are all busy, and in that busyness we get tired, worn down, and selfish. We must, must, take time to rest. Take time in the Gospel. Take time to think about the small simple things, so that we can see Christ and God’s Grace in the everyday.

 

To be a Christian is truly to be a rebel. Christ himself was a rebel in his society. Even if we live in a “Christian” society, acting like Christ is still different and noteworthy; why else do we pay so much attention to the Pope?

 

Don’t be afraid to be a rebel. Don’t be afraid to step out and do the unordinary thing. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Loving on people is perhaps the scariest thing one can do, because we must be vulnerable and gentle; the exact opposite of how we are usually shown to live life. It’s okay to be afraid. He will go with you. Have faith.