13 May 2012

(Un)Common Sense


I grew up placing a high premium on common sense, even if I wasn’t always sure what it was. I remember overhearing my mother and grandmother, both admirably commonsensical people, shake their heads regretfully and say of someone or other, “That poor girl just doesn’t have any common sense.” It seemed clear that someone without common sense was crippled, doomed to eke out an inferior existence as best she could. Whatever common sense was, I hoped that I’d been granted a measure of it, or that at the least I could somehow grow into it, or beg, borrow, or buy some. I certainly never wanted to be on the receiving end of that pitying headshake.

One of the hardest things about the CSPP life in our culture today, even (alas!) in our church culture, is that it looks like a self-imposed martyrdom. It just seems so…un-commonsensical. Can’t quite see how you’ll afford music lessons and education (to say nothing of diapers and nutrition) for all those kids? Want to make a reasonable budget that includes getting back to work once the kids are all in school? Going crazy with all those kids in the house? Get sick (physically/emotionally) every time you’re pregnant or postpartum? Well, show a little common sense already! Choose a reasonable quitting point and be Done having babies! [Cue pitying headshakes of rational, commonsensical people…]

Even worse: so insidious and pervasive is the choice-mindset, that CSPP sometimes feels like a self-imposed martyrdom, even to those of us who ought to know better. Tell me again, why am I having all these kids?! Why are we choosing to make ourselves crazy like this, and what right have I even to groan under the cross of my vocation, when I could stop the seeming madness by any one of the various methods so glibly recommended by nearly everyone of my acquaintance?
                                                                                                     
Thankfully, the common sense that my familial matriarchs endeavored to pass along to me is extra-ordinary. Having a devout, commonsensical mother and grandmother helped me to see beyond what seems normal and obvious: sometimes, for those of us who are trying (fumbling along as we may be) to walk by faith and not by sight, common sense is anything but common. Being CSPP doesn’t make financial sense. It doesn’t make physical or emotional sense. To most people (including me in the darker moments), it makes no sense whatsoever. But! Submitting to God’s plan for marriage and children does make eternal sense, and in the End, the foolishness to the eyes of the world will be revealed as the most marvelously, magically rational sense that it actually, already is.

10 comments:

Gauntlets said...

You brilliant, brilliant girl.

Aubri said...

I'm gonna make myself a big fat maternity t-shirt with "IT MAKES ETERNAL SENSE!" stamped across the front.

Thanks Reb. Mary!

Leah said...

If you would have only posted this the other day, I would have linked to it somewhere amongst the links I put into this post.
(Among them 1 Cor 1:18 also. I guess I was a little link happy. :P)

There's a phrase a theologian once said about how the Gospel is to be taken to our fallen minds: "Think commonsensically, then reverse it!" :)

Reb. Mary said...

T-shirts, :)

And reverse commonsense, :D. Nice Mother's Day reflections, Leah!

Untamed Shrew said...

I love the "Aren't you afraid. . ." questions. Of course I'm afraid! I'm afraid of actually going as crazy as I feel. I'm afraid of being 300 pounds. I'm afraid of not being able to help any of the kids with college. I'm afraid of the bullying they'll endure because they won't have the latest fashions and electronic gadgets. I'm afraid of what life will be like for them in this sick-o, scary world. I'm afraid they'll feel neglected because I can't give them attention when they want it. I'm afraid my husband, especially, will feel like the lowest priority since the house is rarely in order and meals are such chaos.

But you know? God tells me over and over again NOT to be afraid. And I am Sarah's daughter if I don't give in to the fear. Lord, I believe! Help Thou my unbelief.

Marie said...

Great post and good comments! Thanks all around! My problem is that it frequently passes through my mind-- well, won't THOSE people finally get it in Heaven! Whoops... Isn't Heaven about forgivenss, that I the Chief of Sinners so desparately need? And yet, I gloat in thinking about their shock. Lord, have mercy!

Katy said...

Some soon-to-be-married family members are moving to town after the wedding (my BIL and his fiance). I never expected to react this way, but after the initial, "Hurray! Another sister in town! Hurray! Cousins for my kids to grow up with!" this week I keep thinking:

Us: crazy, unorganized, undisciplined, flustered, CHAOS
VS.
Them: responsible, tidy, staying in their parent's denomination, not being a financial burden, "WAITING A FEW YEARS"

Comparison is a wicked thing, and I never expected it control me like this. Send over one of those T-shirts, Aubri (no, not pregnant...)

Rebekah said...

On the other hand . . . the lives of the commonly sensical appeal to me less and less. :P

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/all-the-single-ladies/8654/

Gauntlets said...

Why is it that rich women are so universally stupid? Does the author of that piece think every woman everywhere would be somehow privileged to live her life, hopping around the world from one quaint little bordello to the next? We can't all be the spoiled only child of an overweening feminist. If we were, there'd be a lot less champagne.

Cathy said...

I'm for more champagne.