Saturday, January 28, 2012

Concerning Casseroles

I find great hope and consolation in casseroles.

When I was little and I was unhappy about some event in my life, Mama would tell me to go think of something good about it.  I remember one time when I was unhappy that Daddy was going out of town on a business trip. Mama said to go and sit on the couch until I thought of something good about it. I remember sitting there and wracking my little brains until the light bulb went off. When Daddy was out of town, we could have casseroles for dinner!

There's some backstory here. Daddy wouldn't eat leftovers or casseroles - I think because he was a Depression child, and leftovers and casseroles were for poor people. Mama was also a Depression child - for her, leftovers and casseroles were for reasonable, responsible people. So Mama and I had them for lunch while Daddy was at work. (For some reason that didn't bother him. He was okay unless he had to eat them himself.) For me, leftovers were a second chance at something that had tasted really good yesterday, and casseroles were the greatest food in the world.

So all that started me looking at life in a certain way. Some folks think I'm optimistic and some think I live in denial. I think I look at life logically: ignoring the good is no more logical than ignoring the bad. And logic dovetails with theology here. If I believe that God is all-loving, all-knowing, and all-powerful, then it is only reasonable to trust that whatever happens in my life is for my good. Good is not defined here as comfort, earthly happiness, or preference. We're talking here about eternal good - something I can't reliably determine, being finite and human and sinful and all that.

So anyway, that brings us back to Indianapolis. Everybody here expected me to be upset that John went into complete heart block; if he had to do it, there's no better place in the world than on the IU Methodist cath lab table. I was supposed to be unhappy that he needed a permanent pacemaker; it has allowed them to control his heart rate more aggressively, which seems to have taken care of his problem  with holding fluid and needing strong diuretics. I was supposed to be in great distress that he went into V tach, needed to be cardioverted, and got an EP study and albation; I'd much rather he did it here than at home, and thrilled that he got ablated and fixed. When the stent came along they felt so bad for me that they gave me two free meals; I'm glad the lesion was in a stentable place and am eager to see how much difference that makes in his energy level. I would tell Mama that all of this is good. I'm not being brave or self-sacrificing or anything lofty and commendable. I'm being logical. Which may or may not be better than being brave and self-sacrificing - that's another discussion.

So anyway, this is the week for casseroles - a very consoling and comforting food. I suppose the moral of all this is that when life throws things at you, just make a casserole and enjoy it.

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