Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Do I have a great husband, or what?

If anyone reading this blog actually knows me IRL, you probably have recently heard me asking for prayer for our older son. He lives in Ethiopia and works for a Christian relief agency. He is the most social of anyone in our family, and has been kind of lonely since starting this new job. He has always had tons of friends who were girls, has never been the least bit shy around girls, but also has never had a serious gf. Well, now he has become interested in a young lady and has been seeking our advice about his relationship with her. Today I read this email which my husband sent to him. I'm lucky to be married to someone so insightful.

While I'm here let me share some thoughts that about your relationship with *****. Actually, what I'm doing here is repeating what I said to Mom the first time she told me about your interest in *****. She was expressing concern about the fact that she was Catholic, and my response to her was something like, "Well, being Catholic per se doesn't worry me so much--more to the point is whether she is a Mother Teresa or an Imelda Marcos." You obviously know all about Mother Teresa as an example of a Catholic woman who really loved the Lord and obeyed his command to minister to the poorest of the poor. At the other extreme is Imelda Marcos, a Catholic woman who was notorious for her glamorous extravagance. Do you know about her? She was big news during your Acton days. She was Miss Manila in the 1950s and married Ferdinand Marcos who became the dictator of the Philippines for a couple decades. She is most famous for her shoes. When Marcos was run out of the country by a popular uprising in 1986 (after siphoning off billions of dollars into his own bank accounts), they found 1200 pairs of shoes abandoned in her closet. The total collection was thought to be upwards of 3,000 pairs--almost all of them expensive imports. So today "Imelda's shoes" has entered the language as an idiom for wanton extravagance.

I don't mean to imply that ***** is like that since I clearly don't know her yet. But there is a reason Imelda's shoes popped into my mind when Mom was telling me the story. If I have the facts right, ***** has grown up in a well-to-do family and is currently living in a much higher economic bracket than your family has ever occupied. People say that how to spend money is what couples fight about the most, and it is also said (though I haven't tried to verify it) that there is more teaching in the Gospels about money and materialism than about any other topic. Thus I think you'd be wise to pay special attention to where her heart is--not only spiritually, but also materially.

Especially in light of the call you have felt on your life to minister to the world's poor, I trust that you'll be able to find a life partner who can share that with you. When I was in my courting days, I was looking not just for someone who would share my faith, but also someone who would share in my call to ministry. I had a few serious girl friends along the way who met the faith criterion, but weren't ready to go with me to the ends of the earth. One was P. (in Missouri who we have stayed with on the way to Taylor); her passion was to be a dental hygienist, and she wasn't ready to give that up. And there was V. who couldn't imagine leaving the comforts of home, so she stuck with her plan to become a music teacher. But then there was L. who did share my passion for Bible translation. In the final analysis, it shouldn't be about how someone rates on the proverbial ten-point scale, but on how well they share your vision of how you should live your life. And that's why my answer for Mom about your situation was that I wouldn't be worried if she was like Mother Teresa, but would be if she was more like Imelda Marcos.

I hope you don't feel like I'm preaching at you--I'm just trying to share from the heart. We know that you have a good head on your shoulders and won't do anything foolish.

Lord, give them your guidance.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Way to go, D.!

D. got his MCAT scores today and did very well, 97th percentile. Now he waits to see if he gets asked to any interviews for the MD/Ph.D programs he is applying to. He also got his first paycheck today (from NIH). So he is having a doubly good day. Now he should celebrate--luckily he's still underage! (Not that he would celebrate that way, anyway... :-)

Monday, October 11, 2004


I'm reasonably happy with my life, so perhaps regret is too strong a word to describe things I would change if I could live life over again. Here they are:

  • not getting more education - I guess I really didn't have much choice here. I'm from a generation that didn't assume one would go to college and from a family that was uneducated. It was enough, it seemed at the time, to attend Bible institute followed by specialized missionary training. But in HS I was a good student, the top math and science student in my class, but I never studied math or hard science after that. I regret that.
  • aggravating my children - I have a good relationship with my three kids, I love each of them more than life itself. I would do anything for them (and sometimes I do). And my kids all love me too, for which I thank the Lord. But now that my nest is empty and I have time to reflect on my child rearing, I think there were too many times when I disobeyed Colossians 3:21 and irritated or provoked my children when I didn't need to. I regret that.
  • not learning to dance - I grew up in a strict Christian environment that said, "Don't smoke, don't chew, don't go with girls that do." It also said don't drink, don't go to movies, don't dance, and don't listen to rock music. I don't regret not smoking, I don't regret not drinking, I don't even regret not going to movies (I was already married before I attended my first movie in a theater), and I suppose I heard enough rock music along the way to become inoculated to it. But I do wish I had learned how to dance--square, ballroom, line, salsa--whatever. I regret that.