Monday, 24 August 2015

On Vocations, Discernment and Asking Girls on Dates

I came across a couple of interesting articles:

Two Hard-Won Tips For Your Discernment

The whole discernment anxiety thing is largely a Catholic problem- what is God calling me to?

Priesthood or Married Life? Consecrated Single Life or Religious Life? Diocesan Priesthood or Religious Priesthood? Religious Life or Married Life? Pick one! Quick!
Although I'm pretty sure God doesn't want us to stress out about it, I think it's a good sign that singles actually are willing to consider more than the default married and two kids. In Catholic circles where I live, most young people aren't even encouraged to seriously think of religious life as an option. Plus most people are brought up on a steady diet of romantic comedies, romance novels and the expectation that by your late 20s you are going to 'settle down'.

 One way or another

Anyway. Assuming that for some people, through retreats or Christian youth movements, they have come to a personal experience of God's love, and a belief that He cares about their life, the choices they make, and has a beautiful plan for their life, the question is.. what is that plan, and how do they move towards it?

For some, the question can paralyze them- how do I KNOW? If I am attracted to someone, that probably means I am called to marriage right? But maybe I am just choosing the easier path? When do I have to make this decision? Can I not think of it right now? But I need to know! What if I make a mistake? I haven't heard a voice from heaven or anything, so how do I know????

The article gives a couple of cool insights:

God Loves You and Wills Your Happiness. Period, Full Stop. No Matter What You Decide. Always.
God isn't trying to make you miserable, or hiding this SUPER IMPORTANT CODE that you need to unlock the answer to life, the universe and everything. If you sincerely desire to do what He wants, and are being faithful in what you DO know He is asking of you, He'll work it out. Also, getting married or becoming a priest or a nun isn't really the key to happiness. And if you did not discern your vocation, and got married, you don't have to worry that you missed your path to happiness. GOD HIMSELF is the key to happiness. And He can write straight with crooked lines.

But that still leaves an important question


If there is a plan, I've not yet made a decision, how do I know what it is, and how do I move towards it?

There plenty of cool resources, articles and videos, like this one:


I think all Fr. Barron's tips work for any vocation, not just for discerning the priesthood-

1. The test of JOY

2. Pray pray pray- ASK GOD! (He wants to guide you) Ask for signs.


3. Read the bible attentively

4. Go to Mass and be attentive

5. Be attentive to the people who know you well



I would add

6. Be faithful in the little things, the daily duties of your life.

Now supposing, you think you know what God is calling you to, what next? The article says:

A Time Will Come In Your Discernment When You Must Act:
Discernment involves a gradual series of temporary commitments that are intrinsically ordered to the concrete living out of that vocation... 
Like entering seminary or a religious community (making temporary vows), or enter into a courtship. Not just thinking about a vocation, but starting to actually explore it.


 Of course, they add:
Now there undoubtedly many circumstances in which good people may find themselves where they must say, “I can’t even make one of those temporary commitments because of X!” and that can be for many, many legitimate reasons. That’s totally fine, you have to ask for the grace to trust God’s providence that you are where he wants you to be right now.
I think that's where some people I know are at- they are still studying, they can't afford to support a family yet, they don't have a steady job yet. I think that when people are in that position, it's pretty irresponsible to start something they can't finish, or make promises they can't keep. Then also I think some people shouldn't start something because of emotional, psychological or spiritual reasons- like they are not emotionally mature- they are struggling with insecurities and neediness, they are still dealing with major issues like anxiety or anger or depression or addictions, or they have not yet learned how to take responsibility for their own life. All these things can affect their ability to give themselves completely as any lifetime vocation demands.

Obviously no one finishes dealing with all their issues perfectly before they get married. We're all works in progress. But I guess I'm saying we should be 'in progress', not just stuck in a self-destructive cycle that prevents us from loving. Otherwise it's easy to choose a vocation for the wrong reasons (this guy completes me, being in a convent will give structure to my life, maybe having a family will give my life meaning).

But supposing, you're kind of sorted. You are aware of your weaknesses, you're working on them by God's grace, you are living a life in communion with Christ, you are relating in healthy ways to the people around you, and you're done trying to 'find yourself'. And you are ready to give yourself away in a committed meaningful way.

Now what? Make a move! Why does this sound so scary?

Because all commitment, even temporary commitment, involves an element of risk. Our generation hates risk. We are terrified of making the “wrong” choice and losing everything...

But Love is a risk! Always! What do I risk by telling people that I am “discerning priesthood” for example? Pretty much nothing. What do I risk by actually going to seminary? Time, money, my heart, the opinions of others. That’s a lot!

A good litmus test is this: Does my discernment involve a risk to me personally in any way? Is there a chance that this might not work out and I would experience pain? If the answer is no, what we are doing is probably less like discernment and more like thinking and talking about doing something.

So, are you a Catholic man thinking about the possibility of priesthood? Talk to your vocation director about going to seminary! Do it soon!

Are you a Catholic woman thinking about Religious life? Have you investigated good communities? Visited them? If not why not?

Has your prayer led you to a desire for Holy Matrimony? Men, are you asking Catholic women out on dates? If not why not? Ladies, are you open to going on dates when asked? [Read the rest here]


Very related to this, another article that popped up on Facebook was from the Art of Manliness:


Stop Hanging Out With Women and Start Dating Them

Some good points:

1. She wants you to ask. Most of the girls I know want guys to have enough initiative to just ask. And sadly enough, even with many couples I've heard from, finally the girl got tired of waiting and made the move herself. Didn't do a lot for her confidence or trust in this guy's ability to be decisive. So many marriages where the man chooses passivity, and women feel the need to control.

2. Asking is easy. NOT VIA TEXT OR ON FACEBOOK. This line-
If you’re poking a woman you’re interested in on Facebook, you lose any credibility as a man.
3. Keep dates simple.

4. Prepare for rejection. YES- it's not the end of the world if a woman says no. It's an easy way to know God's will for you. :-) And please please please don't take notes from Bollywood movies and think that persistence (or stalking, or emotional blackmail, or gift-giving in the face of rejection, or being hung up on a woman forever) is the way to a woman's heart. Move on.


 5. Just do it, damn it. Well, pray about it, ask a good friend for advice if necessary, then if you feel at peace, go for it! [Read the rest here.]


Guys, you think this is tough? For girls, it's probably ten times harder. You know what we have to do?

Wait.


Yeah. At least if we want the kind of guy who is brave enough and sure enough to pursue us.

Okay disclaimer: All this advice is great when you actually have the kind of options you are looking for. It's much harder for a guy to ask if he hasn't met any girls who are on the same page when it comes to faith. It doesn't make that much difference if a girl is open to going on a date, if the guys  asking are very far from what she ever could have imagined as Catholic husband material. What if you feel called to religious life, but you have never come across a religious community in your area (or country) you feel attracted to at all? What if the idea of priesthood appeals, but none of the orders you've seen has the fire and holiness that attracted you in the first place?

I guess we go back to praying, and trusting that God's got it. Thankfully, God alone really IS enough.



Related Posts:

A 27 Year Old Atypical Indian Girl's Thoughts on Marriage (The Post You Were Waiting For)

Life Begins when You Meet the Man of Your Dreams

9QT: 9 Things Christian Singles Are Secretly Afraid Of

7QT: Courtship, Wars and Links

Thursday, 20 August 2015

You Know You Live in a City in India When....

 
You are visiting one of those few oases of green, a garden, hoping for a little fresh air, silence, and solitude, but every single one of the benches lining the avenue is taken by couple of all shapes and sizes and head coverings, who snuggle into each others' arms, getting closer, closer, more entwined until FWEEEEEEEEEET! The security guy/watchman blows his whistle to announce that SOMEONE has broken the rule: 'Thus far and no farther.' They then spring apart as all eyes are turned on them. But even the potential shaming doesn't stop the next couple, and the next. This really happens.

**************

You read news articles where police are quoted as saying "In true Indian culture, love is not for display at a public place or garden. Hugging and kissing at a public place is not our culture and therefore we are also opposing Valentine's Day. If love is real, you do not glorify it by kissing each other at a public place, but you do it within confined space of four walls."


*************

There is nowhere, nowhere within the city you CAN be alone with your beloved (except in your home, which for most people wouldn't be alone anyway) without the danger of being mugged. This drives all dating couples to leave the city perched on two wheelers, and head for the nearby hills and forts. Where all the other couples head on weekends too. Oh well, you tried. And you could get mugged there too.

*************

You and your group of friends have all gone on multiple monsoon treks to the hills, where you got muddy and exhausted (because that's the only exercise you've done in a year), but felt really cool and adventurous and brave when you reached the top of the hill. (Wait is this only a Pune thing?)


************

You hear a screech of tyres, a clash of metal, on the road nearby, and everyone falls silent, straining their ears for the probable sounds to follow- raised, angry voices, getting louder and angrier, with more joining in, until a fight breaks out. That's because more often than not the driver of a vehicle that causes an accident is beaten up by a mob. If you hold your breath, and the sounds fade away, you heave a sigh of relief.

************

Your eyes are scanned for the mangled bodies of dead dogs on the road. Because you have seen them too often. Even if you aren't an animal lover, you are hoping hoping those dumb dogs pick up some survival skills and stop stumbling around in the middle of the street waiting for someone to kill them.

************

You get on your bike to ride somewhere, see maybe fifteen other vehicles on the street and perhaps twenty pedestrians and think, "Wow, the streets are empty today."

 An empty street

*************

I you are a girl on the street, either pedestrian or bike-riders, you are swathed in scarves that render you faceless. This has multiple possible reasons: to protect your hair from getting greasy with pollution, to lessen the amount of smoke you inhale, to protect your face from pollution- and dirt-induced breakouts, and of course to make sure if any aunty from your neighbourhood sees you clinging to some guy on a bike, or talking to a guy on the street, she'll never know who it was, so she can't go and complain to your parents about your indecent behaviour.

**************

A tiny percentage of bike-riders are actually wearing helmets. As we said, the girls wear scarves, because their complexions are more important than their brains. The men now... many of them carry their helmets... on the crook of their arms, as they ride. Or locked on the helmet lock on the back of the bike. Maybe a few will actually wear one... with the straps undone. 

 The minority

*************

You ride on the streets like you expect everyone to try to kill you. This is the only way to survive. You have very low expectations of everyone else's common sense, desire for your survival, and even desire for their own survival. Defensive driving is a finely honed but essential skill.

*************


The End. For now.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

How To Know You're Failing at Humility

I love talking about humility. Because I know how hard it is. Some people think that because I talk about not being humble, I must secretly be humble. But people who are close to me know that's not the case. Self-knowledge doesn't eradicate the pride.



Still, I'm trying somewhat to work on it. Swallowing the indignation when I'm NOT asked to do something I know I'm good at. Accepting the little pinpricks of being misunderstood. Swallowing the words as the unbidden thought appears too often "I could do that better!"

I think I'm doing better. But then I come across some words of Mother Teresa, on Facebook of course. (That's where I do my spiritual reading.)

Let's take that apart:

These are the few ways we can practice humility:

 Yay, I love practical how to lists, bring it down from the vague and idealistic to the very practical. This should make it so much easier.

To speak as little as possible of one's self.

Oh. Hmm. So constantly telling MY stories of MY thoughts and MY feelings and MY experiences is not a good idea? But but but... I'm amusing! Conversations would be boring if I didn't! People WANT to hear them. Plus everything that happens to me is FASCINATING. So what I occasionally have to fight to get my story in? Everyone will see that it's worth it once they hear it.

To mind one's own business.

Not to want to manage other people's affairs.

Well, yeah. everyone should mind one's own business. (Childhood rhyme that got used a lot: Mind your own business, and I'll mind mine. Kiss your own sweetheart, and I'll kiss mine.) But not WANT to manage other people's affairs? What about when it's OBVIOUS to me how to handle something someone is struggling with? I'm a fixer! What about positive influence?


 (I am totally on the guy's side of this video)

To avoid curiosity.
 Oh, oh. Now that. Come on, what's wrong with wanting to know who is secretly interested in whom, who was the one who initiated it and how, why so and so REALLY left the group, and so on and so forth. I especially want to know what it is people said about me. Just normal conversation, right?

To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully.
I came across a phrase in the book 'Strange Idols' by Elizabeth Scalia which hit home. It was 'the addictive need to be right'. I am always right, and I will prove it.

To pass over the mistakes of others.
The curse of the critical mind. Sometimes all I can see is the flaw, the mistake. And then of course, there is the addictive need to figure out WHOSE FAULT IT IS. And to say 'I told you so'.
 

To accept insults and injuries.
I've gotten in the habit of muttering 'RUDE!'when I feel like someone has treated me the wrong way. (This happens a lot on the road when other drivers cut lights, or endanger me in some way.) So saint-like. You can just imagine Mother Teresa walking down the streets of Kolkata mumbling 'Rude!'and shooting glares at passersby.


To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked.
Ah. Who can accept that? At least when one is disliked, you can puff yourself up into a dramatic victim status. But forgotten? To accept that? To say 'Thank you God that they forgot to invite me to that party' and mean it? 



To be kind and gentle even under provocation.
It's so easy to pride myself on my gentleness and selflessness when I'm with other gentle and selfless people. It's easy to be humble when you're with other humble people. Everyone is vying to accept the blame, everyone wants to be the one to wash the dishes or do the dirty tasks. But what if people don't respond in the way you expect them to? What if your efforts are met with suspicion, or even hostility? Can you keep your peace then? Stop the blood from boiling at the injustice of it all?

Never to stand on one's dignity.
When my dignity has been offended, I know it. 'This is not the way' as we say in India. Nobody should be allowed to speak to me in that way. I should be respected! I will not stand for anyone to talk down to me. 

To choose always the hardest.
The hardest what? The hardest response? To deny oneself, kill that immediate egotistical response that rises to the surface, to resist the devil within? 

Okay, so failing a lot of the time. But it's not too late.

This is battle. And it's never really done. But knowing the enemy is a good first step. And as hard as they seem, these battle strategies are going to help.

Let us begin.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Songs That Make You Think 'You're Kidding, Right?'

-- Jessie's Girl--



So catchy, semi-pathetic- 'Where can I find a woman like that? I wish that I had Jessie's girl...' But then you listen more closely, and you think 'How old is this guy? That sounds really immature.'

Jessie is a friend,
Yeah, I know he's been a good friend of mine
But lately something's changed
It ain't hard to define
Jessie's got himself a girl and I want to make her mine


And then you hear these words:

And I'm lookin' in the mirror all the time (That's what you do when you have a hopeless crush. You look in a mirror. At yourself.)
Wonderin' what she don't see in me (So hard to imagine.)
I've been funny; I've been cool with the lines
Ain't that the way love's supposed to be?


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, twelve year old boy, THAT is exactly the way love is supposed to be-it's all about being funny and cool with the lines.

But then one has to wonder- was Rick Springfield just having a laugh at the world's expense?


---Two Steps Behind---



Walk away if you want to
It's OK, if you need to
(Passive aggressive, anyone?)
You can run, but you can never hide
From the shadow that's creeping up beside you
(YOU said creep, I didn't)
There's a magic running through your soul (magic, another word for panic)
But you can't have it all 


(Whatever you do)
I'll be two steps behind you
(GET AWAY FROM ME YOU CREEP I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY)
(Wherever you go)
And I'll be there to remind you
That it only takes a minute of your precious time
To turn around and I'll be two steps behind


CREEPIEST SONG EVER. Also known as Stalker Song. Again, did he do it for fun? Could anyone have seriously meant this for a love song?

---Do They Know It's Christmas---



Okay I realize this song is MEANT to bean act of love- raising money and awareness for victims of a famine in Ethiopia. But but...

But say a prayer, to pray for the other ones, at Christmastime
It's hard, but when you're having fun
There's a world outside your window
(I approve this message....)
And it's a world of dread and fear
(...but everything outside your world of comfort isn't a world of dread and fear)
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears (Okay, drought reference, fine)


And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom (Little dramatic, but we'll let it go)
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you
(Wait what did you say? Maybe I misheard you. Let's hear it again...What?)

WELL TONIGHT THANK GOD IT'S THEM INSTEAD OF YOU


Yes, THAT is the appropriate response to suffering in the world.... THANK GOD with all your heart that in the lottery of life YOU got to sit in a comfortable first world house opening multiple gifts and sipping eggnog, and that some faceless Ethiopian was the one who got picked to starve in a famine. It's hard to grasp the whys of suffering, the reality of the great divide between the haves and have-nots, and there are no easy answers, but I promise you that THAT is the most selfish response I have every heard cloaked under a thin veneer of gratitude. Blech!

And then...

Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

There IS a world outside of the UK. A Christian world, that knows it's Christmas even when it isn't snowing, or when it isn't  possible to feast in the same style as rich first-worlders. The first Christmas was a quiet affair in the Middle East, and Christmas is celebrated in the poorest homes in all corners of the earth. The birth of Jesus is even more precious to His little, poor, weak ones.

---More Than Words---


Okay, I like this song. I like the melody, the rhythm. It's one of the typical songs that we sing when someone pulls out a guitar. BUT. I'm hearing something more than a simple love song.

Saying I love you 
Is not the words I want to hear from you 
It's not that I want you 
Not to say, but if you only knew 
How easy it would be to show me how you feel 
More than words is all you have to do to make it real 
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me 
'Cause I'd already know 

Did you hear that? No? What I'm hearing is a boyfriend pressurizing his girlfriend to have sex. "Baby if you REALLY loved me, you'd SHOW me."

THAT'S NOT REAL LOVE. Just saying.

Okay random ranty rant over. Thanks for your patient listening. Feel free to actually pull up the lyrics of the songs you listen to and take them apart too. Don't be sheeple!

7 Ways My Mum is Awesome


So my mother's birthday is one day after my dad's, and it looks like blog posts are the new birthday cards... so here goes.

---1---

My mum is one of those crazy multi talented people who can do it ALL. I mean it! She cooks better than most people I know- every meal is a feast, she writes stories and poems- often on the spur of the moment, she sings, she draws, she bakes and decorates gorgeous wedding cakes, puts together artistic cards, is a word game whiz, and is pretty much up to any kind of creativity challenge you could propose. Yes, yes, kind of hard to live up to that kind of awesome. My siblings and I survived by dividing her talents among ourselves. So we each have a fifth of all that genius.

Why yes, she DID make that

And that

AND that!


---2---

She is a Story-Teller. Quite effortlessly she can weave a tale and capture an audience, without them ever realizing it. As kids, we would be excited for electricity cuts, because when it was dark, the only thing to do was listen to Mama's stories. There were some so spell-binding we would demand them again and again. I see her weave the same spell with my nieces, and sometimes when she is reading a storybook to children in the presence of adults, adult conversation trails off and suddenly everyone is listening. I have somewhat taken after her in this regard, but only realized after actually being in the middle of a made up story, that it's not the easiest thing in the world to keep a story going while preventing it from boring everyone to tears ("And then... um... he fell down. And then.. um... he kept walking... and walking.. and walking....")


---3---

She is a Memory-Maker. She created all these little childhood traditions for us- every night we'd wait for her to spread the bedsheets over us ('fishy-cover') and then sing a few lullabies (Train Whistle Blowin', Chi baba chi baba) which was the most comforting and soothing sound in the world. I'm pretty sure I wished that tradition had lasted well beyond the stage it did. Then of course we had Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, we had birthday mornings where she always got everyone to make a big fuss over the birthday boy or girl- presents, cards, cake, being woken up by the whole family singing happy birthday. She planned and organized theme parties for each of our birthdays, with cakes and games and decorations all made by her- storybook parties, princess parties, Little Peter Rabbit parties, Facebook parties, etc. Inspired by her, we organized neighbourhood fetes and fancy dress competitions, made eucalyptus perfume, built dollhouses, climbed trees, took part in story-writing competitions, sang along to Sound of Music and My Fair Lady, and devoured storybooks.

How my cousins and siblings spent a lot of our childhood

---4---

She is Full of Fun- quite the life of the party, though not everyone who knows her knows that. I may or may not have gotten a little bit of my crazy from her too. Yes indeed, back in the day, I was the one getting embarrassed by the weirdness of my mother instead of the other way round. I distinctly remember coming home as a family from a wedding late in the night and my mother singing loudly and randomly. I was caught between embarrassment and wanting to be that free and happy and mad... so that night I crossed over to the other side. 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.' I also have many memories of family prayer times interrupted by fits of the giggles which yes indeed, Mama, was as prone to as the rest of us.



---5---

She is a Hard Worker. She is one of those Proverbs 31 women who work from dawn to dusk (well, apart from the essential Indian afternoon nap) and does not eat the bread of idleness- late nights helping us with projects, wrapping gifts for Christmas, cooking for parties, working on her catechetical lessons, making elaborate and thoughtful birthday cards, going the extra mile and not grudging the effort. With five kids and the urge to do things well, no wonder she looks tired in most of the old family pictures we have.

 Of course I look tired, I just had a baby!

---6---

She is a willing student in the School of the Holy Spirit. She has this special intimate familiar relationship with Jesus that at first I would just observe. How did she hear Him speak so clearly in her prayer time? How did she get so many prayers answered? How could she ask so confidently for the most insignificant things? Little by little I saw that the intimacy of love she knew could be mine too if I desired it. I've seen the possibility and the truth of a real, authentic, challenging, sanctifying relationship with a real, gentle, loving God- because she has that kind of relationship.

---7---

She has allowed herself to become a fruitful tree under which many take shelter. In Mulieris Dignitatem, Pope John Paul II says "The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way.... Thus the "perfect woman" (cf. Prov 31:10) becomes an irreplaceable support and source of spiritual strength for other people, who perceive the great energies of her spirit. These "perfect women" are owed much by their families, and sometimes by whole nations."

Many have found support and strength from my mother. Many have told me they wished they had a mother like mine. I have often directed people to her when I find people who just need someone to talk to, to mother them, to lead them to Christ. She has often served me as a spiritual director. When I have faced spiritual attack or darkness, confusion or doubt, times of struggle and misunderstanding, I knew I could always turn to her for prayer, for words of wisdom and for a Mary-like reminder to 'Do whatever He tells you.'

I love you, Mama. Happy birthday!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

7 Ways My Dad is Awesome


 ---1---

He convinced his five children that his birthday was SO important that it was declared a public holiday plus everyone had to dress up and go to Mass. It only gradually dawned on us that maybe Indian Independence Day and the feast of the Assumption of Mary had something to do with that.

---2---

When I was a kid he also convinced me I had a hole in my chin, which is why water always fell down my shirt when I tried drinking from a bottle. He also always asked if I had washed my face thoroughly in the morning, and I would say yes and then he would ask if I put soap in my eyes, which I firmly said I had, and I KNEW I had because my eyes were watering. NOW thinking back, I'm like, "Waaaaiiiit a minute, we're not SUPPOSED to put soap in our eyes! THAT WASN'T FUNNY, DADA!"

---3---

He had FIVE kids! And would transport us around on his bike! Well, not usually ALL five, just three at a time, that's all. We were firmly told to HOLD TIGHT, and every time our arms started slacking, he would yell at us to HOLD TIGHT. We had elaborate systems and rules to help our big family work- specific bath times, specific seating around the table, family prayer where each member of the family got one day of the week to organize the prayer. We had one-to-twos, where each of us got taken out for 'quality time' with my parents, and official 'family time' on Sundays, where we took turns to choose our activity for the week- a picnic, card games, movie night, throwball, swimming.


Family time circa 1998
 
---4---

He is the Idea Man, the Can Do Man, the Man for Emergencies, the guy who ran summer clubs, took teenagers from church on camps, was the one leading the way up and down mountains, hiding cold Sprite in his bag for the girls who were on the verge of collapse at the last leg of the trek ('Leave me here to DIE!'), the guy who, in his 40s, figured out how to use a computer by trial and error, and then proceeded to computerize the entire church office system, the man who regularly rescues his adult children from any and all kinds of emergencies. (Um.. Dada? I ran out of petrol... again. Dada? I think I broke the microwave. There's smoke coming out of it! Hey Dada, what are your thoughts on picking me up from the station/picking up my friends from the station/helping me move/dropping me to the airport?)

---5---

He is the Man of Many Secrets and Surprises, usually in a good way. He usually has what you need in his Cupboard of Stores and Surprises. Chocolate, jeera golis, Haldiram's potato chiwda, tins of rasagulla. We just have to look a little pathetic and hopeful, and out they come. He also stores something of everything you might need- handkerchiefs, safety pins, used envelopes, tachni pins, rubber bands, band-aids, you name it, he's got it.

---6---

He is one of the few fathers I know who has been humble enough to apologize with tears in his eyes to his children. All fathers mess up. Few fathers acknowledge when they have.

---7---

His ONLY expectation of me and my siblings is that we do whatever God wants us to. You know what most Indian fathers want from their children? Not bad things usually- a steady job, a degree, support for parents in their old age (not that they're old or anything), his daughters to settle down in their late 20s, give them grandchildren. Some Indian fathers are even more demanding- a particular career, a particular spouse, a particular age to get married. My dad? "Do whatever God asks you." So this single almost 30 29 year old penniless Christian worker who goes where the Spirit blows still basks in the pride and love of her Dada.

Happy birthday, Dada!

 Father-daughter dance at a wedding last week

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

How Sue Classifies Myers-Briggs Personality Types

As everyone who speaks to me or reads my blog knows, I love to figure out which personality type everybody I know fits in to. Of course lots of people resent that, because they think I'm putting them in a box and labelling them, but what I'm REALLY doing is trying to understand and therefore relate to them better.



I realize that maybe it's to much to expect random acquaintances to sit down and do an actual test, so I have a quick and easy set of questions to ask them to assign them to the right box. Here goes..

Introvert vs Extrovert (I vs. E)

That's easy. Do you get your energy from being with people (E) or from being alone (I)? (note: I didn't ask if you were antisocial hermit because not all introverts are antisocial hermits). Also do you process your thoughts and feelings with other people (E) or alone (I)? (This is why I'm wondering if I'm an ambivert.) Do you live more in your own head (I), or more in the outside world (E)? Do you occasionally need to hide in a bathroom during a party (I), or do you think you're going to go crazy if you're alone for a few hours (E)? Do you find the idea of having the house to yourself for a few days exciting (I) or terrifying (E)?

Introvert Cat is apparently a thing.

Sensing vs. iNtuition 

Do you try to find patterns and underlying meanings to the things you see around you (N) or do you just take things as you see them (S)? For an N, someone offers help, and they wonder, "Does that person think I'm weak? Or are they trying to show they are more capable than me? Or are they secretly in love with me?" An S just hears a person offering help. Of course there are pros and cons to every aspect of a personality type. So there are no bad guys or good guys. An N is far more likely to read too much into everything, but they are also likely to be sensitive to actual underlying factors that are not obvious to S's. An S is the last person to realize that X is secretly in love with Y, and that Z has been unhappy about it for months. On the other hand, S's are far more easy going because they aren't affected by moods and drama.


 Thinking vs. Feeling 

Okay, if I was being negative this is how I would ask: Do you get your feelings hurt really easily? Do you cry a lot? You're definitely an F. Do you sometimes wonder if you're cold, unfeeling and insensitive? Do you get frustrated by illogical behaviour? You're probably a T. But when I'm being kinder, and more balanced, I'd ask "Do you more easily empathise with people? F. Are you able to logic yourself out of a negative emotion? T." And there you have the pros and cons. 


Perceiving vs Judging 

Are you open ended, happy with multiple possible solutions (P), or do you need a definite answer to every question (J). P's are more adaptable, but are often indecisive. J's are obsessed with clarity, they love black and white, which is good when it comes to standing up for truth and justice. Not so good when they want to impose the black and white on morally neutral issues, or start thinking their opinion is the another name for 'the only right way to do things'. 


When you're trying to decide which personality type best describes you, it's good to remember there are scales you can move up or down, and that you can develop different parts of your personality. Although I still mostly identify as an INTJ, I no longer think I'm just a cold mastermind.
 

I'm moved closer to the E side (ambivert?), am far more empathetic and F-ish than I used to be (effect of living with many F's and asking God for grace to grow in empathy and sensitivity),


and I've slid down from the very J side, closer to the P's, even accepting that I MAY not be right.about EVERYTHING, (although I'm still right about most things). Actually one of my favourite quotes is St. Augustine's "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity." I'm trying to model my conversations and convictions on that principle.

Okay, so what are you?