Friday, October 19, 2007

recalculating countdown. . . . standby

You know how I love details - but I'll spare you the thought process of realizing I have a COUPLE EXTRA DAYS here! So it's not actually minus five today. . . . . more's the pity. It's more like minus 7 - unless you count the handoff day as a day, in which case it's minus eight. And do you count today as one of the days?

Why am I like this?!

Anyway - I'm not going to worry about it now. It's the recalculating day, and perhaps I'll have worked out the math by tomorrow, if I get another 6 hours sleep in between now and then.

I know where this picture is from, although I didn't take it. I know this because I have one similiar to it, but without the bird. And this was handier than scrolling through my pictures of Paris - because that's where this was from - and the Paris pictures would take too long to go through because I'd be drooling over them. And maybe crying. Good crying. . . .

Oh, remember when, indeed. . . .

I was there for a conference; the king joined me after a week or so. We spent two weeks in student lodgings in a walled city chateau. Le Foyer We lived in the clocktower - clock right above our bedroom window. Bath down the hall. Wine and baguettes every night overlooking the courtyard. The menu made a big impression on us - it's still a staple part of our diet!

Walks through the Jardin du Luxembourg every day. . . . boules. . . . the little boys and their toy sailboats on the lake. . . . the flowers. . . .

OK - stop it!

Back to work.


Two things before I start today: one, I told the king about the prophet. . . . two, I'm thinking through freedom versus obligation.

It's so funny how these things play out in my life, so that I can actually SEE what it is that I mean! Einstein is supposed to have said that "coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous".

So I told the king last night that I'd been writing here. He took it well, I think, perhaps taken aback by the 'secret' aspect of not having told him this. He also - as suspected - brought up the problematic of writing non-work stuff when I have so much work stuff to do. This is a major difference between us. He's a get-it-done-first-then-relax sort of person; I'm an enjoy-it-while-you-can sort of one. Also a I-can't-work-all-the-time sort, and as the dissertation would take up every waking hour, there has been a grave necessity to allow for some pleasurable distractions along the way. Of which I count him my major pleasure - and distraction - but there's other stuff as well. My garden. The occasional knitting or sewing. God - I've given up so much already. . . . I haven't played music in 2 years. I haven't sung. I haven't started a new quilt. I haven't sewn a dress since my wedding dress. I've felt guilty reading anything but law or philsophy.

But the thing is - life is built on freedom. For me, anyway.

It's not unlimited freedom - if you don't work, it won't get done! Yet there is also freedom in the working. I don't work well under the weight of duty, or the"ought". It robs me of the freedom to work joyously. And this is why I think I have needed also to write just for fun. Saying what I like, with no foundational requirements, no format requirements, and no judging looming over me second-guessing what I perhaps should have been doing, instead. It's like saying that anything short of a masterpiece isn't worth working on as an artist, let's say. So forget those sketches; those little cartoons. Don't take that walk or stop in that cafe for a hot whiskey. Keep your eyes on your work.

Big sigh.

This is a big piece for me. This IS my work! I'm still learning how to call the shots in my own life. It's not about what the king says - or even thinks - this really is about my own motivation. What I think, and why. NOT in an it's-all-about-me mode, but in the how-I-live-life mode! And is it free? Is it authentic? Or is it in response to what I perceive others want, without them even asking? Which was always my default.

The good thing is that this has nothing to do with how others respond, or whether others allow me this kind of freedom. I have it. The question is, will I live in it? The king has really helped me here. He expects he married an autonomous grown-up. SURPRISE! grin. . . .

But here's how this fits: I've been looking at assertions of "human rights" as arguments in disputed moral issues. I've always been a bit leery of human rights as 'sources' for entitlements because they don't deal with who provides all these things, to whom, and who gets the bill. So perhaps you have the right to control the autonomy of your body, for example, in connection with terminating pregnancy - but if we term it AS a right, does that not imply that someone will have the obligation to provide the means by which to do so?

In other words, what good is a "right" to exercise control over one's body if there is no viable means provided of doing so?

As a lawyer, I don't like to hear talk of rights unless there's talk of corresponding means - the enabling legislation that puts a shape on the other side of rights: who provides them, to whom, how, and at what cost to whom.

As a person, however, I don't particularly like being importuned on the obligation side. I prefer the free and easy gift, without thought of the underlying side of duty. I don't like to do things because it's my duty - I want to do them because it's my delight.

I love this quote from Onora O'Neill:
I was once publicly admonished for asking who holds the obligations that correspond to an alleged right to health (not merely to a right to health care!) on the grounds that health is too important to human beings not to be the object of a right.
God is still anonymous, eh? Maybe that's how we can work in the idea of prayer.

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