At the end of every month, I share my favorite comments from that month's posts, and you're invited to do the same and link up below!
Wow, y'all wrote some looooong comments this month. Obviously, this makes me very happy, but it also can make for a giant Blog Comment Carnival post. So some of the comments listed below are excerpts from longer comments. As always, I highly recommend that you click through the original posts and read the full discussions there, and join in if you feel so moved!
First off, I gave some advice to college students (and anyone) trying to make decisions about how to spend their time, asking the key question: Procrastination... or Carpe Diem?
Emily still remembers the fun things she did in college:
I'm probably a bad influence on college students - because I LOVED doing those random things. Granted, I probably should have studied more. I got decent grades, but if I had worked harder I probably would have done MUCH better. But honestly, I don't think I would change anything if I could go back. There might be a few instances where I would go back to my room and get work done, but there aren't many. Granted, my friends and I weren't partiers. When we all turned 21 we would go to the bar and have a few drinks, but we never got into the "lets get wasted" parties. So there's that. But the random 3am IHOP trips, all nighters in the computer lab, stupid crap we would do on campus. Nope - I wouldn't change it. That's how my friends and I got to be so close, and a lot of them I still consider to be some of the greatest friends and memories I'll ever have. I would never want to tell someone to miss out on that. Yes, get your work done, pass, get your degree. But have fun too! This is the time to try new things and meet new people.
Queen of Carrots shared how this applies past college:
I think what you said about most procrastination not being "carpe diem" is so true, and not just for college. Or as I think it was put in *Screwtape Letters*: "I have spent most of my life doing neither what I want, nor what I ought." It helps me sometimes to stop and think: Is this really what I want to do? If it's not, then usually it's because there's something I ought to do that I'm putting off--sometimes just noticing gives me the focus I need to do it and move on to what I want to do, or sometimes I realize I'm just not in a state to do it and would be better off doing something else anyway. Either way, I'm not just stalling my life away.
I responded to a reader's question in Pregnancy, Fear, and NFP: Response to a Reader.
Becca left a fantastic three-part comment, saying in part:
Regina, I think it's important to remember that all methods of avoiding conception can fail. NFP practiced carefully is about as effective as birth control pills (about 4 couples per 100 will conceive within a year using these methods) and more effective than condoms (about 14 per 100). As Jessica explained, most NFP "failures" are caused by deciding not to abstain after all at a time when you know there might be some chance of conception.
So, the risk is not in choosing NFP over another method but in choosing to have sex at all. Risk is built into it--and I think it's odd that so many people seem not to understand that, both non-Catholics who assume their contraception is foolproof (without ever bothering to read the facts) and freak out when it wasn't, and Catholics who snarl about how those contraceptors have it so easy with their constant carefree sex.
Queen of Carrots also left a great long comment, saying in part:
Very good thoughts and I also liked Becca's thoughts. When we used NFP, we had far more confidence in it than we would have in artificial methods; it felt more like something under my, not control exactly, but purview. If it failed, it would be most likely my own carelessness; therefore I could counterbalance it by being more careful. I had a place to go with anxiety; something I could actually DO. (I have far less confidence in the vasectomy, ironically--we know at least two couples who conceived post-vasectomy. But the combination of NFP with my husband's irregular health was getting too hard.)
Something I realized over time is that everyone who is having sex (except those permanently, irrevocably sterile through age or removal of all relevant body parts) either has some of this anxiety or is being naive. People are either trying to get pregnant and worrying about that or trying not to get pregnant and worrying about that. It's like being a farmer--there is much that modern technology has helped us with, but there is still that part that is outside our control. I think that is a good thing. We were not wired to be masters of the universe.
On my 27th birthday, I addressed my 17-year-old self in A Birthday Letter to Myself (or Thoughts on the Past 10 Years).
Becca was inspired:
Happy birthday! Thanks for posting this. You motivated me to Google my high school journalism teacher and e-mail her to tell her how deeply glad I am that I took two classes with her senior year instead of taking calculus--it was the first thing that leaped to mind as I thought about what I would tell my teenaged self. (I took calc in college, no big deal. I could not take journalism at my college--it wasn't offered--but even if I could have, it wouldn't have been the same as Mz. T's challenging and inspiring classes.)
It turns out that the things that make you weird can work to your advantage.
That is a great message for teenagers! It's very true, in my experience.
And Greg Calhoun added:
A letter along these lines would have been a great comfort to me a teenager. Congrats on this milestone in your excellent blogging adventure
Finally, the post that seemed to hit home for the most people was How Privilege Sees Thanksgiving.
perfectnumber628 wants to overcome that kind of privileged view:
Well-said. I'm going to link to this post from my blog. :) It's so easy to think everyone else's life is the same as mine, and to not even realize that I'm thinking that, and how completely incorrect it is. And that's basically why I'm going to move to China- otherwise I'll think I know everything.
Alice heard a very different Thanksgiving Day message:
It's funny how my pastor seemed to take the opposite route. He talked about how there are so many basic "first article" gifts that we are given no matter our position or situation in life. We all have air, we all have lungs, our breaths are given to us. And while I suppose that isn't universally true, it resonated with me, and several of my friends, who are all feeling a loss or a sense of loneliness this year. That even when we don't have family or friends or a home or enough to eat, there are little reminders of God's love for us, and something to be thankful for.Thanks for taking the time to share such great thoughts on this month's posts!