Thursday, August 11, 2011

Delivery guide

Don't mind this post, it's just a means to get some documents to guys at work.

Zoning map

Zip codes by zone

Zip codes by code

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dear Laura,

G.K. Chesterton was happier in love than Martin Heidegger.



Actually, they're NOTHING alike.

Laura and I had a fun conversation last night. We were on the subject of counseling and therapy. I was remarking that I've always enjoyed seeing a therapist/counselor/spiritual director, since I was a kid. What better experience for a self-doubting guy than to have the attention of another human being for a solid hour, whose entire purpose is to be understanding?

Laura asked, well, isn't that one of the perks of having a relationship or a marriage? Aren't we like one-another's counselor?

And for some reason, that I couldn't put my finger on at the time, I had to reject that comparison. "No. NO. Those two relationships are nothing alike."

That statement was impulsive, but the conviction with which I said it was real. I'm taking this chance to examine why I not only said it but stressed it. Something about the comparison between a counselor-client relationship, and a marriage, was repugnant to me. Why was that?

A clue actually came to me on the drive home, while I was listening to an interview on public radio with a psychiatrist. He gave up a comfortable practice in Manchester to serve the devastated victims of mental illness in Libya.

One of the things that he mentioned is that a powerful obstacle to practicing in Libya was maintaining emotional distance while listening to people's heartwrenching stories--the women whose shrapnel-wrecked husband died in her arms, the woman who, together with children, was used as a human shield by the Gaddafi forces.

I believe that a good counselor walks a thin line between, one the one hand, empathy and advocacy, and on the other, losing perspective. Counselors are mediators between a client's intimate experience and unveiling the blind-spots (whether that take the form of advice, treatment, consolation, etc). When a counselor loses perspective, he loses the capacity to be a mediator.

Professional distance is not only for the protection of the counselor but for securing the his ability to perform and succeed in enabling the client to reach psychological/emotional/mental/spiritual/social checkpoints. In fact, it is not so much a "distance" in the sense of being "far away," as much as a "vista"--an elevated view, that serves in the same capacity as a lighthouse in a storm.

That same professional or emotional distance, while not completely absent from a romance or a marriage, takes a radically different shape. In any case there is no expectation for lovers to maintain what anyone would call professional or emotional "distance".

Where the comparison is spot-on is that both a lover and a counselor provide an oasis of intimate understanding in a desert of empathy.

But where a romance is so much more profound is exactly where it is less useful.

When a couple become lovers, they enter the room of intimate mutual understanding; and when they become husband and wife, they close and lock the door behind them, and throw away the key.

They enter the labyrinth without string.

They walk one-another's forest without anything so much as breadcrumbs.

They dream each other's dreams, sans totems or kicks.

No ruby slippers.

The mutual self-gift of married lovers is total. That does not mean that said lovers lose their individuality--I've written on this point before. But they freely relinquish an eject button. They prioritize love over perspective--love, through faith, becomes the only perspective.

From this we might infer that married lovers do indeed serve one-another's need to be understood, but yet they do not substitute one-another's need for that mediator, that lighthouse, that is the occasional visit to a counselor.

Monday, August 01, 2011

I've written a lot.

I have no idea how I am going to collect and organize all of this.

Disclaimer: The above links are absolutely indiscriminate in their content and subject matter. They span ten years of writing and maturing.