My friend Lindsay sent me a link to this podcast episode where Blair Hodges interviews John Swinton about time and disability and theology. It’s a great interview, highly recommended.
I loved this reframing:
What’s the problem with having Down Syndrome? The answer is nothing. Unless you live in a society that values intellect, and reason, and speed, and quick thinking over relationships, community, friendship, and love.
And this (which I’ve compressed a bit from the original):
If you’ve ever spent any time with somebody with a profound intellectual disability, or somebody with advanced dementia, then you know that you can’t go quickly, you need to slow down, and you need to take time for those things that the time of the world just can’t even see. In a world that passes people by, somebody needs to slow down and spend time with those who God adores.
And, last but not least, this:
The thing that marks the body of Christ is diversity, not uniformity.
Looking forward to reading John’s book Becoming Friends of Time, which seems like it might pair well with In Praise of Slowness. (And his other books, too.)
Quick update on projects, or rather the general lack thereof these past few months.
Since messing up my back again in late February, I’ve seen a mild level of recovery, but I’m still far from where I used to be (which itself was far, far from normal, those good old days before I slipped on some ice and got spondylolisthesis). Some of the things I used to do (like art) now cause enough pain, whether immediate or delayed, that I have to avoid them.
I’ve also been dealing with some out-of-the-blue episodes of vertigo. So much fun, let me tell you. The worst seems to be over, but every time I turn my head things still get a little woozy for a couple seconds.
On top of my lovely collection of physical ailments, I’ve also been feeling mentally drained and exhausted after work each day. Not sure if it’s a side effect of the back and neck pain or if it’s 2020 finally catching up to me or if it’s the new job. (If it’s the job: my company just got acquired, so I’m effectively starting yet another new job. Exciting. I’ll write more about it soon.)
With all of that, I’ve effectively been taking a forced mini sabbatical from project work. Thus the prolonged silences.
The break has certainly been restful — lots of reading — but I do want to find a way forward with making things, even though it’s fairly unclear what that will mean. Whether I’ll ever get my back back to where it was. Whether the vertigo is a new long-term companion. Whether I’ll be able to keep doing the same types of projects. (Writing and programming are still fine, physically, so I expect more of both. Not sure about the rest.) Whether this begins the inevitable slowing down in life and what then follows. (Hopefully not yet!)
A quick endnote lest my somewhat bloodless portrayal of the situation keep humanity from seeping in (and to mix metaphors post-haste, I’m not casting my net to catch any pity here, just documenting what this experience is like in the hope that maybe somehow it’ll help someone someday): there have of course been many moments of frustration and anguish and discouragement. It’s devastating not being able to help out nearly as much at home. Not being able to roughhouse with my kids. A lot of time lying on my back trying to relieve the pain. (And a corresponding bump in the number of accidental naps. C’est la vie.)
The situation isn’t ideal, but situations rarely are. I’ll still keep trying to claw my way back up to better health, of course, but if this is my lot going forward, so be it. There’s not much use in pining after what’s unattainable. I’ve adjusted, and I’ll continue to adjust as necessary, and I’ll be fine.
Anyway, that’s the far too long explanation of why I’ve been mostly derelict in posting work here these past few months.