Personal faith with a healthy dose of skepticism

I continue to be inspired by Barack Obama’s words, especially his one-on-one, in-depth exchanges. I just ran across an interview he did with Chicago Sun Times columnist Cathleen Falsani in 2004. I am generally skeptical of anyone who claims to be a person of faith, particularly those who aspire to be our political leaders. But I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a politician give such a nuanced and understanding vision of faith than Obama does in this interview.

Happy enough?

I watched the movie Waitress last night, which incidentally is a very well-written movie, poignant on many levels. One scene was particularly powerful, between the main character (Jenna) and her boss (Cal).

Jenna: Cal, are you happy? I mean, when you call yourself a happy man, do you really mean it?
Cal: You ask a serious question, I’ll give you a serious answer: Happy enough. I don’t expect much. I don’t get much, I don’t give much. I generally enjoy whatever comes along. That’s my answer for you, summed up for your feminine consideration. I’m happy enough.

I’ve been running that scene around in my head since the movie ended. Is there such thing as happy enough? To me it seems that once you consider yourself happy enough, you become complacent and stop growing, learning and experiencing new things. Happy enough strikes me as stagnation. But at the same time if you’re never happy enough, do you continually feel unfulfilled?

I don’t think I’d ever settle for happy enough.

An unexpected flashback

We’ve been lucky this year to have a robin build a nest right on our deck railing outside our living room window, nestled among the curling vines of a sweetautumn clematis. For the past few weeks we’ve anticipated the arrival of the chicks. On Saturday morning, they arrived.

It’s been a great experience to watch the wonder of new life and the dedication of the parents, but the most amazing thing happened this evening. My wife was peering out the window from our sofa, watching the babies stretch their tiny heads up for food. As I looked up, I saw something I’ve never seen before — my wife as a six-year old girl, full of wonder and excitement — the budding inquisitive scientist — a precursor to the woman I now know and love. For this alone, I’ll forever be indebted to the mother robin that chose our deck railing to start her new family.

Postcript: As I sat here writing this, a large hawk landed on the deck rail, looking for an evening snack. Thanks to the quick action of my wife, the chicks are still pleasantly snuggled in their nest.