blogging madness, Humility is important, Uncategorized

Honestly Inconsistent.

Show me a person who is sure, certain and comfortable with everything they ever think or do and you’ll show me someone I am not particularly interested in spending very much time with.

Honesty and inconsistency are actually not strange bedfellows.

I can read two posts here on any given day and find thoughts or ideas which seem to conflict with each other. I used to be slightly alarmed by this, particularly when there was a hit to a link that seemed to clash with an idea I just posted; almost as if someone was looking for it.

Once I took the time to think about it, however, the concern dissipated. It dissipated because anyone who is honestly striving, working, and occasionally stumbling on the journey of life will sometimes fall short of their ideals. The spirit is always warring against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit. Toss in the natural *stuff* that goes on in my very feminine psyche, and if I didn’t know me, left to judge based only on posts on my own blog, I might think I was a little bonkers.

Or I would, if I hadn’t figured out that best behavior Elspeth and not-so-best behavior Elspeth are both still Elspeth. The me who is full of myself one day is the same me who is humbled the next by the love of God or my husband, or the difficulty of trying to properly educate two children with very different personalities.

I once heard this from a mostly forgettable preacher, except he said one thing was pretty unforgettable. He talked about what he called “The Four You’s”, even though he followed it by rattling off five categories. They are:

  • The you that you think you are
  • The you that others think you are
  • The you that you want to be
  • The you that others want you to be
  • The you that you really are (and whom only God really knows)

Every one of us, whether we realize or acknowledge it, are navigating our lives through the prisms of these versions of ourselves. As we grow and mature, their intersections should be frequent and the tensions should gradually fade into one another. To those in our inner circles, these are almost seamless. The farther you pan out, however, the more the distinctions emerge; sometimes out of a necessity that is good and healthy, and sometimes without us even noticing.

The things we do, the way we speak to others, the decisions we make about what we will and will not do? These behaviors should be externally consistent, and for most ethical, moral, honest people, they are. None of that however, diminishes the internal tension, the struggles, the questions, the *stuff* that we all wrestle with on the inside.

When I look back over the things I’ve written, I am at ease, for example, with the contradictions between my internal feelings of mundaneness and the oft-stated expression of others that I might be in some way extraordinary. The “me that others think I am” or the “me that others want me to be” don’t cancel out the “me that I think I am”, or the “me I want to be”.

All of those Elspeths are reflected here. These words are an outpouring of the ambiguity that is the struggle between being, doing, and finding the balance. Maturity, I am learning, requires a fairly high tolerance for ambiguity.

Despite my many imperfections, there are some things about me that others have found commendable. These are simply two parallel truths[1]. One of the great regrets of my tenure writing this way in this forum is my naivete regarding the ability of people (including me at times), to appreciate nuances and unspoken realities that I assumed went without saying. I now know, and shall never forget, that nothing does.

There is only One Good, Perfect Being who has all His spit together, and I’m fine admitting that it ain’t me.

“…if you haven’t stood before God and been confused, you’re probably not standing before the real God”~ Steve Brown

[1] My favorite theologcal quote concerning the realty of truth in parallel lines can be found here.

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el's rabbit trails, healthy living, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

Grow or stagnate.

I think about this most often in relation to the Christian faith, but it occurred to me today that it applies in most areas of life.

Life provides a wide range of  conversations, experiences, interactions, and trials. To go for years on end, never having our perspectives challenged, understanding clarified, capacity for grace expanded, conclusions honed or faith deepened, is indicative of lack of growth.

If anyone can live 5, 10, 15 or more years and not have the lens of their view in any way changed, or their reactions evolve more maturely and graciously, they’ve lived a stagnant life.

Stagnant water stinks, and the only things which live and thrive in it are bacteria and parasitic insects which transmit disease. Insects like mosquitoes, which fly around biting as many people as possible to spread the diseases they carry as quickly and as widely as possible.

I am thankful for growth, including stretching, painful growth. That I questioned suppositions I was so certain of years ago, and that my smug surety about so many things has given way to an openness about the things that don’t matter as much in the eternal paradigm. Even so, I have grown more certain than ever about other things.

This, of course, requires thought and ours is a culture in which thinking has died a painful death. Even among the supposed smart people. That’s is too bad. Without growth, what’s the point?

*I am not referring to watering down The Faith, its bedrock principles or the clearly commanded principles in Scripture that form the foundation on which the believer is to live her daily life.

 

 

healthy living, Humility is important, spirit led living, wife stuff

Damaging my self-esteem.

I often write about Grace, how important it is to be properly aware of it, and how it should influence the way we see ourselves. Namely, that if we believe the Bible as it describes our God-less state, and what we deserve as a result of that state, then we know that every good thing in our lives is a gracious gift. It is not something that we deserve, no matter how wonderful we appear from a temporal perspective.

As a result of my steadfast adherence to this principle when I write, it occurred to me recently that I must sound like a person devoid of all self-esteem, whatever that is supposed to be worth anyway. The truth is exactly the opposite, and it’s because of that I remind myself daily to be grateful; for my most excellent husband, for wonderful kids, good friends, and yes, a fair number of worldly admirable qualities.

It is not an unusual thing for me to hear something along the lines of, “I like the way your mind works”, or “Tell me how you do this or that”, “Your family is so great”, “But you’re so young [ROFL]!”, etc. etc. That’s not even counting the wonderful things I think about myself when I slip and indulge in that nonsense.

Nothing about me is more worthy of the amount of love in my life than many other women, some of whom suffer greatly in their relationships. Yet in my marriage, I am loved well, my opinions respected, my efforts acknowledged, and  there is appreciation for whatever bit of beauty I may possess. Expressions of gratitude, or even statements of “unworthiness” are not about my worth compared to my man. We are perfectly matched. The point is to view the thing in light of eternity.

The last thing I need is healthier self-esteem. There is plenty to sate my pride and feed the beast of vanity lurking inside every minute of every day. On the contrary, what is needed is to look into the mirror of the Word, to hold this flesh up to the light of Holiness. Heaping doses of humility is what I need, so that I don’t fall victim to believing my own press over God’s Truth.

It seems this little ditty would be best rounded out by a Scripture quote but for some reason, I keep hearing Dave Ramsey’s voice when callers query him about his well being:

“I’m doing better than I deserve”.

Humility is important, Living with other believers, spirit led living, wife stuff

Be appreciative rather than priggish.

Don’t you love the sound of that word; priggish? I assumes it’s where we got the word most of us are more familiar with: prick.

This is a bit of a follow up thought to a conversation my dear friend Hearthie and I have had numerous times over the past few years. This is just one instance. The issue of what she calls “survivor’s guilt” and what I have questioned as an undeserved life of an abundant amount of love.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote:

When I considered my friend’s sincere desire that I not underestimate what I bring to the table, for a split second I wondered if perhaps my near constant desire to exalt him means I am devaluing myself. Then it hit me: No.

Appreciating and relishing being loved by one who is excellent and worthy of praise humbles us, or it should.

My father was that rare combination of unabashed confidence and unquestioned humility. My man is more a combination of unabashed confidence and unrivaled compassion. Both combinations are great examples of people who appreciate that they have worked hard for what they achieved in their lives but without a smug sense of superiority over others.

These are examples I carry close to my heart and as the Scriptures says: Out of the abundnceof the heart, the mouth speaks. When yet another friend says “Don’t discount the good choices you made to have the life you enjoy”, I appreciate those words. It’s not my intent to dismiss them as one who can’t take a compliment

It is, however, much easier for me to accept a compliment on a dress, shoes or my hair than it is to allow myself to to indulge in the thought that I deserve a good life because of my wonderfulness. To take credit for it makes me uncomfortable and opens the door to judgement an a feeling of superiority. Not to mention taking glory for myself that rightfully belongs to Another.

We Americans are addicted to taking credit. I am not immune to it, and I used to like the saying attributed to Bear Bryant: “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.” The longer I live, however, the more joy I get from giving honor to others, even if partial credit for something is genuinely mine.

That isn’t to say we are to lie about what we’ve done good or right. For me, however, the acknowledgement of the contributions of others, no matter how simple, who made it possible for me to do or be a thing is important. It also makes for a higher level of peace. I can’t even express the peace that comes with the prayer: ‘Lord, help me get over me.”

It’s absolutely true that there were times when I made choices that led to a better outcome than other choice would have yielded (sometimes the more righteous choice, even), it’s safer and closer to truth to accede that my imperfect yet often charmed life is more touched by uncommon grace and love from those better than me, than made good through my feeble efforts.

If I have to err in this, I’d rather err on the side of being appreciative rather than priggish.

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
    a stranger, and not your own lips. Proverbs 27:2

 

 

 

Humility is important, Living with other believers, wife stuff

True love should humble us.

When we are well loved, it humbles us. This should have not been an epiphany for me today, but it was.

I was talking to a friend, and she was encouraged by a compliment I offered about my husband: “He is the one who keeps this ship afloat”. Because we spend enough time communicating and in each others’ presence that she knows how much invest in my husband and family, she admonished me not to underestimate what I add to him.

I don’t underestimate it. I just don’t think about it,  instead directing my energy towards honoring him rather than focusing on me. He is open about his appreciation for me also and is equally likely to extol my virtues when the occasion arises.

When I considered my friend’s sincere desire that I not underestimate what I bring to the table, for a split second I wondered if perhaps my near constant desire to exalt him means I am devaluing myself. Then it hit me: No.

Appreciating and relishing being loved by one who is excellent and worthy of praise humbles us, or it should. My husband is not perfect, but he is unquestionably an excellent man whom I have no qualms categorizing as exceptional. That he loves me at the level of intensity with which he clearly does is deeply humbling. It is not something I deserve.

It made sense today, more clearly today than it has in a long time, the passage describing the marriage relationship as analogous to the relationship between Christ and His church.

This is the advantage and strength, I am learning, of developing good friendships and prioritizing time with them. It’s not all fun and games. There are some things that can only be transmitted in one on one relationships.

American identity, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

Thoughtful commentary by thoughtful, thinking men.

I’ve been knee deep in family celebrations and get togethers for the past little bit. Perhaps there will be more on that at a later date, but I took a bit of time to catch up on some of the writers that haven’t been winnowed from my formerly way-too-long reading list. Some of these are worth sharing. Some I fully agree with and others I appreciated for the opportunity to think about the implications. In no particular order:

To say that Garvey’s Ghost has been on a roll the past few posts would be an understatement. I really enjoy this guy. He thinks, and he makes sense, and even on the rare occasion when I have a quibble (for instance, I am just not into Pan-Africanism), I click away from his stuff with something to consider that is off the left or right’s beaten path.

Next up is Doug Wilson’s thoughts on using profanity. I *get* where he coming from here. I really do, and although I battle with cussing in my head at times, it is extremely rare for a cuss word to come out of my mouth. My husband, who can be pretty incisive with his words, and is known not to pull a verbal punch, finds profanity problematic as well. The difference is that rather than it being indicative of someone’s lack of love for the Lord, he sees it as a lack of ability to think well or quickly enough to convey the depth of one’s convictions or perspective without it.

I’m not particularly moved by squeaky clean language coming from a snooty, snobby, self-righteous person. I’m so over propriety draped over feigned piety that I could spit, and someone who uses a cuss word here or there -unless the setting or situation is wholly inappropriate- doesn’t really bother me all that much. It certainly doesn’t mean they’re a Hell-bound sinner. I said Hell. Is that permissible?

Buried in the comment thread of Doug Wilson’s post was a comment tangentially related to the subject matter, but this guy’s words resonated with me so deeply that I think they bear repeating for their spiritual value. It is this very conviction which has completely overhauled the way I view people. More importantly, the way I speak to and of them:

Over the last couple of years I’ve learned a lot more about how sinful I really am. The part that scares me is not that I sin, but that I don’t fully desire to be rid of it. I do at times, but at others I make accommodations for it’s presence. I’m not sure I know the difference between personal disappointment and disgust, and real repentance.

Yes, brother, whomever you are. I know exactly what you mean. If there’s any good from it, it’s that it keeps my heart tender towards others. Saints who know they are also sinners tend to be less snobby. Or we should be.

Lastly is a C.S. Lewis piece that I was reminded of by a commentator at Zippy Catholic’s. I cannot recall which post this was buried in, but the portion from Lewis they quoted was this bit:

Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. Fur spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.

I was motivated to go re-read the entire article which I hadn’t read in at least a decade, and it was well worth the re-read. Lots of good stuff there, regardless of whether or not you agree with the thrust of Lewis’ argument:

Well, between the reading and the writing of this post, lunch break has gone way over. If I was on somebody’s job, I’d be losing money.

Enjoy the rest of your day. All 15 of ya.

 

 

 

cultural absurdity, el's rabbit trails, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

In defense of echo chambers.

Got your attention, huh?

This really isn’t a defense of echo chambers. Perhaps it is, but not the way echo chambers are commonly referenced. After only a week of serious winnowing, I almost immediately recognized a more consistent and prolonged state of peace in my mind and heart.

This is off the cuff, and I’m not going to spend time editing it, so bear with me and use your stellar intellects to fill the things that should go without saying. I know that’s sometimes hard in 2017 America, but just try. Really hard.

It is commonly accepted as a virtue in American life to be willing to have our assumptions challenged and hear other points of view. To the extent that we are willing to do that, no matter how destructive the form in which these challenge and viewpoints are offered, we are considered “reasonable”, “tolerant”, and “open” to other points of view.

In general, I am a big fan of hearing other points of view. I think it’s good to evaluate ourselves, our actions, and our ways of thinking rather than assume that we’re all good all the time or that nothing about us needs to change. This morning, however, I had a light bulb moment and realized that it’s one thing to be open to examining other points of view. That is a good thing.

It’s an altogether different thing to engage in repeated dialogue with people who have starkly different points of view from you, who disdain your perspective and whose perspective you equally disrespect.

So for example, if I want to read a thoughtful critique of another sister’s view point on marriage and family order or birth control, it is best for me to do that with the intent to read it, walk away from it and examine it without engaging in a dialog with her about it. In other words, I can read Christian feminist Rachel Held Evans’ book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, consider her perspective (with which I still vehemently disagree even after reading the book) and walk away with my soul unscathed by a knock down drag out debate on some Internet forum.

Perhaps I am more cognizant as I am getting older. The husband said last night, “I still can’t believe we have three kids out of college. Where did the time go?” Things like that certainly give one pause about the importance of how she spends her time. I don’t even mind acknowledging that I am getting older because I have not -for the most part anyway- wasted my life.

It is simply healthier to have the lion’s share of our discussions on love, life, and even politics, with those who will encourage us in the values we truly believe are right. Echo chambers -particularly of the Christian variety- serve a distinct purpose.

If and when I engage in dialog with someone whom I disagree for any reason other than to truly understand or offer something to think about for the purpose of trying to help that person from a place of love rather than snobby, smug superiority, I am better off not bothering. To just keep my thoughts- and my fingers- to myself.

black in a multi-culti world, How to pick a guy, Humility is important, just for fun, real living in a virtual world

Friday Frivolities 8 : Slow to speak edition

I haven’t offered a lot of commentary lately as I’m making a point of listening more than “speaking”. Besides reading a lot of books on various topics, I’ve also listened to some interesting talks from those with much more flare and articulation than I can muster. I thought I’d share a few for my Friday Frivolities post.

Our girls are not terribly active on social media, but they do follow young Christian women who, like them, are bucking the cultural trend by saving sex for marriage and chronicling the challenges that come with it. In this TED talk Yvonne Orji, a successful actress and 33-year-old Christian virgin, relates her journey:

 

Next up, John Crist offers a very funny stand up act about kids these days:

This one sparked lots of thoughts about the difference in how kids are raised with each successive generation. When I was a kid, if we did our chores and homework, we basically ran wild until the street lights came on. Besides dinner conversation, Sundays at Ponderosa, and the occasional day trip to local attractions, our parents felt little compulsion to spend oodles of time watching over and playing with us.

With our older kids,  other neighborhood kids were there to run around with after school. There was a homeschool family whose house was at the corner of our block, and nearly every afternoon around 1 PM, little Luke would knock on our door and ask, “Can the girls come out?” and I would remind him that because they went to school, they wouldn’t be home until 3. After homework, they ran around with those kids as well as other kids from the neighborhood. I spent most of my quality time with them either reading to them or in the kitchen. They played more with their dad, but most of their play time was with other kids.

We still have two younger children and live in the same house as we did with the older three. If Halloween is any indication, there are still plenty of children in this neighborhood. However, if it’s not Halloween, you don’t them. This has increased the burden on parents to provide entertainment and/or play dates.  I think this makes for a generation of less adaptable kids from what I can tell, and that includes mine, despite the fact that they were born to two tough as nails, passionate, opinionated parents.  Moving on…

Pick  all the nits with me in this next one, LOL I may offer my thoughts in the comments but I’d rather first hear what you guys take away from this:

 

This next one is a TED talk by Sarah Knight that I have wrestled with sharing because she uses less than ladylike language. Very less in fact, but when a friend shared it with me it was a light bulb moment, and here’s why.

One of things that hinders us -or me at least- attending with intention to the things that we truly DO care about, is the fact that we offer too much of our time, energy, and in many cases money, to things that, if we stop to think about them, don’t matter to us in the grand scheme of things.

Some people avoid doing the wrong things by focusing hard on the right things. I wish I was one of those people. I need to first take inventory of what to discard, and with the newly cleared space (mental and emotional as well as physical), the things I want to give full intention to have room to flourish and I have fertile soil in which to grow. In other words, when I wasn’t giving my intention to the wrong things, my mind was free to focus on the true, the lovely, the noble, and things of good report.

Anyway, here’s the TED talk, but be warned that she uses the f-word, and repeatedly so. If you’re inclined to clutch your pearls, please just skip it:

*I know ZERO about Sarah Knight or hew views on anything other than this video, nor do I particularly care.

In the spirit of Sarah Knight’s talk, I also saw this post from a fellow bibliophile about the hazards of conflating social media acquaintance with real connections:

The Only People Who Care About You are Your Family- and if you’re lucky- a Friend or Two.

When I lost my father 18 months ago, two Internet friends whom I’ve never met -possibly three in fact as one was anonymous- sent flowers. That meant a great deal, so I won’t summarily dismiss every virtual acquaintance out of hand. However, I would dismiss the lion’s share and Major Styles hits some major points here worth considering. I think it’s something millennials in particular should be wary of.

Edited to add: I forgot to add this video Hearth made me aware of about the decline of religion in the modern West, and why its comeback is a long shot at best. As much as it pains me, I actually agree with this man. I don’t think the Bible’s prophetic trajectory offers a lot of hope for mass genuine revival in the West or anywhere else for that matter. We are to be about reaching souls, not salvaging a culture:

Lastly, but certainly not least by any stretch, is this sermon from Voddie Baucham. In it he reminds us of something powerful about the story of Noah and the Flood and it’s this:

In the flood (an awful display of God’s wrath, quiet as that’s kept), we tend to see ourselves from the perspective of Noah and his family. Bro. Baucham wonders if it occurs to any that plenty -most even!- of the people who drowned in that terrific judgement were not murderers, drunkards, or adulteresses. They were people like you and me, living normal lives and committing “run of the mill” sins.

I love Voddie Baucham’s sermons because they offer me the opportunity to express more gratitude for God’s astonishing grace, and a nice strong vaccination against smug self-righteousness.

Y’all really should really give it a listen.   I can’t think of a better way to set our hearts aright as we prepare for the Sabbath day.

Have a great weekend!

el's rabbit trails, healthy living, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

Regroup. Refocus. Reset .

The past week was rough. There were challenges which shall go unnamed, and then I pulled a muscle in my lower back. Just. like. that. My summer of productivity and balance was thrown off track and replaced with stiffness, searing pain, and sitting. I’m much better now, and my man and the kids were amazing, but almost anything that required physical exertion or mental acuity was nigh impossible..

It is quite astonishing really, how easily I fall into the ease of unprofitable habits and routines when I don’t (or as was the case for me recently, simply can’t) keep up forward progress and focus on a plan.To say I let me down would be an understatement, but time to dust off the ol’ behind and get back to it.

I am looking forward to full throttle on Monday, and a return to what I’d started, which was embarking on shunning the negative and putting lots of energy into creative pursuits. In other words, getting back to what really matters and ignoring the things that don’t. The list of things that were sidelined last week included:

  • Sewing and home decorating
  • Party planning for a celebration at the end of this month
  • Gardening and yard work
  • Writing of the non-Internet variety
  • Lesson plan for at least the first half of the fall semester ( for homeschool and outside teaching obligation)
  • (Very slowly) crocheting a big blanket in time for fall
  • Doing some heavier reading and note taking for the aforementioned writing project

What did get done:

  •  A whole lot of mental clutter.
  • An overload of negative Internet news, chatter, and commentary.
  • Too much sugar and grains with four birthdays -each with cake- over 11 days
  • I did manage to make one of the cakes!
  • Cancelled workouts
  • Cancelled ministry obligations

Nature, it’s said, abhors a vacuum and in the absence of filling myself and my time with good things, the space was filled with useless things. Negative things that vex the soul. Not everything I read and heard was negative and/or useless but the scale was certainly tipped too far in the wrong direction. If I had been up and moving, I probably would not have even noticed most of the bad news I’d heard and was distracted by.

I was conversing with an acquaintance recently and she said, ” Makes me glad my give-a-damn broke…”

I had every reason to believe her. Based on the nature of the conversation we were having, all the evidence speaks to the fact that her “give-a-damn” is indeed, broken.

That has stuck with me for the past few days and I questioned whether mine is as broken as I sometimes tell myself. For the most part, I do pretty well with it, since I’ve had some good examples before me, my father and then my man, who lived their lives unapologetically, took their lumps, and made adjustments as needed without a lot of apparent internal angst.

Alas, I am not a man. I am a woman, and women tend towards caring what others are thinking. About us primarily, but also nearly everything else. The Internet exacerbates this tendency because let’s women love juicy tidbits, ego boosts, and gossip. Even the bits that begin with, “I’m just sharing this so you can pray…”

The best and only way to keep ourselves unspotted, unvexxed, and uninfected by the garbage is to not eat the bread of idleness. The lesson here for me, is that the next time I find myself too overwhelmed with pain or grief or challenges to focus my mind in a productive way, I’d be better off binge watching old episodes of Little House on the Prairie. And yes, I read my Bible and prayed for others. Just not 8-10 hours a day as a more spiritual woman may have done.

But I’m back. I actually got some painting done today. The summer of meeting goals and shattering expectations is back on, and after nearly 10 days of slacker-hood, I think it’s safe to say I’ll not pontificate as much. I will however be engaged in more serious reading and creative miscellany. 

Have y’all heard this song? I think many of you will really appreciate it. Listen. Yeah, it’s pop sounding but the lyrics are on point.

How to pick a guy, Humility is important, real living in a virtual world

Education only prohibits marriage if you overestimate its utility and value.

As of this summer we will be the parents of three college graduate daughters. We are engaged in plenty of the typical graduation rituals and family celebrations that go along with it. A good time will be had by all.

In the case of our oldest who graduated college at the tender age of 20, we already know that specific nature of the degree notwithstanding, it serves as a proxy for all kinds of things from employment to marriage. If what we witness is any indication, this is pretty much the standard operating procedure. Young people who actually finished their degrees, are reasonably articulate, and know how to work the “system” can land decent paying jobs, even outside of their degree fields.

One of the biggest mental hurdles for the millennial woman however, is not falling prey to the cultural memes of “Find yourself!”, “See the world!”, and “Experience life!” We have explained to our daughters that there is never a time-if you’re still breathing-  when you’re not experiencing life.

Thankfully, our daughters see the advantage of saving their money and planning their lives with their as yet nonexistent families in mind. Now. Because life is the sum total of the choices you make today, not something that just happens when and how you desire it.

Why does experiencing life necessarily mean a life free of encumbrance? We were 21 and 23 years old with three children under the age of two. If that wasn’t life, I don’t know what was. Which brings me to the point of this -hopefully short- post.

The shortage of eligible men has left women desperate to preserve their fertility.

Experts said “terrifying” demographic shifts had created a “deficit” of educated men and a growing problem of “leftover” professional women, with female graduates vastly outnumbering males in in many countries.

The study led by Yale University, involved interviews with 150 women undergoing egg freezing at eight clinics.

Researchers found that in more than 90 per cent of cases, the women were attempting to buy extra time because they could not find a partner to settle down with, amid a “dearth of educated men”.

I am college educated. My useless degree is shoved in our filing cabinet somewhere and I probably couldn’t find it if you paid me. My husband is not, but he is well educated in his specific career field and is constantly ensuring that his skill set doesn’t become obsolete.

In reality, he is far more educated than I am and has used what has been an admittedly fortuitous trajectory, considerable talent, and focus into a life that has had him the primary breadwinner for our entire marriage and the sole breadwinner for the last two decades of it.

Suppose when I met him I’d decided that because he wasn’t in college like I was, he wasn’t “worthy” of my time or attention, especially considering his rather edgy way of life at the time. I might have easily been just another statistic like the women in these articles, particularly since I am a black woman. The disparity of educational accomplishment between black men and women is greater than perhaps all other demographics combined.

Last month I had breakfast with a friend who was genuinely shocked when, as we conversed, I noted that my husband didn’t have a college degree. She “never would have thought that”.  Her husband had  met up with mine for the express purpose of picking his brain because he was that impressed and convinced that my husband might be able to provide some insight, even though he is both older and more formally educated than my husband.

It is with this frame of reference in mind that I remind our daughters that they will be making a grave mistake by limiting themselves strictly to suitors who are formally educated, using the acquisition of a college degree as their standard.

There is indeed, even with the stipulations I note, a dearth of marriageable men.

Given that reality, it makes very little sense to dismiss well earning electricians, plumbers, or other such tradesmen out of the sense of snobbery our culture works hard to infuse into women based on the fact that they have a college degree.