Monday, December 18, 2006

Julia Sweeney

On NPR they talk about driveway moments. While I am sure that NPR likely didn’t invent this term, they do have a CD of such moments so that’s where I hear the term. And certainly NPR has provided several driveway moments. One in particular was technically a parking lot moment, since it was Saturday and I was on my way to the grocery store. “This American Life” was on, and they were running the episode with Julia Sweeney’s monologues about her family’s experience with cancer. Since my mother was coming through the last course of radiation this has special poignancy for me. Oh – and it was really funny – in the way that tragically real and really tragic stories are. (You can listen to it yourself here - June 9th.) I arrived at the grocery store at about the halfway point in the show, and sat in my car waiting for what? For it to stop being funny? It didn’t. For a commercial? It’s NPR. For it to end? Was I really going to sit in my car listening to the radio for another thirty minutes. I decided I was not. So, I did go hunt it down and listen to the rest later. It is just such an amazing story and if I watched SNL with any regularity this would make me sadder that Sweeney never really got the chance to be this funny there. (I mean Pat was funny, but really.) So, how did I not know she has a blog? And it’s very interesting (I’m catching up on old entries) as her current focus is figuring out religion and it’s place in her life and her child’s life. Sweeney is a lapsed Catholic. And she is struggling with – to a certain extent what my parents struggled with – how do we give our children that spiritual grounding without making religion a chore* she is also looking at how to find the right balance of stories and spirituality for herself and her child.

*My parents’ solution was to baptize us, but not take us to church. And to encourage us to go to church with grandparents when we or they visited and to send us to Christian schools for parts of our educations. Their idea was to let us make our own choices, even though I suspect they were thinking along the lines of Christian church going or agnostic, not say Muslim or Buddhist.