Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Autumanl Breakin' Day 4: Sleep Deprived Edition

Fully intending to get to bed at midnight, I ended up staying awake until 3:00 am discussing life, God, the universe and everything with a friend. It was an incredible conversation, and I learned so much. But I got approximately four hours of sleep. This resulted in three things:

Firstly, everything was really, really funny. Our Capitol tour guide who was in love with Henry Clay was really funny. Every group inside joke was really funny. The hunky, rugged, mountain man of a congressional/legislative intern was really funny. The head of a moose named Oscar that was living on the wall of Senator Ayotte’s office was down right hilarious.

Secondly, those high heels I was wearing were a struggle. Oh they were a struggle. I wore those high heels the day before, and I was fine. But today. Today they were a struggle bus to Pain-ville. Our talkative tour guide was discussing the details of a faux-frieze painting, and all I wanted was to sit down.

Thirdly, I was falling asleep during an incredible talk by a USCCB representative. It was awful. We were all nodding off at different intervals-we tag-teamed asking questions, and pretending to pay attention. I pulled the “I’m looking at this pamphlet and really intensely studying it while letting my head rest on my hand.” My notes from that session are a bunch of random scribbles. I can make out “justification,” “pro-life movement,” “support,” and “exception.” Well done. We all thanked him profusely as we left, because we felt awful for not actually paying attention to his talk.

Fourthly, I was falling asleep at the dinner party we went to that night. I also felt awful, because it was a delightful party in an adorable dream apartment, with a ton of cool Notre Dame alums. It was a little slice of real life, and I loved it. But, it was 10pm and I was tired. My body had suffered through loquacious tour guides and painful high heels and very cold marble halls of justice. It was beddy-bye time for me.

One of the most productive activities of the day, which we did while waiting in the reception room of Senator Ayotte’s office suite was identifying what animal each member of our group was. It was quite enlightening. You can always tell so much about a person’s character by what animal they would be. Our group consists of a meerkat, owl, koala, dolphin, lemur, bunny, mama cow, fawn, foal, skunk, and lamb. Our leaders were a little more difficult to pin down. One of them is definitely a gecko. And then, walking up capital hill, we finally realized that the other is a lioness. They embrace their respective animals whole-heartedly. And we love them all the more for it.

I think the quote of the day is Chesterton’s: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” I think that encapsulates my attitudes now. I think so many people are afraid to seek the Truth because it’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s a dangerous thing, staking your life on a Truth. We often fail to live our lives the way we ought to. But just because we’re going to fail at living out the Truth, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there is a definite, objective Truth that we should strive for, even when its practical application is difficult.

As Richard Doehflinger of the USCCB said, there’s an over-arching teaching of the church, which is that all life is sacred, and that we should never deliberately harm innocent human life. And when we know that to be true, then we can approach difficult ethical situations with discernment and using our judgment. It’s a mature way to approach situations.

Highlight of the day: seeing the Senate in session. It was so surreal to see the government at work. It was incredible to walk through those winding halls back to the congress galleries, file in, and watch the politicians make some government happen. All the ceremony and ritual that surrounded it were so inspiring. I absolutely loved it. And of course, we were discussing our favorite Disney Princesses the entire time.

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