Last time we left Serena, Carl and twins with awful names throwing shade at the infertile, trying to explain homeschooling and moving into the Luxury Hotel. Today we resume with chapter 17.
Serena is scrubbing hotel bathrooms while quizzing the twins on spelling words. This teaching while doing something else seems to be a recurring theme in the book, and I’m not sure it is a good way to teach. It seems sort of thoughtless and half hearted from here. The manager shows up to tell her that someone has anonymously left her bags and bags worth of groceries at the front desk.
We’re starting to see a pattern here. Every time the family is at a low point someone up and mysteriously gives them something. Blathering over how to bring them up, several pages worth, and then Serena and girls are surrounded by bags and boxes and start praising God.
I must say that the pace of this book is very odd. Pages galore wasted on things like bringing up bags with the exploding house glossed over in a few neat paragraphs.
What’s in all those bags and boxes? Paper plates and convenience foods like canned meals, instant oatmeals and soups, spray cheese, crackers and cookies. In other words the delicious bad for you stuff that should only really be eaten once in a while, not lived on for months.
But that’s not all, there are clothing, jewelry and dolls for the girls. The sender writes this along with words about them being angels carrying the Holy Spirit:
“We know that takes sticking by the stuff…performing menial jobs day by day.”
This attitude of menial tasks versus not menial tasks is so elitist and wrong! Work is honorable no matter how humble or what the task. Not everyone will be working in an ivory tower with their name on the door. There will still need to be people who mow the grass, clean the floor and flip the burgers. One job is not more worthy than another. All need doing. All work is good work.
This in a religion where Jesus says that those who serve will be blessed. The least will be the first. It boggles the mind.
Carl tells Serena that the manager later asked him if they were worried about the -elle twins and socialization.
“I told him the analogy of a greenhouse. Young plants are like our impressionable children. They need time to be sheltered within the home where they learn independent thinking rather than undesirable, oftentimes destruction peer dependency.”
In reality this is more like what farmers do to veal to make it tender, keep it sealed in a tiny crate with no outside stressors. At some point your children will need to know that there are people out there in the world without the same viewpoints, and will need to know how to get along. Their lack of socialization harms those kids, inhibits them for years.
“Ultimately they accept our Biblical values over indoctrination in secular humanism.”
Not necessarily if you read through the statistics on the nones and dones with church. Homeschooling and isolating your children is no safeguard to keeping your adult children in the church.
This follows lots of talk about homeschooling and the manager complaining about his kids whining and being lazy.
Serena had a faraway look as she answered, “Home schooling is a way of life that’s indomitable and filled with pioneer spirit.”
Suzanne their old friend from Ohio calls and not only wants Serena to play the organ at her wedding to creepy Jim, but they want the -elles to be flower girls and Carl to be a grooms man. They offer to pay for the dresses the girls and Serena will need. How very convenient!
Serena tries to be happy for Suzanne but she’s inwardly whining after hearing that Suzanne’s parents are giving them land and they are putting a modular home on the land.
“She tried to rejoice for Suzanne, but she had a difficult time casting down her covetous thoughts.”
Here’s the thing. Maybe I am the oddball, but I can honestly say I have never been so openly envious or envious at all of friends and family that end up with fortunate circumstances. My brother in law is wealthy with multiple houses and I have never inwardly whined about it. I’m so pleased for him, but I don’t want what he has, so I don’t get where all this complaining is coming from. Be happy where you are with who you are.
Chapter 18 involves Serena’s new church friend Alice shows up at the Luxury Hotel to chitchat and invite Serena to go shopping for fancy dresses. Alice tries to buy Joelle and Brookelle’s modest flower girl dresses, but Serena refuses, besides Suzanne is paying for them.
And suddenly the entire clan is in Ohio for the creepy Jim and Suzanne wedding. There is a wedding rehearsal followed by a rehearsal snack and dessert buffet. Huh? I thought that a formal dinner followed rehearsals traditionally. I guess I’m old now.
Serena has a contraction after the rehearsal, but decides to sit down and drink water to make it go away. Heh.
Skipping a long stupid story here but the upshot is that Serena wakes up in the early stages of labor and… are you ready for it… IGNORES it! The baby is born right after the wedding in an ambulance, little Joseph Allegro.
The Huffs show up at the hospital, Claire, Blaire, Emili and Mr. Huff along with deaf and now blind gardener Dan. Emili blurts out that she was convicted by Serena’s relationship with Claire/Blaire and just knew she had to quit her job and raise her own children. Emili throws a lot of shade at Serena’s old friend Bethany while talking about her road to Damascus experience. The whole family is now a homeschooling God fearing Christian family just like that.
Serena takes time out of this tale to talk about her severely modest pajamas, robe and slippers.
They drive home and discover their former landlord Dr. Noyes is trying to reach them. He wants to sell them the house, and self finance it for them. They decide to do it, plotting on how they will afford it.
Serena goes off on a ramble on how she would, could never buy used upholstered furniture because everyone knows how dirty they are.
Pages and pages of descriptions of the cottage type home followed by Jerusha calling up Serena to say that Bethany is divorcing her husband. Jerusha needs a job and a place to live. Get this, she would expect zero pay and pay Serena and Carl for her room with a cot.
Laughing so hard right now! Everything that Serena gets that she thinks is from God in this entire stupid book is just not even slightly based in reality. They move in with the help of all their friends, even their Ohio ones, and poor blind and deaf Dan gives them all his furniture.
Carl praises Serena, Suzanne praises Serena. Serena states how she’s learned serenity from all the bad crap she’s endured and this stupid book is OVER! Thank you Jesus! Now I can return to reading Charles Dickens “Hard Times” for a more realistic view of poverty.
Look, I am not saying that there cannot be the miraculous, or blessings, but it seems so childish the way Serena expects it to always happen, and when it starts happening. Worrying about circumstances is pretty normal, envy might even be for all I know, but no one is benefits from the whining sit on your butt and expect to reap blessings theology in this book.
There are times when you actively must take a hold of your life and actually do something. Yes, Serena worked, but in low paying low skilled jobs when she likely could have done something more, or taken advantage of government programs and/or educational opportunities to earn more. Her passivity in this piece is disturbing. Even if she had no other options but those jobs there’s so much more she could have done.
Please do not be passive like this. It does not help you and it sure does not glorify God!
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