Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Minneapolis, Snow, and Christmas Eve... in that order

Minneapolis was wonderful. WONDERFUL. See evidence here....

My Auntie Cheryl and Uncle Andy own and Direct a Ballet Company....

They put on the Nutcracker for Christmas every year...

This year I went to help out...

And I met Allen for the second time. (He is a dancer... see below.)

Dancer... see.

No worries, I am cute too. Gorgeous actually.

and I love my cousins...

And my aunt and uncle. I am one happy girl

Snow is horrible. HORRIBLE. I can't get my car out. I can't drive anywhere. It's making for a very disappointing Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve is sad. Why is that? I have a few suggestions: 1. It was so fabulous as a child that grown up Christmas's cannot compare. 2. I am not where I am meant to be. 3. I couldn't go to church and will also miss Midnight Mass.

It seems that every year Christmas Eve gets more and more disappointing. I always think that the next year things will turn around and Christmas will be happy again. But the next year comes and it is only more disappointing. My Nephew, of course, made this Christmas wonderful... but I worry. I worry that the day will never come when I am completely happy on Christmas. I always think that eventually something or someone will be in my life that will change all of this for me. Of course, if you notice what happened in Minneapolis, you'll notice that I should be happy, but happiness is over a thousand miles away. and much to young for me.

Christ is the meaning of Christmas. Today I spoke with a man, an LDS man. I was angered by his treatment of my faith. He so wanted to force me into a doctrine, into one church or another, and then show me how that church was wrong... all the while saying he was not judgemental. However, if he does not believe I will be in Heaven, how is he not judging me. He kept asking me questions and not allowing me to answer them. He would cut me off. Finally I cut him off. I told him I was done with our "discussion" and that I did not appreciate the way he had so lightly disregarded my knowledge, my degree, my religion(s), and my faith. He treated my degree as if it were nothing. Nothing. As though he should know better than me what scripture said merely because he was LDS and I was not. I was horrified. Now I feel ashamed to have been so proud, but still there is that small part of me that wants someone to recognize the hard work I put in. The five years I spent earning that degree in Theology, so that men could respect what I had to say about God.

I have always had great respect for the LDS church and their idea of tolerance. and love... especially within family. That is not gone from this one man, but I have gained a renewed appreciation for how to approach topics of God and Religion. I know I've done what this man did before... turning people away from God with my zeal and my desire to show them how right He is ... how right I am. Back in my days of "righteous zeal", I too would have shamed my Church in the name of Christ. I am saddened at how torn we are. On a day when the masses, of all denominations and faiths are celebrating together, separately but all at the same time... the birth of our Lord and Savior, I am crying- torn and alone- because I cannot see how my desire for ecumenism will ever play out to favor the world, or Christ, or even just me. I pray that some day it will be for some good... and not just pain in my soul and confusion and anger in the hearts of those around me. It must be right somewhere, for someone.... or else I should give it up entirely.

Monday, December 15, 2008

wandering through the hearts icey regions

These last few days have been apart from others in the recent past. This look at Gomer I am doing is beginning to get to me. I remember why my heart so understands her heart.

This has been a time of trying to capture some balance between idyllic faith and informed religion. In this search for peace I have lost such large portions of my soul that I feel I have not been breathing properly for some time.

The pressure to know exactly the answer of how to be a protestant who is catholic who is protestant and still devoutly catholic has weighed, and does weigh, so heavily on my very skin that I am debilitated and cannot move with Jesus. This grieves me.

The pressure to be happily married, or happily dating, or defined somehow by my relationship or lack there of has moved me (or forced me) to a place of acceptance of all that is NOT me. I know I won't give in to love until I meet that perfectly flawed one, but I will date to appear sufficient or stable or normal? until that time comes. That is disgusting and so not who I am.

I have been Gomer. I have seen her in me since I found she had once existed. The ways I have used sin to excuse myself, or to be myself, to free myself. my SELF. my independent need to claim something in me for me alone. This is why I sin on purpose. This is why I run after things I know I don't want. This is why I am Gomer. why she is me. Why we are we.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

left at the interstate and straight on til morning

I miss Redding.

Things I miss:
Big Timing Small Town.
Father Avram's stupid jokes.
Father Michael's fastidiousness.
Father Davis's unexplainable love and reverence.
Newness. every day newness.
Forced Community.
Mark Carter.
Craig Slane...

I think the next time I go, I will drive. Just to have the time to myself. Yes. I've decided. How wonderful is that.

I very much miss having SO many people in my life that can just relate to where I am in life. Not only people my own age, but professors and friends who so understand the intellectual and spiritual tension I am thinking through... without answers, but offering dialogue and a cup of coffee. I even miss just having time for that. To just sit and process together, purposefully. I miss that everything and everyone was 15 minutes away. I miss knowing that I had something important to say.

well... that last sentence was enough reality for me at the moment. (I love how that happens. I am processing along in a normal way, and finally I say that one thing I've been trying to get to the whole time, and the reality of that one thought stops me so quickly, I have to catch my breath and run away.... like right now.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Men of Misunderstanding

Today a married man told me he thought we had a special spark and that I was trouble. Tell me how that happens, when I barely know the man.

Today a gay man stroked my face, told me I was gorgeous, and that he loved catching my eye. That was certainly interesting.

Yesterday, a woman asked me if she could meet my handsome boyfriend. Turns out she was referring to my brother.

Two days ago, I watched "The ideal husband"... a movie taken from the play written by Oscar Wilde, in which every relationship is at one point or another completely misconstrued for something it is not.

Relationships frustrate me over and over again. I feel that when I am most straightforward, those around me misunderstand my intentions. However, when I am shielded, guarded, misunderstanding also occurs, generally from my own lack of communication about where I am comfortable.

Tell me how to be in this world. How is it possible to be comfortable in my skin and with myself, and yet uncomfortable with the confrontation that causes? I would like to understand my options for how a relationship could be before I engage in them. Like shopping: you can choose relationship A, which will be fun for two weeks and then end badly, relationship B, which will be boring for a year before you get comfortable, or relationship C, in which nothing in particular happens but to all outward appearances, you are in love.

I prefer shopping and books to relationships today. Sweet.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Graven Images

My soul is full of graven images:

My brother's face as he carried my bleeding four year old body across the street to the waiting ambulance.

My pastor's face the first time I FINALLY called him dad.

My ex-boyfriend's face the first time I kissed him.

My mother's face over and over seeking to understand that part in me she cannot quite get.

My grandfather's face as he blessed me on the day of my Confirmation.

Mt.Rainier on a sunny day, when I know it will rain the next.

The Simpson Skyline at sunset.

The Portland skyline at night.

The Seattle Skyline in the morning.

Julie. Tim. Wedding.

Jonathan VanSchenck as he rode his bike next to my car the day I moved out, screaming as he went, "I LOVE YOU BECCA!"

I hold fast to these images of love. I have been thinking lately, how very much I need the outward signs of love, in order to aptly remember God. I KNOW HE DIED TO SAVE MY SOUL... but... that's so ordinary some days. It is never ordinary, but there are days when my heart so needs to be tangibly touch, sought, filled that I crave these more ordinary moments of beauty. I don't think this makes me weak or spoiled or sinful. I hope it just makes me human as God created me to be.

There was a time in my life, when I could not find these graven images. I could not find them anywhere, and so I could not remember the love of God. I could not figure if he actually loved me. I thought he must not. Then I taught preschool. Lately I have craved the love I found there. Children are the best place to find ordinary extraordinary love.

Again I find myself in a place that could easily be the unloved place. This time though, I know better. I don't have my preschoolers to fill me up, but I have my graven images. Graven images of Christ's love. They keep me warm, but they must not be enough... the only way for me to continue in community and not let these images be sin is to share them... and continue them. Otherwise they become something religion only inside of me.

I have been reading the autobiography of a man named Dwite Brown. He is the father of the priest from Redding who so inspired me. Today I read this, "...modern people think that religion is an inner experience, but not an outer reality. The effect of this idea is to move God inside each person, and to make God's traditional outer position as King of Creation something old-fashioned or poetic. In the older Christian idea, a person could learn what God wanted, from the Bible or the teaching of the church. But in the modern idea, the only way to know what God wants is to look within oneself, and whatever one finds in there, is only for oneself."

I am so guilty of this. Guilt Guilt Guilt. Outward religion is not just poetry, not just something nice to look at. Not merely a graven image. NO. It is sustenance, breath, love. Oh yes. Not only outward and physical... oh how that haunts protestants... neither though can it be inward only. Balance is key again. Bringing balance is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But Balance is what I want.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mass and Mystery

A few weeks ago a friend wrote a blog that made me cry. The Ideal of Perfection, he titled it. I've been thinking quite a bit about perfection lately. I abhor it and strive for it simultaneously. I don't want it pressed upon me, or expected of me, or least of all, to find it in someone else. And yet, in some ways it fascinates me. Failing perfection is both a crushing and freeing feat.

There is no place perfection is more freeing than in Mass. The Mystery of Christ and the Community of the Saints brings a settled feeling that if perfection were attainable, this would be the only way it would be worthwhile... shared amongst the devoted, obedient, and severely flawed created lovers of He who is beyond, outside of perfection. However, I can say this: Commitment to obedience is SO much easier in the Catholic church. It is almost not even a thought, it is so simple. It is built in to the structure of the Catholic Life, and therefore, it is not a freedom or a choice. If you choose Catholic you choose a life bound to the pursuit of perfection... always knowing you will fail. The Protestant church does not include built in obedience, but built in Rebellion. They cry again and again "Not your way but MINE!" Each generation protesting something in the generation previous so that they will never cease to be protestants. So that Obedience must consistently be a choice, a daily battle, a constant struggle, an uphill climb battling elements which will most certainly steal your soul, so that when you finally reach the perfected moment of Mountain Top Spirituality, you see clearly that this is not what Christ meant by "Be holy as I am Holy."

Timothy's blog brought back to me some part I've lost. LEX ORANDI, LEX CREDENDI: branded into my skin, forever borne on my arm for all the world to know that I commit to this: As we pray, so we believe. I know that Catholicism and Protestantism will never be one church. I know there will always be some resentment, hesitancy, and ill-will between them. I know that neither is perfect and so neither can my commitment be perfect. But no where does this impossibility give me the freedom, the right, to say, "Well I can't be perfect. I can't be obedient to both churches, so I will throw up my arms and run with wild abandon into sin." Not that this is my mentality. More often, I feel more at home in myself consciously choosing sin. Since I cannot be perfect, and because I hate the disappointment of failure, I will choose failure, and that way, I cannot be disappointed... only fractured and depressed.

Today, I am reminded that this is a New Year. Advent has begun. Lent is on it's way, and freedom is not found in perfection, commitment, or obedience, but in my broken and fractured acceptance that I am because He was, is, and will be. Again and Again. I choose Catholic and Protestant, because I choose Christ, Man and God. Obedience and Rebellion. Homousios. Of the same substance. Two sides of the same coin. Separately unattainable. Together truth.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


So today I was thinking... maybe I do so many things because I am looking all over the place to find what it is I am looking for. Then I have to ask, what am I looking for?

That extra something. It used to be here. now it is not. It has no name, no place, no description. its that something. that thing in your stomach that burns when something is so right and so complete, it hurts. its that something that immense love, exact happiness, extreme pain, and intense fear all have in common. I think the word is passion... but I'm not sure... maybe its hope.

Today Auntie Jeanette told me to set boundaries. Even Auntie Jeanette. I just want to know... someone tell me... when I set those boundaries, who is going to take care of the things I stop taking care of? Are you going to do it? Of course not.

So if its passion? How do I find it? So if its hope? shouldn't I have that? Don't I? I am really hopeless and without passion? Do I honestly believe that I won't go to grad school and feel that again? That I won't fall in love with SOMEthing or SOMEone... anything, anyone? No. I must not believe that... because Rebecca Anne doesn't believe such things. Rebecca Anne is full of passion for life and hope is her gosh darn forte.

So it's all good.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Finding time

So I have a problem: People in my life are beginning to notice that I am over committed and are trying to actually do something about it FOR me.

My counselor: Is actually making make time for myself... and for dates. I am paying her to do this, yes, but what a pain to have to be accountable to someone about how I spend my time.
Coworker Laura: Wrote me an email telling me she was giving me four hours of time next week to run errands for me or something else so that I could have time for myself.
Coworker Jacob: Won't let me work extra shifts because he somehow has decided that I work too much.
Coworker Chadd: Saves my life every day.

I make time for me... examples:
I did laundry this week: This is an absolute HUGE accomplishment... because I did it all myself, not at my mother's house, AND I even folded it and put it away. Everyone should be impressed.
I grocery shopped: Admittedly I did this online and had them delivered to my home because I did not have the time to go to the store, BUT! I did it... something I have not done since sometime during the summer.
Last weekend I bought a sofa: Two solid hours of time for me! woot. AND I am the only person who will benefit from said sofa.
Tomorrow I will have beer with JDBman: See time with a friend even. Man I am getting good at this.

I am working diligently to reorder my life. Work is extremely important to me. I want to find a way to do it extremely well, and live up to my expectations of myself at work, without being there over 50 hours per week. 50 hours is my new limit. Let's see if I can do it. This means I have to time track.

Family is also extremely important to me, but I want to be sure I am spending good time with them. I think I can do this by being more intentional about how I spend time with them. Actually I have no idea how to make my family time better... but I am trying to figure this out. I love them and we are all extremely close, but how do I actually intentionally make this more.

Church is way up there too... but I go to two churches, and one is far away. Right now I am committed to being at them each at least twice per month, but I want to do more. Suggestions about how to make that work are very welcome because I can't figure out a better way without wearing out myself or my relationship with Jesus. Too much church has a tendency to turn me off to God. What the heck does that mean?

Friends... like Julie... how I would like to spend more time with them. Scheduling and distance are difficult though. But if this is going to be on my list, I again must be proactive about finding a way.

Lastly, I think it might be important for me to date, but again I'm not sure how to make this work. My job naturally introduces me to new men once every six weeks or so. However, I don't know how I want all of this to work. I don't like online, I don't like random, I don't like making people think I'm boy crazy, and mostly I don't like disappointing people or allowing them to think that I am not pursuing this correctly. Why is it that there is this double standard that Christian women my age should be married, but should not pursue this on their own and instead wait on God. Or is that just my projection? Answer anyone?

Lastly again, just me. I take time for me every morning. A whole hour or two, depending on my need for sleep. However, I occasionally need time to just hang out with me. So how are we going to fit that in?

Living life well takes a lot of work. Creating processes for making my life ordered is hardcore. But I'm working on a schedule. On normalcy. On consistency. On Beauty.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

mein schonheit ist mein schmerzen

No worries, this one will not contain all of that scandalous material of the other (for my one scandalous reader, do not fear, I will continue it there but create dialogue here). I found that I wanted to collaborate in my other blog, but only scared others so badly they would not touch me with a ten foot pole, let alone dialogue with me. In conjunction with that, I find I have absolutely GOT to find a way to dialogue with people in real life if I want my dialogue to occur via blog... or at all.

I've decided I need a place to write about the normal things, because if I'm talking about normal things maybe, just maybe I will engage in the normal things... and maybe someday normal will become beautiful, and I can stop needing my pain to be my beauty.