Monday, March 30, 2009

Portrait of a Community

Once upon a time there lived a young lady who felt entirely misunderstood. She did not know how to properly express her desires, so she wrote about them in a public fashion, hoping that somewhere someone would notice. Indeed while this was true, she also just needed to express, and having neither time nor energy to find someone to listen, she wrote, thinking those who had time would find her.

All the while, this poor young lass was afraid she was being overly dramatic, overly open, overly frightening. She had been burned in her recent past by being too much for people, too vulnerable, and she was attempting not to do that again. Unfortunately our young heroine did not know how to be genuine without scarring her more fragile friends, or boring those who had been around long enough to hear it all before. The girl was running out of ideas about how to live. She wanted to handle the situations gracefully, but was no longer certain if this was possible, or if she was accomplishing this. She did not want to believe that to be graceful she should keep it all to herself, for surely this way would only bring death. But she needed guidance, a precedent, something to follow. She knew how she needed to be cared for, but she didn’t know how to tell anyone, how to tell someone who could do something about it.

So the girl decided to plan a holiday to get away and rethink how she was interacting with her world, with herself, and with her God. She was happy, thrilled even, at the prospect, but also worried that something new would happen and prevent her from actually going. She was also afraid to be so far from people she knew, but she was determined to be strong and find what she needed to find in herself. She was determined to come home a better person. She was determined to find a way to live the drama gracefully, casually, and without need of help… To be continued.

This weekend was enlightening. I spent the majority of it with my father; caring for all of the things he could not take care of himself, in his transient state. It was good, mostly. This weekend’s “bad” did not stem from him or the other sources of my consistent drama, but rather from those who should be my solace.

Some things I know:
As much as I require it for daily life, hope is very painful.
I do not know how to turn away a crying friend, even when I have no capacity to feel their tears.
I am easily angered when I seek support and community actively, and am offered money and babysitting opportunities instead.
When I pursue community and am rejected (especially when I am already unsteady in myself) I resolve within myself to never join said community again. It never works out that way (I forgive so easily) but while the feeling of rejection persists, I recoil.
Never wait for community to find you. Chances are it won't happen. Find Community and grab hold of it and do not let go. For without community, I assure you, you are nothing.
I had a thought this weekend during the musical portion of the church service I attended with my father. But it requires context:

The day that I decided to break up with Andrew was the day I was “worshipping” next to him in Chapel at Simpson. I saw the black veins of doubt, depression, and hopelessness… of death, entwining into my soul and choking my very life. It frightened me so badly, that I knew that on top of everything else, I could not do this.

This weekend, standing next to my father, I saw something similar but so vastly different that it startled me. I saw myself, a pillar planted well into the ground. I variably picked up pieces of death in the shape of my father, my uncle, and pieces of my life, and strapped them to my body. Even while I felt them sliding off of my body, to be devoured by the ground, I kept them strapped to me, me to them.

The astounding difference is this: while I am connected to this death in a very human and very painful way, it is not choking off my life. Yes I am tired, yes I am angry, and yes by all means I want to be done, but I know this time that even if I continue my relationship with this death, I will not die from it. I did not have that same confidence with Andrew. I don’t know if that is because my relationship with Andrew was more to me, or a different kind of relationship, or if it is because I have changed in some way, have finally become enough to hold death to my chest, without allowing it to choke me.

Regardless, I am tired of going to church and only crying. Walking away not touched and filled and resourced by the people there, by the community I should have with them, but rather by truth I am consistently find in Christ is more depressing than one might expect. I do have to admit though, that I am not finding those truths on my own, and so even if the community is pissing me off, Christ remains. While this in itself is a beauty so horrifying I am shuttered by it, I am angry that He is not giving me the simple thing I want. Community, Companionship, Understanding. He is not giving me help. He is only giving me Himself. I hate that that is enough, and yet so very not at the same time. Enough to survive. Enough that I know He is God in a hugely mysterious way. Not enough to feel loved by anyone other than Him.

So with this quote from a Knight’s Tale, I sign off: “God love you William, for no one else will.”

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meet me in St. Louis, Louis!

I love Louis L'amour. I am seriously in love with him. I am going shopping now at the used bookstore on the corner to buy me some Louis, Louis. I am stocking up for my ocean trip because I know I will need me some Louis, Louis. I adore the shoot 'em up, hang 'em high, Louis, Louis!

I just had to get that out.

Now that I know I am going to the ocean my heart is beating madly every time I think of it. I didn't realize just how badly I needed to be away, until a concrete plan had formed in my head and become the real deal. Now that I know I am going, I know I would not have lasted much longer without this hopefest in sight.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Salvaging my Sanctity

I decided, just today, that I have GOT to get out of this place. I am going to kill myself by overdoing if I don't. So I'm leaving.

On April 3rd, I will rise early, pack my car and drive off into the big grey unknown for an already reserved weekend trip to the ocean. That is only a little over a week away until I get to have two nights and almost three days all to my lonesome so my heart can breathe, my soul can weep in peace, and my ears can finally relax a little. While they do all of that, my eyes will take in the majesty of the waves, my mind will fill up on its secret obsession (Louis L'amour!!!... reading Hondo right now and loving it.), and my fingers will write and write and write. Oh how I can't wait to be away.

I have to tell you that every time I go to the ocean there is a ritual that I diligently keep. As soon as I am out of the car, I race to the beach, and greet those great crashing monsters that beat against the shore. As I spread my arms and speed my feet, I can hear them calling, WELCOME HOME DARLING! and my heart always overflows with joy and my eyes with all of the tears I haven't been able to shed. My toes hit the icy waters, my lungs fill as I gasp in pain, and my heart tears anew at the rightness of our union. Every. Single. Time.

I can remember this even as a child. In fact, my only broken bone, ever, was a toe I broke running in the sand in my rush to greet the waves when I was 11 or 12. It's amazing to me how even now, after 20 years of doing this, I still feel the same way. Like there is some unknown old man living out there, whose fingers are the waves, and whose soul is the ice cold water. He creeps up to hold me and take me to him. I cannot go, but must meet him where I stand. We hold hands and understand each other even as we live in such different worlds. It is utter perfection. Even just the thought of seeing him again, brings a sigh of utter peace and contentment. Totally worth the $70 charge to my credit card (got to love winter rates!!!)

So huzpas. I'm going away.

PS. I got new tires on my car and I am getting my brakes done next week. And my hair done tomorrow.


Monday, March 23, 2009

A very lost cause.

Everyone seems to know now that my life has not been going well. Help has been offered from various corners. Words have been said. Prayers prayed. I thought all of this would suddenly change my world. I really believed if I put it out there God would come through and solve this wretched mess. I am beginning to severely doubt my ability to predict God.

A heard a sermon yesterday that gave me the kind of hope I have been searching for. It was not the kind that said, "Just believe and everything will be happy again." It was not the kind that said, "Sunshine and butterflies will come to you tomorrow." And most of all it was not the kind that said, "Because you are surviving this, God is going to use you for some great work. He is preparing you for greatness." It said this, "Sometimes courage is the ability to continue on through the Valley of Despair, and that is all." And I realized, that no matter how much this hurts, and no matter how badly I don't want to do it anymore, and no matter how terrified and angry I am, I will continue on through the Valley of Despair, and there is nothing that will stop me. That is the best hope.

I am courageous. I don't have to be okay to be courageous. Being courageous is not going to make this situation easier, or better, or solve it. But that doesn't change the fact that I am courageous. And right now that's going to have to be enough.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just so you all know.

Today has been a very good day. No new crises. No new panic attacks. Instead! there is new success at work, sunshiney moments, lunch with my dear soulful brother Ben, talks with the Professor, and a general feeling that (as long as nothing new happens) I can bear this.

So I'm going shopping for Baby Shower decorations because I'm going to have a new niece soon and this weekend we're going to give that unborn beauty lots of presents.

And TOMORROW. I will go be with Jenn and Brian. They are peace in this rough windstorm. I am excited to revel in them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

If your worried and you can't sleep...

Count your blessings instead of sheep:
1. Brothers.
2. I have a Job. and I am good at it.
3. I have a house with a bed and it's warm
4. I can pay my bills
5. I am nearing debt free
6. There is a light at the end of this long tunnel and it's called Grad School.
7. Crisis has made me realize, that marriage is SO not the answer. And that marriage is SO about peace and SO not about completion.
8. Crisis is forcing me to visibly recognize what's in me. The Good, the bad, the ugly... the living and the dead.
9. Jenni Lawler, who is g-chatting with me right now. She knocks my socks off.
10. Love. There are people in this world who desperately love me. There are people in this world whom I desperately love. Despite the pain this is causing, it is desperately amazing that that kind of love can even exist.

See. Now I am tired. and going to bed. One last blessing.

11. jesus. I have this constant burning of fear, responsibility, trepidation, loss, love, feeling, passion, etc. in me right now. It's tearing me up and I wonder just how much more it was for him. this burning in me, he shares, and I feel closer to him knowing that the ability to walk and breathe with this burning in me is evidence of my ability to live and my deeply placed need to love, in spite of all odds.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The old one-two

Life seems determined to knock me down. Crisis after crisis, bad news after bad news, more and more responsibility.

Today I found out my father has hepatitis C, the very disease which is currently killing my dear uncle. Treatment for my very sick father is going to be difficult, as he has no medical coverage... no roof to call his own... no roof to call someone else's for that matter.

When I heard this I wanted to scream at the sky, "REALLY!!! come on, I mean REALLY??!!!" And so Jesus, what is it that you want from me?
I do blame every last bit of this on you. I know that it may stem from elsewhere, but you are greater than elsewhere, and so I blame you.
This does not mean that I don't love and trust you. It does mean that I want to know what you are planning to accomplish with all of this. Just tell me, please, that it has purpose, a good purpose, and that you're not just doing this because you feel like it.

I feel that I have been knocked around, and given no time between beatings for my bruises to heal... indeed increasing less time to even get back up on my feet between blows. Example: Sunday's proposal knocked the air out of me, and I only just tried to begin breathing again today... and with the mornings first breaths came the news of my father. I do not, DO NOT understand. At all.

Quite literally I have given up on holding myself together. Now I am just sitting and waiting for the ultimate explosion from the middle of my chest.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
-WB Yeats

Hope find me, heaven help me, Jesus let me... I am not the victim here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So South County.

I know it doesn't seem that I have a "home" or maybe that home should be the house I live in, but "home" is where I find myself among the men who raised me, at home in the SOUTH COUNTY.

I have done horrible things in my life, and most them to wonderful men. This weekend certainly had that potential, but didn't come up that way. I was worried, but all is well. Still my heart hurts a little, or is at least disconcerted, to know that I am loved by a man, whose love I do not and cannot return. The hardest part is that I wish I could return that love (or that I would? I'm not sure) but I know that no matter the changes in either his life or my own, there will be nothing more than the friendship currently between us. I must clarify: I do not, nor have I ever, been romantically interested in this man, but if his life had been different, or mine for that matter, I can see that I would/could have been. That doesn't mean that I don't hurt for his hurt. That I am not saddened at the could haves, the what ifs. That I do not recognize that I once again am moving away from the institution (the end goal) that I seek, in favor of holding on to myself and the dreams that often seem to big for me. The conversation of where we stand, together and apart, was the best I have ever done at a "DTR" (Define the Relationship). For that I am both proud and humbled. (oxymoron, I know.)

I began at the end of the weekend... so allow me to back up to the beginning...

This weekend also held much of what my heart has needed lately. I spent the entirety of the weekend at my Grandparents' house, helping my brother to ready the basement apartment for his family's imminent move in date. It was hard work; I am still sore. It was fabulous, though. I was expected to and did carry my own weight, but was simultaneously cared for in all the ways that I had been longing for. Peter re-planned which projects he would do when, so that I would remain occupied and entertained. When something was too heavy or too high, there were always arms available handle the situation. When I was tired, we stopped for a break. Oh how I had needed that. Even though the problems that are plaguing my life remain, and even though the things I need taken care of still linger, this weekend, I was cared for. And for that, it was the best vacation I've had in many months. And for that, I am more certain that I could possibly care for my problems myself.

I love that I worked hard and was productive this weekend. I love that, even as heavy as my heart is about it, I know that I am deeply and seriously loved. I love that I am full of my brother's smiles and jokes (as crass and fabulous as they are). I love that the sounds of the weekend were belches, and farts, and country music, and classic rock, and too much talk about raunchy sex. I love that I woke up on Sunday morning to the giggles of my precious nephew. I love that this weekend I went home.

I do not love that when I saw the Seattle skyline, my heart did not jump with relief as it usually does, but sagged with tears because I feel so alone out here. Where did the adventure of the city go? And why do I think moving to a new city will make that go away?

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Old Rugged Cross

Getting my life in order is a constant battle for me. This weekend I took time out to figure this one out. Sometimes (today) it seems funny how difficult it can be to just live. Not to survive, not to excel, not to journey, not to strive... to just live.

Listening to the Old Rugged Cross over and over just now, and am dwelling in the comfort of memory, of stability, of home. I very much want to remember how it is to dwell in the effervescent joy that has always been the love of everything within the bounds of my Saviour. Lately I have been very turned off by the need I feel for some sort "quiet time" with Jesus. I am coming out, though, of my disgust/fear with what I have seen in the Evangelical Church. Time is healing these old wounds and fears in my heart... at least enough for me to embrace my heart's own needs... even if not yet quite enough to fully embrace the church as I once did. I do miss my space in community, but I can see that I am still too distanced to return to a full capacity. I am hopeful that someday soon this Catholic will remember how to be Protestant. Because this Protestant loves that Catholic and knows that we need each other. Desperately.

Going to the gym tonight, and then home for some "QT" as my boss call quiet time, with myself and Jesus. I am hoping my roommates won't be too noisy.

Let's hope for some success at normalcy. I am setting aside the drama, and resting for a few moments... I am determined to let resting not be hard work.

P.S. yesterday I did my taxes AND bought pillows for my bed, because my old pillows were very very very dead... (and older than any of my other bedding!) Go me.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sunshiney Morning.

Saturday morning. Heavenly Blessing.

List of to do's for today:
Laundry! (at mom's house so I don't have to fight for the washer with my roommates)
Hanging out with the Neph. Good times.
Clean room? We'll see after I get back from doing Laundry, how much time there is before I go to bed.
Weigh the decision of paying off credit cards or going to London...

List of things I don't have to do today (slightly more impressive):
Go to work. (first day off in over two weeks).
Go to the hospital. 1. because Ian is back at the nursing home, and 2. because he seems to be doing quite well actually.
Worry about money. Because I bonused at work, even though they told me I wouldn't.

Overall a very normal day, which is more exciting than it should be. and yet somehow very frightening. I feel like there is still so much going on... so much drama to fix, that taking a day to be normal is not a good idea... but I'm doing it anyway, because everyone else is, so it must be okay.

We'll see if my trepidation was there for good reason or not. Time will always tell.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009