Sunday, November 29, 2009

Blessed Sacrament - Assignment #1

Well, that was an interesting service. I went to the 5:45 Service at Blessed Sacrament tonight. I walked in and the first thing a very nice greeter walked up to me and asked if I would be willing to pass out bulletins after the service. I explained that I was not a regularly attending congregant, but she didn't seem to feel that that mattered. I told her I would do it but found it very odd. The liturgy was a little different that I was used to, and I was a little more than surprised at being asked to offer service upon my first entrance to the building, but I felt welcomed and happy to be there. The building is beautiful and the music was lovely, the homily was more evangelical than I expected, but still good. I am interested in going to other services, but the Dominican approach was new to me and not one I am entirely ruling out.

To Advent, to finding home, and to stepping out.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Advent Challenge

Yes this is my third post in two days. Unusual (and inconsequential to the masses that don't read this blog) but for the sake of my own chronology, I am documenting this new challenge.

My advent challenge for myself is to visit and document a different Catholic parish for every Sunday of advent in an attempt to find my new home parish and become a functioning member of a Catholic community. Here is my list of parishes to possibly visit:

1. Blessed Sacrament (2 blocks from my apt. and my first assignment) - Dominican, U-district
2. St. Joe's (Capitol hill and 2nd assignment) - Jesuit, Capitol Hill
3. St. Bridget (a few miles from my apt. unsure about when or if I will visit)
4. St. Ignatius (Chapel at Seattle U) Jesuit, Capitol Hill
5. St. James (First Hill) The big one

There are 38 parishes in Seattle. I have picked 5 to start. Only 5. But there are 4 Sundays before Christmas, and I don't want to visit more than one parish per Sunday, with the exception of 1 Sunday. Mostly because I don't want to overdo it. I also know that I will have to visit more than one service to really find out which parish I want to attend. I am a fan of Sunday morning worship, but I know that I may find myself more at home at a Sunday evening service. So I will see what I see and report back.

I am also struggling with my attendance at ABC. I have to be honest. I love the people at that church so much it hurts to contemplate leaving, but I have been to church once in the last 2 months because the drive is such a chore. 2 hours round trip for 2 hours with people I love but never see because they live so far away that I can't invest in their lives and they cannot invest in mine. But I don't know if I know how to leave that community. I mean to whom will I turn when life really gets rough? They know me so well that I don't have to explain the background of stories every time something happens with my family. They are there, always. How do I turn away from that because of something as small as distance? I have struggled with this question since I left Covington. I also struggle because I don't fit there. And let me tell you, that is the worst excuse to leave a church, but I don't. I feel, more often than not, that I present more of a (and excuse the use of this very christian term) "stumbling block" than the growth agent I want to be. I feel guilty (yes guilt, that dirty word, but it is my feeling and I honestly believe that it is okay and right to sometimes feel it) for even thinking about leaving, and every Sunday I don't go to church I feel I must justify myself, because (and this may be ridiculous but bear with me) I can't rationalize not fully participating in a community that has so invested in me. And I believe so firmly that this community needs people like me, my age, my relationship status, my belief system. I think that this church is going to slowly die, slowly become more and more middle aged and elderly (as it already is) if it does not and cannot accept and challenge my generation. Jenn and Brian are there, they stay, but everyone else left, for reasons not so dissimilar from my own. And that again makes me feel all the more that I must be the one to stay. I love the people, but it is guilt and obligation that makes me attend, when I do attend. And so yes, I am a horrible person.

So give me advice. Someone. Anyone.

To challenges, and advent, and catholicism, and Catholicism.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


It is time to begin thinking about what music will decorate my holiday air.

My favorites (in some particular order... though that particular order is unknown to me. Maybe you can figure it out)
1. Good King Wenceslas ("Therefore Christian men be sure, wealth and rank possessing, ye who will now bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.")
2. I heard the bells on Christmas day ("I heard the bells more loud and deep. God is not dead nor doth he sleep. The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, goodwill to men.")
3. O Holy Night ("Led by the light of faith serenely beaming... in all our trials born to be our friend. He knows our need. To our weakness is no stranger...")
4. Stille Nacht (its in German. get over it)
5. We three kings ("Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume, Breathes a life of gathering gloom; Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone cold tomb")
6. God rest ye merry gentlemen ("Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place, And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace; This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.")
7. Joy to the World (because it makes Jonathan Morris so happy)

And you?

Our X-tian nation...

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I have decided to pause and ponder what I am thankful for. Here it is:

I am thankful for the separation of church and state.

As the government continues to debate healthcare reform, especially as it concerns abortion initiatives, the Church has stepped in to voice its opinion and make certain demands. Or in the case of the Catholic Church, in DC they are threatening to withdraw social aid from the city should legislation on samesex marriage pass. Here in Washington, the debate ranges over samesex marriage as well. For example, if samesex marriage passes here, clergy will not be allowed to decline marrying a couple based on their sexuality.

I love the separation of church and state. I am willing to fight forcefully to protect my church from my state, and to protect my state from my church. I do not believe that my state should be allowed to dictate what my church can or cannot do (within reason of course. If my church began to practice child sacrifice, then maybe my state should step in). Neither do I think my church should be able to dictate what my state can and cannot do.

Here's how I stand: The state and the church need each other. The church should always be in service to the people, and the people belong to the state. I believe we of the church should continue to offer our advice on morality, but without contingencies. We should not say, "Do this or we will do that". In the same way, the state should consider our advice, as citizens of this country, and not as advocates of religions. Neither should the state be able to force the church to participate in certain legislation. Unless the church is actually causing harm, there should be no state interference in the practices of the church.

This means that I do not think people should be able to sue the church if the church says you cannot accept Eucharist as a divorced person, or as a homosexual (although church you should allow divorcees and homosexuals at your table). This also means that I think people should back off things like the ten commandments on the capitol building, or In God We Trust on our money, and all the other petty crap we pick fights about. At some point we must set aside all of our issues with each other and remember that we are all Americans. We are not all religious. But some of us are, and that is our prerogative. So let the senate open in prayer if they want to, because its our prerogative. If your church doesn't like you because you are gay, then ditch them and worship with people who love you.

Last thing: I love my church and my Church. I disagree with some things, but I submit because I am one little me and the Church has been the Church much longer than I have been me. And the Church is much more than I will ever be because the Church is us. So although I think that priests should be allowed to marry (I've thought about this more and I've decided that priest who only want to serve on a local level should be allowed to marry, but if you want to move up in the hierarchy of the church you must remain celibate), that my father should be allowed to receive Eucharist (he's divorced...), or in the case of the evangelical church that dispensationalism is crap, and that inerrancy is stupid, and confession is still necessary, I choose to follow the orders of the churches to which I subscribe because community is more important than agreeing with everything the church says.

And! I love my state and my State. I disagree with some things, but I submit because I am one little me and American has been America much long than I have been me. And America is much more than I will ever be because America is us. So although I think that abortion should never be legal, and that samesex marriage should be legal, and that euthanasia is actually really horrible, I choose to follow the orders of the state in which I live because community is more important than agreeing with everything the state says.

So give thanks, because we are Americans, and we can protect our church from our state and our state from our church.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Auntie Day.

Because I love my nephew I took him out for Auntie day this weekend. Auntie Day turned into Auntie weekend which was awesome...

Starting with Lunch...

On to the Pacific Science Center...

Drawing his imaginary friend...

Distracted by other kids...

After fear of the dinosaurs, before he became afraid of the butterflies...

Trapping Auntie during nap time...

Overall my neph rocks socks. He snores as loudly as his father, and kicked me in the face at least three times in the night, but man alive, I love this kid. And his German gets better every time we hang out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

looking for something to blame...

I think I am experiencing something new in this moment. I am wishing that I had been intoxicated tonight... to the point that in the morning (four hours from now) I could actually have a hangover. Then I could blame everything that happened on the alcohol. I could call it a bad choice, a crazy night, but chalk it all up to some drinking and move on. Unfortunately, I am wretchedly responsible and don't do things like that. Unfortunately any bad choices from this night fall on me, as I am, wretched and heartless.

Tonight I let the boundaries of a two year friendship fail. These weren't your typical boundaries either. They were beautiful boundaries. Boundaries unlike I had ever set and kept in my life. Boundaries to be proud of. Boundaries to take home to dinner and introduce to Grandpa. The kind of boundaries you learn in Sunday School in 8th grade. And I threw caution to the wind and prayed my way through shameless behavior.

Yes I prayed. All night. Lord, have mercy. Lord, help us. Lord! Lord!

I didn't kiss him. I didn't hold his hand. I can still say we have good boundaries, but I would be lying. Nothing really happened, but everything has changed and we both know it. I am still a good girl. Still passionately celibate, but if I were his girlfriend, I would hate me, and that right there tells me that tonight I crossed the line.

JDBman and all of my favorite things about him may never be the same again. But I doubt that. I think they will be exactly the same, and in that small way we will slap each other in the face.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I have this pair of boots that remind me of him. Every zip up and down the side of them draws me to his face. I really can't help it. Admittedly, I bought the boots in his city; in that northern place, in Alaska.
Alaska still holds some magic for me. All that happened there: his hands his beard, his boots, his scruffy jeans. Not just him, though, the others there too. That man that reminded me so much of the Uncle who loved me - so much that I thought he might be the bastard son of my grandfather. Talk about embarrassment. There were others as well, but I don't remember their specifics so much.
Outside of the people, the place itself has that feel, like Hawaii, that it is one of those rare places where heaven and hell meet on earth and the spirits walk freely between the three worlds. It didn't shock me this time, when I saw it, but it draws me and pushes me away simultaneously. I am never comfortable, but at home in a frightful way. The way that is too right, so right that something must be wrong.
He is Alaska in so many ways. He is right and wrong in that same way, as if heaven and hell met in humanity and created him. There will be a day when I understand, much the way I now understand with Doug, but that day is not today, and I am still waiting for the moment of recognition. That moment will dawn and I will know why he is not right - and again I will begin the quest for one that is wrong in all the right ways.
Searching for a perfect imperfection is like searching for a missing sock. You know it exists, because somewhere in your memory you can see it, but you have no idea where it has been since the last time you wore it. I look at all of the forms of love I have known, both romantic and not, and search for patterns of soul. I want to find that weaving mountain road, the mysterious one, high above the clouds, invisible from the base of the mountain, that ends not at the mountain peak but somewhere beyond the next valley in a land of ranges yet unexplored.
The metaphors could go on forever, each more beautiful, soulful, lifting than the last, but because I am determined for reality, for sorrow, I should not remain in them. Rather, I think I should choose to find that place where I am me. I always feel that I have lost that place, and I think it is because that place is always changing as I continue to age. Home ceased to exist so long ago, and yet I am still adjusting to the idea that when life fails me, or I cannot find the next step, the way in front of me, that there is no place to return to, at least no place outside of myself. Once, not so long ago, there was still a space to return to, like the fog in front of me was indeed only in front of me. Behind me was a room in which I could sit, arms that would hold me, and a refrigerator full of food. Either that room no longer exists or I just can't see it. The fog has filtered in and surrounds me in every way so that the only solace I can find when I think I've lost my way is in me, or in this small circle of light cast around me before the wall of moisture condenses in on my ability to see.
I often wonder if it is fear that keeps me from finding what I seek, or worse, that it is fear that keeps me from beginning the search at all. I believe that there is something in that, but also I must believe that is not all of it. Mostly because I have discovered that without hope and determination I really am the smallest of small people. I once thought that made me weak, but now I do not think it makes me anything but hopeful. Foolish sure, idealist for certain, but it is what it is, and I don't want to live a life where I am not destined for hope. Sorrow cannot be unless Joy has been before it. Sorrow begets hope. And when hope is fulfilled, the joy is that much greater. So I hope for greater joy. I hope to see hope fulfilled, to make sorrow worth it. Otherwise sorrow is just whining or apathy, both of which I hate.
Whining and apathy are where I find hell in him. He whines and becomes apathetic with the best of them. Seriously he could win awards. If moodiness were a race, he would most certainly be the tortoise. Slow and steady. Never rushing forth in joy and slowing down to gloat, but slow and steady whining and apathy to win the race of life with the blue ribbon in hellish ordeals. It wouldn't bother me so much if I weren't such a hare. The hopeful hare. Rush forth, lag back to gloat and fail. It's amazing. After losing so many races you would think I would change tactics, but I trained well for my first race and can't seem to break those tried and true techniques that have brought me so far.
Heaven lies in his sweet nature, his compassion, and admittedly in those finer points of physicality. His touch, his beard, his clean smell, his voice, and most certainly his little smirk, if you could really call it that. It's more like a grumpy pout, but its endearing and I love it no matter the name it is given. I adore his little belly and the way he struts it. It reminds me of Cody and his swagger. I love his lovely steely eyes matched so well with his dark thick hair. I wonder some days if it really isn't anything more that a desire to know his kiss. Maybe if I knew the physicality would drain away, and the remaining soul wouldn't be enough to hold me. Or possibly if he shaved his beard, maybe that would be a better way to find out, but I doubt it. I worry only that if he kissed me it would all be that much worse.
Back to the topic at hand, him, he, Alaska. I feel the least of myself when I feel rebuffed by him, or as if he did not have enough time for me. I feel so small and insignificant from just a moment of apathy toward my attentions that I know I am in too deep. It is this that makes me question the validity of the love. JDBman has never been so. I have never felt anything but the honest situation with JDBman, but with him I ask all sorts of ridiculous questions, until I no longer remember the source of my discomfort.
I'm at the ocean, and ocean means thoughts of men. This old man in the sea always asks the question, "who is he?" I still don't have an answer...