Sunday, May 16, 2010

tears and restoration

it is not a just world...these words from a tv show ring in my head as i think about my grandfather and my family.

over the last week i have been on an emotional roller coaster, a week ago tonight was the last time i saw my grandfather. i sat in a hot room next to his mostly immobile frame that occasionally shuttered from the increasing tremors wrought by parkinson's disease. and i talked...mostly incoherent ramblings about memories, work, and what i was reading. i seriously wonder if i finished any thought or idea. at the end i kissed his head squeezed his hand one last time and said i love you and then walked into the heat of an ending day. the moment i left the parking lot my fingers started dialing numbers as i tried to stay the tears rapidly forming. by the time my father's voice emerged after several voice mails and six miles i could hardly form a coherent sentence. images flooded my mind of walking into the intensive care unit and seeing my mom. she was swollen to three times her size because of all the water that was retained in her body. there were tubes coming out all over and she was in a coma and had been for about a week. jenny was the only reason i was even in that room with her, my brave friend who now works as a nurse, because i know i could have never at 19 passed that thresh hold with out her there with me. and again it was talking and singing "church songs" and telling my immobile mother how much we loved her. loss hurt so badly but for me watching someone you love waste away or be trapped in a captive state such as a coma is awful. it feels like your heart and all your fear has been ripped out of your body and it is all you can do to remember to breathe.

only once have i been able to have a good, a relative term with what i next say, experience with saying bye before death. and that was with my dad's mother. i went to see her a few days before she died knowing it was our last talk i was able to tell her how much i loved her and how much i cared and she was still able to converse with me and tell me how much she loved me and cared.

i wish i could have anne lamott experiences with death where in reflection i could find the beauty in sitting with those in an ephemeral state bravely and openly sending them off to sheol. but i can't i hate that people have to waste away to nothing a shell of their former selves, that we have to see those we love suffer and be placed in a transient state of being. i hate that i do and don't have a mother and that through out this week of loosing her father that i am more filled with loss. this is the same loss i am sure i will be flooded with on my wedding day (if ever there is one) and the birth (or adoption) days of what ever children i am blessed with. it is the cry of a child looking at all of this pain "GOD this is not fair, we were not meant for this" and i believe God sadly concedes "the world is not fair, not now at least"

and there is where i remember "thy kingdom come thy will be done on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN" we are made for earth and we are commissioned to bring healing and restoration to earth so God's will is over the earth. i don't believe this means drilling for oil or voting republican or supporting a group just because they say they are a christian organization. it is the continuation of the call to "love the lord your God with all your heart soul and mind and love your neighbour as your self" "he has shown you oh man what is good. and what does the lord require of you? to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God" and the on going theme of caring for the orphan, the widow, and the stranger (other) these are the ways in which God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven. it is in hope that we seek for justice, mercy, and love...the hope is that there will come a time when death no longer rips out our hearts because death and disease will be no more. i believe that all of creation was created and named "good" and that part of the job of a believer is to seek to wipe off the tarnished bits and bring the "good" to the surface. to participate in the restoration of the whole of the created order which is everything in creation, or as the hymn goes "let everything that hath breathe praise the lord".

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

(NFTD#22)

Being single is such an interesting space to be in....on one hand you are free to do whatever you want to. if you decide that you want to move to the tip of chile to run an eco-hotel catering to drunk germans then that's what you do with out having to ask or consider the effect it will have on anyone else. on the other hand it sucks realizing that most of your friends and all the men you have ever loved, been involved with, slept with what have you are coupled and possibly procreating like freaking rabbits while you go home to an empty bed. the good and the bad, there are days when the freedom is something i want to bathe in and other days where i would give anything to have to factor another person into my decisions.

i firmly believe that we as people are fundamentally created for relationships (with a lover as well as other forms such as friendships, family, ect) yet what happens when the specific area of romantic relationships is and has been lacking for years? what to do with that longing and desire for connection. the wisdom and practicality in me says that waiting for the right relationship is good and anyway we really don't need a distraction right now. in turn the other side of me is screaming that she would like some freaking human contact...what's that line of carries from the la/train episode of "sex & the city" "I just want to feel the weight of a man on top of me". sleeping alone sucks, as well as sleeping with someone can if i recall (yes it really has been that long). so what's the remedy there is only so much chocolate/alcohol/ (insert form of numbing) before you are so frustrated you just want to hit someone or something.


there is no answer just being present with what you are feeling and not let it conquer your brain and take control. neither a hijacked or obsessive brain will be a salve for this place. if i ever find a solution i'll let you know for sure it is not moving back into your parent's house and working all the time. maybe it is just being and forgetting about everything except for what you are working for.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

heart break central

listening to "this america life" this morning on my long list of unlistened to podcasts, the tears fell down my face in buckets. it was dan savage's story about his mother's death that caught my heart so much. a major part of the story focuses on dan's conflicting experiences with catholic faith. i was struck again by the fact that so many people get to this place where the faith that they have been offered doesn't have the capacity to stand in the fact of other truths.

rob bell speaks to this reality in his book "velvet elvis". in bell's take people have not been taught that everything can hold elements of truth and just because that truth isn't being conveyed directly by sanctioned people or groups does not negate the truth that is being conveyed. my friend rashelle says "it's truth, it works. just because the person doesn't define themselves as a christian doesn't make it any less true" my heart breaks for people who grew up in the church and at some point feel they have to walk away. it hurts because i understand their reasons i have been at churches where i had no place and i have experienced the ugliness that can be done in the name of God. reading "dance of the dissent daughter" i understood and have felt all the reasons why sue monk kidd would choose womanist faith over traditional christianity. in many spaces there hasn't and isn't a space for women with in christian communities as leaders and teachers and people with something important to offer. yet even in the face of this, even while attending a church that doesn't allow women to preach i still couldn't leave the church. to me she is the corpse bride dancing joyfully and yet loosing limbs here and there. filled with life and yet not always whole, she bumbles on. i believe that one day she will be whole a jewel coming out of heaven dressed in splendor but for now like everything else she is a work in progress. it is my belief that those of us who call ourselves the follower of Christ are charged with helping to fixed the broken and bumbling aspects of creation making thing on earth as they are in heaven. one of those things is recognizing that all of creation and life bears the image of God and therefore truth is present and possible in many things.

i wish that we would choose to teach our children how to be wise but not afraid of life and the world. this is God's creation it was named good and even through it is chipped and cracked in places it is still holding some of that goodness. this was not the story i was raise in, i was taught to be afraid of everything in life...wisdom and discernment were things i learned but they were not offered as a means to test. one of the reasons i fear having and raising children of my own is that i do not want to transmit fear of creation and life, rather i would want to offer my children thoughtfulness and wisdom and curiosity and faith and love that overcomes fear, seeks justice, and loves Jesus and in turn loves people. i am working on cultivating these characteristics so that on the off chance i have children i will be able to pass on faith like that of dan savage's mom...not rattled by things that don't perfectly fit with in a box of faith but the understanding that for those things to be true faith doesn't have to be thrown out the window.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

respite from the failure...

How frickin' funny is "community". watching the most recent episode i was once again reminded how we are now reaping the benefits of several years of reality television domination. this show is quite witty and i love how it borrows so much from pop culture. this last weeks episode with it's fusion of apocalyptic, assassin, and war genres with a bit of kung fu/john woo action film thrown in for good measure was side splittingly funny. a great respite from the failure of standardized testing. plus abed looks like a brown david totten (a friend from seattle) which makes me smile every time i watch the show. i wish i had more words to say how great this show is but alas the damned GRE sucked them out.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

my friends' other half

Tonight I was blessed with the chance to get to know one of my oldest friend's husband. It was so special and beautiful to see her with a man who loves and cherishes her for the incredible woman she is. They are matched for each other. As I drove home I began reflecting on how much I respect and admire my married friends and their signifigant others. In each of these relationships I encounter two people who work well together and bring out the best qualities in each other.

For example, with Annie and Mike, the whole time we lived in a house with seven other people they were the least likely couple and yet here they are happily married with two beautiful children for whom I am aunt Jessi. What is so interesting about these two people is that the minute they got together it was like I was hit with that "duh" hand to the forehead. Of course Annie and Mike belong together they are so much a like and so balancing to each other how could they have worked with anyone else. I feel this way with my friends Jessica and Dell who have been married for around ten years. Watching them together I am constantly honored to see how well they complement each other. It is this same dynamic I saw as I spent several hours with Jenny and Peter. They seem just made for each other. It was also so wonderful to see my darling friend, a sister in so many ways, with this man who loves her and is good for her. As I drove home I was reminded of so many prayers echoed on her behalf in the fifteen years I have known Jenny, that have come to fruition in her marriage to Peter. I love that my friends have been blessed to share their lives with another wonderful person. I look forward to the other weddings, commitment ceremonies, and meetings where I get to celebrate other friends in this kind of dynamic. There is something so True feeling when you encounter a couple who are just made for each other, that when they are together they radiate this kind of "yes of course" aura being able to bless others together as a unit than separet.

On those days when I wonder if I will ever meet anyone or ever feel that ZING of chemistry again I am reminded of my friends who have found it and built a commitment to another person around it. By being offered the chance to see their relationships in the hardships and beauty I can believe that love is real and that I still have a chance of finding it if that is my path. I think Peter said it best last night something to the effect of..."love is here, between Jenny and I and that, that love is beautiful because it is God and God's presence in us and our love" Love is the image of God in me connecting with the image of God in you mixed in with a lot of work and tender care. Someday I hope to be up for the magic and the challenge of a love like many of my friends have found.

Monday, May 03, 2010

a few ramblings (NFTD #21)

I believe that we all as people need to understand where we are coming from, as in what informs and forms our perspectives on life and the world. This is especially true if one identifies themselves with a specific faith perspective and loudly claims it. In light of this I have been reflecting on two things today: one a question my brother posed to me this weekend and second the fact that Jennifer Knapp came out and held her own in a conversation with Ted Haggard and another pastor on the Larry King Live show.

When I think of the church, so many emotions well up in me. These many emotions have lead to me saying or doing things that I am extremely and humbly thankful for and things that I wish more than anything I could take back. In many ways, in spite of the degreed training I possess, I feel as if I know very little about faith. Yet what I do know is the basis view of how one understands the world permeates how they look at everything. Whether you believe that all people are in essence good or whether you believe that all people are bad becomes the filter through which you encounter people. Our ways of being in the world are based in our fundamental understanding. My brother asked me if I believe in universal salvation. While I could not give a answer that he felt wasn't hedging the bet so to speak, his question made me think about what is central to my outlook on life in this world. In pondering a. why i couldn't come on either completely for or against the idea of universal salvation 2. why that was I realized that I hold to and sit in the middle of certain theological ideas because of what I believe to be central elements of God and my relationship to God. This thinking was good, it was a reminder of whys. And into that reminder of whys came Jennifer Knapp.

I HATE(in full understanding of the power of this word) when people are told that if they are gay or transgendered that they have to choose between God and this deeply rooted understanding of themselves. Most likely this is because one of my dearest friends was told this, the subsequent fall out broke my heart. It bothers me deeply that especially when it comes to issues of sexuality and gender, at least in the churches I grew up in, are the kick you out issues. Why is this some how worse or more flawed than anything else? I mean it's like the one friend in a community who gets pregnant and is treated differently and you know there are so many other people with in the community having sex. I think of all the further harm that happens, when someone isn't able to leave the church for whatever reasons but also isn't allowed to acknowledge their sexuality and there for "plays" at being strait (Ted Haggard). How much more damaging and destructive is it when someone is caught having an affair with a gay prostitute that would have happened if they had been offered space to wrestle with their faith and sexuality? I tell you one thing there would most likely not be a wife, children, and shocked church community...in stead how about a committed monogamous relationship with a person who loved them and is committed to growing in relationship with God. For me the latter is less destructive. And while I could be wrong I choose to support commitment and people seeking to connect with God. It doesn't matter to me that Jennifer Knapp is in a relationship with a woman what matters is that she is able to be in a committed relationship and that commitment doesn't cancel her journey with God...faith isn't lost in her being honest about who she loves.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Little moments (NFTD #20)

Isn't it amazing how little things can be the bearer of mirth and joy. Like last night, while banned from the living room because my brother decided to tape our father, I read a bit to my mom and got her to laugh maybe the hardest she has laughed with me since before her accident 11 years ago. You have to understand that my mom has never been known for her sense of humor, since the accident though she has developed her own unique brand. This consists mostly of expressions or phrases which come out in perfectly timed rhythms. It is very cute.

Ok so about last night, I have been reading the second travel guide by Maarten Troost entitled "Getting Stoned with Savages" his first being "The Sex Lives of Cannibals" because he is funny and the book was five dollars at Powell's, anyway Mom asked me what I was reading and I asked her if she wanted me to read to her. So I proceeded to read to her a section about the author killing a tropical centipede (which are F**king HUGE, I looked at pictures last night) which lead my Mom to deep laughing as well as fanning disgust. As I reached the climax, "Yucky, I don't like that, yuck" followed up immediately with a laugh. And I have to say it was beautiful, one of those heavenly spaces that almost shines and sparkles because of it's beauty.

I am constantly blown away and yet also equally oblivious to these kinds of moments. More and more I want to be one of those people who is aware enough in the moment to realize that it is one of those treasure like moments, pause and breath deeply imbibing that reality. Like I have some wonderfully intuitive friends who always seem to have the perfect response to others, they ooze care and presence, and in turn are embrace by so many people for the sheer fact that they took the time to listen to their story. I am a talker, well at least when I get past the getting to know you hugging the walls and trying to melt away stage, and at times I have to catch myself and say "listen to them, be present in this moment they are more important than your need to speak". More often now I feel as if I have lost my words that I could write or speak until the world ends and still not offer anything of value or importance. But my words can't always help me be in the present and that is what is important now.