Monday, July 26, 2010
and in the middle of all of this i have been working like a dog to get my friend's house market ready. she moved out of town about a year ago. the bankruptcy of her husband's "flip that house dreams" and some dalliance in infidelity on her part left them ashamed and quick to move on. they should have sold their home at that time, but didn't have the heart to kick their daughter out in her last year of university in our town, so it became a bit of a frat house. no real destruction, but lots of neglect. i needed the money and had the time, and have a huge heart for their story, and when pushed to admit it still very co-dependent with her. because she is 12 hours away i thought that i could help, when it still looked much more like rescue.
anyway - i finished yesterday and was downstairs doing laundry when my dad struck up a conversation about his new favorite tv preacher. ugh. tired and already itchy from his old-time-religious language in the five days we have been together i listened quietly. then he gave me his new book, he ordered 4 copies to make sure that everyone he loved had one. i was touched, but sensing the beginnings of the allergic reaction i have to that kind of conversation. he had his back to me as i thumbed through the book quickly trying to assess what stripe of religion this man was peddling.
self-taught, proof texting, itinerant guy who wants to teach everyone how to "interpret scripture" biblically. ugh. the hives begin to crawl over my skin and i can feel my throat start to contract. must get air....
and he goes on like he's found a new best friend. he is smitten, in love, a twitter. the only thing i can do when he asks me if it's what i believe and what i learned a 'bible college' is say that i have learned over the years that when people aren't building a theology in community you can make scripture say anything you want it to say. removed from the context of accountability (tried to use his language) there is a danger that can come from being a person with that much authority and no balance of responsibility. people like that can be dangerous and that is how cults can form. i said i knew nothing of him but can see from his book that he has never learned in community and isn't within a context of people and that makes me concerned that he could be dangerous.
well that set him off. he grabbed is big old fat bible, whipped it open and shaking threw it in my face - THE verse. the biggie. see i knew you didn't take this seriously anymore. read this, how can you do the things you do, preaching now - this verse tells you you are to be silent and ask you husband if you need to know anything...blah, blah, blah...
by this time i had sat down. and i knew that i had a choice. absolutely exhausted. filthy from work, stressed by having my safe home invaded and knowing that all of the work outside of my house had left my own in need of a lot of attention. i could choose to shut down like my programming had wired me to. know when to fold 'em, know when to hold 'em, know when to walk away... should have run. didn't fold.
i blasted him with both barrels - and once i got going there was NO way to stop.
i said every last thing i have wanted to say to him for 44 years. screeching, bawling, shaking my finger in his face. i was the banshee - and it felt so damn good.
"how can you who spends 23 hours a day watching television, goes to one hour of church a week, and it's even a church that doesn't even believe this shit. how can you come here and judge me, who has devoted herself to serving god since i was 13 years old? you don't know anything about me or my relationship with god. all i have ever wanted in my whole entire life is not big money, or fame or power - but just for you to once look at me and the life i live and say 'i don't get it, but i am so proud of you' - just once"
"if my preaching is a sin, then so is your judgment of me - you have no right to throw this at me, you don't live by this ugly theology and you never have - i lived every jot and tittle for 30 years of my life and you know what? it doesn't work - and you know it - you know that the house you raised me in wasn't that story book christianity you like to spew - you know that mom hated the silence even more than i did" bam, bam, bam.
it was never how i wanted it to happen, but i honestly can say that i don't regret it. i finally stood up to that man who has tried to keep my feet in those tiny, little shoes.
"YOU NEVER LOVED ME FOR WHO I WAS, you wanted a son, you never loved a daughter, you have never even honored the female parts of me that you always told me were all i had, my home, my family, my silence - you only ever acknowledged me for the male things i did, playing sports, killing animals, scraping their flesh off their bones - those were the only things you ever gave me attention for"
pink heard me 2 stories up. and i was so glad.
"for the past 10 1/2 years i have read the bible, every night before bed, 10 1/2 years! you think i wipe my butt with those pages, but i have devoted my life to those pages, it's all i have ever wanted and i am really good at it. peoples lives, even mens lives are changing because i am telling my story. in your paradigm i haven't even erred, my husband, my pastors, the leaders in my church - all of the people in the umbrella of authority i'm supposed to live my life under (his language, not mine) are inviting me to use the gifts that god has given me. they are all cheering for me - all except you - and guess what - you have given away any authority you have over my life to my husband and god loves me enough to not have me married to a cave man!"
i think i went on for about 5 straight minutes. then he looked at me, cocked his head and said "i guess you've been waiting a long time to tell me that. i think you'll sleep better tonight."
i think the volume and emotion actually cracked a bit in him that an honest conversation (like we had in oregon 2 summers ago - and i had intended to have again) wouldn't have. and it empowered me to know that i honestly really don't need his approval or support. he is a weak, small little man who i love deeply, but have given far too much power over me for far too long.
as i sat on the edge of my bed last night i remembered my word for this year - blaze. i smiled as i realized that the fire burns as it purifies.
i apologized after for the way in which i said those things and that i had wanted to hurt him for the hurt i had felt all of those years. he hugged me and told me that he tells everyone else how much he thinks of me. never could use the words, but i don't really need to hear them anymore.
i am proud of me and mom would be too.
Monday, July 19, 2010
i live in a small university town, it's a very distinctive school, attracts very creative, postmodern people of faith who really care about the world. many people relocate here later in life to change course - kind of like me, so we regularly have new families move into our community and it's always very exciting. i had been hearing rumblings of that very thing and it creates a lot of energy and excitement because they usually have kids and we're all very curious as to what grades they will be in and if our kids will have new friends soon.
i was at our community's summer fun spot yesterday picnicking with friends and the mum of the new family had arrived early, she had immigration issues to sort out so that her family could follow her soon. i watched her engage in the group, wondering if she was going to be the type of person i would naturally click with. she was eating health food and so very tiny - i judged from a distance that she was kind and outgoing, but figured that we'd be acquaintances, but probably not friends.
i hung back throughout the day as she conversed with others and i had some great talks with friends, watched my kids kayak, swim and ride the atvs. at the very end of the day i heard her talking about hopping borders and how it makes buying a home so difficult, establishing residency and all of the other big stuff of international moves. i waited until there was a break in the conversation and introduced myself and said that i had just been through all of those things recently and would be more than happy to help with anything. she said "oh, i know who you are and i have to give you a great big hug!"
she comes over to me, gives me a huge squeeze, kisses my cheek and whispers in my ear "i'm a recovering compulsive overeater and bulimic and i heard your talks on the drive up here and i couldn't wait to meet you!"
she told me that she had to drive an hour to get to a meeting back in her home state and how when they were considering their move back here (she did some of her undergrad at the university years ago) she skeptically checked the OA website to see if there were any meetings and found out that there was one, not only in the town she was moving to, but that met in the very church she already called home.
this meeting has been a constant frustration for me recently. the woman i started with is in full blown relapse (and angry at me), her husband who kept coming for months after couldn't do the pull between both worlds and stopped coming and hasn't been seen for months and the two newbies who do come really just want to loose weight without all of that 12 steps stuff and one of them is the wife of the couple with whom i have had all of the painful history. (who liam and i have sent a letter asking for mediation because our community is so small that i can't be in the same room with them without it causing me great amounts of stress - but they have blown off, not acknowledged and acted like everything is "normal") she is the master of denial and lives in such a self constructed world - i don't know how she does it as she acts like my best friend in group, still invites us to get togethers, but when it comes time to anything below the surface she fades and folds.
in a recovery group of 3 people it makes a meeting much less than one could hope for.
the beauty of the program is that it is so strong that the routine and the prayers are enough for me - but in a small town i did not know if there would ever be real kindred souls who get recovery enough to find an echo of support f2f again. this changes everything.
so the hug and deep conversation after left us both teary and rejoicing that god's will for my life has presents like this along the way.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
WOW - as I finish up my step 7 work this week I needed this kick in the pants - would LOVE a friend like this in my life who can speak the truth so plainly to me:
All this preoccupation with your own imperfection is not humility, but an insidious form of spiritual pride. What do you expect to be? A saint? There are desperately few of them; and even they found their faults, which are the raw material of sanctity remember. You know best when and how you fall into these various pitfalls. Try and control yourself when you see the temptation coming. Pull yourself up and make an act of contrition when you catch yourself doing any of the things.
Never allow yourself to be pessimistic about your own state. Look outward instead of inward; and when you are inclined to be depressed and think you are getting on badly, make an act of thanksgiving instead because others are getting on well. The object of your salvation is God's Glory, not your happiness. So, be content to help, remaining yourself in the lowest place. Merge yourself in the great life of the Christian family. You have tied yourself up so tight in that accursed individualism of yours--the source of all your difficulties--that it is a marvel you can breathe at all.
Source: The Letters of Evelyn Underhill