Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teenage Mutant Ninja Karma

In the middle of all the angst over Wally and what happens next Beav has decided it’s time for him to regress back to Weird Hormone Boy. I thought we had left WHB behind at the Crack Shack but I guess I was wrong. WHB is not welcome here because there is not enough room for more than one moody person in this house and by default of my age it gets to be me! Seriously, didn’t the kid get the memo? I’m the only one allowed to be grouchy. Beav has also reverted back to his previous incarnation of The Boy Who Won’t Get Up For School. Hells bells, the kid who hated school always got up on time and this one? He loves school Loveslovesloves school. Fortunately, the only person nagging is me because back in the day it was a chorus of me and Wally which would lead to Beav crying in grades 2 through 5 and yelling at us to leave him alone in grades 6 and 7. I’m not sure how much he actually hears because if I had to listen to my whining nagging voice I sure has hell wouldn’t stay in bed because I would welcome a chance to go to school and get away from it! And it’s not as bad as it was when he was in the second grade and I had to hold him down and force his shoes on him, carrying him to the car. Once he went to school in jammies. Because I‘m just that mean. This morning, he managed to get dressed and hopefully brushed his teeth and was sorta kinda awake he comes into the family room where I’m doing something emergent on the computer like checking in to see if my Fb friends have purchased sheep dogs for their farms or they have managed to “ice” someone in Mafia wars when I hear a very terse young man voice bark at me: “Let’s go.” Not, “hey mom I’m ready” or “Mom can you please drive me to school now?” And certainly not: “Mom, sorry you will have to speed on the highway to get me to school on time but it’s time to leave. I should have rolled out of bed when the alarm went off.”

I ignored the terse command because I’m usually not the friendliest person in the morning, either.(I know everyone is reeling with the shock,, I’ll wait here until you gather your senses) I come by my morning nature naturally but my father makes me and Beav look like Little Mary and John Sunshine. He was like the meanest grouch in the world before work. I always hoped he would wake up to a civilized state by the time he got to work. When I say mean, I don’t mean he would start the day out by beating us or hurling insults at us. No. He would sit and glower at the Today Show and offer monosyllabic comments in Jane Pauly‘s direction and grunt at me and mom. When I was in high school I would sit at the breakfast table with him; mom would putter in the kitchen and I would try my level best to be conversant with them even though I was half asleep and the 36 electric rollers jammed into my scalp didn’t help elevate my mood either. Besides that I had HEAVY things on my mind like…should I have lunch with Donna or Paul because if I had lunch with Paul we could watch All My Children at his house and his mom would make us something really good…but if I had lunch with Donna we could go to the mall and skip fourth period but that would involve lying to the attendance secretary and just how afflicted with menstrual cramps can one girl be…would anyone notice my new blouse and did my jeans make my ass look cute or flat and was Keith really interested in me or was he interested in me to get to Amy because everyone was interested in Amy anyhow and why should I bother because it was all going to end in a big explosion of heartbreak like everything else had ended this past summer ... So given my mood state any given morning of my senior year why not bait the hell out of my dad with incendiary remarks about how I thought Jimmy Carter was doing a great job .

I was poking a sleeping dog with a stick. An old sleeping dog with a sharp stick. An old sleeping dog who had been abused by mean people when it was a puppy with a stick. An old sleeping dog who had been abused by mean people when it was a puppy left in the cold to starve with a stick.

Poke poke poke…I think Jimmy Carter* is cool and what he is doing in the middle east is cool.

GRRRRR noises, comments about Southern Baptists as president,…hick farmer…democrats…ruined the economy…

Pokepokepoke I think Israel is wrong…”

“GRRRR…1948...how can you think that…it‘s their land”

PokePOKEPOKE“The cold war is stupid and pointless. No one is going to nuke anyone. It‘s just a waste of money.”

Have you ever seen someone breathe fire? I know my kids have seen me do it. Beav saw me do it yesterday after he auditioned for The Most Ungrateful Teenager Of The Year Award (the boy nailed it too, he made Wally look like the Dali Lama and Sister Theresa’s love child) Anyhow, it was at this point I would make some sort of peacenik dove remark completely uninformed by any reality other than knowing I would get my dad’s attention and he would breath fire at me.

By the time we were finished establishing which side of the aisle we were one; my dad had me burning the flag and I had him lobbing missiles at Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. My mother started referring to breakfast as World War Three. What she didn’t realize is I always started my early morning diatribe against the war machine just to see if I could get him to string a sentence together first thing in the morning. Just to see if he was paying attention because when I was 17, I was three.

So now when I hear Beav say in his barky little man voice: “Let’s go!” I hear my father and instead of getting upset with Beav, I laugh, because I would rather the commute to school not resemble Breakfast Wars 1978.

Dad and I still go at it. In 2003 I almost asked him to leave my house because he was going on and on and on about how great George Bush was. Just like an old dog that had been poked with a stick one too many times and exacts Cujoesque revenge on his abuser. Karma’s a cruel bitch sometimes, isn’t she? And this summer I almost put the old man on my email filter because he insisted on sending me emails about how Obama wants him to sit before a death committee because the Neurontin he takes for his terrible neuropathic pain is costing Medicare too much money. Looks like I’m getting poked with my own stick.

The other stick I’m getting poked at is The Messy Room stick. My mother would threaten me with the Front Lawn Humiliation. We would go around and around like Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin on the way to Camp David because I had not developed the fine motor skills necessary to hang up my clothing after I had had it on for three minutes and decided it was what I wanted to wear. I was threatened with all sorts of things, mean notes about taking my clothes to Goodwill or never sewing for me again or--her favorite threat--putting everything on the front lawn. Now I was clueless and thoughtless when I was seventeen but I wasn’t stupid. I would have to be so dumb it burned if I thought she was actually going to take the time to move all that crap on my floor to the front lawn. Really? It would be easier to just hang everything up in the closet. Yesterday, I was cleaning the house and audibly groaned when I saw Beav’s room. He’s normally relatively tidy. When me and Ward went to our first parent/teacher conference for Beav his tote was perfectly arranged. Scared the crap out of me, I flashed on a picture of a boy with blistered, bleeding hands from compulsive hand washing (oh don’t I wish that now) Of course the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and I considered leaving the “front lawn” note but then I stopped a minute and thought about it. Screw the front lawn, I could take a picture of his room, post it on my Facebook page tagging it as a picture of him so it would show up on his wall. The shock and awe I thought this would inspire continues to make me cackle like an evil genius. Can you imagine? Much better than the lawn. Much. I may just file this away for future reference. Feel free to use this with your messy teenager or messy spouse. But I’m not sure this would be a great idea because Karmic justice could be served all over me if the kids took a picture of me screaming at them about something and posted it on their walls. Yeah…no.

The “My Parents Hate Me So They Bought Me The Crappiest Car Ever” karma is living at my house, too. Beav won Most Ungrateful Teenager Award yesterday when he got huffy with me about the 1990 Honda I will be giving him. Obviously, I’m giving him this crappy beater because I don’t love him. Why else would I ruin his life? It couldn’t possibly be because I can’t afford to buy him a car with the magic checkbook that makes all his dreams come true. (I think my checkbook is magic because without fail there is always enough to provide what we need with a little left over for what we want. But that is a subject for another blog entry) The Honda has been a source of consternation since last winter; when Wally decided buying the Honda was all part of my diabolical plan to ruin his life. The Girl suggests we keep it forever and give it to Wally or Beav’s kid as a present. The grandkid would point out what an awesome relic it was and be grateful--tearful even-- as I cast a withering stare with my filmy and rheumy eyes towards the once thankless boy who is now a middle aged man with his own unappreciative son or daughter. Besides that? Every teenager needs to start out their driving life with a crappy car. The car at the top was my second car and it was nice compared to the first car: The Stupid Death Machine Pinto who’s only claim to fame was a decent 8 Track tape deck. I’m still not completely convinced that car is why I wasn’t the most popular girl in school my junior year.

After discovering I was ruining his life via the Honda, Beav told me what he wanted for Christmas and It’s a good thing Beav didn’t see my face when he assured me the PS 3 is no longer $700 but a paltry $300. But he assured me he doesn’t need 120 gigs of gaming memory, just 80. What a magnanimous boy I’m raising. And what a relief it’s NOT as expensive as it was this summer! Too bad it’s what I spend on both boys each Christmas. I guess I’m going to have to live with his Whoville like disappointment when he wakes up and imagines The Grinch stole his PS 3 and left behind crappy gifts. Please excuse me while I pat myself on the back because I had a What Would Jesus Do moment versus a What Would June Do moment after he gushed his great news of all the money I was saving this winter. Instead of setting fire to his dreams, I simply mouthed to the back of his sweet dear head: “Oh. My. God. Where is the pod you crawled out of and why don’t you find that nice kid Beav and bring him back here because I don’t like this current boy who claims he is my youngest son.” If I had allowed June to respond, the verbal flash fire would have destroyed our family room. Feelings would have been hurt and Beav probably would have run away from home. Or worse. He would have been completely oblivious to my ire and asked for some other crazy expensive shit. Like a rocket ship or a pony.

My final crime against He Who Is Self-Entitled was the audible gasp over his eight hundred dollar camp dream. Eight. Hundred. Dollars. For camp. One week of camp. Not a month of camp. Young Life Camp. Jesus camp. I don’t need to dust off my New Testament to see that Jesus didn’t charge more than my share of the mortgage to be a member of his flock. Now some of his nefarious priests did in the late 15th century but we live post reformation and it doesn’t cost 800 bucks to love the lord. That’s free. And for a tank of gas I can drive him up Floyd Hill to a lovely trailhead where he can take a walk and bask in the glory of nature for about 20 bucks. Fifteen bucks if we drive the Honda.

*in the Old Man's defense: he volunteered for Habitat For Humanity over the last few years and thinks Jimmy Carter has done great things since his presidency.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Breaking My Heart Open So My Eyes Can See

Ten years ago this month I made a decision to leave Ward and within a couple of short months later not only had I left him but I left my kids too. I gave him custody because I was sick of fighting with him about it and I thought--as boys--they would be better off with him. But the real REAL reason is because I was absolutely convinced I was a terrible mother. I had suffered from not one but two episodes of depression. The first one was a mild post partum depression but the second bout was a doozy. I couldn’t leave the house for a month and Ward had to take full control of the kids. I barely made food for them those long weeks. Poor kids. Poor Ward. I still see their sweet faces looking at me with a mix of puzzlement and sadness because Mommy was dressed in a sweat suit in July and about 100 degrees outside and I had to hire a babysitter to take them to the pool and to the park and the rec center for activities because I simply couldn’t leave the house. I’m still not sure exactly why I couldn’t leave the house; I mean I don’t fully comprehend even now after years of therapy which monsters lived outside the door of the Fabulous House in Stepford and why they went away as quickly as they arrived. I do know I had to leave Ward if I was going to survive and if my children were going to survive and grow to have any sort of meaningful life they belonged with their fully functional father. They could hire their own therapist when the actions of their mother, foisted on them at the tender ages of nine and five began to muddy their abilities to cope in relationships with others. In essence, my well-meaning but sick actions fractured my relationship with them a decade ago because I was convinced I was a terrible mother because I suffered from two bouts of depression and was pretty sure I was gay. Let‘s not forget to add I was unfaithful to Ward to this list. I was depressed, confused and a liar. I was a BAD person to the tenth power and didn‘t deserve those children. In hindsight, I can see the life I was leading was sucking the life out of me. Of course I felt like I was drowning in an ocean with a plastic bag over my head. Shit, who wouldn’t? Don’t answer that because I know plenty of wonderful mothers who put up with WAY more than I did from Ward and they aren’t leaving their husbands and their kids.

When I say I left my kids, initially I saw them every other weekend and a night a week. I was Disneyland Mom. But a couple of years later, my children wanted less and less to do with me. For a long time I blamed Ward for poisoning them against me. But now I blame myself because I stopped trying to have a relationship with them and for two years we were like amiable friends who would get together a couple of times a week but each visit felt forced and everyone was miserable. Of course it didn’t help I was in the most dysfunctional toxic relationship of my life which, in the end, left me broke and broken. In AA terms, I hit bottom. (there by God’s unboundless grace go I)

But God’s hand was always just right there and as much as I hate to admit it; The Most Toxic Woman On The Planet had a role in all of this. Did I mention after I left her I was not only broken but financially broke? The only place I could find to live was a tiny little rental house in a neighborhood riddled with meth heads. I hadn’t lived in such a bad neighborhood since I was in college but the rent afford my paying off hideous debt and my landlord, an angel on Earth, didn’t give a shit if my credit rating was in the toilet. “I don’t check those things, I see in your eyes I can trust you.” And I didn’t let him down. We lived in that little house for three years. The 750 square foot house was our little port in the storm. I was able to put myself back together with the help of Jesus, Wayne Dyer, my therapist/reiki practitioner, Landlord Bob, and my boys. It’s a good thing I got my shit together and rebuilt my relationship with my sons because it was at this point Ward decided he was tired of being the custodial parent and lost interest in his children. But despite the neighborhood and the tight space our home was generally a place of peace and joy. Yeah there were hard times because Wally was such a challenging kid and Beav wasn‘t a walk in the park, either. But I figured (still do) the tantrums (theirs) and the aggression (Wally‘s) was bad Karma I had to work off. I made new friends, too. One of them shares The Girl‘s name and I met her first but eventually she became my “Spare”. I can‘t count the number of times me and TSG have been out and people will say: “Oh, this is The Girl.” And I have to explain but I’m always flattered by the confusion because The Spare Girl is an awesome woman. TSG has been a cheering section for me in ways I‘ve never told her and has been there for me in ways I don‘t think I can even explain. Her oldest son and Beav are a few months apart and very alike in their natures; while her youngest son-- seven years younger than Wally --is just like Wally. We can commiserate and compare notes on lots of things because in addition to our children, we have feckless ex-husbands who are hit and miss with financial and emotional support to their boys; plus we came out in mid-life. Rather, we finally came out in mid-life. One of us--not TSG--had a false start in the eighties.

So when TSG called me early on Thursday morning and her first words were: “I can’t do this anymore. I want out and I don‘t want to be a mother anymore.” I knew exactly what she was talking about. Because I feel this way about three times a week and know without a shadow of a doubt if I had to do it over again, twenty years ago I would have told Ward I didn’t want to go out with him much less sleep with him because if we started dating, one thing would lead to another and it would spiral out of control until I was locked into a life long relationship and a role I would spend most of my time resenting and quite frankly hating. I hate being a mother because I’m so bad at it. Like I hated being a waitress because I sucked at that, too. I don’t hate my children so don’t call social services or my ex-husband. I just really don’t like being a mother because I am emotionally lazy. I am sick of having to be thoughtful and strong and forbearing and patient and wise and wonderful and listening and coping. Because just now it seems like the only thing these kids do is break my heart and drain my bank account and ask me for a ride somewhere I‘m not invited to go . So I knew exactly where TSG was coming from. The week before I had spent the day helping her--pre and post op--with her boys when they had their wisdom teeth taken out. Wally-the-Younger (WtY) was tuned up and I knew he was going to be a handful waking up from anesthesia. He was but TSG is a saint (I really want to hate her but I can’t) and she talked him off the cliff and he calmed down. What I didn’t count on was he had been acting like an asshat for a few months and was moving my very dear friend to the brink of her limitless patience. When she told me what was going on I wanted to march over to their house and spank that twelve year old menace. (More evidence I’m not much of a mother) How DARE he treat his mother, his hardworking single mother like that. I at least have an ex-husband who shares custody of Beav (for the moment until his stepmother, Alexis Carrington, gets bored and doesn’t want him around) so that’s a gift compared to her ex-husband and his fucked up games and issues. But instead of spanking the boy she set some stern boundaries with him and he has respected them for several days now. God’s hand was clearly in this because I was supposed to work and if I had been at work, I would have missed her call.

I need to remember this whole God works in mysterious way thing because that evening I got the other big phone call; Wally had failed his PT test because he quit in the middle of a run. I’ve already chronicled in full internet blog vomit my initial reaction. Last night, as grief would have it and my nature will predict I landed full on in the Anger territory and sit here. I mean I was really angry. I wanted to scream and rave at him: “What the fuck were you thinking?! When are you going to stop this behavior????!!!!” Then I got angry at myself for ever giving birth. (now that’s getting to the root of the problem) TG thoughtfully decided we should go out to dinner last night, to cheer me up and to celebrate her recovery. She had progressed from laying in bed with ice on her shoulder and under the influence of prescribed narcotics to being able to dress in real clothes in the span of a few days because she is from Polish stock who all believe if you can survive post WWII Germany and refugee status under the tyranny of the USSR you can survive anything, including shoulder surgery. I know everyone will be stunned to learn I wasn’t very good company. It’s a good thing I had to drive because if I had the option of not driving I would have had eight too many drinks and probably puked all the way home from the passenger seat. (Hey, I’ve come a long way in five years but I’m not perfect) Not only was I angry at Wally but I was resentful I had to try and help him through this hiccup and not only was I angry about the whole thing my heart was broken for him because he has to live with the consequences of quitting. I was also angry because I knew this about myself--prone to freaking out and quitting midway because of ZERO self-esteem--and went ahead and had children. What the fuck was I thinking twenty years ago.

As luck would have it a young couple were sitting just across from us in the uber chic uber hip restaurant we were in last night and as luck would further have it they had their brand spankin’ new baby with them. “You know it’s a good thing I’m driving because if I weren’t I would probably get drunk and tell those people it’s not too late to take that baby back to the hospital because all that baby is going to do is grow up and break their heart” The Girl looked askance at me, worried I was going to do it but her worry was quelled when I started to cry and go over and over all the the bad things I did to my children and the many ways I have sinned against them. I do believe in my heart of hearts our children choose us but why on Earth would anyone be as masochistic as choosing me for a mother and Ward the ball-less wonder as a father. She let me rehash the things she has heard me confess about a hundred times and then she said this:

“Those boys love you. You are the one they depend on.”

As much as I was enjoying the pity party, I realized she was right. Wally called me first this week and when he tried reaching his father; his father “missed” his call. (Oh for the love of God you don’t miss calls in this day and age. His asshat father didn’t want to deal with it. Gah, I just wish he would disappear!) Beav knows it’s pointless to ask his dad to do something for him because it won’t get done and it’s doubly pointless to ask him for money for his activities because Ward simply won’t have it because he never has money for them but has a wine cellar. As she reviewed these things, I realized she’s right and I fought becoming smug because everyone knows how much I can’t stand “teh smug”. Smug is also a sin of pride and that’s just one more thing for the long list of transgressions I commit so I chose to not add it. Instead, I changed the subject and we talked about her. What a relief for everyone when the whining stopped.

This morning at the early hour of two at 0200 I awakened with a headache which I was happy to blame on stress rather than alcohol abuse. Because worrying about stuff you don’t have control over is so much healthier than drinking to excess. (myth number 2373 I tell myself) I took a few Ibuprofen and tried to go back to sleep but of course I couldn’t. I lay awake in the still half light which gave the impression it was not early winter but mid summer because it had snowed. For a few minutes I tried to pretend it was really an early morning last June. After playing the time machine game, I ran my tape about how much I hated myself for hating being a mother and how I hated having my heart broken by Wally again when I remembered something I read in The Power of Intention exactly five years ago which was one year after I had found shelter in the Crack Cottage and began my amazing spiritual journey which led me to the sweet life I have today all made possible because I couldn't leave my house July 1999. Dr. Dyer shared a letter a woman wrote to him which said the following: “When my boyfriend broke up with me, I thought my heart was broken but you helped me discover my heart was broken open.” I realized I needed to turn pull my finger off the self-loathing button and take a second look inside this broken heart. My heart is broken open to all sorts of possibilities and lessons in faith and trusting the Universe or God or Jesus or whoever things because do happen for a reason. Like the whole messy business of involving myself with The Most Toxic Person on the Planet so I would have to live in a terrible neighborhood in a tiny poorly insulated house that was either too hot or too cold so I could learn what was really important.

"So God, I’m ready, bring it on. Show me what the purpose of this Fresh Hell is all about and if it’s about giving you everything I worry and fret about and then taking it away because I’m a big control freak. Fine. I can deal with that but can you leave my kids out of it because I think they have suffered enough at my hand." Thanks, Me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A letter To My Son

collage by Tim Lukeman

It’s so hard to stay out of our own way, isn’t it? I have been in my way most of my life. It is my fervent prayer your reaction to the pressure of the test today will help you see the value of staying out of your own way. Usually the biggest stumbling block is ourselves. It is not the size or the length of your arms but thinking something is wrong with the size and the length of your arms. Remember your cousin is taller and just as thin when he went into the Marines and talked himself into being able to do the push ups necessary to graduate. I think you have yourself psyched out and have convinced yourself you can’t do this. I believe with conditioning you will be able to do these push-ups. But you won’t find out if you quit in the middle of the test. I know this won’t happen again. I think the price of this self-sabotage was so great that you learned a hard but very important lesson.

I talked to Beav this evening and then your dad. Don’t worry about the Beav not being proud of you or disappointed in you. He was so sad for you he was about to cry. He understands how much this means to you. Your dad took it well and has a lot of questions I tried to answer. Questions about graduation in January, what happens next, that sort of thing. I tried to answer them the best I could.

I’m humbled you called me first. I’m so thankful you trust me but I am so terribly sorry my first reaction was one of dramatic panic. I hate that part of my personality. It wasn’t what you needed, what you needed to hear was how I know you are disappointed but you also realized what a stupid mistake quitting in the middle of the run was. You needed to hear what big medicine this is and what a transforming situation this will be for you and how you approach challenging situations in the future. Remember how I have always told you I believe things don’t come to you as easily as other people because you are learning what it is like to work really hard for something and therefore you will appreciate and hold dear all you achieve? This kind of perseverance is the stuff great men are made of. My guess is you won’t quit in the midst of a race or a run, ever again. You took this setback as a man, too. You didn’t blame anyone else; you took full responsibility for quitting without mentioning how muddy it was or cold or whatever like you would have about nine weeks ago. I am so proud of you and how grown up you are and I am blessed to be your mom.

Your graduation is simply delayed by a few weeks. You can come home at Christmas, we can fatten you up and you can work out everyday to strengthen you upper body. I have no doubt you will graduate in January because I know whenever God closes a door, he opens a bigger door. Two others in your platoon, but they also will get 24 hours off. Vermontmom is still coming for the weekend and if you aren’t too embarrassed she has a message for you from me. I‘m glad you have 24 hours off. You can eat a meal and linger over it as long as you want.

Please don‘t beat yourself over this. Just pick yourself up and keep training. That you didn’t quit and ask to come home during reception or when you were in hospital with pneumonia tells me you ARE Army Strong. You just need to prove it to yourself by continuing with your training. OMG do you realize that on Aug 31st you couldn’t even do five proper push ups, your running time wouldn’t pass, you didn’t know how to dismantle, clean and fire an M whatever-it-is you carry around. You hadn’t jumped off a 35 foot tower (that I know of) climbed a big wall, ran five miles with 70 pounds on your back; nor did you know how to start an IV, dress a wound and identify someone going into shock. That’s a lot to learn in eight weeks! It makes my head spin and I’m used to multitasking with things falling apart around me.

The Girl and I discussed what we would make for you while you are at home. Christmas dinner will be pot roast, garlic mashed potatoes, the usual vegetables and carrot cake. I’m off both Christmas Eve and Christmas day; I’m so excited about this, too. It will be good to be with you and spend some time together as a family. Beav has missed you more than he will admit. I can‘t wait to see Kipper‘s reaction when you come home.

Please take care of yourself, your heart, your soul and your body. Have a wonderful day off on Saturday and laugh a few times. The laughter will free your spirit.

I love you.


Today’s Inspiration:

With all that is going on in our lives at this time, I'm sure at times
we all feel a little like this. Read all the way to the end.

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited
island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he
scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of
driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little
hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had
happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief,
grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching
the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here?'
asked the weary man of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they

The Moral of This Story:

It's easy to get discouraged when things are going badly, but we
shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the
midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your
little hut seems to be burning to the ground; it just may be a smoke
signal that summons the Grace of God.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Only Way Does Not Exist

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” Fredric Nietzsche (image from losanjealous.com)

I'm not sure where to begin purging all the ideas, thoughts and feelings I've had over the last week or so. In fact, this blog is only going to touch the surface of what I’ve been feeling; a feeling I wasn’t able to isolate until the other day when I posted a well thought out “status update” on Facebook and received flippant replies. Yeah, I know, it’s freakin’ Facebook, so get over it. It's not like I was blogging on Open Salon. And my friends aren’t mind readers so they didn't know I wasn't being light-hearted. The replies didn’t upset me as much as it pushed in my face something that has been bothering me a lot lately. The malaise this country operates under. It’s a malaise of cynicism and bitterness. A malaise I am prone to suffering. And I know it’s all chic and hip to be morose and gloomy and malevolent and snaky but really? Enough! The political left bitterly blames the right for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (ok, then all you folks on the left, stop driving your cars, riding trains, planes or buses and buying manufactured good because then we won’t need so much petroleum for products and gasoline.). The political right blames the left for the out of control debt and plague of terrors called health care (alright then all you folks on the right you can stop driving on the public highways and while you’re at it, if you’re 66 or older can we have all that money we put into Medicare back?) Yeah, the country--if not the world--is in a big mess and yeah, religious zealots and greed and capitalism is to blame. So don’t participate, go find a cave and be bitter and angry and cynical there. BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE ANY OF YOUR STUFF WITH YOU.

Some of my friends will call this a crisis of faith (I heartily agree, and will click the “like” button) but other friends might say it’s because we are at the “end times and Jesus is coming” (I would have to push the “meh” button on that one because we won’t know when the end is because that’s just how God rolls) And then I would have friends who would snark at me because I’m ignorant enough and unsophisticated enough to even believe in God much less the idea of Jesus.(the dislike and ignore function would be activated) And you know what? That kind of snark is just sad. I’m sick of snark. I’m sick of defending my faith to my acquaintances who are atheists. Fortunately, I have been vocal enough that most of my friends who happen to be agnostic or atheists just leave me alone and let me have my “Invisible Sky Friend” Actually, I love this moniker for God, and it makes me giggle and feel warm and cozy all over. Probably not Keith’s intent when he was sneering about evangelical Christians and let that lovely gem drop.

I’m guilty of sneering at evangelical Christians. But the one’s I sneer at are the judgy media whores and the judgy gay bashers who get caught with male escorts and their pants around their ankles. But then I’ll sneer at anyone who queer bashes because chances are they are and it’s too scary to contend with so they pour on the hate. I also sneer at people who refer to themselves as “Christians” when they protest at Veteran’s funerals with ugly, hateful signs claiming God hated their loved one for serving in the military because God hates fags so that’s why we were attacked on 9/11. Just thinking about Fred Phelps and his church makes my blood boil and my heart sad all at once. Because in some very small liberal minds Phelps is your typical Christian. Uh huh, just like the Palestinian who blow up cafes is your typical Muslim and the dumb mo’ fo Israeli who thought it would be an excellent strategy to take Muslims hostage in a Temple so the PLO would force everyone to start shooting--and the Jews could call foul--is your typical Jew.

One of my favorite people I get to share this Earth with is a very devout born again Christian. God only knows what she thinks of my foul mouth and my lifestyle and my ribald sense of humor but she loves me anyway and I know she prays for me because that’s what Jesus would do. How lucky am I to have a friend like that. Anyhow, K went to Israel a few years ago, with the intent to convert Jews to Christianity. I bristled when she told me she was going to do that but I told her I hoped she would have a safe and meaningful trip and I was (truly) looking forward to hearing her stories when she returned. K was supposed to travel with another woman but it feel through and she ended up alone and depending on a network of strangers, some Christian, some Jewish and some Muslim. Her daughter had a friend in Israel and they had friends and so on and so on and everyone, no matter what flavor of God they worshiped, welcomed K into their homes and hearts. She never got a chance to witness to them because they witnessed to her through their actions. She came home transformed and even more Christ like. My guess is K transformed their lives in ways she will never know because she is just that sort of person. K had a front row seat and experienced the futility of war and told me everyone she met just wants it to stop and feel the governments--all of the--are the driving force feeding the crazy on either side.

Our national past time of Beating Down Those People We Don’t Understand Or Agree With feeds the crazy here, too. It also feeds the malaise of fear and the malaise of anger and the malaise of anxiety we are suffering globally. But with our information explosion, it’s hard to turn away from the train wreck. At least, I’m having a hard time turning away. But I must turn away because I strongly believe my psychic vibration can affect my life for better or worse. God gave me this force but it is I who must tap into it and create my positive existence. But I can’t do it if I’m a partake in the Train Wreck Slide Show. In short, The Net is harshing my mellow. So what am I doing to stop--what feels like madness--in my plain? There are snaky blogs I’ve stopped following and sites specializing in doom and gloom and blatant scare tactic journalism. I have left a community I’ve been a member of for many years because I was sick to death of defending my spirituality which is accessorized in believing that Christ is my particular religion’s son of God. (Dude, it’s all God. Flying Spaghetti Monster, Loki, Allah, whatever) All I know and care about is my belief in God’s limitless and boundless grace is what gets me through most days. I was also sick to death of the malevolence directed towards any member of a particular political party. Finally, I had had enough of the smug, self-serving tone most of the participants had and their predilection to thinking they were the smartest, wittiest people on the planet. I beg to differ, they are actually some of the most mean-spirited and culturally bigoted people I’ve ever run across but it took me about ten years to figure it out. (Some of these people I love and will continue to keep in contact but that’s a handful) As an effort to take the high road, and walk the way of peace talk, I’m not mentioning the name of the community. Rather than fight it any longer because I’m not as well educated as the most vocal and erudite in the community, I’m pushing away from the table and declaring the relationship over. But it wasn’t without getting angry about it a few weeks ago. I was letting my anger seethe and boil but I gave it one more go yesterday and all my lurking prompted was my status update someplace else who’s ill timed and not thought out responses further flamed the fire of a marvelous egomaniacal fantasy.

Yesterday, I imagined shouting loudly enough so even earthlings whom were asleep would awaken, those who were fighting in wars would hear over the chaos of death and those who were working would listen:

“ stopSTopSTOSTOP bickering and just live and let live!!”
“Use the next five minutes to breath deeply and think about whatever it is that makes you the happiest, be it Jesus, Zeus, your dog or gold or opium crops. Just stop whatever it is your doing and take five minutes to contemplate what makes your heart soar.”

And the erudite left is not the only guilty party in this game. Another place I frequent has a mix of ideologies; one of the members--in the middle of a discussion of the Fort Hood shootings--had the audacity to blame Obama for them. Whatever, dude. Sheesh crazy is as crazy does. But this is typical of the hysteria coming from the right. I can’t whine too much about the right because I pointedly avoid most US news outlets because of the fear mongering. (I have enough fear conjured up in my head, thanks, I don’t need any flavor of wing nut telling me what to fear or think.) And frankly, I am more left leaning so I don’t know of many right leaning publications. But the crap The Huffington Post spews out could tip me over to the other side. No wonder the right hates the left. We act like a bunch of know-it-all-assholes because they act like Holier-than-thou-demagogues who hate everyone else in one breath but tell us we need to all be more like Jesus who didn‘t hate anyone and probably would be happy to have dinner with just about anyone who would have him.

But isn’t that the beauty of the human condition, this duality, this flawed-ness. We are all so deeply and beautifully flawed. The Girl blames Adam and Eve but I think it was all part of God’s divine plan and he would have found a reason to kick us out of the garden anyhow. Because God was like that in the beginning, pretty much impossible to please and quick to anger. It wasn’t until he calmed down somewhere after Jacob and started thinking about giving Earth Jesus who could be his mouthpiece for peace since he hadn’t done such a bang up job before then.

So if you name yourself a liberal, shake right-winger’s hand. And if you are right wing, shake a bleeding heart liberal’s hand and after that, don’t forget to breathe and let your heart soar for a minute cuz it’s a great feeling.