A Late July Update

So no, in regards to my last post, we haven’t found a suitable place of worship just yet. I’m still not ready to give up, but with all the violence and BS happening around the World, I can feel my heart getting hard. I don’t want to be a bitter person. I talked to my dad last week about letting go of grudges and regrets, something I’ve been able to (mostly) do through meditative practices. He relayed he has always had trouble with it. For me, I saw it as intentionally defeating my ego and eliminating wasteful, unproductive habits and beliefs. We all program our brains differently, whether with intent or by accident. I decided I didn’t want to be mad at people who were jerks to me or constantly relive experiences where I failed to rise to the occasion. It surely won’t help me live in the present or be happy, and I think I’ve learned all there was from those experiences, so I discarded that junk like a holey old pair o’ drawers.

My first chapbook, Dravet Syndrome Blues, is written. I’m letting the poems air out and settle for a few days, then I’ll scrutinize them with red pen in hand, and revise. They won’t be too reworked- I want them to be not only GOOD, but an encapsulation of my current influences, experiences, and ability as a writer. I’ve solicited a little feedback, which has been helpful, but I have to just go or I will talk myself out of it. I’m working on layout and design at the moment. Design is not my strong suit, but that’s okay. I haven’t produced a physical product in forever (16 years or so), and I’m excited.

Speaking of books, I finally got around to reading Cormac McCarthy’s “All the pretty horses.” What a fantastic story, and McCarthy is able to write stark, laconic cowboy prose interspersed with flourished, descriptive passages in a way which is totally natural, without an air of contrivance.He’s not trying too hard-he’s just really that good. He is a living master.

Albuquerque is still magical.

I start work next week. I’m looking forward to it, but also not. I have enjoyed having little stress and no routine, but I am a person who very much needs a rigid routine. It will be a good addition to my life.

In addition to routine, I discovered that I also like taking risks and having adventures.  I’m writing this from a hotel room outside Denver. We drove 6.5 hours here so Lindsay and the oldest kid could go see Sufjan Stevens. It wasn’t a bad drive, but prior to realizing that our lives were finite and we were in charge of the character of our lives, I don’t know we would have done this. I want awesome experiences. I don’t hate road trips like I once did, and don’t get tired driving for more than 45 minutes, as growing up on an island is prone to induce.

So things aren’t perfect. I still hold on to old crap sometimes, and sometimes I’m grumpy and snap at the kids. Sometimes I don’t sleep well, and have learned there’s no wisdom in saying “I’ve never gotten sunburn on the tops of my feet”. Still, I think I’m in a good place, literally and figuratively. Seizures, and the threat thereof, are constantly lurking, and I never thought I could feel so dried up by someone else’s condition, but this in my normal. We have abundant moments, and are making stuff happen. I’ll take it.

 

Appointments

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I largely grew up in the evangelical church. I volunteered at the church office, doing admin work, and provided manual labor when needed. Church was safer than home, so I was there as much as possible.

There was a “Christianese” phrase I heard a lot in the 90’s/early 2000’s, and occasionally still do. It’s “divine appointment”. The idea is that God interacts with the trajectory of your life by injecting a person, or problem, or comforting thing, from which to learn and grow, or act in a situation.

36 doves on wires, against an obscenely blue sky. If someone were to suggest God put it there for me to see and appreciate, I would protest only mildly.

 

A Poem (a fun one)  from my upcoming chapbook Dravet Syndrome Blues:

Platitudes

When life gives you lemons
And your hands are covered in dozens of unexplained, tiny cuts
You can’t make lemonade without considerable pain
But you can make apologies and excuses

When opportunity knocks
Sometimes it’s life, giving you lemons
And sometimes it’s Mormons
Even though the sign says “No Soliciting”

It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile
And many more to make lemonade
Even more telling the Mormon kids their homophobic intergalactic sexcult is creepy
And you’re not referring to a twenty-year-old as “Elder”, but you’ll help them escape

God doesn’t give you more than you can handle
I don’t think I could handle managing a combination Taco Bell/Pizza Hut
So I guess I’m glad for that one
I just want to stay far, far away from lemons.

 

 

 

 

Two years

Facebook reminded me it’s the 2nd anniversary of meeting that a-hole monster, Dravet Syndrome. Here are some of my posts from that day:

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Communion

communion

I struggle with communion, and haven’t taken it for about a year. It’s not that I find it unbiblical, or bad theology, or unnecessary pageantry/ritual. I like the idea of a communal, unifying act. It’s one of the few things most Christian congregations observe that comes directly from words and behavior attributed to Jesus (like loving poor people) rather than our cultural baggage filtered through a biblically liberal 21st Century (but at times feeling more 19th Century) Evangelical lens (like freaking out about gay people but remaining largely silent regarding the commercialization of religion, pervasive institutional racism, sexism, divorce, or environmental stewardship).

I haven’t figured out what it is about observing the Lord’s Supper that gives me pause. I don’t think that my issue is that I don’t “believe” in communion. I’m hoping this writing will help me sift through it all. I also hope I’m not just being a stubborn ass-in the past that’s been the simple answer.

Part of me wants to just shut up, get I line, take communion, and be done with it. If I am regularly attend a church’s services, I am submitting to the leadership of the minister and staff. I walked in to their thing, and I should follow them, unless they’re obviously super wrong. That’s not been my experience in the last several places we’ve worshipped.

EDIT: I wrote the above portion of text last week. This past Sunday I did take communion. On my way down the aisle, I prayed about my stubbornness, my rebellious smartassness. I prayed to get over myself. These parts of myself have been beneficial, such as not tolerating bullshit or in fighting with medical personnel for Paloma’s care, but I was ready to let go of it, to slay my ego. It have It appears to have worked-communion was a good experience. There’s still something weird about it for me, but I can move forward without knowing everything inside and out. I can have space for mysteries. Perhaps I’ll eventually be able to derive comfort from not knowing, from Universal insignificance. I can not know and it won’t matter. Perhaps I can live in the present moment and not in my own head all the time, and routinely enjoy taking communion.