Saturday, November 3, 2018

A Number of Things

This post is named after this 1980s
Chapel Hill hardcore band, even though
it has nothing to do with them. I always
loved this album cover though!
If you are reading this, I thank you… from the bottom of my crusty old heart. It’s been really hard lately to put thoughts into words and words onto a page, for many reasons. I keep thinking the blackout is over—I write a blog post, but then I just snap right back to where I was… busy, blank-minded and bummed out. 

Actually, bummed out isn’t all that accurate… I mean, I AM bummed out about SOME things, but not most things. In general, I’d say I’m pretty content. And blank-minded? My mind isn’t so much blank as… muddled. I have a LOT of things going on in there, but they can’t be nailed down into cohesive thoughts. I thought maybe the best way to proceed is to just tell you what’s happening and some of the things I have on my mind… If you’ve read any of my past posts, these refrains will sound familiar, but it’s where I’m at.

Pumpkin spice...
it's not for everything.
1. Remember all those times you wished I would stop bringing up the menopause that loomed large on my horizon? Well, this is the last time, ‘cos that ship has sailed. You don’t have to hear about it ever again, and I can no longer blame my many failings on it. As menopauses go, mine was fairly mild, for which I am thankful.

2. Fall. Pumpkin Spice. Boots. Jackets. Jackets that I leave everywhere I go – because here in the south you never know if you’re going to need one or not. What’s the temperature now? Will the A/C be on? Will it be cold when I get out? Crap.... where the %@$!*! did I leave my jacket? (Okay, so maybe that part of menopause where you can’t remember stuff is still with me... or maybe that's just an excuse!) Anyway, despite the trail of jackets I leave behind me, ain’t fall grand? Especially after the greasy hotness of a southern summer?

Bill's new school! We love it!
3. Bill’s new school—Durham School of the Arts. We couldn’t be more pleased. He’s been working hard and he hasn’t complained once… Dare I say… he LIKES it? Let me tell you, my friend, if a 14-year-old boy likes something… well, THAT is something approaching a miracle! Along with all the standard stuff like math and history and all, he’s playing guitar every single day and learning digital design…  What’s more he KNOWS how good he’s got it. I’m so thankful, y’all… What a blessing.

4. Those are some of the good things… but lest you start to think my life is unrelentingly awesome, here are some things I am struggling with: meal planning / cooking, making / keeping our house looking presentable, having a lower salary than last year, trying to find a new client, figuring out what to get Tom for Christmas, how best to participate in taking care of my elderly mother…

For sure the Christian life
should be chock full of love
and mercy. Also, this is a good
movie if you haven't seen it yet.
5. And yes, I’m still struggling with current politics and the church. A couple of the leaders at our church are more conservative than I am, and It’s been hard to hear when these views pop up occasionally. It’s really made me feel detached from the church I’ve belonged to since the late eighties... I don’t go around spouting off about it, but listening to others has let me know that I’m not alone… and that helps. I’ve flirted with the idea of finding a place to worship Jesus that is more in line with my political views, but in the end I decided to remain in this imperfect community. Aren’t they all imperfect after all? And even though our conservative uncle has the mike right now, our church is and has always been made up of folks of all kinds, united by their love of Jesus. They have always been kind and loving and have done a lot to minister to me, to each other and to the world around them. They are, for better or for worse, my family. No, of course I’m not married to them, but dissolving our union would be more heartbreaking than simply just “going to another church.”

6. This discordance I’m experiencing has been hard, but it’s also kept me from becoming complacent and … sure of my “rightness.” Again, it would be tempting to switch to a church that always tells me what I am already thinking, wouldn’t it? Instead I listen to my conservative uncle and ponder what he says. I dissect the conclusions he’s drawn from the Bible, then read the Bible myself—and maybe some other reputable commentaries—and draw my own prayed-over conclusions, which may or may not be the same as his. Because of this push and pull in my brain, I’ve been given the occasion to really think about sin and redemption, love and social justice and what the Christian life should look like. 

Soul Asylum, y'all.
7. If you’re waiting for me to tell you what the Christian life should look like, well, you can keep on waiting. If you want to have coffee or a beer and talk about it, I’m available, but the only thing I know for sure, is that there’s a lot of love and mercy in it. I mean, there has to be… if you’re going to put up with me. If I’m going to put up with you. 

8. The song that goes with this post is Soul Asylum's New York Blackout. I don't know what THEY meant by it, but I always think about St. John of the Cross's "dark night of the soul" ... where you just feel blinded and shut out from God but you just keep looking for God... because just because the lights are out doesn't mean He's not there. "In a New York blackout, it's so hard to see / All the angels that are looking after me.... And I may never escape this darkened city / Still I'm trying to find you in this blackout." 

9. I honestly don’t know why I felt the need to put this in list format… it doesn’t really work, but maybe I’m just trying to look organized when I clearly am not! Also, with a list you can just end the tirade with the last item and not have a summation or anything.