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I’m grumpy this morning… May 18, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in prayer.
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…or as my mom would say, I’m being a “crabapple sourpuss”.

Dear Lord, I really, really want to make sure that this day starts out on the right foot. I know I need to have an attitude adjustment pronto if that’s going to happen. Please help. Just…help. I don’t know what else to say. As I sit here eating my yogurt and feeling grumpy about the day ahead, watch over me. Help me with the realization that the people I serve today are probably experiencing all kinds of grief and fear and sorrow and uncertainty that I know nothing about. Work through me and allow the small service I perform for them to be a moment in time in which they may experience you through me. That’s all I ask. Oh, that and a large dose of patience with equally cranky co-workers. Thanks.

I was listening to a conversation… May 15, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in theology, work, worship.
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…between two of my coworkers today, both of whom are absolutely delightful women – I can’t even tell you how much laughter we’ve shared with each other in the almost-year that I’ve worked here. Anyway, both of them are Pentecostal. One is the only-wears-dresses and doesn’t-wear-makeup-or-watch-TV sort, and the other worships at an Assemblies of God church and has no problem with pants or makeup, but thoroughly rejects anything secular in her choice of TV or music. I love these women, I really do. We talk about all manner of things having to do with their worship style versus mine (they call theirs “pew-jumping”!), and they love to talk about the Bible and what particular verses might be trying to teach them. These conversations are always illuminating to me, because we have such different approaches to the Scriptures, but I never say anything. I guess I don’t want to seem argumentative, or perhaps I just know that no matter what I say their opinions are fixed and won’t be changed, so why bother? (Hmmm, that’s kind of a cruddy attitude for a wannabe seminarian…)

But in the course of this conversation, a rather disturbing idea occurred to me. It was that, somehow, it seems no matter how much they claim to be free from all fear because they are saved, they are very afraid indeed – afraid of challenges to their ideas, and afraid to try and really embrace the idea of a God who is bigger than they are, and whose ways are unknowable. They say they are open to the amazing workings of the Holy Spirit in ways which non-Pentecostals are not, but there seem to be a limited number of forms those workings take – speaking in tongues, holy laughter, and being slain in the Spirit are just a few. I’ve asked one of them if they think there is any possibility that maybe, just maybe the Spirit works in a quieter way through our Church and through the gradual changing of people’s hearts in ways that serve to break down gender discrimination, homophobia, and racism. Do the workings of the Holy Spirit have to be loud and immediately obvious at a glance? The gist of the answer was that these things are not the working of the Holy Spirit – we are being “led astray”, because God has already told us what everyone’s role in society is, through the Bible.

I kind of had to end the conversation at this point on an “agree to disagree” basis, because it would be too hard to work with someone who you believe is firmly in Satan’s clutches, and if we went any further that might be the conclusion she ended up drawing about me! I believe it is human nature to seek out a better understanding of and a deeper relationship with that which created us – God. But God is not a person – and I don’t want Her to be! I want to understand God’s will for me, but I don’t want to understand God.

Nonetheless, a happy 100th birthday to the Pentecostal movement! This same friend I had the above conversation with was telling me how she was about to take her 4 year old son out of “children’s church” and let him start coming to “big people’s church”. When he asked her what he was supposed to do and how he was supposed to behave, she said “well, you sit down and be quiet”. When she told me this story later, she followed up with, “And right after I told him that, I remembered, “wait a minute – we’re Pentecostal!”

I met with my spiritual director last night… May 13, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Boy-o, prayer, theology, worship.
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…since it’s the last time I’ll be able to do so until after the wedding madness and our subsequent vacation to Sea World in June. It’s only the third time I’ve met with her, so I’m still at the stage of not really knowing what to expect out of the relationship, if relationship is indeed the right word for it. Due to some scheduling conflicts, I had to take Boy-o with me, and I was so happy that she didn’t mind, but I was out of my head if I thought for one minute that she and I were going to be able to have any type of normal conversation with a rambunctious 2 year old in the room!

He was playing with the sunglasses he had gotten for his birthday. I had shared with her some of the events of my past and some of what happened this past week, and we were talking about the idea of being in bondage to the past and I was relating it to something I’ve been reading about God freeing us from bondage being a repetitive theme through Scripture – hey, these concepts may be old hat to some of you RevGals, but they’re new to me, ok? 🙂 – when we heard a *crack* – Boy-o had sat on the sunglasses and broken an earpiece, and he was now angry they wouldn’t fit on his face anymore. He started to cry and throw a fit, and I was embarrassed. I tried to hug him, but he was too mad for that. I tried to give him the broken sunglasses back, but that made him angry, too. I tried to hide the glasses from him, but that made him scream louder. I was getting progressively more embarrassed at my inability to control my child’s temper in front of my spiritual director, and I finally just told her that I didn’t know how to handle the situation correctly. She said that I had to let him grieve the loss of the sunglasses, and that being only 2, he didn’t have the words to say so – he was expressing his frustration the only way he knows how, and I had to honor that experience. So, I sat back for a minute and let him scream. Then I took his face in my hands and said, “I know you’re mad, but you have lots of other toys over there to play with…your puzzle, your cars, and your Elmo.” With that, the screams subsided into sobs, and he said, “Elmo?” and that was the end of that. It was all over with much more quickly than when I have spanked him and said, “You do NOT throw fits!” The broken sunglasses went into my pocket, and he played the rest of the time while I laid on her floor and we continued talking about control and being freed from that need through the understanding that God loves me with as much (and more) desperation as I love Boy-o…and to relate it to the bondage theme, that while I may think I’m in control of a given situation and that is in fact what makes it feel freeing to me, it is really just a different way of being in bondage.

triangular communication May 11, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in family, life.
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My little sister’s wedding is now two weeks and 2 days away. It’s the home stretch. Things are down to the wire. And so our mom called me tonight and asked me in so many words to PLEASE speak with my sister and tell her that “I” – as in me, Angel – hate “The Wedding March” and could she please choose something else for her processional, and to please do it quickly so we can get the programs printed? And when I’m finished, can I please call her back and tell her what my sister said?

🙂

So, I call my sister. The first question out of her mouth is, “Did Mom ask you to call me?” “No,” I told her, “she ordered me to. She also said to tell you that if you march up the aisle to “Here Comes the Bride” that our great-grandmother will be rolling over in her grave, because we are “lace-curtain Irish”, not “shanty Irish.” At which point I then told Mom that she has been reading too many Andrew Greeley novels, and that the shanty Irish have more fun. However, I did agree to call you because I DO hate “Here Comes the Bride”, but if you like it, you like it, and it’s your wedding!” It turns out she’s not committed to that particular choice, but doesn’t know any others, and this church (ELCA), unlike the one I was married in (Roman Catholic) , didn’t give her a neat little book of music for weddings to look through. I marched up the aisle to Jeremiah Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary”, but I’ve always had a taste for the regal. For my camping, hiking, mountain-climbing sister, I recommended Bach’s “Arioso”…or John Lennon’s “Grow Old Along With Me”.

So big surprise, I’m not amazingly insightful… May 8, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Canada, chaos, life.
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…or witty or spiritual all the time…sometimes I even just get so bummed out I can’t do a simple meme.

This is one of those instances where I wish Blogger had the privacy features of livejournal – and honestly, that is what has kept me from posting for awhile. I’ve been having a mini “crisis of ego” for the last couple of weeks, and I’ve needed to write about it, but haven’t wanted to put it in the public domain. But this morning I’ve cracked – I need to make an attempt to get the words out, where I can see them. Then perhaps they (the words) and the accompanying sense of worthlessness will get out of my head and we can return to normal – as normal as it ever gets for me, anyway.

A few weeks ago, I was friended on myspace by someone I had been in love with a long, long time ago. I can’t really say he was an ex…we weren’t “together” per say. But I did love him, and not in a fun, I’m-so-glad-you’re-in-my-life kind of way, either – more in a desperate, pathetic, oh-God-if-I-can’t-have-you-I’m-just-going-to-die kind of way.

Yuck.

Anyway, I figured it was harmless to friend him back. It’s been years and years after all, and I’m married with a family of my own, my priorities are entirely different than they were then – I’m happy and healthy and connected to my family and community, an entire world away from the miserable runaway verging on becoming a drunk. Our first IM conversation in all this time sent my heart a-fluttering away with nervousness, in a very BAD way. Yes, I know we’re older, but oh dear…would he think I was still cool? Would he like my picture? Did I still have the ability to be nonchalant and cynical in that smarmy kind of way in which I used to talk? In short, it took no more than the exchange of three sentences between us to transport me back in time and make me want to impress him! Him! The guy who insulted the way I looked, refused to be affectionate with me if anyone was around who might see, and who let me pay for absolutely EVERYTHING. The one who was very, very good at speaking love and romance, who cried as many tears (if not more) as I did when we fought, who begged me NOT to return his emails and phone calls when we finally went our separate ways so that he could heal from the experience. The guy who had me feeling so worthless that I once cried for 20 straight hours. The only positive part of the whole experience was that he became my example for everything love is NOT supposed to be, so that when the real thing walked into my life in the form of my husband, I recognized it and held on for dear life.

To make a long story short, it obviously wasn’t harmless to friend him back. I should have let bygones be bygones, but I was curious. Curious about what path he had gone down since we parted ways, curious to know if time had made him a better person. And the answer, to my dismay, is a resounding “NO”. It’s a shame I had to actually go and dig in the dirt to be reminded of that fact.

Yuck, yuck, yuck.

“The past is another country. They do things differently there.” L.P. Hartley, The Go-Between

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Birthdays May 5, 2006

Posted by introspectreangel in Friday Fives.
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I know, I know, I’ve been a bad – nay, nonexistent blogger this week. Sorry, I’ve had my nose buried in a book, Marcus Borg’s Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Good stuff.

1. Favorite birthday cake/ice cream/dessert

I love sweets, so I’ll answer all three! My favorite birthday cake was the Raggedy Ann cake my mom made me when I turned 5. These days, though, I lean towards German chocolate. My favorite ice cream is chocolate chip chocolate – ANYTIME, not just for birthdays! Dessert: chocolate chip cookies.

2. Surprise parties – ever given or received one?

Yes – I gave my husband one for his 31st birthday, because our lives were in big time transition when he turned 30, so I needed to make up for missing the big one! He gave me one for my 27th birthday, right before we got married. I had just come home from work (I was a manager at a deli) and I stunk to high heaven and there were all these people in my house! Ick!

3. Favorite birthday present.

My son. At the risk of this being much too much information, I’m pretty sure we made him on or around my 28th birthday. 🙂

4. What do you think of those candles that won’t blow out?

ANNOYING.

5. Best. Birthday. Ever.

28th. We hosted a joint birthday party for me and summer BBQ for our young adult group at church. Our apartment was teeny tiny, there was lots of beer, great burgers, the swimming pool, lots of good friends, and a great talk from Mother Barb. Oh, and I dyed my hair pink. It was gorgeous!