Friday, April 25, 2008
"Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them."
I can't wait.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Reading the Old Testament can make a person want to duct tape their mouth shut, sometimes. You said the wrong thing, there were consequences. Even in the New Testament - you call your brother a fool, you're in danger. I've wondered, sometimes, when we lost that awareness, that something as insubstantial as the spoken word has immense power. For a long time, most of 47 years, I thought words don't have that kind of power any more.
Two summers ago, A told me "No-one can ever love you like the woman who gave birth to you." I don't remember what I responded, but it was something along the lines of my not being able to imagine loving her more if she had been born to me. But I knew that whatever I said wouldn't make any difference. She'll be 30 someday, I thought, and she'll get it.
Fast forward to last week. I told A what she had said.
"I said that??!??!" she asked. "But it totally depends on who's raising you, and how you're being raised!"
And I had an almost physical feeling of chains falling away, somewhere deep, where things matter to me the most.
It's made me stop and think about what other words are binding me, that I'm not aware of.
And I'm overwhelmed with gratitude that it didn't take her until she was 30 :)
It is snowing again today. Every day it snows a little more, and every day the weather forecasters look uncomfortable and embarrassed.
It's definitely maybe going to stop sometime soon probably. Or sooner than August.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Art is the secret handshake of the children of God, the inside joke among those with souls. The spark that is ignited within us when we are touched by a work of art is a spark of recognition: the artist has brought us a souvenir from our homeland beyond the material world, the place that none of us should know about, but all of us do. To connect with a piece of art is to connect with the artist as a fellow traveler, to realize that you are both walking the same rocky road, and that he is homesick too. And it matters because true art, art that seeks a connection of souls, makes it harder to devalue and dehumanize one another. It reminds us what it means to be human.
Couldn't hurt to go read the whole post now, could it?
I'm going to clean up the kitchen now, and boy, it going to be tough to let anyone in there before we leave.
And we don't leave until FRIDAY. This is TUESDAY.
What am I going to do all night Thursday now????
Monday, April 21, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
It started snowing yesterday morning. It is still snowing. There are apparently no plans for the snow to stop before TUESDAY.
At least I don't have to decide whether or not I should take time to clean out my flower beds before going to Glen Eyrie. Where it will probably snow, and then the Instructor-Who-Shall-Remain-NamelessbutlivesinFlorida who was so appalled by the snow at Glen Eyrie at the end of February will ask to schedule next year's conference in August.
It's not that I hate snow. It's just ...April. Let's have a dusting of spring snow here and there, get the powder nice and deep in the mountains for the fanatics - but must we have Narnia?
I'm just going to stop now because there is no good way to end this.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Now, sometimes, we will say "It is SNOWING!" and mean "There are a few scattered white bits in the air, and a certain nip to the breeze." When we complain about that kind of snow, it's because it is often an unwelcome portent of Things To Come.
This is not that kind of snow.
This is copious quantities of large fluffy flakes, obscuring the buildings across the street.
And yes, it is April here, just as it is wherever you with the sun shining upon live.
I am less than amused.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
In which the navel, it is gazed upon. Feel free to wait for light tales of amusing children if you'd rather.
A's birthmother was coming for a visit last weekend.
"So how do you feel about that?", my friend T asked.
I launched into a long, glowing speech about how good it is for A to see her birthmother and how happy I am for her that this is happening and how good I think it is for A.
T was unimpressed. "I didn't ask about A," she said. "I asked about you. How do YOU feel about it?"
Well huh. That took some thought. Fine. I'm fine. I'm just fine with it, I told her. There was another thought lurking in the way back of my mind, but I didn't look at it, because I was too fine.
Fast forward to the Day of the Visit. A and I get into a stupid spiralling argument about something so trivial it makes my skin itch, and I try to stop it and we just can't seem to get past it and I find myself bursting into tears. As I am trying to work on my novel at the time, I manage to make it seem like the novel is making me cry. This is so close to a lie, it's splitting hairs to say it's not a lie.
What I really crying about is I am having a fight with A on the day her birthmother is coming to visit and MAYBE SHE WILL LIKE HER MORE THAN SHE LIKES ME, just for today.
Here's the thing. A doesn't owe me anything, allegiance, love - nothing. She's made my life amazing. She's filled an empty space in my heart that was exactly the shape she is. She (together with her brother) has made me happier, as a mother, than I ever dreamed possible. Figuring out that you don't have to have a favourite between the woman who gave birth to you and the woman who is raising you, when you're kinda fond of them both, is hard work, and I don't need to put any pressure on her to make me feel good. She'll work it out someday. I can wait.
But just for that moment, I was insecure.
I mentionned this to T on Monday, driving home from work.
"Yeah," she said, "I figured it wouldn't hurt to remind you that you're allowed to have feelings around this too."
I went to a poetry workshop/par-tay this weekend. First of all, WOW, but also ...yikes.
Part of the weekend was The Announcement of the Prize Winners for the recent contest at www.utmostchristianwriters.com. There were several hundred entrants in this contest, and I placed 19th. 19th out of 100 would have been stellar. I was 19th out of several hundred. Fantastic, right?
I was disappointed. Also rather annoyed at myself for being disappointed, but disappointed nonetheless. And frustrated. I think that I can see the difference between my poetry and the top prizewinners but I don't know how to bridge that gap. As I was hiding in the bathroom trying to figure out what was SO WRONG with just wanting to be the BEST, this question slipped quietly into my mind.
"Why do you want to be the best?"
I'm a Christian. I know all the right answers. To give glory to God. To use the gift I've been given. To strive for excellence. "We are called to excellence", I have spouted many many times.
Those weren't my answers. They weren't even on my list of answers. The answers rose like monsters from the murk. Because I am smart. I am not as good looking as my brother or as funny as my brother but I am smart. Because my dad won't mind that I'm fat if I'm the best in the class. Smart is who I am, and if I'm first, I'm the smartest.
Here's the awesome thing.
That is answer enough for me. I don't feel guilty about wanting a good thing for the wrong reasons. Almost instantly, I was happy with 19th place, and so very happy not to have gotten 1st or 2nd or 3rd when my motivation to do that well was coming from a wounded place. I've known for a long time that I have this crushing need to be the best in the class - I fight against it in workshops and 8 week courses I've taken. I've tried to wrestle it to the ground.
High time I asked for Help.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
I think you have to live in Canada to fully appreciate this story. You need to know that up north of the 49th parallel, everything is labelled in both of our official languages, English and French.
A was trying to convince me to buy her a cute pair of socks yesterday.
A: But they’re now maintenant!!
Me: (knowing full well she did not know): And maintenant would be?
A, grinning: Something GOOD!
Me: French for the word “now”.
I don’t know which one of us laughed harder.
Monday, April 07, 2008
So someone called me “eccentric” the other day. After thinking about if for a bit, I thought I needed clarification of that, so we had the following e-mail exchange.
Me: How is “eccentric” different from “weird”? Because when I think “eccentric” I think of the mad scientist in Back to the Future.
Friend: Well, that's just your perception of eccentric. I see it as someone who forges their own way, but without stealing plutonium.
I think I need that on a T-shirt.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
A child asks: “Why can’t I have a peeled apple?” - well, you can, I say, I’m just not peeling it. And what I don’t say is - And why do you want to peel it? The peel is healthy! Should I make a rule about eating apple peels? I don’t think I should. I don’t think apple peel will kill you and it’s not like apple peel is a chore to chew, so I’d certainly prefer it if the apple peel was consumed with the apple, but I’m pretty sure that’s sweating the small stuff.
And this is why mothering is exhausting – I did not spend one single solitary second, as a childless person, figuring out an Approach to apple peel.
(alternate title: How to Make Your Mother Crazy)
- Have a discussion in the car on the way home from an evening event in which you promise your mother you will go to bed as soon as is humanly possible after you get home, and then, when you get home, decide that the only bedtime snack you could possibly stomach would be homemade applesauce. (Which you plan to make yourself but your mother, for some reason, doesn’t want to tell you how to make it)
- When your mother, who is still not feeling that great, goes to bed at 9:30, walk into her room at 9:45 to tell her that you and your sibling have noticed that she hasn’t bought peaches for many many months.
- Follow the 9:45 visit with a 9:52 visit complaining about the fact your sibling is having a peeled apple for a snack. Make sure your mother knows how desperately unfair this is, when said mother refuses to peel apples for YOU, even though she has not, in this case, peeled the offending apple.
- Follow the 9:52 with a visit for any reason. Chances are your mother will not wait to uncover the reason for the 10:02 visit before sending you to bed.