Tag Archives: faith

betrayal, rejection, the usual and then the six month plan

the great theologian and my personal adviser on all matters of faith rev. mike coglan once asked me to imagine for just one moment what it would feel like if i knew, really knew, that God loved me.  exactly the way i am.  even with the things i have done or, perhaps especially, the things i have considered doing.  regardless of how anyone might feel about me and their criticisms or snubs of no mind because God loves me.  hold that imagining for a moment.  and then another moment.

turnpike

this is not a thought experiment to perform while driving on the ohio turnpike. when i did it, i had to pull over because the emotion was so overwhelming. otherwise, that eighteen wheeler behind me would have started a mosh pit of cars and trucks and amish carriages. our tippy cups are filled with self loathing and guilt when we are young. i was able to work up to ten seconds or so with that thought. then i’d be my usual self.

 

stick with me here, we’re going to get through the bad news like a quick liver sausage dinner and save the good news for last like a delicate tiramasu!

i absorb all the negatives and slings and arrows of outrageous (and some spot on) circumstance and influences.  maybe you do too.  i’m not good enough.  i’m too fat.  i’m too stupid.  i’m too old.* i’ve done too little to deserve to suck oxygen in the same planet as (insert anybody’s name here).  i’m not good enough for any expenditure of the two greatest treasures–time and talent–that any worthy person has.**

rejection

ugh, you can’t sit at this lunch table!  have you ever noticed that the cool kids had the power to reject you and that made them even cooler?  and we didn’t have taylor swift whispering in our ear “shake it off off off!”  i sometimes feel like i have never functionally graduated high school.  oh, yeah, i forgot.  i didn’t actually graduate high school.

some people i.e. the coolest of cool kids can oscillate rejection and acceptance in just the right way.  third period they’re sharing their snickers with you and seventh period they boldly announce that you’re a bed wetter.  the truly bad news is you’ll still think they’re cool and that you’re not.  you’ll hold onto seventh period until you’re on your deathbed and you tell the story of that betrayal to a nurse who will just assume that you’re mumbling again.  the baddest of all bad news is that you can’t be betrayed by a stranger.  only by someone you love and trust and think you know.

cute puppy

oscillating acceptance and rejection is a sure fire way to make your dog go crazy. putting a picture of a cute puppy in a blog post is a sure fire way of making people go “awwwww!”

 

are we done with the bad news yet?  well, actually, not quite.  just one more smidgen of liver sausage coming in for a landing on your tongue.

all this bad juju makes for bad choices, bad health, bad consequences.  i’ve got more than my share.  too many sleepless nights thinking of what did i do wrong.  too many sleepless nights standing in front of the refrigerator sniffing through boxes of leftover Chinese carryout.  too many times i have gone along with something i didn’t feel right about.  but thought that if i did, i’d be liked, loved, accepted.  i am invariably wrong.

how about you?

are we done yet?  are we done yet?  yes, stop it we are!  we’re at the good news and the six month plan.

 

my dear friend and couturier jeweler designer susan laid down the law in a very tender but firm way after the portland airport incident.  i had collapsed just after being molested in the usual but invasive way by a tsa agent.  i had a seizure.  a concussion.  i woke up in an ambulance with a paramedic asking

“what’s your name?  do you know your name?”

“i don’t remember,”  i replied haughtily.  well, as haughtily as one can do when one is in an ambulance and doesn’t remember one’s name.  i added “lots of people do not remember their name.”

“what about your birthday?”  asked another paramedic crowding into the scene.  “you know your birthday?”

“a gentleman never asks that question of a lady,”  i said.  full throttle maggie smith vigor.  “i wouldn’t presume to ask yours.”

portland hospital

what a great hospital! really nice doctors and nurses. they gave me the functional equivalent of a checkup in just a few hours and concluded that i’m a pretty much healthy femme d’une certain age but that i might need a neurologist/neurosurgeon and definitely should check back in with my primary care physician when i got back home.  and i’m still a bit wonky because of the accident with the 75 pound dog excited to go for a walk in the snow and the 45 degree pitch driveway that i never followed up on.

i don’t have a primary care physician.  i haven’t been to the dentist since cyndi lauper put out her best album.  i don’t get my hair done or my nails did (slight reference to drake — you fancy huh?) i’ve sort of given up.

“you need to take care of yourself,”  susan advised.  “you’re the only one who will.  you need to spend six months taking care of yourself.  putting yourself first.  nobody else. you’re number one for the next six months.”

she’s known me since i wore leg warmers over my jeans so i trust her.

excuse me?  where is the good news here?  i thought we were at the good news part.

well, there is good news.  i am going to spend the next six months repairing myself.  maybe you need this too.  maybe we do it together.  i’m starting small.  but i’m going to work my way back to whatever i was before the tippy cup sprayed all over me.

number one i’m not going to buy any article of clothing that is black for the next six months.

black

i have half a dozen black sweaters. no colors. same with skirts, pants, jackets, shoes. in the eighties (nineteenth not eighteenth) it was a sophisticated choice. now i just look like i’m going to my own funeral. ashes to my ashes and dust to my dust. do you have a similar wardrobe quirk?  or a similar habit that tends to reinforce a sense that you’re not worth much?  btw, black as a wardrobe choice makes it possible to disappear.  can you see me in this  picture of my dress?

 

my next project is to get myself a primary care physician.  oh, and a dentist.  i am taking recommendations. bon vivant and devastatingly handsome seventyish bill seymour has given me the name of one i hope will take me on.  a little rough getting a primary care physician these days bur we’ll give it a shot.

party girl

goodbye black dresses. and goodbye, or at least au revoir, to the negative. one moment by this moment. kind of need to pull over on this ohio turnpike.  at least until february 5, 2017

 

*lately, i’ve been getting the “too old or otherwise invisible” message from folks.  guess my age.  anything less than 56 gets you a prize.  i don’t know what the prize is.  it might be a pony.  or backstage passes to (insert name of hipster band here).  or it might just be a thank you note.

**that one is not quite true.  my good friend and theater impresario chris johnson is directing a play i wrote while on a thirty day road trip to canada.  i did not drive and write at the same time.  otherwise i’d have to insert that picture from the ohio turnpike again.  the show was produced by theologian slash accountant jim masini

remembrancestsebastian

the show is this weekend at the st. sebastian players in chicago — https://www.facebook.com/events/149459822146863/ — but it’s not the first time it’s had a run. two runs of the show were done by blockbuster producer marion scully. and another time at the chicago literary club. actors, sound engineers, musicians, even the nice lady beverly parkhurst who takes the tickets–every one of them, every single one of them gave up time and talent for the play. i’m going this weekend and i hope to see you there! and ps if you’re a broadway producer feel free to contact me!  if you’re an actor or actress, please understand that only the dumbest sleep on the casting couch of the writer.  it won’t advance your career at all.

 

p.s. i managed to get an appoint august 22 with a doctor in glenview.  first thing of course is getting approval from the insurance company. . …

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the comedian’s club

robin williams is upstairs at the comedian’s club, hanging with chris farley, john belushi, tony hancock, doodles weaver and freddie prinze. . .

NOT the freddie prinze having a bitchfest with keiffer sutherland.  his father, freddie prinze, was the star of the popular seventies show  "chico and the man" which was canceled when freddie prinze shot himself to death.  in front of his manager dusty snyder.  who must have been in therapy for years.

NOT the freddie prinze having a bitchfest with keifer sutherland. nope, i’m talking about his father, the star of the popular seventies show “chico and the man” which was canceled when freddie prinze shot himself to death. in front of his manager dusty snyder. who must have been in therapy for years.

 

robin had family–children and a loving wife susan.  he had success–well, except for the very unfortunate movie patch adams.  and he left four movies in varying degrees of completion.  including a sequel to mrs. doubtfire and another in the night at the museum franchise.  he was a spokesman for st. judge’s children’s hospital.  family, creative success, purpose–he had it all.  and then on sunday evening, he tried to kill himself by slitting his wrists.  unsuccessful at doing anything more than inflicting superficial wounds, he used a belt and a closet door and hung himself.

i have struggled, particularly this past year.  with thoughts that i have no purpose, that i have lost some vital connections with my family, that the world would be quite a bit better without me.

in other news, this particular snake was counting on me.  i fed him, gave him water, but he died.  wow, disposing of his body was quite an enterprise.    the apartment smells to high heaven because the blowflies deposited larvae before i did.

in other news, this particular snake was counting on me. i fed him mice, gave him water, but he died. wow, disposing of his body was quite an enterprise. the apartment smells to high heaven because the blowflies deposited larvae before i got the courage to pick up mr. snake and put him in a garbage bag. 

 

 

i know what it’s like to wake up and think “i’m still here.  it’s not time to die.  God, can’t this end?”  but i have always known that i wouldn’t do anything to harm myself because i don’t want to harm my sons, my stepson, my stepdaughter, and my exhusband that way.  and sometimes, just that is enough to keep me going.

so i gotta ask. . .

we miss you, and i’m sorry that there wasn’t anything that could make you stay. . . what is it about the funniest people hiding the greatest sadness?  maybe comedy is a compensation for sadness.

i hope you're having a wonderful time hanging out at the comedian's club.

i hope you’re having a wonderful time hanging out at the comedian’s club.

 


being a minority on the most segregated day of the week

i’m a white chick in america.  most of the places i go to i am the same color as most of the people around me.  there might or might not be asians, blacks, hispanics where i’m at but i’m seldom in a situation in which i’m the ONLY white woman in the joint.  this morning was a little bit of the strange.

meeting (so far) 275 facebook friends in person, i’ve learned a lot about how everyone struggles with or finds comfort with their faith.  this year, i’ve been to churches and synagogues, i’ve had long conversations with people of faith and people who profess no faith whatsoever.  i have had a laying on of hands in both the reiki and the christian tradition.  i have meditated with friends, prayed with others. i have been forgiven for past wrongs by facebook friends, and i’ve come to know peace in my relations with some facebook friends.  i have surprised by traditions i have i been shown.  i know facebook friends have prayed for me.

when i was growing up, my adoptive mother mrs. patrick tunneled towards a notion that i was a partner to satan.  not just possessed, because possessed would sort of mean that i still existed as a great daughter but i was being held captive by evil and you want to find the exorcist who will tease that satan out of your kid.  no, no, this notion was that me and satan–well, we had a lock on that fall from grace stuff. we were entrepreneurs.  we were doing a road trip on the saved.

this notion became a certainty for her and i came to believe she would kill me. . . and would regard killing me as doing good for the world.  as soon as i reached that conclusion about her, i knew i had to get out of the patrick household.  which i did when i was just shy of fifteen.  i am fifty one years old and it is still tough to think about God and tough to think about my adoptive mom.

my f2fb friend #275 dave gotaas doesn’t struggle in the same way.  his grandparents were missionaries in what was the belgian congo (present day democratic republic of the congo) and his parents were missionaries in south america until dave was in eighth grade.  the family then came to live in wilmette and dave’s father took over the winnetka bible church.  dave is sure of his faith but sometimes unsure about how the world around him can reject God.

i met dave because we're both in rotary club. he and his wife sally live in northfield. sally was busy being a hostess at their home church in lake forest so she couldn't join us

i got home from new york city late last night and frankly was in no mood to get up early and drive to the south woodlawn neighborhood of chicago for a church service.  but i was intrigued by the fact that dave often visits other churches and that this one is the chicago church he most admires.  in fact, he had introduced me to dr. byron t. brazier seniors and junior a few years ago at a rotary meeting. dave is a church service connoisseur.

we pulled into the parking lot at 63rd and south dorchester and dave’s pick up truck was pretty much the wreck of the yard (no disrespect, dave!)  also, i realized that although dave was wearing a nice enough suit and i was wearing the arlynn uniform of black skirt, sweater, and boots, we were horrifically underdressed.  i have been told by many pastors that God doesn’t care how you dress on sundays.  that might be true, but the God the parishioners were coming to see at the apostolic church was a God they wanted to impress, they wanted to honor, they wanted to show respect to.  and they were respecting each other by wearing a hat, a corsage, a bespoke suit.  as someone who saw parents at new trier graduation wearing “i’m with stupid” t-shirts and jeans. . . i was impressed.

as we walked from the parking lot (well, one of four parking lots surrounding the church), every single person greeted me and dave with a “praise the Lord” or “praise God”. . . .

in the movie crocodile dundee, mick dundee (played by paul hogan) greets every new yorker he passes with a "g'day!" which proves impossible as he walks along times square. there's just too many people to greet and it lightheartedly points out the difference between a rural australian and a tough american city. i sort of felt this in reverse at the apostolic church. so many people were greeting me and i didn't know how to maintain eye contact and respond quickly. . .

i was a little intimidated, as we took our seats, because dave and i were the only white people in the sanctuary which was filling up rapidly.   a half hour before the service started there were five hundred people.  then eight hundred, then a thousand people ready to worship together as a family.  it has been said that sunday is the most segregated day of the week, with americans dividing themselves into “black churches”, “white churches”, “korean churches”. . . i guess that’s probably true.  i don’t see many blacks, hispanics or asians at my catholic church.

i really felt the presence of God.  in the singing.  in the praising.  in the hands held up to receive the blessings of God.  people interrupting each other in their rush to praise Jesus and to reinforce rev. byron brazier’s message.  i counted thirty five people who were received at the pulpit because they had been baptized and then had made the decision to join the church.  at the end of the service, brazier asked if anybody wanted to come into the family of God, to be baptized, to have the peace of the love of God.  eight people walked up to the pulpit, three of them children.  much praise was given.

the sanctuary has an interesting feature:  set into the wall behind the pulpit is a built-in tub (kind of like a jacuzzi) about twenty feet above the three choir rows.  brazier finished the service and then he donned a white robe and, with an assistant similarly enrobed, he entered the tub from a door i couldn’t see.  the eight people, one by one, came out to be immersed in the water.  they had changed their clothes into white robes with white caps to protect their hair.  water spilled over onto a retaining wall.  people clapped and gave praise.  and then prayed for the next and newest baptimist.  i wanted, with every fiber of my being to be baptized.  p.s. i didn’t take any pictures because i would consider that to be sacrilegious but if you want to see the inside of the sanctuary, go to the church website at http://www.acog-chicago.org

and why didn’t i get baptized?  why didn’t i go?  if i felt like i could, why didn’t i?  part of it, i was the only white chick.  i didn’t want to draw attention (more attention) to myself.

but also, damn, the shower caps, the white robes, i’m one of those gals whose priests just put a teeny drop of holy water on you. . . no dunking!


there’s no place like nome. . .except home!

i visited the kicy radio station in nome for an interview with f2fb friend #234 ian coglan.  it was very strange to articulate the reason for my new years resolution and even stranger to articulate it within the context of a specifically christian radio station.  i don’t think i’m all that good at talking about matters of faith.

then i was off to catch my plane after a quick tour of downtown nome. . .

alaska has enormous natural beauty but i found downtown nome to be a bit depressing. partly that's because the town is above the tree line. wow, don't bring a lawnmower if you move here!

i was a little nervous because this coming home was going to be a bit dramatic. . .

at least i wasn't going to get lost looking for the terminal. there's only one. but i had a two hour flight into anchorage, then thirty minutes to find the gate for the trip to chicago--i got tagged by t.s.a. security coming out of the gate at anchorage airport for a "random" screening.

at eight a.m. chicago time, i was home.  slightly less than 96 hours turnaround from my front door to alaska to home.  7400 miles.  two facebook friends.  well worth the trip!  but i had an appointment to work out with my long time friend stu cohn.  he works out every day.  i used to do that before i started traveling.  i have gained eight pounds this year.  stu has gained. . .none.

after a workout, i purchased currencies for the countries i will be visiting beginning on sunday.  then i went to dinner with f2fb friends #236 joanne staten, 214 paddy seymour, and 237 donna thompson.  joanne has recently had hip replacement surgery and somehow, even through her recovery, she is caring for a dog who has one eye, can’t hear, and is limited in its ability to walk.  donna is responsible for both the care of her mother and, at least once a week, for the care of her grandchildren.  paddy takes care of her own grandchildren and has two brothers who rely upon her quite a bit.

i realized i can only do this project because i am at an odd moment in a woman’s life:  i don’t have children to care for, no grandchildren who need  me, no parents i am the caretaker for.  i promise i will enjoy every minute of the remaining 74 days of this new years resolution!

three glamorous gals who take care of a lot of family! it's fun to take a night off!


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