Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another word about emotion....

Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.--Malcolm X, 1965

This Year, I'm Grateful

This reeks of melodrama, I know. I'm paranoid about being overly dramatic, too emotional. I'm coming to the conclusion that drama and emotion are seminal elements of humanity in general and of me in particular. There is a place for them. It would be a shame to eliminate them completely, don't you think? I'd miss something of what it means to be human. Feeling may twist judgment, says Kenneth B. Clark, but the lack of it may twist it even more. I love that quote. Who can be objective? Not one of us, really. We just aren't. The ones who think they can express anything with objectivity are the most partisan (and consequently, the biggest liars). We just weren't meant for that.

I'm starting to feel something unexpected taking the stage in the play of emotion I've been watching in my heart's theater this year. The first act: Hope. Followed by Fear, Apathy, Grief and Despair. See, I've had twin themes of disappointment running a dual, and bizarrely synchronized, course through my life this year. I've greeted these themes with emotion. I'm at what must be the climax of action. Something is about to happen and I wave a ragged flag of faith that says it must be good. This unexpected thing is starting to feel a lot like Gratitude. Odd.

I'm walking around with a hole in the middle of me. I've tried filling it with all kinds of things and I've felt all kinds of things about it. I almost feel crippled. More odd still is what effect it has on me. I've welcomed the Son of God into a part of my heart that I've held close and silent for a long time. The needs of other people, their vulnerability in a harsh world, is poignant and real and pressing to me. Every moment is pregnant with meaning. Every small beauty makes me cry. And as there are more small beauties in the world than we will ever be able to catalogue, I cry a lot. I don't even know that it's a sign of sadness as much as it is a response to a mundane yet sublime realization that this hole in the middle of me has made more room for God than I knew I had. This strange and uninvited perspicacity leads me back to Hope. I feel it's waiting in the wings and wishes to whirl me around with my eyes closed at least one more time.

What a blessing was Paul's Thorn of the Flesh. I'm brave enough to say that although I feel the temporality of my thorn, I hope I'll never forget what it meant to hold it.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, we stay under covers watching movies. It's good to be reminded who I married and why. I've noticed that I'm spoiled by kindness and made too soft for a harsh world. It's a luxury I don't take for granted.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Images, Smimmages

I must have seen 100 bumper-stickers on the 280 today. The life of a bumper-sticker must be exhausting (pun intended, yuk yuk). Out of thousands of stickers, you the bumper-sticker must be the one to grab attention and stake a claim on the image of your particular bumper's driver. You vie for position, sometimes scrambling to overcome the voice of the actual car. I see a late-model Lexus SUV with a "C The River" sticker. Intended message: I'm upper-middle class, but dammit if I don't love the environment...despite the gas milage of this car. Actual message: "See this neato car Daddy bought me for graduation? You won't see me in a wimpy little Prius." I see a Camry with a sticker for some obsure hipster band I've never heard of. As in the case of the Lex, the message is clear. This car is middle-class vanilla; but I, on the other hand, certainly am not. I even took the "Lucy Pevinsie for President" sticker off of my car because it became a screaming announcement of my church affiliation. (BTW, people in Georgia have those stickers. No kidding.)

This makes me tired. The constant striving to label, categorize and file away our very beings (often even using someone's corporate logo!) must be symptomatic of a *consumer-culture on the skids. The bumper-sticker is even used to keep people from slapping you with a label. Well, to keep them from slapping you with a label quickly, anyway. The FSM "fish" next to the flag of the Episcopal Church, for example, gives me a headache. Mix your metaphors if you must, but try and make sure they aren't mutually exclusive. Otherwise, you just make me think you're schizophrenic

*Did you get that reference? If you were a **hipster music hippie like me, it would have been obvious. And nauseating.
**I haven't been a hipster music hippie since everyone listened to the Connells, but you still make me wanna walk like a camel.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I thought this was finished, but it is not not not. And I'm having a hard time being philosophical about it now.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Questions I'm Embarrassed to Ask

How DOES the Dewey Decimal system work? I've never been able to figure it out.

What the hell is a Eurodollar, anyway, and why would someone trade it?
(The obviously related follow-up question is what the hell is a porkbelly?)

Do people really buy those $800 handbags they sell at Saks? I mean real people. Those who live in Burpingham?

What are the rules for hyphenating last names? I mean, I know David and I could be the Lewis-Smiths, but I'm the only one who is really a Lewis-Smith. David's just a Smith, even though his middle name is Louis. Is that correct? In America? Cause I know it isn't in England. But I don't care.

What is the correct way to scramble an egg? I can scramble eggs, but I don't think I do it correctly.

Am I really supposed to tip the mailman at Christmas?

Whew. I feel better just owning-up to all the things that I don't know.

Oh, I thought of one more:

Does the Ghost Whisperer come on tonight? (Or, the Boobie Whisperer, which is what I call it. That hour on Friday nights is the only time you will ever hear me say to my husband "Will you LOOK at her boobies hanging out of that top!")

Monday, December 11, 2006

Stuart Weitzman is a Feminist

I went shopping with my mother-in-law this weekend. I can't say that it did very much to improve the mood I was in when I made my last post, but I'm resigned to the idea that I'm going to have to deal with that for awhile. Resignation makes the heart grow stronger,or at least it gives the brain a respite from fretting.

That being said, it will shock and awe those of you who know me well to read that I experienced love-at-first-sight with a pair bright-red, patent-leather, Stuart Weitzman stiletto heels. I know. They are absolutely ridiculous. I'm completely infatuated. I have to imagine what kind of woman would wear these shoes. I flip through my mental picture album: Betty Friedan rolling off her cloud and klomping off to Heaven's Public Library to do research for the New, New, New Feminist Mystique? Not quite. She's the woman most widely credited with disarming the iconic housewife-in-heels image, and I have no reason to believe she's sorry now that she's crossed the Jordan. (Yes, I know she was Jewish, I just can't adjust to the idea that God didn't mean for the Jews to be His Chosen forever.) Or, what about Frederica Matthewes-Green schleping across the country to speak to church women's groups about how church women's groups are absolutely stupid? That takes some moxie, but it's fairly obvious that Freddie's particular brand of chutzpah don't come from nobody's shoes, y'all.

My mind's eye rests on an image of a woman I'm sure will fit: She's in an office dressed for work, she's in the kitchen cooking supper, she's strutting to the park with a baby in a stroller, she's at the crisis pregnancy center helping women figure out what their choices actually are. She's Oprah in Chicago, she's Katie in New York, she's Barbara in Birmingham. She's Dorothy, easin' on down that road to tell the Wiz a thing or two. She's US, y'all! Helloooo, Sexy!

It really isn't about those shoes anymore. It's about a feeling they give me that feminine is powerful. That woman is necessarily strong and sexy. That Jesus is more concerned about keeping women out of sexual slavery than keeping them out of the pastorate. (We've taken a wrong turn, y'all. We live in a world where little girls in our congregations get molested and it takes us hours and hours of discussion to figure out if you need a penis to come to a meeting or hold a communion cup. We're out-of-our-minds crazy if we think Jesus doesn't notice that. He notices and He cares more than we can imagine.) Just picture us, whacking through the phallocracy that is Corporate America, but also the Presbyterian Church in America, doing irreparable damage to the notion that women can't hold their own in business and that God has a small and prescribed place for women in His church and we're sinning if we step outside His borders. I'm ashamed, but I'm even afraid to ask questions anymore. Men and women hold these issues up as a measure of orthodoxy in the church.

My silliness can't last when it's informed by the gravity of and these issues. I'm thankful for those who seek to help.

I've been inspired. By a pair of $300 shoes. In my book, that makes shoes art and Stuart Weitzman a feminist. Boo-ya.

I'd like to point out, incidentally, that Nine West makes a great copy for about $45. (I've room for a little silliness, I guess, if only to stay the worry.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

I'm a little teapot?

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran

I had coffee with my nephew, Dave yesterday. He's 19 and at the peak of his fact-gathering, self-defining mission. It's so validating to watch because it reminds me that this is a season all thinking people must experience. The bombardment of ideas, especially those of the "liberal," "humanistic," "post-modern," and "new-age" varieties make us rethink and refine our core beliefs. They make us stronger and better. They make us claim our ideologies and give us the words to define them. I'm proud of him. He's a thinker. So am I.

There are a lot of things in my brain. Too much thinking. Too many thoughts. I need a thought vacation. I'm departing in about five minutes. I won't think about anything but laundry, groceries and soap for the rest of the day. I will lose myself in the business of mindlessness. I'm excited. This is my "farewell to thought" post.

I am, indeed, "weeping for that which has been my delight." I can't seem to stop, though, and that's my problem. I've cried a year of tears over the past two weeks. Someone handed me a button at my Bible study. It said "It's ok to say Merry Christmas." I don't care about "Merry Christmas" versus "Happy Holidays," but I cried. Someone sent me a kind e-mail. I went to thank her, and I cried. Someone wrote a kind and encouraging note to me, and I cried. I heard a Mr. Rogers song and I cried. I saw a red-tailed hawk flying over 8th Avenue and I cried. To be honest with you, I'm crying now. I don't know why though. I just don't know why. Or maybe I do. I've decided not to think about it.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

This is my dad.

This is something I wrote a long time ago, but I thought I'd put it here again because I've got pictures now.

This is my dad. This photograph came from Briarwood's website. My dad works at Briarwood. He's smiling, but I bet he's thinking "Please get this over with as soon as possible."

Some people (both men and women) are born with Warrior Spirits. My dad has a Warrior Spirit. I think it probably came in handy when he was a United States Marine, but I think God probably gave it to him for such a time as this. Lately, I've been seeing how far we have drifted as a church, as a culture, as a nation and a planet from God's design for us. There's so much sin in our world that Evil has been able to set up camp everywhere. This isn't a new phenomenon, but it's the first time that I've really contemplated it. In a world of Evil, we need some Warrior Spirits. A Warrior Spirit doesn't necesarily go around whacking people's heads off anymore. These days, I think that a Warrior Spirit is a leader who can rally us to grasp truth and find it worthy of our decisive action. That's the kind of Warrior Spirit my dad is. When I talk to him, I find myself seeing black and white in a world of gray. He makes me see the truth I knew was there all along.

I need that. I love my dad. I need a good dose of the truth right now because so much around me is hollow and false and wrong. I'd like to fight against that, even in my own world, but I can't even find my sword right now. I'm not sure how to go about it. My dad didn't know either, but he told me that Someone does and I know that Someone will tell me soon.