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4.30.2014

AUNT BANITA, a.k.a. Aunt Juanita

My Aunt died Easter morning.  For her, it was the perfect day to enter heaven.  Since life had been hard for her for more years than you can count on your two hands, I'm glad God gave her that day to leave the physical world we see and enter the spiritual one.

I grew up blessed, safe, and loved.  Not only did I have those emotional moorings, but I had spiritual ones as well.  In the physical sense, I was privileged to grow up in a way that most my age or younger might not have had.  I grew up on a farm, across the road from my paternal grandparents and kitty cornered [slang terminology with an assumed stretch meaning; cross ways or diagonal or at an angle - not directly across]  from my aunt and uncle and three first cousins. 

My aunt was a classy lady.  She was a beautiful woman whose hair was gorgeously thick and fashionably styled.  Quite definitely she fit in the category of natural beauty, get-out- of-bed good looks.  Pictures of her in high school show merely a younger version of the beauty she was at every age. 

I liked how, when you talked with her, her eyes showed connection, love, care, and passion over certain topics.  You could always sort of tell what she thought if you just watched her eyes.  

When I was a kid I was mesmerized by her exotic name - JUANITA.  I knew no other white of Eastern European descent Juanitas.  I conjured up stories in my head about her name and its origin.  Her beautifully exotic name just made me love her more.  Someone with that name had to be special. 

She was also very smart.  And by smart, I mean intellectually IQ-ishly brainy.  She didn't boast about it, but it was there and one could see it.  She gave that smarts to her three kids who likewise all have great intellectual capacities.  She was a beautiful, brainy lady who married my dad's younger brother and so she became my aunt, a farmer's wife and a mother.

For whatever reason, probably from when we were little kids and couldn't say certain sounds correctly, we would call her Aunt Banita (rhymes with Juanita).  It was similar to how little kids butcher the word  spaghetti and instead say, baseghetti.  In my adult world, it was just a very warm term of endearment denoting her place of longevity and love as my aunt.

The Bible, through Paul in II Corinthians 1, talks about how the comfort we have received comforts others.  That’s what my Aunt Juanita was to me.  It would seem that those, to whom great comfort from God Himself had been given, gave it freely and in great proportions to those around them.  And, Aunt Juanita did just that.
We shared a vein of physical struggles - diseases given to us in seemingly the midst of the prime of our lives.  We both got chronic illness the same year.  I battled mine.  And, Aunt Juanita battled hers.  In spite of, or maybe because of her illness, she encouraged me.  In the midst of her own illness she would call or send a card, and eventually with her own voice dampened, she would text.  Always I knew she prayed for me.  Somehow, sometimes without a big dialogue, she knew I understood what it was to drag something you didn’t want with you while you tried to move forward and live whatever life was in front of you.  Her perseverance reminded me to press ahead. 

Illness does something horrible to you, but it gives you something grand – a keen awareness of things around you.  You see in hyper vision – others, yourself, and God.  It’s God’s ultimate secret gift wrapped inside the horrifics of disease.  And, Aunt Juanita had that in huge measures. 
Through the events of my life in the past few years, she and I had some great discussions.  She always allowed me to share my heart and tears with her.  The end result was always the same – her encouragement and her acknowledgement of the brightness she saw in me after years of struggle. 

When her health continued to fail, she never failed to love.  My texts were always returned with, “How’s my Nancy?”
I hate illness.  I hate it in my own life.  I especially hated it in Aunt Juanita’s life.  What I love though is the gift she found inside of it and how she shared it with us all.

I miss you deeply Aunt Banita.

4.28.2014

DRAG RACING


I have a fast car.  I probably should not have a fast car though.  I no doubt use more gas than I would have to because I accelerate from a stop light as though I'm trying to get to the inside curve of Indy.  I tell myself not to, but it's paramount to holding a racing philly down to a kid's ride at a zoo.

It is hands down an adrenaline rush to look in my rear view mirror only to see the cars I have literally left in the dust at the light crawling to accelerate. Their cars; a) either don't have the sweet engine of endless speed that mines does, b) they are far more frugal and conscious of gas consumption than am I, or 3) they are not in the hurry to get from point A to point B that I feel is most always imperative so as to free up any available time - time to do more things in a day than can humanly ever be accomplished.

I am not a car buff.  I don't know types of engines, calibers, pistons or anything of the sort.  I do know how to check my oil, fill up my windshield wiper fluid, where the radiator is and how to put more antifreeze in, how to jump start a car with jumper cables, how to install a new car battery, put on new windshield wipers, and change a tire if the lug nuts weren't put on by Biff with an air ratchet, but my car smarts pretty much extinguish themselves there.  That is except for knowing what moves fast in comparison to things around me, and to previous vehicles I've owned.

As I glided along in the fast lane headed toward home after work, I began to break for the red stop light just ahead.  My rear view mirror revealed a very new souped up dodge charger - you know the retro ones they are making.  He pulled up next to my sleek black, lightly tinted windowed Hyundai Genesis as we waited for the red light to turn green.  I glanced at him.  His car was shiny black with oversized wet glossy looking tires and a big white stripe literally running from the front grille to the back bumper.   Stunning looking and giving the impression of fast. 

He glanced at my car and me.  I could read his Mr. Wanna Be Muscle Car man thoughts.  I nodded, smiled and lightly tipped my head acknowledging his sweet ride, but letting him know I would beat him out of the red light without even blinking an eye.  I did.

As I looked in my rear view mirror, way ahead of him now, I watched him accelerate to catch up.  When he did, he pumped on the gas in a show of testosterone dented masculinity.  I giggled.  I probably shouldn't have tempted him like that, but I just couldn't help myself. 

I'm a Cabernet Sauvignon lover.  Now there are all different price points and qualities of cab.  Once you drink a good one you know you don't want anything other than the smooth thick mellowness of a good one.  The kind, that when you swirl your glass, it slides down the side leaving a shadow behind.  You want the stuff that after you swallow there is a lingering and then a smoothness that makes you never want to swallow again so as not to lose that amazing taste. 

I've had other cars.  Cars I've liked and cars I've loved.  Never though have I had a car with such smooth pick up and the ability to get to 80 mph without knowing or feeling it.  Trust me I already have my line ready for the police officer who will ask after he stops me, "Do you know how fast you were going?"  ...."Officer, I am both aware that I might have been speeding but not aware of it either.  This car is so smooth that I literally forget I am speeding until I realize I am."

4.26.2014

SO MANY COLORS TO CHOOSE FROM


There are so many forms of language.  Quite a number of avenues to communicate both the verbal and the non-verbal.  A palate available to best suit the person you are communicating with.  I have certain favorite colors in my own palate.  You probably do too, even if you aren't consciously aware of it.  Maybe now you will be even more aware of what lies just at your fingertips.

Forms of communications are a like a box of crayons.  Different situations, different desired results require a different crayon.  That is, if you care about maximizing your message of whatever to whomever.

I get a kick out of little kids drawings.  Some will stay very traditional in what colors they use; the sun will be yellow, grass will be green, Santa's suit will be red.  Other kids see it different and they use non-traditional colors for things; the grass is pink, the sky is green, water is purple, Santa is blue.  I'm a bit drawn to those non-traditional interpretations of traditional things. 

When anyone can think outside the box of expected to unexpected, to hidden and possibly magical, I get excited.  It doesn't matter the venue; manufacturing, medicine, marketing, church, business, relationships and communication - connecting deeply with others involves outside the box.  How do I deliver whatever it is to them to make them feel authenticated, valued, that I am real, my product is life-changing?  And, then how do I leave them feeling after they have interacted with my marketing, my product, my delivery-system?

That got me thinking about colors in general this week.  I extended those thoughts to style in general.  What makes a person gravitate to brightly colored clothes, or patterns, or neutrals?  What drives a person to pick out a certain color of paint for their walls?  Is there though, one universal thing in all of us?  And, if there is, what is it?  How do you find that commonality in humanity with all our likes/ dislikes and differentiations from one another, and then how does one bridge it?

I'm not sure there is only one answer, one way.  But validation of the person is a key.  Marketers validate the need for their product to a consumer - they show the need they have and how they can fill it.  That's why we buy it:)  Not to reduce religion down to a formula, because God is outside formulas.  But the same is true of why we choose religion - it validates in a huge way our unmet need of community, something bigger than ourselves.  God shows us we have a need that only He can fill - it validates the feelings and thoughts and completes something.

How I communicate, what crayon  I use in my crayon box when coloring with you is pretty important if I want you to feel validated.  And, I should want to you leave better than I found you - which is what validation does to each of us.  I want my crayon color to allow your color to be brighter or offset mine.   

That is unless you are a narcissist or your name is Buffy:)

4.25.2014

.....AND YOUR ANSWER IS?


I don't like meetings of pretty much any kind - sales meetings, staff meetings, committee meetings, training meetings, meetings in general.  They are just too wordy, repetitive and slow for me.  There is always that one person who bogs things down.  I say bog yourself down not a group and don't hold me captive while you do it.  Sometimes meetings are all about the presenter and their egos and not about those in attendance.

While Doug was teaching me how to play Cribbage for the first time I was soaking up all his verbal explanations.  I am a highly visual learner.  Highly.  So how I listen and interpret words is like a chalk artist in a courtroom.  In my head I turn what I hear into a picture where I can see it.  Strange probably, but it works for me.

I am also not the greatest with long explanations or round about answers.  That just doesn't play well with the quickness of how fast I process.  Note I said I process fast, that doesn't always equate to intelligence!  Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs I am not. 

My Intel chip was racing in my mind and Doug was taking way too long to explain the game.  To his defense, I'm sure since I had never played it he was attempting to bring me on board slow.  That was his first mistake.   I don't need every last detail necessarily of anything, just the bones and I can usually fill in the details from there.  It's like putting the entire edge of a puzzle together first.

I tried to be patient, though not a card carrying virtue of mine.  When I could take no longer the speed and bogged down detailed way in which he was describing the game to me, I said, "Babe, I just need this question answered ..."   He clearly knows from numerous conversations regarding my engineering way of thinking, stories I have shared with him, and just living with me that I only want the question answered that I ask.  That is why I ask that specific one.  I have the rest figured out in the puzzle. 

He didn't answer my question directly, but instead went the long way around the barn.  I stopped him once to say, "I only want the answer to the question I asked!" He stated that he was getting to it but thought I needed to know the things leading up to it. 

My chalk drawing, my picking up the last puzzle piece to complete the puzzle came to a screeching halt.  I was a hungry shark now circling the boat for my piece of meat. "DOUG!" I said with passion, "I only need the answer to that question and that question only.  I have it figured out except for that one thing.  Answer the damn question!" 

He tells the story to people all the time and laughs at it. He's seen me very bluntly do it to others when they get off course in getting to answering my question.  He likes to tell the story a bit more dramatic than it occurred.  But he gets how my mind works, loves it even when I am direct.  In fact, he says that's why he fell in love with me.  Refreshing indeed!

Yesterday, after 2 hours into an all day meeting I had to self talk myself down from the ledge. I was unsuccessful and felt like a balloon ready to pop! [I want to learn.  I want to learn though things I don't know.  I don't want to sit here and hear the same thing drawn out, repeated, made into more than it needs to be.  Filling 7 hours because you have to fill it doesn't mean you've accomplished anything. In fact, that's counter productive!  Give me the new stuff, get to it and move on. Why do I have to be like this?  Am I the only one who feels like they want to stand up and scream?  I really do not like myself at these sorts of things.  I think I am allergic to them. Yeah that's it.  I have an allergy and should never have to be in a meeting again unless it serves a real purpose of information and change or motivation..  This is none of those! ...] 

I was the kid sitting there gazing out the window waiting for the bell to ring to escape to recess. 

4.24.2014

THE ESTROGEN TIE THAT BINDS

It was the first really warm day of spring.  You know the kind of day when it jumps 20 degrees upward.  The air was beyond warm, it was balmy, hot even.  It drove the masses outside after a rough winter. We joined those masses, from what we have come to know as the 4th fattest city in the U.S., Rockford, IL (look it up!), out on the river walk

The first hot day in spring brings out a whole new wardrobe for the exercise enthusiast or wanna-be.  I saw everything from knee length out of style blue jeans shorts coupled with gray calf high socks to spandex color coordinated outfits to jeans with spike heels and anything and everything in between.  I actually saw a woman wearing a trash bag to hasten weight loss through sweating, though only a temporary help.

I also saw every body type one could think existed in the universe, heavy on the 4th fattest city dynamic if you will though.  We are all unique creatures designed by God and then altered by genetics, environment and choices.  Some were out to stroll, others to get the wiggles out after being driven in for months on end.  Clearly some were novices, first timers determined to lose weight, get in shape.  While a small contingency were seasoned in regular, disciplined exercising. 

We ran into our neighbors, stopped to chat a few minutes and then hit the path again to do 5-6 miles.  It was so crowded bikers were in danger of crashing into walkers and runners or the other way around.  We easily passed many because I can walk a mile as fast as a few I know can run them.  On a good day my walk per mile time is about 12 minutes and my run per mile time is around 8 minutes.  There is no doubt that Doug would probably like to stroll at times but I just don't stroll well.  I'm much like a Labrador retriever anxiously pulling its owner.

They were approximately our age, 50 give or take a year or two in either direction.  I noticed her beautiful shapely Hispanic skin toned legs and her bright orange criss cross tank top as we came up behind them in the passing lane.  She had the gear; the shoes, the outfit, the water belt and a bit of an apple figure.  She though didn't have speed.

Not long after we passed them, they must have started slow jogging and then passed us where they stopped just ahead to stretch their legs.  As we passed them yet again, Doug commented that we were going to join them in running had they not stopped.  They laughed. We kept on.

Probably a mile down the path, in the midst of droves of people, I felt someone coming up on my right off the path in the grass.  It was her - the orange tank top sexy legged lady jogging just past my current walk speed.  I decided to join her.  I patted her on the back and said, "I'm running with you!" and I took off with her leaving Doug to walk. 

As we jogged, ever so slowly, I made a comment and then asked her a question; 1) you are a beautiful woman, followed by, 2) how old are you?  Her heavy Hispanic accent and poor English made the combination of movement and language somewhat difficult.  She laughed at my beautiful woman comment, but thanked me for saying it.  Then she asked me, "How old do you think I am?"  

I was in a conundrum indeed - [If I say how old I think she really is and I'm over her real age, that's hurtful and offensive. If I shoot too low with the age she'll know I'm doing the age game!].  She looked close to my age of 47, but I responded with, "You're 38?"  Laughter spilled out of her and she told me she loved me!  [BTW, we are still running our slow ass speed].  She was 49.  I gave her a win.  She though was a beautiful 49 indeed.

We kept up our consistent speed of probably a 12-13 minute run mile [I was having to bridle myself!]. She started talking and I listened.  She told me that she had gone to church that morning (Easter) with her boyfriend of two months.  She told me she had lost some weight but that it had started to creep back on.  And, that sitting in church she decided today was the day she would try to run.  I was glad I had started to run with her not knowing it was her first day out.  Maybe I had needed to slow down in life and she needed to speed up.  Maybe we were good for each other at that moment.

Sometimes I understood what she was saying, and other times, because of her poor English, I struggled to catch the full meaning.  Somewhere in her life monologue she looked at me and said, "I would like to see your body!"  Whether you are struggling with the English language or not, it is a bizarre thing to say to a total stranger.  I laughed at her probable mix of up language, maybe a bit from some uncomfortableness, and that I simply didn't feel that way about my own body!

In those seconds before I responded I thought.... [woman are so much luckier than men in some regard - we get to know another woman freely in approximately 3 minutes tops - there is an estrogenish camaraderie of sorts]....

I told her she would be highly disappointed in what she saw!  I also told her that none of us ever feel as beautiful as someone else thinks we are, and to keep running even after today was over.

4.16.2014

HALF WHITE


I whiten my teeth with over the counter Crest white strips.  I do it because white is one of my primary color loves in clothes AND teeth.  I do it because I love coffee and don't want to give it up. 

My middle sister Diane has the fancy molds made especially for her teeth by the dentist.  She uses the professional get it only at the dentist strength whitener.  Her teeth are so white it's like a nuclear bomb flash.  They are beautiful which matches her other beautiful parts as well.

Crest white strips come in different potencies.  I don't know if it's just bunk, a marketing ploy to charge a bit more for the illusion of whiter, or not.  I stay with the middle of the road "whiteness" strength and price they offer to make myself think I'm not being totally duped.   Is $10 extra really going to make that big of a difference in shades of white? 

I do take a bit of umbrage with Crest, and most over the counter whitening strips.  The strips only cover about 4-6 of the bottom front teeth and about 8-10 of the upper front teeth (if you have large rabbit type teeth you may only get white coverage on 6 upper teeth!).  Adults have 32 permanent teeth.  That means Crest only whitens a maximum of half your teeth.  Seems sub par, doesn't it?  Crest must assume others can't see past the whitened front teeth to the unwhitened yellowish cast back teeth due to the brilliance of white distraction created by the front few teeth.

If you disregard their whitening instructions on the amount of time to leave them on your teeth, beware!  You will quite possibly need a putty knife to scrape them off.  And don't ever think about NOT brushing your teeth after you remove them.  The taste and goo is disgusting.  I've been tempted to let the city street sweeping machine take a swipe across my teeth to extrapolate thoroughly the whitening residue. 

The other day, in mid conversation with a client, they paused and said, "Your teeth are so white."  I laughed inside knowing it was only the front 8-10 and bottom 4-6 that were sporting whiteness.   

One of these days I will get the "real" whitening treatment from my dentist.  My back teeth are feeling neglected.

4.15.2014

WHEN ANSWERS AREN'T ENOUGH


"Grief demands an answer."  That's the quote I heard recently. 
 
It was true. 
 
It wants one.  It seeks one.  Grief longs to have the pit soothed with reasons.  It thinks that having an answer will justify the loss, make it easier to process, to release.  It longs for something that might pacify the pain - to stop the tide that seeks to drown.
 
It was true for sure, though answers do not hold the power to abate sorrow or loss.  They are unable.  No reasoning, no explanation, no justification can erase the magnitude of grief's silent smothering blanket.
 
I had been there before.  The know in your head can't win against the pain in your heart.  It just doesn't work that way.  

There is no other soother, no other analgesic, than time.  We do though hate that time lingers and leaves us in deep waters without a definitive exit plan.  Then one day, out of the blue, the weight of sorrow lessens by the sheer passage of time - the very thing that we have grown to hate. Though the loss is never replaced or given back, time catches up our heart to our head.

 
To those of us who think we have a high tolerance for pain, or a tenacity to bear up under things that others would buckle to, grief is the great equalizer.  We cannot escape its excruciation by will or by high tolerance. 
 
Grief and loss loosen their grip some with time.    That too was true.
    

4.14.2014

KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (referring to myself)


I mused about in my head about random things.  I was wistful for simpler times.  A life without so much junk mail.  Food without preservatives and additives.  Medical deductibles that aren't as high as a used car. Porn that could only be accessed if you had the courage to drive to a physical location and risk having your car recognized by someone driving by.  A world devoid of being connected to every other person, place or thing at any given time for any and every reason known to mankind and those yet still undiscovered.

Innovation and technology have always been cloaked in the guise of progress and speed.  I like speed.  Ask most that know me.  I drive fast, think fast, react fast and generally move fast.  That appeals to me one would think.  The speed of progress on all fronts is supposed to enhance our lives.  It has though brought with it a cost, a re-occurring fee - frenetic activity both outwardly and inwardly.  Sometimes I feel pushed, pulled, obliged to it. 


The onslaught to our receptors can't keep up with the speed of innovation.   System overload at times.  Similarly my body responds to running only to a point.  It responds eventually by hitting a wall to max speed or endurance, even weight loss from it.  Sometimes, to get results, I have to change the speed, the length, the number of runs to counteract that negative to get back to a positive place with it.  I trick my body. 

I need to trick my mind sometimes too. I have to pull back and remember what is vital, what is lasting, what I have to have to survive, what I can live without, what steals my peace, what innovation's tricks do to unearth my Zen.  Then I sometimes just scream STOP, snug it back a little tighter, reorder things and retreat from the synaptic bombardments.
 
I think there is a yet to be named, but probably known disorder, that is on the rise culturally from too much stimuli, just too much cacophony from every direction.  We are seeing the effects of social media on the youngest of generations.  It is affecting speech and social interactions which will quite certainly unleash a whole new band wagon of cultural issues, educational crisis' and behavioral hurdles.
 
I do it to myself as well.  It is built into us now to shop online, which we think saves time.  But, in doing so I find myself spending inordinate amounts of time surfing through endless sites scouring for the best deal on the product I am seeking; best shipping, best rating as a company, best price, etc...  Time is sucked away before I know it in my quest to conquer the web for that brand and style of running shoes I'm addicted to. 
 
That synapse bombardment ticks me off much of the time.  Couple that with the "democratic westernized" system we live in, and we are saturated constantly with things that don't bring lasting pertinent value.  Things that cause us not to cultivate personal growth or foster real relationships more than activity or selfishness (our base nature + the influences of innovation and culture). 

I was reminded of simple today in a conversation with someone who understands those with Downs Syndrome.  They refreshed my spirit with their words, "They are single minded, present and content."  Quite possibly that's the key to the bombardment of our synapse by the culture we live in.

4.07.2014

LIFE'S PAPER CHAIN


Two of our three daughters came for the weekend with three of the four grand kids.  It's always a delight to spend time with them.  It though always causes me to reflect a bit - to remember life when I was their age, when I was raising my own blood daughter.  Technically the two that came aren't mine by blood or longevity even.  But, they are my daughters through love and I do so love them.

I loved that as I cooked Friday night they sat at the counter bar and we talked and laughed while Doug entertained the grand kids.  It was natural and unstrained.  I loved the free for all conversation that covered lots of different things.  They laughed after asking me if I had ever made this particular pizza they were watching me assemble; hot pepper cherry jelly, a thin smattering of peanut butter, grated onion, a roasted red pepper I had just taken from the oven, fresh cured green olives and some grated mozzarella cheese on homemade dough.  I replied, "No, I'm making it up and it might just taste like shit!"   

Their visits always cause me to remember to seize the day - the specific and particular time of life you're in because it all too quickly morphs, changes and eventually fades away.  I tried to urge them too as well, recounting what I felt and thought at their age.  They remind me of how fast life is.  How quick kids grow up and the cycle of life repeats itself.    How was I this age when I can remember being their age!

I always want them to know they are beautiful and tell them so.  Beauty is not just what my eyes can see, but what their personalities do to my heart.  In both senses they are beautiful and bring beauty to my life.

Hopefully they don't think I am a know it all, but rather I hope they feel encouraged in their journey of being a woman, raising kids, trying to work, parent, maintain and spark their marriages.  That takes a lot of energy and their presence reminds me how important is to tell others behind us in life they can do it and to empathize with the hard parts.

It made me think about God.  His desire for us all.  His love that seeks so powerfully to encourage us in our journey of life - to remind us that we are things of beauty - to empathize with our struggles and get excited over the joy of being present in the moment.  I pictured myself at my own counter sitting as God Himself puttered in the kitchen and I visited.  It made that feeling of God's love for me deepen a bit further.

 
Their visit made me think about all the have to's in life.  How easy it is to see routine as drudgery sometimes - work, kids, finances, groceries, etc.  How life really is just day after day after living - like a big long elementary school paper chain.  It's less about what I accomplish but how I view all the things in my paper chain - finding joy in them.
 
Their visit made me miss my blood daughter even more than I already do. I haven't seen her since Halloween and won't see her until June sometime.  

I was thankful for my paper chain. 

4.01.2014

< NOTES New

I desperately needed to write a note to my husband in church recently.  Why didn't I just whisper what I needed to say you might ask?  It wasn't a whisperable sentence.  My husband's hearing as of late has been less than superman-ish.  And since it wasn't a whisperable sentence the first time, should I had to repeat it the second time, it might have been disastrous.

Now to that you might say, well then you probably shouldn't have been saying it out loud.  To be honest, I probably do say some things out loud that maybe possibly I could keep silent.  But if I can say it out loud I can process it, release it, let it go.   I was needing to do that in church.  But, where was the damn paper.  And, did I even have a pen?  My technology light is still not 100% the shining beacon it could and should be in my life.

In my IPhone non Siri 4.naught I have a notes app.  It is full of tid bits of this and that - thoughts that come to me that I am afraid I will lose if I even blink, repairman information, a list of titles of my New York Times bestseller should I get one.  Slowly that little yellow lined post-it note app is replacing my plethora of real paper scraps and sticky notes full of words, thoughts, lists.  It's a slow and painful death for me.  

That is where I typed my note to Doug in church.  I started a new sticky note page that said, Am I missing something????  There was nothing more.  Nothing less.  The four question marks made up for the rest of the words that were unsaid; help me out I'm not getting this, is this doing anything for you, do they know no one is following this, I just wanted to connect to God, I hate performances.

There it was again.  I said it out loud.  It was yet again my somewhat angst battle with how we as a culture do church sometimes.  How it looks.  How it feels.  How my deep craving to connect in a church body seemed absent this particular Sunday. I was struggling with their inserting "self" into the service and yet I was no doubt inserting self in it too - my thoughts, opinions, feelings, longings.

I felt caught a bit.  I really like paper and pens, but I didn't have one so I used my IPhone to write a note to someone sitting right next to me.  Reluctantly I had acquiesced to technology - to a smart phone.  Maybe I needed to acquiesce a bit to the imperfections/performance of church.  I needed to stop expecting and just be present period.  How do I give up being bugged by performance at times or by being read to for a sermon? 

I had been on the inside inner circle of church for many, many years.  I knew what it took to get a service together, to deliver it, to provide an avenue to people to see God.  My humanness got in the way at times.  Maybe that's why I struggled to sit, to not want more or different, and sometimes to even go.  I felt so inauthentic yet I craved the things that I couldn't even master myself.

My note to Doug was found right next to another note which held a quote I didn't want to forget, "You gotta make people uncomfortable in the present if you want to move them to the future."  Fitting for me indeed.