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10.29.2014

ELEPHANTS AREN'T MEANT FOR ROOMS


 
 
 
My boss responded to my story, "I can't believe you said that directly to someone."  I laughed. Elephants simply crowd me out.  I am extremely claustrophobic so I address them to get my space back.  I'm not good at pussy footing.  It's the realist in me.  If it can be felt, then it will be dealt.  [Poor rhyming even in the rap world!].

 
 
 
She wanted to know how that affected my relationship with that person.  "...it helped them understand why I said no more times than not.  It helped them know it wasn't a rejection of them, but an affirmation of yes to something very important to me.  It helped them know why I said no and what both of our expectations of the relationship were.  It made me not have to make up excuses for why I couldn't this time or that time.  It freed me up to say no and them to understand why I said it. It allowed them to not feel hurt by no.  No games, no fancy footwork, no hurt feelings or feeling slighted.  It aligned both sides with a huge sense of understanding." 
 
The elephant then left the building.  Was it difficult to do, yes!  Was it worth it, yes!  That smothering, claustrophobic elephant vanished like a puff of smoke.
 
How is stating the most obvious thing in front of you, excluding your own nose, a bad thing?  If you don't speak to it, does it leave?  Are walls and rooms really designed to hold an animal of that size? It's not normal or natural. It is quite ridiculous, very cumbersome, and ultimately very exhausting to squeeze between the wall and the elephant every time you want to move.
 
Elephants actually grow in size by our unwillingness to speak to them.  They are diminished and can disappear completely when we acknowledge there is in fact an issue, face the felt presence with a definition and then VERBALIZE what is taking all the oxygen from the room.  It's got to be a relief to the elephant to be acknowledged.  [Hey folks!  I'm right here.  The ginormous big gray beast with a trunk!]. Elephants aren't bred for captivity and are best set free.  
 
I'm not sure always how the other party always feels about my direct path to a problem. Sometimes there is great relief that they didn't have to initiate the elephant conversation.  No one, including me, wants to upset the Eco balance to return it to its rightful state.  Confrontation though, if done constructively not accusatorily, and focused on the problem not the person, is like opening the windows after a long winter - needed and refreshing.    
 
It can be risky at times to prod the elephant to leave.  People get defensive and elephants are ginormous.  Emotions, room size, the presence of a large animal that wants to be set free make for a possibly volatile situation.  Best case scenario - it's deflated, the issue is faced and resolved.  Worse case scenario - nothing gets resolved, emotions get heated but now both parties have acknowledged a presence that shouldn't be there, even though the elephant remains.  That's a good first step at least.

I don't like to waste time.  Elephants in a room waste my time.  They slow me down, take up heart and mind space.  They lead to further animosity and deeper resentment.  It's not a sign of caring to let them lie.  It's a sign of not caring. 

Elephants in the room are a bit like taking off a Band-Aid that's been on for awhile.  I want restoration and wholeness to the relationship, zen back to the room.  I don't want to belabor pulling off the band aid.  Though pain is pain no matter what, I just don't see the sensibility in extending its ouchie-ness.   

10.28.2014

A WEAVE, EXTENSIONS, OR ONE OF MY MOM'S WIGS FROM THE 1970'S


I have been growing out my bangs, along with my hair, for the past 5 years. When stated like that, it appears to be almost a part-time job.  But that would denote I reached my goal. I have not.  There is a bit of false hope I hold, that mysteriously, like spontaneous combustion, my bangs WILL eventually grow out to the length of the rest of my hair. That destination never comes though.

If I had good hair genes it would be down to my ass by now. Both parental sides combined in marriage through my parents to give me a double dose of  non-Kardashian hair.  I can take biotin till the cows come home [cows don't come home on their own if they get out - you have to go get them] and nothing grows except the occasional menopausal chin hair.  In fact, I could invest in every product to thicken, elongate, puff up the volume of my hair and it would not do one lick of good. If those products actually work, they work on hair that isn't as genetically compromised as mine. Short of hair plugs for women, Rogaine or a wig, [none of which I have resorted to yet], there just isn't a whole hell of a lot I can do about it. 

Human nature plays out in hair just like in many others area of life.  I want what I do not have -  hair that actually grows, especially bangs.   There are other things that are lacking in my physicality as well, like boobs.  Those I don't want more of.  I am thoroughly content with my barely A's.  Some of you can't wrap your mind around the fact that someone would want better hair but not bigger boobs.

Pictures of me years ago, previous to diseases that have contributed to the demise of my hair, show more hair in volume and quantity.  This isn't about the change of styles over the years.  It's not about the infusion of gray in the darkening blond strands.  It's not about the natural effect of the aging process on my hair follicles.  Though I don't want to be young again, I would take my younger Nancy hair.

I know not all things get to their desired destination.  Some remain a constant work in process.  The means ultimately becomes the destination.  Mine, I fear, is just to keep "growing" out my bangs with the misguided and ridiculous belief that they will someday actually grow.   It is a form of denial - to believe they are still growing [action word].  They are still growing denotes they are in process.  Which, is a brilliant cover for the ultimate denial of the hair cards I hold. The greatest of which is my follicularly compromised  gene pool.

My friend says QVC sells bang extensions.  Christmas is just around the corner.   One can hope.

10.23.2014

THE GLASS HOUSE OF TECHNOLOGY



Technology seems to take things to the fifth power, even to infinity and beyond.  The possibilities from it are endless.  That big broad platform allows almost anything and just about everything to be broadcast to the masses. No curtains.  No filters.  It's the glass house of technology.

That technological expressway subjects us all to things that we would just rather not see sometimes.  Those that use that platform for nearly everything would include the category of those pregnant or having just given birth.  It seems there is absolutely nothing private any more.  And, we are all subjected to everyone's broadcasts - including a play by play photo log of each week of pregnancy.  Those 40 weeks of posts are followed by a litany of sometimes overly graphic newborn pictures.

I gave birth to a daughter 27 years ago.  Though that technology of posting, even blogging, wasn't around back then, I didn't feel the need to even use my camera to take pictures of my belly week by week.  There was never any illusion that ever made me think anyone would want to follow my pregnancy that up close and personal, barring my husband. 

There is a deep loathing in me for social media - not the way I think it should be and was intended to be used for, but for what it is used for much of the time.  I love my personal life.  I don't need to give you a play by play on everything in it - even the biggest moments or the most difficult ones.  I love privacy.  That is the reason I don't run for public office, pursue newscasting, go on the show "Naked and Afraid", and continually sabotage myself from publishing my New York Times bestseller [overly implied sarcasm].

There is a strange generational phenomena right now with newborn pictures.  Professional photographers are hired to chronicle the newborn addition to the family.  Strange, awkward, and inappropriate shots are staged, photographed and blasted to people's social media sites. 

If I see one more mother/child, dad/newborn skin to skin shot I will have to scratch my own eyes out!  I love babies.  I rejoice when anyone has a child and begins the joy journey of parenting. I too felt that powerful emotion and connection when my own daughter was born.  What I don't need is to see ridiculous poses that were meant for private tender bonding time.   

No one wants to see a picture of a shirtless mother with a naked newborn hiding her breasts just to show the world the closeness you feel with your new baby!  Feel it, experience that richly, but keep the camera shots off social media.  Quit posting and start just being. 

Everything in life has become such a big production that it actually detracts from the magnificence of things.  Birth is big enough and majestic enough on its own.  In trying to broadcast it we lose the privacy that is part of it - the wonder of it.

Photographers have opened up a whole new market clientele base - pregnant women and newborn baby/family shots.  Please stop putting new born babies in buckets and baskets.  Stop cropping out parents' hands holding up a newborn's head giving the illusion that it can hold its own head at 2 weeks old.  And, please, please, please quit putting stupid hats on those newborns! 

If you should though, feel the need to hire a photographer, photo log your 40 weeks to birth, and then take quasi nude skin to skin shots, DO NOT POST THEM TO SOCIAL MEDIA!  Instead, make them the cover shot on your Christmas cards.

10.21.2014

MY REPEATING REPERTOIRE

Every morning, Monday through Friday, I have a distinct routine.  It's not riveting, but it's comfortably mine.  You probably have one too.  Some of you have routines that might be highly dissimilar to mine though.  Especially the getting up early part.

I'm not long to stay in bed.  Sleep eludes me many nights.  Between several disease structures at play, menopausal malarkey, and quite simply just wired to not need much sleep, I don't sleep well or long most nights.  Any more I count it a home run night's sleep if I don't have a night sweat and get more than 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Those hit em out of the park good sleep nights are rarities similar to a solar eclipse.

It's no wonder I am ready for morning when night times are so damn crappy!  I love mornings and am always grateful to get up and start the day.  I do not need to depend on an alarm clock or the crutch of a snooze button to wake up.  There is a slight variation in my internal clock's wake up time, 5:00-5:15 a.m.  Once my eyes are open, I am full boar ready to start the motor running and talk in full sentences.  My husband says he occasionally will turn over in bed to find me wide awake.  "HI!", is what he claims I say, as if I am raring to go!   If some cars can go from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds, I go from asleep to wide awake with one open blink of an eye.  He has lost more sleep living with me than he collectively got in the 52 years before he met me! 

This morning I woke at 5:08 a.m.  I looked at the clock and then laid there, not because I wanted to sleep more, but because I didn't want to get out of a warm bed.  After I pulled back the covers, I headed to the bathroom, raised the toilet lid and did my morning pee.  I brushed my teeth, looked closely to see what aging had occurred overnight (corn grows overnight too just ask a farmer) and thought random thoughts like; I need to use my teeth whitening strips or quit drinking coffee. Why do I have so many small vertical aging lines around my lips?  It's not like I ever smoked.  Maybe I need injections?  No, then I'd end up looking like Lisa Rhina.  Not good! Am I going to get this bathroom painted this week?  I opened the right sink drawer to see my plethora of lipstick and lip balm.  I picked up Burt's Bees champagne and put a couple rounds on my lips.  Ah, that's better! 

I left the softer of the two lights in the bathroom on for when Doug got up at 6 a.m. I walked across the hall to the spare bedroom where my bathroom scale sits [don't ask me why it's there exactly....I suppose because I don't have the bathroom completely done yet] and touched the on button with my right big toe, waited for the beep, stepped on the scale, waited for the beep again, stepped back down, waited for another beep and bent low to read the digital screen.  I don't wear glasses when I weigh myself [or most any time to be honest] so I can't see the digital numbers from 5'5" away.  You might wonder why I weigh myself daily.  I find it's easier to stay on target, or make a slight adjustment, if the target is known daily.  Simple principle. 

I look for my white low slung sweats and a sweatshirt on the bottom shelf in my closet and slip my slippers on. We keep the house at 65 degrees overnight in the fall/winter/early spring. I Phone and bottle of water from my side of the bed in hand, I descend the stairs.  I use the remote to turn on the lighted tree in our living room.  En route to the kitchen, I stop at the digital thermometer to bump the heat up to 69 degrees.

Before I brew a cup of coffee in the Keurig, I take my pill.  If done out of order I can easily forget whether I have taken that pill or not!   I brew a cup of coconut macaroon in my reusable Keurig filter and count to 4 while pouring in my lactose free organic half and half.  That delicious cream cools it down too much so I heat it up for 20 seconds in the microwave.  I like my coffee hot! 
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Sometimes I beat the paper carrier's delivery of our paper and have to wait on the paper.  I sit on the couch and peruse email, the weather app, Face book until I get disgusted with it.  I mentally plot out my running path which starts around 6:15 a.m.  At 6:00 a.m. I turn the stairway light on and call, "Baby!  It's time to get up."  I hear rustling of covers and the squeaking of the wood floors above me.  Two small baby spoons of sugar in Doug's cup and I brew him Paul Newman's Special Blend roast coffee.  It's sitting on the counter as he slowly plods down the stairs.  He doesn't wake up quite as perky as I do.

We both sit on the couch, peruse news, read the paper, and just be with each other before the day takes us away.  I leave him 15 minutes or so later, change into my running clothes and head out in the dark morning. The outdoors compels me to come out in it.  I cannot stay indoors for more than a night's sleep!  He says the same thing daily, "Baby, have a good run and be safe and careful!"  I giggle to myself and think of my life before him.  I ran when I wanted to and didn't need someone to take care of me or tell me to be careful.   Once in awhile I remind him of that, though grateful I am that he loves me enough to say it!

I run my miles where it seems I usually encounter a dumb ass not paying attention driver in the dawnish darkness.  My usual response is to stand in the road and flail my arms at them as they drive by or from the safe perch of grass where I have darted to avoid being hit!  Some days I see wild turkey, fox, a strange lady in her bathrobe and tennis shoes walking fast down the road, a couple of old ladies walking their dogs.  I see the same bright yellow mustang who revs his engine every morning as he passes me.  Every morning it scares the shit out of me and then I laugh at his macho male behavior.  I think and think and think some more.  I pray for our kids and our families.  I suck in the outdoor air hoping it will keep me going for the next 9 hours until I can be outside in it again.

Upon my re-entry to the house Doug greets me with, "How was your run?"  I tell him the same thing every day, "Babe, grateful that I can do it, that I did it, that it's over."   He has done his own routine while I am gone.  And then, we are off to the races once again doing our repertoire of repeating.

10.17.2014

SHH, QUIET, NO RUNNING... they might hear you


There is a sign on the gate of the cemetery near my house.  I read it every time I walk through it to take a long, quiet, fast walk. The sign leaves me with a grin and a "rule" washed sigh.  That cemetery is one of the places I go to shake the day off me after work, breath the unboundaried air, and bracket my outside morning run with another round of outdoors [just wired to need to be in nature].  I think more calmly there.  I read the names as I run by them and wonder about their lives, their families.  That place causes me think about my own family members who have died. To simply remember [though they are not buried in that cemetery or this state]

Cemeteries have a unique vibe.  They aren't spooky to me or creepy.  They don't conjure up fear of death for me.  Quite the contrary occurs.  They give me a peaceful feeling.  A quiet resolution of all the things. It's also a place of beauty - big old trees of every kind dot the acres.  The trees, I imagine in my big screened mind, are the keepers of the grounds.  They spread their branches and use their grandness to show there is still beauty even in death.

I like that it is an equalizing place.  No matter who you were, what you did in life, we all end up there.  This is not a theological debate on are we really equal in death when it comes to eternity, is there an eternity of heaven and hell?  That podium is saved for a post that can give it the platform it deserves.  Though all are completely and positively dead, a kind of collective lives lived pulses there.  One just has to listen.  There is a silent story and I feel it every time I enter.

I suppose I connect to cemeteries because there I am readily and easily reminded that eventually I will run out of time.  Time is a huge issue to me - not to waste it, to maximize it, to savor it, to use it being who I was created and ordained to be.  I probably write about it, in one way or another, more than anything else.  It is a drug, a commodity, a treasure.

Cemeteries and churches are somewhat similarly funny.  Both places declare and command a respect of the surroundings.  The following sign is posted on the cemetery gate close to where I live:

NO DOGS ALLOWED. 
NO JOGGING PERMITTED.
OFFICE HOURS 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. MONDAY-THURSDAY
ALL FLOWERS REMOVED OCTOBER 1ST
 
Churches hold to those first two rules as well - no dogs and no running in the building.  The cemetery "rules" are clearly stated.  Churches' rules though are not always clearly stated or necessarily posted, but those two are generally enforced and caught though not formally taught.

I want to know who made up those rules? There is little logic in them. Understandably office hours and why flowers might need to be removed by October 1st in the Midwest, logical.  Though possibly goofy, but respectful as well, I get that dogs might crap on a grave.  Dog poop seems more an issue for the groundskeepers than the dead.  But I get it.  NO JOGGING, I just simply do not get.  Who classifies running as a disrespectful activity?  Most people who run or jog aren't going to vandalize things - they are out for exercise not hoodlumism.  How is it ok to walk there but not run? 

Post-life, wherever my body or ashes find themselves resting, feel free to party, run, dance and exhibit all signs of life near me.  I'm more than good with it.  When you are alive - live!!

For the life of me I cannot abide by something that just makes no sense.  If someone can really justify it, then I could maybe buy into it.  It's like libraries and the quiet shh factor.  I got in trouble a time or two in my youth for being too loud in a library.  And by trouble, I mean I used my normal voice in the confines of the library.  Yes there are people reading, possibly studying, using a computer maybe, but how does a normal tone of voice disrupt the whole library.

I get why possibly running around a swimming pool that might have wet cement with wet feet might not be the safest of things to do.  But I do not get banning jogging in a cemetery.  It's not like there is traffic.  It's not like the rhythmic breathing of a runner is disturbing anyone.  How is running in the disrespectful category?

When logic is no where to be found in rules, I do what all people in our culture do, I google it to find out more.  There are as many opinions on the running in a cemetery subject as there are belly buttons.  They ranged from the ridiculously slap your hand with a ruler sort of thoughts to actually asking people who have a loved one buried in a cemetery how they felt about someone running on the roads within a cemetery.  I really could not find anything historically that linked "running" in church or cemeteries to being "wrong" or tied to a historical event or time in history.  Running in a church or a cemetery are cultural mores originally created by man and over time just assumed as the correct view.

It's a cultural thing that we [ok I don't] now accept as an absolute. Respect is far more than an action, it's an approach, a mind set as well.  It's much like the don't wear white after Labor Day rule - no basis for it but eventually yet another  cultural mores was formed. You theoretically could walk in a cemetery and be more disrespectful than if you ran.  It's not the action of walking or running but rather what you do with that action that shows respect. Now, I won't run in that cemetery because it's posted not to do so.  I'm adhering to that rule not for respect for the dead necessarily, but because I respect the cemetery rules - though I don't agree with it one morsel.  I will continue to take fast walks there though.

Where actually is the line between jogging and walking?  I can walk a 12 minute mile.  I can run an 8 minute mile.  Some people run a 12 minute mile and walk a 20 minute mile.  So, I guess it's the movement they look at:)  My walking pace might lead them to believe I'm jogging.

The thing is, I haven't heard one dead person complain, yet.

10.15.2014

GOODNESS GRACIOUS GREAT BALLS OF HURT!



Manslaughter and murder are both charges due to the death of another person.  The dividing line lies in the intent of the death.  Involuntary manslaughter (third degree murder in some states) does not have "malice aforethought".  In other words, it was not premeditated or reactionary with harm intended or implied.  It could though be the result of recklessness.  None-the-less, harm occurred and someone was killed.  Voluntary manslaughter and murder have varying degrees of culpability.  For instance, some lesser voluntary manslaughter charges are brought on by reactionary reasons - heat of passion, etc.. 

Suffice to say, no matter the reason or cause it still led to the same result - death. 

We sometimes don't mean to hurt another person.  We don't wake up in the morning, usually that is, with the thought that we are going to impale someone with our words or our actions.  We usually don't set out to hurt someone else - usually.  There are a symphony of reasons why we do though or how we deal with hurt. 

Sometimes we know we are being selfish and what we are saying or doing is of such great importance to us that we don't care how it affects someone else.  Through our selfish inattentiveness we hurt people.  We do though at times want to inflict pain and wound and, with intent to strike back to the hurt-or, we set about to do just that.  Other times, we are so hurt ourselves that it involuntarily slops onto others.  Hurt people hurt people.  We aren't fully cognizant of our pain sphere colliding into others.  Further still there are times we are viewing the situation solely from our lens - we can't see the forest for the trees.  We are just so consumed with the hurt caused by another (even justifiably so) that it skews our view and we pull inward.

It seems though the results are all the same - someone is hurt.  Hurt is not avoidable.  I wish it were.  The only thing that is avoidable is whether or not we will own our own culpability in hurting another or not.  The part we can control is the amount of hurt we choose to hold on to and our acknowledgement of how we hurt another.

In cases of manslaughter and murder there can be both a criminal and civil case.  A criminal case is based on how and if the law was broken, etc.  A civil case is based on what the lose is valued at.  Neither bring the dead person back.  Neither restore the value of what was lost through death or eliminate the hurt.

Hurt unfortunately cannot be totally eliminated from our lives.  I cannot totally protect myself from it, nor can I insulate others from me hurting them from time to time.  Hurt is a festering wound that needs to be cleansed from us before it takes deep hold and spreads.

10.13.2014

FRANGERMENT

My middle sister texted me, "To quote our Grandma Weldy, I feel punk today!"  I laughed at her descriptive phrase that drew a wide berth around all things just not right, out of sorts, somewhat grouchy and yet all of it mixed together to make a slightly indescribable and unpinnable on just one thing punk stew.  I laughed too at hearing my now absent from the earth grandmother's voice say that phrase from time to time.

I gave my sister permission to just feel it and be it.  There was no hurrying that opaque feeling out of the way.  It would run its course, I assured her, like a foggy morning, with possibly the help of a bowl of popcorn, some dark chocolate and a funny movie.  Humor helps, even if only temporarily giving us a hiatus from what is plaguing us.

Punk has several definitions; 1) a form of rock music, 2) a sub culture of the punk rock music movement, 3) a worthless person, 4) in poor or bad condition.  My grandmother used an obscure word and its meaning - hip indeed gram!

I too had hit punk a few days back. It was last Friday that my tolerance for a couple of big dislikes was at a personal all time low. A combination of emotions had collided, and though they were all jockeying for first place, it would have been declared a three way tie.  If anger, frustration, and unfulfillment were three separate jelly belly flavors, then having them all at the same time created a unique flavor called frangerment - the raging waters of frustration, anger and unfulfillment.

What I needed was an escape, a retreat, a respite, some alone time, a big dose of quiet, distance between one of my big dislikes and me, and a way to get some tolerance back before having to go back to the battlefront.  I feared I would snap, have a public melt down.  Deep down I wanted to scream, lay on the floor and kick my feet.  I wanted to flail my arms and say overly simplified and not fully true (just for the moment) things like; I hate you, you drive me nuts, that behavior is so selfish and rude, do you ever think about anyone but yourself....  My list of barbs went on and on and on.  The alternate ending to my present life movie was to say my mind, rip them to literal shreds, and then miraculously have possession of a winning Powerball lottery ticket.

Since winning the lottery odds are like 1 in 1,000,000 [and I did not win off my recent ticket purchase], I would be forced to face that person again if I unleashed my full arsenal.  I begrudgingly put my assault rifle back in its locked cabinet.  I also had to figure out a way to put all those emotions back in their box.

As I worked at putting them back in a box over the weekend, I held each of them in my hands trying to determine what real validity there was to how I felt.  What portion of what I felt was driven by reactionary feelings, deep beliefs that I carry, being in a place of unfulfillment, and just not being 100% physically? Were they contributors or causes?  Did I create any of it?  What were my tangible [not just mind/thought pattern changes] choices or decisions I needed to make?  If there was risk involved, was it worth it?  Did I believe a change couldn't be WORSE than what I held before me? 

That last statement, did I believe a change couldn't be WORSE than what I held presently was THE show stopper.  It was at the core of the old game show, "Let's Make A Deal".  After the contestant had won a prize, he/she had the option to let loose of what they knew they had for the gamble that what was behind another closed curtain was better still than the know they had before them. 

That's the fish hook for me I thought.  I feared that somehow if I listened to my heart and made decisions to exit a present situation it would end up worse than the worse I had presently.  Fear is always  a bit irrational, isn't it.

I thought about another time in my life where, when I believed there could be nothing worse behind curtain number 1, 2, or 3, I let loose of what I held.  It was THE best decision I had ever made in my life and still continues to be.  After listening to my heart, I took that leap, that risk to change something - to leave unfulfillment.  Why did I doubt this would be different?  I knew what decision needed to be made, I just needed to make it.  I knew the waters I swam best in, and I needed to get to them again.  We are created to be creatures of choice. 

I pick curtain number 3.

10.08.2014

RICOCHETING



"I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively
 passive and sad.  Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between."
Sylvia Plathe
 
 
My daughter quoted the words of writer and poet Sylvia Plathe in a tweet.  It resonated deeply with me.  I knew it did with her too.  Sylvia Plathe is her favorite writer.  She combs the deep, the dark, the heavy.  She utters stuff we don't want to admit to, say out loud, or even succumb to.  Sometimes her verbose puts a cloud on me.  But today, when I read that quote, I knew exactly what she meant, how she felt, because I felt that same way.  It was a peep hole to my own mind and spirit.
 
Just like her mother, my daughter can't escape some big thoughts and feelings. She gets it honest. But, to even out the heaviness of that trait, I also passed on to her the Weldy high receding hairline.  It keeps the heaviness in check with an occasional glance in the mirror at our high foreheads and starting line of hair to scalp.
 
That was a picture of the contrast of polarizing thoughts and emotions Sylvia referenced.  It was just like me throwing in a light hearted example of high foreheads cast against deep, heavy and over sized thoughts and emotions.  Those active, happy and light hearted thoughts and actions can teeter totter the introspective microscope.
 
If you read poetry or writings of some of the great and those of even some of the unfamous or more obscure, there is a thread of contrasting ricocheting in their words, in their topics.  It's not necessarily a sign of mental instability or illness.  Rather, it's a sign of the range of our humanness.  Our capacity to feel and sense and think.
 
Music is usually ricocheting in its lines and notes.  King David in the Bible penned ricocheting thoughts.  Elijah had pinging thoughts and manic emotions and actions.  Circumstances can drive us there.  And tiredness starts the game of ping pong right up.  Just observe toddlers for about 15 minutes and you can clearly see this principle in a human "short" film.
 


It reminds me of the old scale that was in my grandparent's country store.  It was a scale that sat high on the counter and weighed packages of meat, cheese, flour or bulk candy.  Once the inner spring stopped quivering and moving from the placement of the item on the scale, the item's final weight could be determined.  But for a few seconds it was undetermined what that concrete final weight would be.
 
 
Sylvia Plathe speaks of extremes, of haves and have nots.  Emily Dickson declares it through if's in this place of ricocheting thoughts and emotions.  I think they are normal.  Or at least more normal than some of you want to think or believe. 
 
If you were coming in the fall,
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.
If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.
If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemens land.
If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.
But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting. 
-Emily Dickinson
 
 
It's also exactly why the colors black and white accent each other.  And, why God himself would choose to dwell in our hearts.

10.07.2014

WATCH THE JUNK


Simply and strongly stated, baseball games are too long.  I'll start there and digress.

My first husband was a high school and college baseball player.  He was also a Cubs fan.  I spent 26 years, including my honeymoon, either watching baseball on TV or going to major league games.  Lest you think my dislike of the game comes from not being married to him any more, you would be sorely wrong.  I also greatly disliked it for 26 years when I was married to him.

How could anyone dislike baseball?  Baseball is American.  Then, I am a baseball dissident.  Did I mention that baseball games last way too long. 

I once sat through a rain delay at Wrigley Field for 2 hours before they called the game.  Another time, at Wrigley Field again, the game went into extra innings.  At inning 16, when I thought I was about to lose my mind from spending more time in that ballpark in that seat than an average day at work, I had enough and left.  The sound of slowness was like fingernails on a chalkboard!

I don't do well sitting for indeterminate amounts of time, let alone for hours at a time, while watching the slowest game play on the planet.  If the sheer length of the game isn't enough to make you hate the sport as a whole, then the slowness of how it is played is.  Baseball has some learning disabilities, exhibits a type of low sports IQ and is like always driving in the slow lane.  Let's play for a bit, and then move on to have part of the day left!

To keep myself occupied for 26 years I had a running commentary about the game...  Baseball players have to be the most out of shape athletes compared to other professional sports.  There is no definitive lean muscle mass, large muscle mass or even overly lean players as a norm.  Their body types are not overly sculpted [the result of  far less intensive training as compared to other sports along with less demanding game play].  And, the catcher's hand-in front-of-crotch signals to the pitcher just make me giggle.  Strange.  Quirky.  At least it occupies part of the mind numbing ness of this!

To top off my reasons for disliking the game of baseball we can add how they determine the winner of both league's play - the World Series.  The series winner is garnered by taking the best out of 7 games.  That means, whoever wins 4 games first, wins - series over.  To be honest, that was my silent prayer every year for 26 years when the World Series started every October.  [Please God make one team win 4 straight to get this over and done with faster!]. It seemed God never consistently answered my very selfish prayer to my liking.

I would like to say that best out of 7 play is specific to the World Series of baseball, but it's not.  The NBA, the NHL and MLB share this extended play same team to same team best of 7 to win scenario.  The NFL and FIFA [My son-in-law a soccer player, coach, and huge fan will scold me for painting soccer in such broad terms and will correct me for it!] employ playoff brackets and special exception sorts of play to whittle down to a single game winner.  It's an i before e except after C sort of thing.

A regular 9 inning major league baseball game typically lasts 3.5 hours or more [not counting extra innings!] as compared to 2-2.5 hours each for a national football league or national basketball association game.  That is why there is a push in MLB to find a way to shorten the game time.  Ideas range from enforcing the pitcher 12 second rule to eliminating 2 innings and everything in between.

It's far too late for me to ever like baseball, even if they shorten the length of games. 

And, though my grandmother was a great organ player [pedals blazing, stops pushed and pulled while "Gentle Shepherd" rang out], I still cannot understand the use of the organ at MLB games.  It would seem that the organ [though in great decline in church music] has its roots in sports - baseball games and roller skating rinks. 

10.02.2014

THAT SPACE OF CRUSHING


dedicated to:hmg and unnamed others....


Life is definitely not always what our mind has thought or our heart has longed for it to be.  It sporadically leaves us straddling our expectations with events of our present reality. When handed things that no one would ever want, it sends us reeling.  We lose our footing for a time.  It can be a heavy season.  For a time, anyway.

Whether you hold fast to a belief and experience in God or not, we were created not as eternal perfect beings. We were hardwired by the Creator of the universe Himself to feel and choose.  With feeling and choosing come some deep waters.  Those deep waters result in a trip to the reactionary backside of feeling and choosing. Those two conduits hold us in a paralyzed say "Uncle" purgatory for a spell.  Our synapses are bombarded with pain and seemingly no choice. That is, until our feelings can stop reacting and reacting and reacting.  Then we can start choosing how to react to what we feel and also to what we have been dealt.  There is definitely a do-si-do that occurs.

I do so want to punch the shit right out of those that fling clichés like chicken feed.  Though clichés may hold truth, to remotely hear them at all we have to wrestle with our emotions after first letting them flood every cell.  God wired us to feel.  It's a great gift meant to drive us to love others and God deeper through choice. 

I cannot imagine, in order to escape from ever feeling pain or disappointment, that I would conversely never get to experience deep pleasure, love, or contentment.  To not feel disappointment, loss, or hurt, letting it run its course through our hearts/minds/spirits, is to deny the very system that God placed in us.  He knows how He made us - with hearts to hurt and love. 

There are those that tout mistruths.  Denial of pain and only hope.  It diminishes the sheer fact that hope is a feather that takes us where we cannot go alone.  You can have pain and hope.  That's how it is designed.  It holds the pain to a point that it doesn't completely destroy us.  Though at times we feel it might.

God lets the world we live in touch us.  It's not cruel. He's not absent letting chaos ensue. He doesn't afflict us with pain but rather allows that system of choice to continue.  It's not that He can't change poverty, oppression, pain or disease. It's actually through the backdrop of that very broken system that God uses to show us hope cast against despair.  Love against hate.  Peace against turmoil.  Grace against human-ness.  

He provides a way in it for us to have a win.  That win is not the world's win as wins are defined in the world system.  Rather, it comes through a presence of contrast to those things happening that we didn't choose - to a world that creates pain and dashed expectations.  We feel and then we have a choice - hope, love, peace, and grace.  They are the way out of the deep waters of straddling dashed expectations, unmet longings, deep heart desires and our present reality.