Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wait Up

There's this phenomenon that happens to me sometimes, where I am unable to feel a thing fully. I am not quite sure how I am supposed to feel. I need some sort of validation for a feeling, it seems, before I can really enter into it.

Sometimes I get that validation from myself. I go for a walk and have a complete conversation with myself, or I act out a scene where I am sharing my concerns or fears or my joy and by the end of it, I really feel what I feel.

Sometimes I get it from others. I broach it to friends in an e-mail, and I say how I think that I'm feeling, explaining the circumstances. Their answers have a way of quantifying my emotions. How bad exactly do I feel? Or, how good exactly do I have a right to feel?

What a strange idea -- to deal with emotions in such a complicated way. I have this picture of me standing still, face frozen, and then reaching into my chest and pulling out my heart. Looking down at it, I see that it is pulsing with sorrow, or pain, or loss, or passion or pride. I hold it up for passersby to see, watching their faces for a reaction. Or I hold it up to a mirror until my expression matches the depth of the emotion that I see.

What do I feel?

I often don't know. There will be an unsettled-ness inside of me, and that is the only thing that tells me I am feeling something deeply. I think this is okay. I've always been a slow thinker, and a late bloomer.

I was a late bloomer physically. I was the smallest child in the class for most of my elementary years. I didn't show any signs of puberty until about age fifteen.
I think that is why I am feeling something deeply about a situation I was in today where someone made a joke of a sexual nature about me.

It was very public, and inappropriate, and it was said by a man who was in charge. I felt immediately diminished by it. But then came the rush of all those thoughts -

how should I feel?
it was just a joke.
why should he have this power?
what are others thinking?
why do I feel so small all of a sudden?
it is only words, he is an idiot.
am I the only one who feels this way?
I am so tired.
don't look hurt, make your face normal.

Coming home there is a feeling of deadness about me and at the same time a stirring of some emotion. But I don't know what it is now. And I have this thought that no one can tell me how I feel. I'm the only one. I'm really the only one who knows.

When it comes to me late and fully-formed, I will be safely separated from the event. And I will not excuse any of my feelings, or apologize for them.

Because what I feel will be the real thing.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Full Throttle

My pastor likes NASCAR.
I like my pastor anyway.
He is so full of passion!
Thrills! Spills!
The lost are saved!
I really like him.

And I have always loved the church. There is something about the Church - the corporate body of Jesus - that seems magnificent to me. I used to get very caught up in serving at church. Not for any of the right reasons. Just to be part of it all - the Thrills, the Spills!

I soon found I was so worn out from serving that I started not to care very much anymore. The same sorts of things kept happening. Like a revolving door the same issues and questions came around again and again. The music was too loud. The nursery was disorganized. I became critical. Nothing was good enough for me. I wasn't good enough for me. I just sort of felt like sleeping in when Sunday rolled around.

But I kept attending. I kept seeing those lovely faces. And those lovely moments that surprised us all every time. The altar call. The testimony. The renewed committment. The great big thermometer with mercury squirting out the top! Lovely.

It helped so much to step back. I didn't step out, just back. One step. I slowed myself. I breathed. I thought. I stopped. No longer a Mover or a Shaker, I felt content to be a helper. It was a life-changing thing for me. To let the others thrill and spill. To walk gently among them. Quiet. Peculiar. Slow.

We arrived at church last Sunday to find that the annual fall mobilization is on. The vision has been cast. The direction plotted. And our motto for the year is this:

"Racing Into The Future Full Throttle"

The husband smiled at me and I smiled back. Kindness. It is very nearly the exact antithesis of my philosophy of life!

For a few days after hearing it, I walked around the house saying things like, "Okay you, slow down there. Why are you racing into the future full throttle? Let's all just speak quietly and move slowly." We laughed and I shook my head.

And yet, there is a sort of style in the whole thing. The banner across the front of the sanctuary. The pastor in full NASCAR gear. The countdown clock running. It is not really about beauty. But it is about hearts set on a prize. It is about resisting inertia. It is about passion and love for those lovely lost.

And I am right in the middle of it. Oh, maybe standing toward the back. Maybe listening instead of speaking. Maybe playing my bass just a little behind the drummer. Maybe I'm just the one who stands holding the door.

zoom zoom.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lost On Me

I guess I missed a rather dramatic moment just now.....

I had had a little discussion with the girl twin about the condition of her bedroom, and left her upstairs with two big tears streaming down her cheeks. (No I didn't yell....but I said no computer game tonight....).

Then, unsuspecting, I went downstairs and got online to check out the prices of the oldest boy's birthday wish list. It was very quiet in the house, and I assumed all was well everywhere and that she was up earnestly cleaning her room.....

Then I heard the outside door open and saw her standing in the doorway.
I said, surprised, "Well HI!"
She kicked off her shoes in disgust and cried, "You didn't even know I was out there???"
Then she slumped passed me muttering, "I was sitting out there just SITTING on a rock for a really long time!"
I said, "You were??"
She flipped her ponytails at me and marched into the family room saying, "And I had my face in my hands the WHOLE TIME."

I could just picture her out there waiting for me to notice her forlorn self.
How very sad! Truly I would have given her some sympathy if I only would have noticed...