Mairsy Dotes

"No faith is as solid as a wounded faith."

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end July 30, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 8:13 pm

Tomorrow is my final Sunday as a pastor in Kansas.

I thought my emotions would be more mixed than they are. I’m so relieved! I’m so relieved to be able to give up the burden of caring for these three congregations–the responsibility and the requirements. Now that I’m on the verge of being able to set it down, I realize just how heavy a load it’s been.

Certainly not without its joys and celebrations and benefits…but the burdensome aspects of what I have had to do here far outweigh the goodness of it. I will be glad to go. I will be sorry to leave some people behind–people who three years ago were strangers, but now have become members of the family we all make for ourselves. Some, I will not be sorry to leave behind at all. Likewise: some people are barely able to function when the thought of my leaving enters their head. Others are upset that I didn’t leave sooner. So, it’s a typical pastor/congregation relationship. Heh. Some people think that I am God’s gift to them, others think that the last three years were a waste of everyone’s time.

I was over at the church closest to us tonight, running off bulletins for the last time. I walked through the sanctuary, ran my fingers along the communion rail, smelled the paraments (in my head I always think that must be what ‘holy’ smells like), rested my forehead on the altar. I looked up at the huge stained-glass window above the altar (it depicts the resurrection scene with the women coming to the tomb and being told by the angel “He is not here, for he is risen, just as he said”) and had a final conversation with Mary Magdalene.

You see, it was Mary who told me to take this call. M and I were down here three years ago. It was HOT, and it was dusty, and the crops were drying up in the fields. We were wildly unimpressed with being assigned to Kansas, and even less impressed by the bishop who insisted that we serve here. We were angry that we’d been given rural congregations, since we’d already served rural congregations and knew it was not a good environment for us mentally and we’d made that point very clear to the churchly powers-that-be. We were feeling slightly threatened by the fact that we were informed rather icily that these five congregations were the only congregations available to us, that all other congregations were MUCH MORE (emphasis courtesy of the synodical thugs) rural. Basically: we had a couple of chips on our shoulders about the whole thing, and were basically coming down to Kansas to visit with the congregations so that we could turn the bishop down cold and say, “Nope. Not gonna work. Better let us go someplace else.”

Except that we liked it. It wasn’t great. But it wasn’t horrible either. So the night before we were to meet with reps from the congregations I was eventually called to, I prayed, “God, you have got to give me a sign. A big ass sign. Because I don’t want this. But if YOU want this for me, I’ll do it. But I have to know for sure for sure. You have to make it a sign that I will catch, without a shadow of a doubt, because if there’s any doubt at all, I’m telling the bishop to take these five congregations and go jump in a lake.”

When I walked into the sanctuary of this particular church, I stopped cold. There, glowing with sunlight, was a larger-than-life Mary Magdalene in the window above the altar. The Magdalene has always been dear to me. I think of her as a kindred spirit–an outspoken woman making her way in a man’s world, daring to do things that men didn’t think she could or should do–plus I love to imagine what the dynamic of the relationship between her and Jesus was. I don’t think they were lovers, or married. I don’t go that far. But I think they loved one another very much, and in the resurrection account in the Gospel of John, I love, love, love that Mary doesn’t realize the man she’s talking to is Jesus until he says her name. I wonder just what she heard in his voice that made her recognize him, finally, after speaking with him for several minutes. I want a Mary Magdalene medal, but they’re a bitch to find. Seeing as she’s the patron saint of prostitutes it’s not like you can just go into your local bible bookstore and pick one up. So I’ve never found one. But anyhow: I digress. Suffice it to say that when I asked for a “big-ass sign”, God provided one for me in the form of a stained-glass Magdalene.

She’s been a good friend to me, these three years. The night I found out I was pregnant with Linnea, I knelt at the altar rail, tears of thankfulness slipping down my cheeks and felt her there with me, rejoicing in my joy. When I couldn’t come up with a sermon idea, I’d sit in the sanctuary balcony, almost eye-to-eye with her and think, “What Would Mary Say?” Mary who loved Jesus. Who stayed to witness the crucifixion. Who was the first to know of the resurrection. And when I was feeling crushed beyond belief or bearing, I’d sit with my back against the railing and look up at her–her face turned toward the angel, a look of amazed hope on her face, and I’d remember that the resurrection was for me, too.

As I drove home, the sun was setting in a bank of clouds that looked like angel’s wings, and I felt the benediction of peace fill my soul. Do I know what I’ll do when we get to St. Paul? No. Do I know if I’ll have a church? No. Do I know if we’ll have health insurance? No. Do I know that we’ll be OK? Yes. Because Mary and the angels said so.

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Serenity NOW July 28, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 5:11 pm

So, needless to say: things aren’t going well with my in-laws. I’m about ready to just throw the tape gun at them without putting down the little blade safety guard.

So, rather than say something I’ll almost certainly live to regret, or rather than hurl some projectile in their general direction, I thought I’d come here and think serene thoughts.

You know: girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, and snowflakes, and silver-white winters and all that shit.

I wish I knew what it was about my MIL that just gets on my nerves so quickly. I know what it is with my FIL, and in spite of all of it: I love both of them. Which only makes it more difficult, because the little yatch in my head whispers, “Now why do you love them again?” “Because they raised the man that I adore and whether he likes it or not they have some degree of responsibility for how he turned out.” The non-yatch snaps back.

I try. God knows: I try. Every time they come to visit, I think, “This time it will be different. This time it will be better. This time I’ll take the fucking batteries out of the remote control, or tell FIL that the television is broken. This time I’ll drink a steady enough amount of wine that I’m safely encased in my own alcohol-induced bubble and my MIL will not be able to reach me there.” But it never works. They always end the same way. In tears, bitterness, and frustration, and vows that, “They are never allowed to stay for a week ever again!”

But how can I keep them away from Linnea? I can’t. I want her to know and to love her Meme and Bapaw. And she does. She can’t get enough of Meme, who gives in to her every whim and wish, just like a grandmother should.

My point of light? When we’re living in the apartment, when they come to visit they’ll have to have a hotel. We won’t have room to house them. I think if I didn’t have to be with them ALL THE FREAKING TIME it would be better. It would at least give us a break.

But for all my charity, I bought Linnea a toy today. It’s a kazoo. Take that, Meme.

 

Where the hell did THAT come from?! July 26, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 10:26 am

So I was upstairs in Linnea’s room, taking down her curtains. Her nursery theme was Noah’s Ark–not the cutesy Noah’s Ark, but more primitive country Noah’s Ark (which, I’ll grant you, is also cutesy. But it was a nursery, for crying out loud!) done with dark blues, brick reds, and browns. I loved it. My mother made the curtains and all her bedding.

I’m donating the curtains to the Lutheran dayschool my SIL is the director of. We won’t be able to use them in the apartment, and besides: we’re changing Linnea’s room to something a little more girly and fun. I talked to Mom–she was fine with donating. I was thrilled that the dayschool could use them.

But I took them down this morning, and found myself crying. Not like sobbing. More like tears just soaking my face. I can remember hanging those curtains, trying to get them straight while working around my huge belly. I can remember sitting in that room, holding Monkey while Linnea kicked and did lazy turns inside me, dreaming of what it would be like when she was here. I picked all the fabrics and decorations so carefully! I wanted her to have a room that was cute, but one that also made her feel safe, and one that she could have fun in.

I’m ready to leave this house. I really am. It’s too big for us, and always has been. It’s got problems like all old houses have problems. But it was the house we brought our baby to. It contains the room we prepared for her. I’ve spent so many hours in that room, rocking and singing and dancing and packing out-grown clothes and watching her play. Watching her sleep. Leaning down into the crib so I could catch her sleep-smell, and resting my hand on her back or her stomach to feel it rise and fall with her breathing.

I know that I’ll have fond memories of spending time with Linnea in her new room, too. But I think it’s just that this was her first room. Her baby room. Her nursery. And in leaving that behind, it’s like I’m leaving her babyhood behind or something…I don’t know. I just feel all maternal and emotional, and the crying totally took me by surprise.

 

Heh.

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 9:15 am

I seem to be into enumerated lists lately.

 

Futility

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 8:59 am

So, while I was packing this morning, I was watching the Today Show and they ran a segment about this 70-year-old man who was fighting to save an island.

At first I thought, “How noble! Fighting to save an island from what? Rampant tourism? Industrialists? Polution?”

Nope. He’s fighting to save it from being swallowed up by the ocean. The natural ebb and flow of an island’s life cycle.

He talked about how the island used to be a bustling community with 68 (!) students in the school. Now there’s one house left, with the ocean lapping at its foundation, and an old, overgrown cemetery. This gentleman is a retired Methodist pastor (they mentioned that specifically, I’m not bagging on Methodists or anything) and he found the grave of a young girl who died back in the 1800’s who’s epitaph was one of those typically flowery, victorian verses about not being forgotten. He got all choked up showing it to the camera crew, and then informed them gravely (heh. No pun intended.) that the reason he was fighting to save the island was because this little girl was asking to not be forgotten.

This story bothered me on a number of levels.

1) This guy is fighting a natural cycle of life and death for islands. Because I’m a pastor, I consider this to be the God-created cycle of life and he’s fighting against it. I feel like he should know better than that. Particularly as a retired pastor.

2) All of his resources are going toward buying rock and gravel and dirt which he then boats out to this island. The island is only 80 acres, half of what it was when he was a boy. But he’s putting everything he’s got physically and financially into saving this island. There’s nobody helping him. There’s nobody to take over when he’s gone.

3) What is this doing to his family?

4) Um, the little girl’s grief-stricken parents probably picked her epitaph. Not the little girl. And I don’t believe that the dead ask for anything. They’re dead. For the first time in their lives, they’re probably pretty content.

5) What happens when the ocean claims this island, as it inevitably will? Of course, he’ll probably be dead, but there WILL come a time when he’s just not able to haul rocks and dirt and gravel out to this disappearing bit of land. What will happen to his mental health then?

6) And FINALLY: ‘Today’ presented this story like it was some sort of inspirational thing, like we should all go out and find islands to save, or at the very least, go help this guy save his. What is inspirational about this? Am I just totally missing it? Am I too pragmatic? Too much of a realist? Because I think this is pathetic. When I think of all the worthwhile things this gentleman could be doing with his time and his money, other than spending his time on a dying island alone, talking to a dead girl–I mean, if he wants to do some good there are better ways to go about doing it. Nobody lives on the island anymore. Haven’t for years. No one is begging him or even just asking him to do this. No one is going to benefit from his efforts. So why show him as some sort of noble, inspirational figure? Unless it’s quixotic. But even then: boo, Today! Boo.

 

Ruminations and advice July 25, 2005

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 8:47 pm

1) Before I forget, for those of you intrepid readers who fancy yourselves wine coniesseurs (or just plain old winos), you MUST get yourself to your wine supplier and pick up a bottle of Big Ass Chard. That’s the name. I’m totally not making it up. It’s really one of the nicer chardonnays that I’ve had–smooth, without that tang that some chards have, and it has an almost buttery quality. It paired quite well with our sauteed garlic shrimp and pasta tonight at dinner. I’m sorry that we finished the bottle, because I want more.

2) Today was Linnea’s 18-month check up. She’s fine. Small, but fine. It was also her final visit to her pediatrician, Doc Handsome. It was sort of sad. He’s been a good doctor for us, and he adores Linnea, and he’s hot–what’s not to love?! She gave him the sweetest smooches good-bye, and buried her face in his neck and turned him into a little puddle of doctor-goo. As I was dressing her after he’d left, I whispered, “At least one of us got to kiss him and smell his neck. If it couldn’t be me, I’m glad it was you.” This is what it means to be a mother: being glad your daughter has the opportunities you’d like to have, but don’t.

3) My in-laws have been here since Friday. I’m ready for them to go home. They’re not proving to be terribly helpful in any way. And in fact are just stressing me out. We’re cooking for them, we’re cleaning up after them, I’m having to hide the freaking remote control from my FIL so that Linnea can watch her Noggin in the mornings instead of freaking FoxNews. (Can I tell you how much I loathe the fact that that station has been broadcast on my television?!) They leave their crap everywhere, they both need hearing aids. FIL has them and won’t wear them, my MIL needs them and won’t get them, so I’m fed up with having to repeat everything that I say several times until they’re able to catch it–and it’s not like I speak quietly or anything in the first place. M is taking them and Linnea to breakfast tomorrow. They leave at 8AM and will get back around noon. I will pack and blast music and get this all out of my system so I can be sweetness and light when they get home. For a little while anyway.

4) M’s last Sunday as a pastor was yesterday. It was an odd day. Exciting, but hard because everyone was SO sad that we’re leaving. And we’re not. But we sort of had to pretend like we were. And the in-laws ordered altar flowers for his church, which was a lovely gesture, but they ordered carnations. I used to love carnations. But now I don’t. They remind me too much of funerals. When I smell carnations alone I wonder what happened to the tang of embalming fluid. Plus: the arrangements even look a little funeral-y. So I’ve got these two enormous floral arrangements that do nothing more than remind me of death sitting in my house that I’m trying to pack around. I feel petty being crabby about flowers, but: it’s my blog. It’s pissing me off. I’m writing about it.

5) I read a book this weekend. Well, finished it. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult. Piccoult is one of those authors who’s stories I get into, I enjoy the book while I’m reading it, but when I’m done think, “I’ll never read that again.” Which is an odd thing for me, because I’m a rereader.

6) It’s been hot. In the hundreds with 105+ heat indexes. Tonight there’s a cold front moving in, and the dark clouds are rolling across the sky. I love summer storms. I can’t wait for this one to hit.

7) I’ve been thinking about how odd it is, the blogging world. How we find one another. I have blogs I read religiously, every day, and if the blogger is so negligent as to not update their blog everyday: I get slightly annoyed. Others I read from time to time. Others I mean to read much more frequently than I do. Many I find through other’s blogs, many have been sent to me by Poppy who somehow finds all the religious ones and sends them my way. So, if you have time: how’d you find me?

 

Yay! I’ve been tagged!

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 7:02 pm

The elegant Zoe tagged me on this.

Three names I go by:
1. Beege
2. Mama
3. Babe

Three screen names I’ve had:
1. PreacherBeege
2. Beege
3. BGD

Three physical things I like about myself:
1. my hair
2. my skin
3. my eyes

Three physical things I don’t like about myself:
1. belly
2. belly
3. top of my arms

Three parts of my heritage:
1. Bohemian
2. German
3. Finnish

Three things I am wearing right now:
1. Capri pants
2. pink v-neck tshirt
3. A new ring

Three favorite bands/musical artists:
1. Pat Green
2. Bach
3. ColdPlay

Three favorite songs:
1. Million Dollars–Pat Green
2. Crazy–Patsy Cline
3. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Three things I want in a relationship:
1. a best friend
2. honesty
3. laughter

Two truths and a lie:
1. I’m right handed.
2. My middle name is Elisabeth.
3. I was a soloist in my 4th grade production of “Free to Be You and Me”.

Three physical things about the preferred sex that appeal to you:
1. Eyes
2. Shoulders
3. Smile

Three favorite hobbies:
1. Knitting
2. Reading
3. Blogging

Three things I want to do badly right now:
1. Call my parents.
2. Have another glass of wine
3. Wiggle my nose and have the whole house packed and ready to go.

Three things that scare me:
1. Singing in public
2. Linnea dying
3. M dying.

Three of my everyday essentials:
1. Mascara
2. Perfume
3. Extra pacifiers.

Three Careers you have considered or are considering:
1. Teaching
2. Writing
3. Professor

Three places you want to go on vacation:
1. Oregon Coast
2. Japan
3. Victoria, BC

Three kids’ names you like:
1. Ava
2. Samuel
3. Zoe

Three things you want to do before you die:
1. Travel overseas
2. Be published by something other than a rural weekly newspaper
3. Go on a romantic vacation alone with M

Three ways I am stereotypically a boy:
1. Flatulence amuses me
2. I belch like an international competitor
3. I’m aggressive and confident.

Three ways I am stereotypically a girl:
1. I like shopping
2. I have given birth
3. I’m SO into make-up.

Three celeb crushes:
1. Matthew McCaunahey
2. Mark Ruffalo
3. Colin Mocherie (I know. It’s my secret, shameful crush.)

Three people I am tagging:
1. Sara
2. Jess
3. Cyn