Mairsy Dotes

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

Let’s Go! February 23, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 12:09 pm

So, my birthday is on Monday. The big 3-1.

God. How did it happen that I’m in my 30’s? I can remember when my parents were in their 30’s. I was barely into my 9s. Now I’M in my 30’s. I’m not freaking or anything–I don’t feel old, and I don’t feel any less desirable than I felt in my 20’s. But it’s just weird being an age I can remember my parents being. Because THEY seemed old at 30. Not like GRANDPARENT old…just PARENT old. And now: I’m where they were.

To celebrate, we’re going on a little roadtrip. Whoo-hoo! I love roadtrips. I always have. I love getting in the car, putting on some good driving tunes and just hitting the road. Of course, now the tunes we listen to are a little less Coldplay and a little more Laurie Berkner, but hey: whatever keeps the 2 ft. tall dictator in the backseat happy. As soon as she falls asleep, it’s Mommy and Daddy Music Time.

I had one birthday wish. And that was to get “Rent” on DVD. Do you know how hard it is to find “Rent” on DVD in the Twin City metro area? Damn near freaking impossible. Who knew it would be so difficult?! Certainly not M, who was relieved to hear that my birthday wish list comprised two items: Road Trip and “Rent”. So now I’m bummed. Everywhere we went today with the intent of getting the DVD were sold out. Unless we wanted to spend $40 and ALSO get a DVD of “Godspell” (um. No thanks.)

So anyhow. I have that weird “I just wanna get outta here” vibe going on. I haven’t left town since October, when I went to the Stonecutter gathering. But because I want so badly to get out of here, I’m bored. Nothing holds my attention. Sure, there are a TON of things I could be doing–cleaning house, cleaning the litterbox, ironing, making beds–but I don’t do them. I’ve been running around on the internet like I have ADD seeking something, ANYTHING that will keep me entertained until it’s time for us to leave. Which is why you get this rather flighty, erratic post to entertain YOU in your ADD internet seeking.

Happy trails, partner.

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Gimme some sugar! February 19, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 9:40 pm

So, this week marks my one year blogiversary!

Yep, on February 23, 2005, I lost my blogging virginity and entered this weird and wonderful world that my blog buddy Dennis calls “The Blogosphere” (or something like that). I got into it because of Poppy, who told me I should stop being a chicken shit and just blog fer crap’s sake (that might be a paraphrase, but knowing Poppy: probably not).

Along the way I’ve become a regular reader and commentor on SweetDixiePeach’s blog–I’d “known” her for years because we frequent the same bulletin boards, but it was really only through blogging that we really got to know one another, and the admiration I felt for her when we were only bulletin board acquaintances has blossomed into affection for someone who has a world perspective that I truly appreciate. She, more than almost anyone I can think of, gets what love is and what it means to tell someone, “I love you.”

The aforementioned Dennis found me. I’m not sure how…he was probably clicking “next blog” and got entranced by me. 😉 At any rate, through the months since he first commented, he’s also become someone who I think of with affection–I’m always glad to see his name in my comments, and I love, love, LOVE his “Professor” movie quizzes. They are truly addicting, and even MORE fun than answering the questions is when he takes the time to compile everyone’s answers and comments on them. He strikes me as a unique individual with a passion that he’s able to articulate…I look at movies and the movie industry very differently for having “known” Dennis. I have told him this, and now I’m telling you: he is my favorite movie critic.

I have other blogging friends–Sal, Zoe, Annie, Kara, JessMonster (mmm…Lipstick Granola Cruncher Cookie Goddess!), Cyn, SaraJoy (Young Lady! Get your tuckus over to your blog and give us an update already! Jeez. You’d think you were out traveling the world and having adventures and a life and stuff. You should think of your poor, married, child-having friend Beege who is living vicariously through you and let her know what sort of fun we’re having!).
We are all Stonecutters, and so we were friends before, but blogging has let me get to know them a lot better, and in ways that we wouldn’t have got to know one another without blogging.

I’ve also had people take the time to comment on my blog. 98% of the time, I LOVE getting comments from people I don’t know, because I love just hearing from people. 2% of the comments: I could live without…but you know, what are you going to do? 🙂 I’ve been truly humbled at the way that people who have never even met me seek to take care of me, and offer me prayers–that’s so totally amazing to me, and I’m really not sure what to make of it. It’s such an incredible gift, from someone I don’t even know…so, because I’m never sure how to respond: thanks. I’ve needed it, and I’ve appreciated it.

Oh! And how can I forget??? I was TOTALLY plagerized! Friggin’ Steve Alter!

So, anyhow. What I’m trying to say here is this: I’ve really loved sharing this year with you. When I started I truly had no expectations that anyone would ever read me, and it wasn’t started so that people could. If I HAD started it with that intention, I probably wouldn’t have been so candid…but I tend to be a candid person, and once I realized that people WERE in fact reading, I liked having this spot that sort of functioned as a stream of consciousness blog that everybody could have access to. It was nice to have a place to come and emotionally vomit and have people say, “Wow! I know exactly what you mean!” or “Those people are such total wankers!” or “Beege, sweetie, you need to get a grip.”

So do me another favor. Because I left y’all alone during National Delurking Week: delurk now, and gimme some sugar! Or if you don’t lurk, gimme some sugar anyway! 😉

 

No, I haven’t been assigned

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 9:28 pm

to the Witness Relocation program, but you’d never know it from this blog.

I’ve been helplessly sucked into the good-will crack that is the Winter Olympics. Even the ice dancing. Good Lord. SOFTBALL isn’t an Olympic Sport but ICE DANCING is?! What kind of world do we live in? And why, please God why, do all the women wear flourescent pink costumes WITH matching flourescent pink lipstick? It’s not pretty on ANYBODY, ladies. Really. Trust me. I watched a video at a store meeting a few weeks ago, and some high mucky-muck in the company assured me that I am a Fashion Specialist“, and if you hear it in a company training video it MUST be true, so listen to your sweet Beege: BACK AWAY FROM THE FLOURESCENT PINK LIPSTICK. I’ll let you have the costumes if you simply cannot live without them, but I’m going to have to stage an intervention on the lipstick. Particularly if you are a brown-skinned redhead, flourescent pink is DEFINITELY not doing you any favors.

I’m also knitting, and since that takes two hands, it cuts down on my blogging. Nothing exciting. I found some cranberry-colored wool in my yarn drawer, and given the fact that we’re struggling to reach freaking ZERO for our daily high temps, decided that what I need to go with my cute new ivory coat (God bless clearance prices and employee discounts on TOP of clearance prices!) is a lovely cranberry wool scarf. Seed stitch, for those of you who are curious. It’s cute. Naturally.

Plus, my life just isn’t that exciting right now. I had a couple of “churchy” job opportunites that came up and then fell through, and I am SO totally OK with that I’m actually sort of freaking everybody (including myself) out about it. I thought for sure I’d just be crushed…but I’m not. I’m not even slightly bruised.

Which, I suppose, says an awful lot.

 

Family February 15, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 7:05 pm

When I was just over three years old, in May of 1978, my grandparents came to our house to visit. It was exciting. My grandma spoiled me terribly, and my grandfather would give me horsey rides on his shoe. Plus, one time? They brought me a CAT. I thought that perhaps this time they’d bring me another cat.

They didn’t. They were there to stay with me when my mother went into the hospital to have my younger brother.

At the time (and several times in the intervening years) I think I would have rather had a cat.

My brother and I have always had a volatile relationship. I toed the line, played by the rules, and whenever I even THOUGHT about stepping outside the boundaries–I got busted. Nate LIVED outside the boundaries, and got praised for it. It drove me nuts, and I spent a great deal of time and effort and energy in my growing up years trying to make Nate PLAY BY THE FREAKING RULES ALREADY! Geez. Is it so hard?

But for him, it was. He wanted to do thing his way. And usually doing things his way meant running over me. Which in and of itself was annoying, but to have him do it to the sound of applause? That was hard to take. Add to the fact that my mother has this bizarre blind spot when it comes to him…she can see no wrong in him; has a complete and total inability to do anything other than fawn over him; refuses to hear any criticism of him. It was hard. It IS hard.

So there were big fights. He’s pulled a knife on me a time or two, I’ve used words to make him cry. Different sort of knife, same effect. I didn’t like him, I didn’t like the choices he made. I didn’t like how if he didn’t get his way, he went out of his way to make everyone else miserable, and because of that: he almost always got his way. I remember one time we were on vacation and something happened to set him off. He was fifteen, and he STOLE MY PARENTS’ CAR and was gone for hours. Nobody knew where he went. When he finally came back: virtually nothing was said. No punishment was enacted. And I thought, “That’s it. When Mom and Dad are dead: I won’t have this guy in my life anymore. He’s too selfish. He’s too hurtful. And too much has happened for us to ever get beyond it.”

Ever the DramaQueen.

Sunday morning at about 8AM we got a phone call. Phone calls at 8AM are a little iffy anyway, but that early on a Sunday was odd. It was Nate. I answered the phone and he started by saying, “Um, this is Nate. Your brother. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but…” and my first thought was, “Oh shit. Oh shit. Shit. Shit. Shit. Somebody died. And if Nate is calling and not one of my parents then it’s a pretty good bet that one of my parents died.” (Ahem. Drama Queen much?) Which, I’ll grant you, is a pretty extreme conclusion to jump to. But it’s just that we NEVER talk. We NEVER call. Sometimes, if he’s at Mom and Dad’s when I call, we’ll chat for a moment before handing the phone off…but that’s it. Neither one of us has ever picked up the phone and called the other one, just for the hell of it.

Turns out, he was in D.C for a conference last week and got caught in the blizzard. He missed his connecting flight out of Minneapolis, and wanted to know if he could spend the night with us before continuing home on Monday morning. Of course I said yes. Just think of the lecture I’d catch from Mom if I’d said “No.” But more than just basic fear of maternal wrath, I realized I WANTED to see Nate. I wanted him to come spend the night at our house and play with Linnea and tell us what’s going on in his life.

So at noon on Sunday I picked him up at the airport and brought him home. We had such a great visit! Talked nonstop, he read to Linnea, carried her around on his shoulders when we went out for ice cream–all the stuff a great uncle should do. He bought us dinner, and then we went home and watched the Olympics. It was just a simple, fun, wonderful evening. An unexpected gift. I woke up rather cranky, crampy, and bloated on Sunday morning and his arrival totally saved the day.

We’re still not close. We may never be. There’s too much stuff between us. But I think maybe we could start from here. Not to say the previous 28 years never happened. But to say, “OK. They happened. They sucked. But we’re both grown-ups now. Let’s move past this.” When I kissed him goodbye at the airport and told him I loved him, I meant it. I wanted to tell him I meant it–that I wasn’t just saying it because if I didn’t Mom would get mad. I wanted him to know that even though he towers over me by a good foot, he’s still my little brother and I will always protect him, even if I think an azz kicking would do him a world of good.

Sometimes family is a source of such unexpected blessing.

 

As Long As You Show Up February 9, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 8:25 am

I’ve been thinking about faith and religion and God and church a lot lately. Some of it was kicked off by some comments from fellow pastors that happened in the recent past. Some of it was inspired by conversations I’ve been having the Stonecutters bulletin board. Yesterday, I read this and it got me thinking about it some more.

I wasn’t raised in the church per se. I was baptized, and my mother taught me about God and Jesus and I sang “Jesus Loves Me” and my favorite game to play was “Prayer” where I’d put a diaper on my head (????), kneel beside my bed and see how long I could pray, but as far as church-going: we didn’t. We didn’t because my father was raised Catholic, and my mother was raised conservative Lutheran and neither family could believe their child was marrying the “enemy” and so the way my parents dealt with the issue was to simply not deal with it.

When I was seven or eight, my mother developed some sort of problem in her brain. I’m not sure what it was, even now. We don’t really talk about it much. But she was in the hospital for a long time, and Daddy was always with her. The 15-year-old girl from across the street stayed with us all the time, and her parents helped out, too. What I remember of this time was the uncertainty. When you’re eight years old, your parents are the world. They are the tallest people you know. They are the smartest. They are the strongest. They are invincible. And one night I woke up and heard my father sobbing…I crept down the hall to their bedroom and touched his shoulder. He looked up and I asked, “Daddy? Is Mommy going to die?” His answer? “She might.” And suddenly my entire little world titled wildly off-kilter, and I thought of my infant brother and how I’d probably have to be his mommy now and how sad I was that he wouldn’t get to know our mom.

Given the fact that Mum colors my hair and takes care of my daughter when I’m ill: clearly, she didn’t die when I was eight years old. Nor eighteen, nor twenty-eight. Keep up the good work, Mum. ‘Cuz I’m not any more ready to lose you, and I don’t think my world would be any less off-kilter without you in it now than it was 23 years ago.

But what that event did do was get my family in church. We began attending Atonement Lutheran Church in Missoula, Montana. My brothers were baptized. We met Pastor Tom, who had a daughter my age and who I loved and adored beyond belief. We met Pastor King, who was from Tanzania and who talked with this lilting accent that I couldn’t hear often enough–I loved listening to him preach and tell stories about Africa. I learned to navigate the Lutheran Book of Worship, and I learned to love the soft “whump” of people closing the hymnal at the end of the service and I learned to love the way the church smelled like birthdays after the acolytes extinguished the candles. I learned to love the aroma of coffee and the buzz of conversation during fellowship time. I memorized all the books of the bible in exchange for a Jolly Rancher bar (the BIG ones…not the tiny little dinky candies). I really liked church. I liked that they gave me a bible–for FREE–and I liked being in the Christmas programs, and I liked that my parents would let me sit with our neighbors, Dick and Dorothy, and their girls because Dick and Dorothy were very indulgent and would let me draw on the back of the worship attendance cards while my mother would make me follow along in the hymnal.

The point being: I have nothing but good memories of the church, up to the point that I decerned a call to ministry and the church affirmed that call and sent me to seminary. From that point on, I saw the dark underbelly of the beast. The backstabbing, the politics, the naked ambition and greed, the lying…and I was shocked. I was shocked that the place I had always associated with the word “sanctuary” was run by these sorts of people. And I was hurt that they justified what they did by claiming it to be “the will of God” when it was clear to everyone around them that it was the will of nobody but them, and they had the power to enforce it over all protests.

This sort of power and abuse was directed against me, as well. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s chromosomal, perhaps I wasn’t properly submissive to someone, perhaps my theology is too threatening, perhaps I wasn’t willing to ‘go with the flow’ and because of that I was ‘making trouble’. Without going into details that would bore anyone but me (probably) I will tell you that the Church almost cost me my marriage. A bishop tried to use me to bend M to his will, and the instant that happened, the instant that Bishop chose to further his personal agenda by disregarding not only our love but the vows we took in the house of God: I lost any shred of respect I may have had left for the churchly powers that be. And we were duly punished for that, being sent to rural Kansas to take care of five churches and when we protested were told (rather threateningly) that the only other places they could send us were even MORE rural, so we better shut up and take this if we knew what was good for us. Once in the ordained pastorate, I was able to ignore (to some extent) the politics of the church and just get on with the work God gave me to do. And it went fairly well…until I got pregnant and one congregation (a problematic one, I’ll grant you) went into major-meltdown mode and members began sending me emails telling me how selfish I was to want to have a child, and how now I would have even LESS time to take care of them, and how they thought I was totally irresponsible to have done this and how they thought I was a lousy pastor, etc. When it came time for my maternity leave, they tried to make me take vacation instead, because some of the more vocal women in the congregation didn’t get maternity leave when THEY had THEIR babies, etc. It was a mess. And I very nearly left. Except I was too pregnant to run away and so I stayed. After Linnea was born, things didn’t get any better. The hateful emails continued; my pastoral authority was ignored (nothing like showing up to lead worship and find the entire service different from what you planned); etc. It was not. good. at. all.

And so we got out. Fled, actually, before living there and dealing with those people did any more damage. M retreated to the comparative quiet of theological academics, and I settled into stay-at-home-momhood and then Shopgirldom. And it’s been good. I’ve appreciated the break from living life in the church. And once I stopped HAVING to be in church, I stopped being in church. And the longer we stayed away, I realized just how deep my hurt and disappointment and anger a The Church goes. I’m so freaking bitter…I have friends who have glorious pastorates–no drama, their congregations love them, they have fantastic bishops who bend over backwards to make sure that they have the tools they need to take care of the people. They’ve never ever been hauled before a council and forced to defend their theological beliefs; they’ve never seen the things I’ve seen nor heard the things I’ve heard and I’m so freaking jealous of that! I had no desire to embroil myself in churchly politics…I just found myself there. And once there, I found myself unable to get out and beaten to a bloody pulp.

I’ve been angry and resentful for years now. And now a beloved professor, the man who taught me what it means to be a pastor to those suffering in this world and who’s lessons I turned to every damn day as a pastor is being “asked” to leave his job. Those doing the asking cite “intellectual intimidation”….they want him to leave because he’s SMARTER than they are. And it’s all politically motivated…those making the complaint stand to gain much from his dismissal, and the hardest thing to swallow is that one of the main people bringing the complaint was someone who was his trusted friend and collegue. I hope the thirty pieces of silver are worth it for this particular individual.

So anyhow. The point of this incredibly long winded post is this: I’ve got a LOT of bad feelings when it comes to the organized church. Particularly the denomination in which I am a called and ordained minister of Christ. And I had let these bad feelings color so much of my relationship with God.

We go to church, sometimes. When one of us is in need of the Sacrament, or when we feel guilty for being gone so long. When we miss the rhythm. And when I go and when I sit and I listen to a crappy sermon and I wait and long for the word of the Gospel…I realize that I’m hoping against hope that God will do something to prove me wrong, to negate all my understanding of what the church is, or to do something that will redeem it in my eyes, something that will absolve the azzholes in charge of their wrongdoings. He hasn’t. He’s got bigger concerns. He’s worried about me.

A few Sundays ago, after sitting through a sermon where I literally had to bite my lips so I wouldn’t stand up and scream, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”; it was time for the Sacrament and the pastor presiding over Communion quoted Luther’s Small Catechism, that the people who can rightly receive are those who believe that “this is the body and blood of Christ, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” and I started to cry. Again.

In all my years in the church (as someone preparing for the ministry and as a professional ‘church person’) I hadn’t seen much to convince me that God was in control of it. The actions that my denomination are taking are against Scripture, and it breaks my heart that the people are being deceived in such a way. It breaks my heart that people who are hungry for the Word of God’s love and forgiveness are being given pep talks from the pulpit, “God gives us all talents! Isn’t it great? You are a talented person!”

I had fallen into a trap that I’ve councelled countless people to avoid: don’t interpret the actions of the church to be the actions of God. (And good Lord, I could get in some serious trouble for writing that down and publishing it. But it’s true, no matter what the boys in charge want to believe or want to supress.) Don’t write God off because the church is full of assholes. Don’t think that God is any happier about this than you are. Give God a chance to reach you in spite of it all. Because he will. He’s wildcrazy in love with you, and he won’t let anything (not even the church) keep him from getting to you.

All my anger is rooted in a deep disappointment and hurt that the church has not been for me what I needed it to be. What I want it to be. What I expect it to be. What I know it can be–but probably never will be, at least on this side of the Resurrection. Perhaps you can sympathize. Perhaps you understand the words that I’ve written, because in some way they mirror your experience with the Church. Or maybe they don’t at all, and you’re reading, mystified at my story and thinking, “Well, clearly she’s not called to be a pastor. A pastor would never ever write–or admit to, at any rate–any of this. If she was truly called, it wouldn’t have been so hard.” Or maybe you’ve just skipped this deeply self-indulgent post entirely.

Whatever your response to what I’ve written, please know this: God is coming after you. He’s not going to stop. Your defenses won’t even slow him down. Your accusations, your excuses, your need to cradle your hurt close? Don’t concern him. He’s coming after you with the single intent of making you whole. Of finding those wounded places we all have and we all try and hide and heal them. I know this, because he’s doing it to me on a daily basis. It can be scary, to have the attention of the Creator of the Universe focused intently on you, but think of how big the love that motivates it is. Nothing is going to stop him from coming for you, because you belong to him. He won’t rest until you’re in his arms, and safe.

God. Think of being safe. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?

 

Girly Bits February 6, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 9:58 am

One of the things I love best about being a mom is finding the various bits and pieces around our house that indicate a little girl lives here.

I love the hair clippies on the end table, the dollbaby in our bed, the pink cowboy boots in the hallway, the hot pink rubber duckie in the bathtub. I love the strawberry-print footie pajamas. I love that we have a canopy bed in our apartment, and I’m slightly jealous that I’m not the one sleeping in it. I love the little lace-edged undershirts we’ve recently started her in (easier than a onesie when you’re potty training).

I look around and I think, yes: my house was more tidy before Linnea. Or rather, the flotsom and jetsam were of a different nature. Even when she was a bitty baby, other than the baby swing and the Boppy there weren’t any concrete indications we had a child. Now she’s making a mark on her environment. Has been for quite some time. And I love it. I love that I get to share my life and my home with this tiny girl, who adores cleaning and picking up, who steals wipies so she can clean anything in reach, who lets me do her hair and begs me to touch the tip of her nose with my powder puff every morning.

*sigh* I have myself a girly-girl. And life is good.

 

A Little Story for SuperBowl Sunday February 5, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — beege @ 1:50 pm

First of all, before anything else is said, I feel the need to get this off my chest.

*ahem*

GO HAWKS!
I’m not sure how they pulled this off, but for as long as I’ve been aware of the Seahawks (most of my life, being a native Washingtonian) they’ve sucked the big one. And now they’re good. And I want them to win. Which means they will probably lose.
And now, for the aforementioned story.
The other day, I was at work. We were slamming busy and short-staffed because our district manager was freaking out about payroll. So there’s three of us trying to help a store full of people, grabbing stuff from the back room, running to the fitting room, dashing up to the cashwrap.
As I was doing so, I thought, “Wow. It’s really drafty all of the sudden. I wonder if they turned on the ventilation system in the mall?” And then I looked down. You see, I had worn a beautiful zip-front white blouse to work that day. I like the zip-front blouse. When you’ve got boobage like mine, you need to have the zipper to avoid the gapping that is so common with button-front blouses. Normally, it works well.
Until the zipper splits from the bottom up and you realize that you’re flashing your DDs to anyone who cares to take a looksee.
Yep. I was the victim of a wardrobe malfunction. I now know that things like that can and do “just happen by accident” because it happened to me. Janet Jackson has my most humble apologies.