I took this pic in my car one Sunday. I was in the Church parking lot and just chillin’ before I got out and went into the building (crowds still freak me out a bit). So I decided to take a picture. I like it.
Believe it or not, this is a good ending. What follows is an email exchange with a former friend with which I was reconciling I asked to lunch and was declined as he felt uncomfortable with me one on one:
I am still a bit perplexed about our conversation today. I don’t understand how having lunch with a former friend (one on one, during the day, and in public) can cause discomfort while having an exgirlfriend spend the night at your home (alone and in private) does not.
Morality (and common sense, frankly) would dictate that opposite would be true as there much greater chance of immorality in a private home in the middle of the night with a girl that has been drinking and has been making noises about how she is isn’t entirely sure that she still isn’t in love with you (I spoke to her Friday, btw) than in a restaurant. under any circumstances. period.
I’m sure you will say that I am blowing this out of proportion and if I am, then I ask you to explain your logic to me, because without clarification, this sounds like a slight. I am trying so very hard to keep things [civil…there was a typo here] and not think the worst of you. I also think that most times I am the only one that wants us at peace for any reason other than looking good at church (which tickles me because God sees everything that you do and judges accordingly).
Set me straight,
You need to ask yourself why you’re making a big deal about why I won’t have lunch with you. There’s no reason for you to even ask this question. You know I don’t trust you, that I hate being pushed into anything as I have made abundantly clear–and as [a mutual friend] has told you as well. If I don’t want to have lunch with you or spend one-on-one time with you, that’s fine. You need to respect that. Questioning why is only going to aggravate me. It makes you sound like a jilted girlfriend. If I say no, I mean no. And no means no. Don’t poke the bear.
As far as [her name] goes . . . [her name] and I are friends. We haven’t been girlfriend/boyfriend since High School days. In all the years I’ve known her, she’s never done anything to shake my confidence or manipulate me. She is trustworthy. You are not. In the few years I’ve known you, it’s been the opposite. Your constant drama, attempts at manipulation, and false accusations of wrongdoing destroyed our friendship. I will not tolerate such again.
I’ve told you before that I don’t like being pushed. That means don’t constantly question my decisions. If I say I don’t want to do something, that means I don’t want to do it. As for my part, I wish you no ill will at all. I never have nor never will go and sabotage your friendships or intentionally hurt you in any way.
As to being at peace, I very much desire peace. I enjoy living a peaceful, settled life. That’s part of who I am. Always has been. I avoid drama as much as possible. So, no, you’re not the only one who wishes it. When you called to apologize to me, it was truly a great burden lifted. And, yes, I happily forgave you. It was appreciated. I’m in no hurry to be friends. If it happens, it happens. If not, we can go to the same church and have the same friend group and be at peace without being friends.
I’m going to set up a boundary here: we may speak on Fridays. Other than that, I don’t want any other calls from you. Emails and text must be limited. Don’t invite me to go do stuff and don’t pester me about it. Don’t question when we’re going to be friends again. If I want to call or you spend time with you, I’ll initiate it.
Lunch was settled. You said no.
I asked about your logic. I admitted that I didn’t understand and I asked you for a window to your world. I’m sorry that it upset you.
I asked you was there a friendship to be had. I asked because I don’t think that there is. I tried so hard because I think that deep down I just wanted to say that in the end we saw eye to eye and that this part of my life ended well. That was what I wanted to say face to face Wednesday.
Feel free to leave the game (the 30th will be the last session) and there won’t be anymore calls.
Good Ending… Seriously! (yes, that was the entire exchange and I guarantee you that the phone conversation was very civil) but it is a very good ending.
Meet me on the next page and I will tell you why…
I had just woke up, took a few minutes to look over my tickets and replies (because I am always working because I <3 my work) and took a look through the news feed. There I found out that this was Paul Reubens, or Pee-wee Herman's, 60th birthday. The thought of that made me draw in a breath... Pee-wee Herman is 60? Well, that does make sense... he was in Cheech & Chong's Next Movie... that was what? 1980? I was 7? yeah.... I was 18 when they pulled his show off the air. That was, what 1991? wow... I went through tumbler to find a photo to add to facebook and found the one here. Something between the age of the man and the youth of the character touched me in a way that I couldn't explain. While I tried to find words, my friends chimed in: Deborah:
It’s quiet and pure and he’s so awesome….
He’s a modern day tragic clown – beloved and reviled at the same time.
With their help I could express what I saw:
they didn’t do the heavy makeup that made him look like a little boy… they kept his age (he’s 60…!!) and somehow we are still able to see the little kid on the Schwin and Chairry… but we also see that he, like us have gotten old…and it isn’t depressing because there is a wisdom and a sense of peace there….
and one other found the same:
I am with you concerning the aging thing. He looks peaceful and content with his aging. All that fun and silliness has been good to him. I always say laughter keeps my heart young.
When you are simply sitting still and looking into the camera, no mugging, no posing, and precious little makeup, your face and your eyes in particular will tell the viewer everything.
There was age there.
All I could do was to offer you an opinion upon one minor point — a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unsolved.
I will give you that this was written when women had precious little access to either money or their own space, but I think the principle of what Virginia Wolfe holds true:
All a woman needs to write fully is a space with which to write and for that place and the surroundings to be nurturing; to be able to have fullness and peace while working on the sometimes difficult task of putting butt in chair and words on paper.
What does this have to do with a sleepover?
Everything… from the very moment I got out of my car-
Wait! … Aren’t you kinda old to be having sleepovers?
Nope! Moving on…
From the very moment I got out of my car, I felt peace. Granted at first it was the peace from being an acre or 2 from everything else, but was exactly what I needed. I needed to have my mind clear and a clear mind helps you separate what is real from the white noise generating, crazy-making dubstep produced by an over stimulated, over stress and over worked brain. I stepped out the car, took a look around, saw a chicken and [for the privacy of those that were gracious enough to open their home to me, I will not use real names but will instead call you] Ian waiting to greet me and my head felt about 10 pounds lighter.
I had walked down 16th Street in San Francisco about 4 or 5 times by the time I saw it. It was a blue cast iron gate, flush with the buildings. If you were in a hurry or not paying any kind of attention, then you would just walk by it. And I did. Until the one time I didn’t.
I don’t know what made me turn around and look up the stairs, but once I did, it felt as if I had seen a glimpse of some magical place. Cleansed by days of walking and wandering, I looked through the bars and imagined all the sorts of wonderful things that were beyond that gate and behind those doors. And after a few moments. I walked away and this space had grown roots in my memory.
This is my favorite photo of all the ones I took while I was in San Francisco.
It’s a simple shot of a simple street from inside a simple cafe about 6am Pacific time. This same time of morning in Texas, I would have to drive somewhere 15 miles away and find a spot and then sit and eat and drive.
Here, all I needed was a pair of shoes (really, the sidewalks were nasty) a little cash and time to walk. The streets were quiet and still, filled with homes squeezed together so tightly that all there was was their character. On every corner was a restaurant or cafe or boutique of some sort, waiting to be admired and visited. These small little hidden places that were made for walking slowly, looking, touching, and smiling.
I ended up at a small coffee shop called Four Barrels and watched as they roasted beans and pull vinyl records to play as they made my drink. A few blocks back towards the town house, I found this place.
I sat down and just looked out the window as the city woke up.
“Abba, thank You for being in the quiet moments like this. I didn’t need to fill my time with things to make feel needed or important or be busy to avoid feeling lonely… I had You and that was all I needed. It was just the two of us, the way it used to be and I missed that so much. I missed walking with You, spending time with You, and not needing anything else. Thank you for reminding me how sweet time with You is.”
It seems to me that God has put us apostles in the worst possible place. We are like prisoners on their way to death. Angels and the people of this world just laugh at us.
Because of Christ we are thought of as fools, but Christ has made you wise. We are weak and hated, but you are powerful and respected. Even today we go hungry and thirsty and don’t have anything to wear except rags. We are mistreated and don’t have a place to live. We work hard with our own hands, and when people abuse us, we wish them well. When we suffer, we are patient. When someone curses us, we answer with kind words. Until now we are thought of as nothing more than the trash and garbage of this world.
1Corinthians 4:8-13, CEV
“you are being tricked”
A friend pulled me aside to give me this piece of advice.
“I know, but I don’t want to talk about that now.”
I smile back and look into my cup of tea.
For some time, I have been thinking about the holiday season and what it means to my Christmas list. There are gifts for my girls and my husband… and then there are the gifts for my friends.
Even though the list has stayed the same, their statuses has changed in every way possible. People have moved away, have come to town, there are some that I’ve grown closer to and others that have distance (by design and by circumstance). But they are all on my list. Do I gift them or reject them? How much do I give until I are not a servant, but a fool?
Servants of disciples of God are called to assist in every single way possible to protect the Spirit of God that is within all. We listen, run people around, give use of our resources, encourage (and discourage) and anything we can to those who walk the path (or want to). And we do this knowing that some will take advantage, many will not listen, some hate us and more often than not we will never get anything in return. But the joy in this carries us and we continue.
But the question persists. Somewhat because I am a sociopathic spoiled brat, and somewhat because I don’t completely trust Abba and the Holy Spirit, but mainly because I am tired. And since then I have even paid the price for that, physically and emotionally. I have seen what my true worth is.
Let me reword this…
I now know what my true worth is to them. And that is what led me to seek a change in perspective.
And that is how the exchange above happened. They wanted to warn me, but also encourage me. I already know that there are some that think to manipulate me, some that use me and others that just don’t care and that drains me. But for every one of them, I get to help 10 others and the joy from that fills me until I overflow. I told them so.
“and that’s how you keep on even though you know you are being tricked. You serve to God for them, not to them.”
In the scripture above, the apostle Paul calls the Corinthians in to service and tells them about what this calling means. Many of the Corinthians thought that because they were well studied in theology, that was all that was needed and thought well of that and themselves. But Paul admonished them, telling them that the apostles and those other that hear the call to serve follow a path where they give all to a hard, draining, thankless job that will fill them with joy.
So I take my list and I change nothing. I give and expect nothing in return. I help when needed and sleep when I can. I grieve over losing the illusion of the family I thought I had and find joy that this is Abba’s work that I am doing, because that is how He built me. And in the end, I will always be what I have always been.
A servant of our Heavenly Father, Almighty God.
A bit of a fool.
And a joyful giver.
Thanks be to God
Moses answered, “I will tell the people of Israel that the God of their ancestors worshiped has sent me to them. But what should I say, if they ask me your name?
God said to Moses: I am the eternal God. So tell them that the Lord, whose name is “I AM”, has sent you. This is my name forever, and it is the name that people must use from now on
Exodus 3:13-15, Contemporary English Version
When I was a younger woman, I was in love with a God named Jehovah. Even after typing that name, I sit and think about all the love and hate I have for that name. I love the God that that name was to represent. I hate all the pain and suffering that the people that bore his name caused. But the name has strength, has purpose, and most importantly is a name.
With my return to the Church, I have started making steps toward restarting my relationship with ….
Hmmm… I am having a hard time with what to call Him now. I can’t and won’t call Him Jehovah. At this point and time, that name seems beneath my Eternal Lord. It is a name that the cowards and predators hide behind. It is a name that brings to mind megalomaniacal men and desperate, alienated, and blind followers, mostly women. Women who considered second class, washed up after a certain age, left to knock on doors in hopes that would make them righteous enough to seen fit to marry. It brings to mind the worse in religion and speaks nothing of discipleship.
But to have a relationship with someone, especially a close relationship, one needs a name. It is woven in the traditions and customs of having any kind of relationship with someone. When we first meet someone, we ask their name, we buy things because of the name of the product. We name drop, hoping to link our name with the reputation of the other name. When we marry, the woman takes the name of the man she has committed herself to. When we are close to someone, we even give them special names to demonstrate what we think of them and signify how close we are to them.
I didn’t know what to call Him. And this is a problem, because of all the years I spent worshiping and loving Him. He is very real to me, but I found that how he was represented was false. He was not a power mad, women-hating tyrant that wants to scare us into blind obedience. He isn’t an invisible cosmic bully. He loves us. He wants us to desire Him as He much as He desires us. I want to be close as I once was, but with this God; not with the God of the past. The name I called Him before does not live up to that.
So what do I do? I do what any girl who wants a relationship does, starts thinking about a special name for Him, one that means something to me and signifies that special bond that we have.
What do I call my husband and other men that I am close to?
(The theologians in the audience know where I am going with this. I swear- If you sick James Barr on me, I will cut you!)
Abba is Hebrew. In ancient times, it was translated “the Father” and is the main given to the Father of the Triune God. In modern Hebrew, it means “Daddy” (I think I hear a collective theologian cringe… it pleases me) and I want that kind of relationship with God… a love that is as close as a woman can have with someone without getting messy… or weird. A pure, loving relationship based on trust and truth.
So You are Abba. That is your name forever and what I will call you from now on…
It’s been entirely too long since I have written something like this, but I thought that I had gotten past writing to a dead man (but you were always right in the end, weren’t you?). I thought that I wouldn’t need this again… but I wanted to tell you that I missed you.
And if there was ever a time that I needed you to just climb through a window, take a look me in this state and ask ‘Pound of Flesh or a Pound of Cake?’, it’s now, love. I want you to lay out the knives and go into that long story of what each one does (‘smooth to slice, teeth for bone…). I want to sit on that hard floor and cry and punch and rage. And when I was exhausted and hoarse, I want you to ask again…Flesh or Cake? (now I’m missing Hough Bakery and Farka’s too…)
Not that I could make that choice nowadays… I have returned to my Love (so no violence here…I know), and I have celiac (I can’t have wheat… I know, I KNOW!!). I think more than anything else, right now, I miss the security of having you in my corner, knowing that you bent the world to my will and laid waste those who hurt me. There have been those who healed, those who listened, those who have advised, but none who have fought. You were a fighter. I need that right now. I need it so badly.
Nights like tonight, I remember when it was nothing for you to grab someone by the collar and yell “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, SEE WHAT YOU DID?” It was nothing for you to just let me have it when I was off the mark (then cake because I was feeling like shitte because I knew you were right and it was my fault).
You never lied to me. You never wanted anything more than to be a friend to me. You could be a dick, but that was fine because you were fair and kind. You never put up with my shitte, but you were never cruel.
It was so very difficult being a friend to you, but it was so very worth it.
Luc, I gave up the armor and I have never felt weaker in my life. I made the mistake of trusting again and I paid for it. And now I am hearing the same old thing (be patient, be the better person, do the right thing), and see them get away with it yet again because there are no fighters, only sad and guilty looks when I pass. I’m tired from hurting, too old to rage, and My Love has removed any desire for blood. I have come full circle back into the darkness.
It was my fault. I thought that I could find another you, another bright light that would light the path until I saw His love and glory again. I thought I needed that. I didn’t, but I wanted it because being with you was the last time I felt truly protected. But even you said that you wouldn’t fit in the life I was fated to have.
And, all in all, it is very good and you wouldn’t have fit into it at all. But it would have been so comforting to know that I was a phone call away from rattling cages and sabers, sitting next to the guy that would have stomped a mudhole in someone caused me to shed a tear, sharing a cake.
I miss you, love. Thanks for always fighting for me.
For my second year of Lent, I decided to let go of a third of my belongings. I like my things and I knew going through all the memories and the way this thing or that makes me feel wanted or smart or shows how far I have come or proves how relevant or hip or fun or friendly I would be hard.
What I didn’t expect was that it nearly broke me.
And you know what the funny thing is? It isn’t a priceless family heirloom or an irreplaceable painting or book that the girls made for me that was so hard to get rid of.
It was the extra D&D 4E rulebooks, all of my notes from grad school and French graphic novels. I’m talking about books I read once, thought ‘meh’ and slide onto the bookshelf…3 years ago. I nearly cried when I put a copy of Carl Sagen’s ‘Cosmos’ in the sell bin (never mind that I had 3 copies).
I realized that it wasn’t items per se that I was throwing away, but the pieces of my finely engineered persona [Sique], the brave face that I showed t o the world (at least in my own mind). I love this brave face and it has served me well. And as I look over this stuff, trying to leave that persona [Sique] and that way of life behind, I ask myself ‘What if I the person that I am giving all of this up to be [that is, the person God has called me to be] is nothing like the person I have spent so many years building a life to be? What am I going to when the hard times hit?’
That’s the question I wrestle with.
Whenever I was worried, felt not-so-great about myself, or wondering what I was doing with my life, I would look at these things and think:
“See! You have education, you have passions, and you have thousands of books!! See how [insert wonderful adjective here] you are?”
And I feel better (I put this in present tense because it still works).
But then I think back to the times when I didn’t have these things. I think back to when I was a widowed ghetto girl with two girls that wanted to see the world. I remember days without food so my girls could eat. I remember when all we had was what we could carry in a couple of backpacks. I remember when I struggled to read all the assignments and raise my girls and watch as my marriage died.
I would later get married to a wonderful man that gets on my nerves regularly, have a bunch of travel stories, and get that degree. I even found reconnected with God again; but during the times when all I saw darkness, I would sit and pray:
“I know that I don’t deserve this from You, but please give me a small taste of the strength and love I had when You still loved me.”
And even though I didn’t fully believe it, there is no doubt in my mind in hindsight that He did carry me through all of those times. When I had nothing but hopes and studies and blind leaps into fate to define me, I leaned on Him…ish.
But what about now?
Now, as I look at all the things I have given away or sold, I admit that I still wonder if I should let this stuff go. It scares me to think about having to deal with pain and loss and disappointment without Sique and I spent many days crying and talking myself into and out of taking ‘just one or two things’ back.
But it is done.
I may not fully trust that He will be there to lean on, but He is there and he wants me lean on Him. He craves it. Removing these things and the labels that they bear leaves room for Him to define who I am.
I hope I like her.