Sermon for Proper 16: Slapping the System

It is really eerie that the blog entry I just wrote not an hour ago has so much to do with this sermon. I couldn’t have planned it better, really, which is the best part ever. I didn’t plan it at all.

I told you my favorite example of Jesus changing his mind, and here is today’s Gospel in its entirety, taken from Luke 13:10-17:

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

This is the ultimate smackdown between Jesus and the keepers of the law, a standing ovation of a story that has me whooping and hollering and clapping, even sitting alone in my room typing. Jesus knows that the legal system does not prevent Jews from being cruel to animals, so why in God’s name (literally) does it say that healing humans is “work?” Why is being cruel to humans okay, and being cruel to animals is not?

Jesus slaps the law in its face, using its own words. That’s the most fun in reading Jesus. When he uses the legal system to make the people in charge of it look like jackasses. There’s a beauty in it, really, and always my favorite part of the Bible. To compare Jesus to modern day rebels, Elizabeth Warren stands out as a pure example. She just slaps the law in its face, and as Matt Damon famously said regarding American banks during a speech at MIT:

It was theft, and you knew it. It was fraud and you knew it, and you know what else? We know that you knew it. I don’t know if justice is coming for you in this life or the next, but if it does come in this life? Her name will be Elizabeth Warren.

Yes. Yes, it will.

I don’t know and I don’t care whether Elizabeth Warren or Matt Damon believes in Jesus, but I do know that this is such a Christ-like example of turning power on its ear that the Christ would be so proud he’d throw a parade in their honor.

For instance, take a look at this:

Regardless of religious affiliation, there are people out there being Christ in the world, as all Christians are called to do. OF COURSE being Christ in the world is about the soft touch of helping a neighbor in need, giving to the poor we don’t even know but want to protect, and giving of ourselves to our faith community so that we can continue the ministries we wholeheartedly support.

But there’s also that other thing. The foresight to see wrong and correct it. Democrat or Republican Christians are not called to vote among party lines, but to tell the difference between right and wrong. I am not endorsing anyone, but standing up for what’s right. It is not my job as a theologian without any degrees to say for whom you should vote, but I can see individual laws going through the House and Senate and feel the need to slap them the way Jesus did… and slap them HARD.

Right now, it’s Republican policies that are hate-filled, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t stand up against Democrats if they were pulling the same stunts. It’s my job to be neutral when it comes to the party and up on my soapbox for the things Christ would tolerate and the things he wouldn’t.

I don’t think that Jesus would necessarily be for abortion, but at the same time, in Judaic law, there is no prohibition against it. In fact, abortion in Judaic law can take place at any time, a much longer statute of limitations than Roe v. Wade gives us now. However, I do think that Jesus would stand up for Planned Parenthood, not because of abortion itself, but because Planned Parenthood tries so hard to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. I think that Jesus would stand up for a safety net in which parents do not have to fear an unwanted pregnancy because they are so financially strapped that they cannot afford another child which plunges them deeper and deeper into poverty. I think that Jesus would stand up to the pro-lifers that have no plan except preventing abortions and nothing for caring for children once they are born.

If this issue was really pro-life, the people who want that statute would be lined up around the block with bottles and blankets for the children born of unwanted pregnancies we already have. All children are a blessing from God, but it makes it harder to believe it when you have no way of taking care of it… when you have to choose between rent and food. When you have to choose between diapers and electricity. When you have to choose between child care and staying home, because the choice isn’t easy. When you look at the cost of child care in this country, if you go to work, you come home with maybe an extra $100 a month, because 90% of your paycheck is already spoken for. In a two income-family, this may not be as much of an issue as it is for single moms, because even with working and paying for child care, there’s no way to pay for the rent, bills, groceries, etc. without half the country screaming about social programs and how to get rid of them.

I am looking forward to the day when Republicans come back into the fold of working together with Democrats to accomplish great things, but I am probably going to be waiting a long time. Until then, we need to slap the system senseless.

Just as Christ would have done.

The issue at hand is that Jesus did not want to put anything off until tomorrow that could be done today. Why should that woman have had to wait to be healed when it was okay to be kind to an animal and not support the sanctity of human life?

The system failed that woman, just as ours is failing us now. We need our Christs in the world, whether they’re Christians or not. They are pointing the way to marked change, and so shall we. Because we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of Christ… and that means something. It means hardcore advocacy and radical change. It means a fearlessness that needs to be mustered from deep within.

It takes faith, and a lot of it, to be that brave. But I only have two words for you.

IT’S ON.

Don’t be a Democrat or a Republican. Be a Jesus.

Amen.
#prayingonthespaces

Really Crappy Coffee

I don’t know why I thought that coffee would keep as long as I tried to… It’s Christmas Blend, if that gives you any indication. I am sure it would taste much better with CoffeeMate and Splenda, but if I wanted coffee that tasted like that I would have gone to McDonald’s. The thing is, though, I turned off the burner as soon as it was done brewing so that it wouldn’t taste burned once it was cool. I have a feeling it will taste much better in the morning, especially if I go to Trader Joe’s and get some “Coconut Beverage.” I could also turn it into a Bulletproof coffee with Kerrygold and coconut oil, but I am still deciding between a meal replacement and actually making eggs or going to Waffle House.

I am also still deciding whether I’m going to church this morning, because I somewhat hate it now. It has nothing to do with the people. It’s that I’m not in choir anymore (long story) and the pews dig into the corkscrew scoliosis in my back, so that by the end of the service, I am in so much pain that it takes about half an hour to really feel ok walking again. Besides, Matt has a podcast and I really enjoy writing my own sermons before I listen to him, because then I know whether I’m on the right track theologically, or whether I’ve just taken off into “The Lanagan Lectionary” that just makes no damn sense.

I got ripped a new one a few weeks back for saying that I thought Jesus was tired and burned out on Judaism, but not for lack of faith. For the way it was being executed. The Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Sanhedrin were all ready to eat Jesus and his Disciples’ lunch at any given moment. If Jesus hadn’t taken that burned out feeling and used it to great effect, Judaism would not have changed and brought to life the new church he was seeking- one that focused on promise theology and not beating people down with the law.

Jesus and his disciples practiced radical inclusion, and that’s the take-home message. The entire Bible is the journey from how Jesus created his own sect of Judaism, and how that new church eventually became Christianity, because unlike Judaism, the new sect was open to Gentiles as well.

There are several moments that stand out to me, but my favorite is Matthew 15:21-28:

21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”

23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”

24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”

25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.

26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

Do you see it? DO YOU SEE IT?

Jesus went from “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel” to healing a CANAANITE’s daughter.

Jesus changed his mind, and THAT’s THE POINT.

This is probably not the Gospel for the Lectionary today, so I’ll be writing something else later.

I just want to point out the words of the Book of Common Prayer here, from Rite I, that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs,through hope, of thy everlasting kingdom.” It is just a gargantuan change from the theology of the Old Testament, and something you could wake me up in the middle of the night and I’d be able to recite verbatim.

Though I have a few theological problems with Rite I, because it is not as inclusive as Rite II, I started going to St. Martin’s Episcopal Church at Woodway & Sage in Houston, Texas when I was 17 years old, and Rite I was my first exposure to the BCP. So therefore I have the whole thing memorized, tattooed on my heart, because there are so many times that I have not felt worthy to gather up the crumbs under Thy table, grateful that Thou are the same Lord whose property it is to have mercy. So many times have I knelt at the communion rail in abject pain and sorrow, and acknowledging my sin and my redemption has been the grace that has allowed me to move forward with my week.

These words are harsh, as harsh as I felt about myself, but the forgiveness is worth it. That even though I have committed egregious sins in the past, there is nothing that could separate me from the love of God as long as I truly and humbly repent and make it my goal for these sins to never happen again.

…even as I drink my crappy coffee.

The Bold Gold

I usually title my entries with what I’m eating at SBUX, but I’m having the same thing I had yesterday. Gold Coast is the “bold pick.” Yesterday I drank it black, perfect in its own way, but today lots of Splenda and half-n-half. Coffee needs fat… at least sometimes.

In other news, I forgot to e-mail Dan yesterday, but I got a great letter from The Professor, so we have plans in the near future. The last time we talked, she wanted to start an exercise program, and I asked her how she was doing on it, because having a workout buddy is so much better for me than trying to motivate myself. It’d be nice to roll out of bed and shower at the gym. I’d rather join a gym or the Y instead of running outside, because of the whole showering before work thing. Plus, a hot tub. Musn’t forget that.

Maybe one of these days I’ll work in an office with showers in the building. Pri-Diddy had that at the World Bank, and I was really jealous because she could get in her morning run without spending the rest of the day smelling like feet. #careergoals

Although to be honest, I really thought I’d be a mommy-blogger by now, exploiting my children for fun and profit… no pictures, though, just saving up for their therapy. I had to give up that dream when Dana and I divorced, but I am only 39 on September 10th, so I have at least three or four years in order to get my shit together. And if I can’t make it through the trying to conceive process, it would be great to adopt a toddler/kindergartner so that I’m not 90 by the time they graduate from high school.

But my life has taken its own turns, and that’s okay. I am happy the way I am, single and loving life because I have the time to turn trauma into promise. Jesus knows I need it. My “40 days and 40 nights” in the desert have provided me with more wisdom than ignoring my feelings ever would’ve.

I can only hope that I have done a good job of presenting my friends with a portrait that reflects their 3-D nature… that my interactions with them are not bad or good, just human. And it helps so much more to talk about good times than bad. It sustains me, keeps me from being a bitter old biddy, looking forward to love when it’s the right time instead of the wrong one.

I feel like I am ready to move on, with the possibility of dating, because there’s really nothing more to say about the rearview mirror. There’s a reason it’s so small. And in terms of my side mirrors, objects are not as close as they appear. Nothing is chasing me, and nothing is keeping me from being able to let go and trust that the direction of my life is going down the path I am trying to create, rather than waiting for things to happen to me. I saw a memory from a few years ago about becoming a confirmed minister in the UCC/DoC rather than going to seminary- in effect, learning on the job. It’s something to explore, because as much as I try to geek out over technology, I can’t be as excited about it as I am about philosophy, theology, and soteriology. As I have sad before, soteriology is the study of salvation, but I am not a big fan of substitutionary atonement (Isaac in the Old Testament, Jesus in the New). I am way more interested in the way we fall and resurrect ourselves. The versatility of the human spirit is hope springing eternal, that things will always get better if you put shoe leather into it. It’s not that I can’t swallow the idea of substitutionary atonement and miracles, it’s that they don’t matter to me nearly as much as the message Jesus presented and the way he went about it.

So what if Jesus bodily resurrected? So what if he turned water into wine? Whether these are oral histories passed down or absolutely real is missing the point.

They are Stories That are All True…. and some of them actually happened.

Amen.
#prayingonthespaces

Venti Gold Coast and Spinach Feta Wrap

I have about 20 minutes before I have to leave for the office, so this may be a bit short. I am dealing with a lot, but handling it nicely, or at least as nicely as I can. I feel like I have many more tools for dealing with anxiety than I once did, and am hoping to get word back on a side hustle working for an online wine magazine. I sent the editor different kinds of samples, and we’ll see what happens. Now that it’s out of my hands, I can only “let go and let God.” There’s only so much I can control, and putting myself out there is one of them.

Getting paid for being a writer would be a dream come true… not that I haven’t been paid on this web site. Your donations have literally sustained me over the years, not because I have lived on that money, but because I have been inspired by it. The money that you give keeps the site going, and furthering my education. The last big purchase that I made was a Red Hat certification with which I’m not finished, but mostly because I got a full-time job in a Windows shop and had to put it away so that I could focus on the things I haven’t used in years. #alllinuxallthetime #noDOSever

I don’t have enough experience to be a system administrator, but I do have enough experience to install LAMP servers (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PERL/Python), run and improve WordPress installations, etc. I use WordPress.com because I wanted the site to be about the writing, but there are plenty of times I’ve had my own server space and administrated it well. WordPress just makes it where I can add content and press “Post.” My own server space would entail making sure all the plugins, scripts, etc. are in the right folders, although the plus is that I could add ads, rather than going to a subscription-based model. WordPress.com is not down with that. I am sure that I could hawk “fine hyptertext products” (thanks, Jason Kottke), but for now, focusing on the content is enough.

I might change my mind in time, though, because it would be nice to have income coming in that I don’t have to watch. I’d just want a site like Dooce’s, where the ads are relatively unobtrusive. I’d also be able to add plugins like a discussion forum that’s better than the comments section on each entry. I don’t know what we’d talk about. Probably everything from childhood abuse to ice cream. It’s all important in its own way.

Plus, I’d have the ability to use CSS/HTML to customize themes that WordPress.com does not offer unless you buy a professional package, and what I have found, since I had it for a year, is that it is not as extensible as I would want. Plus, here’s something that’s also very, very important… secure FTP and a shell into my own server.

That may not mean much to you, but it is everything to a web developer.

I’m working through all the Python lessons on CodeAcademy now that I’ve finished SQL, but I am not as far along as Dana because she was the one with the math/logic brain in the family… although I’m sure it was good that Aaron was a ready resource. I still maintain that she could have a six-figure career, but I’m not sure that coding would appeal to her. But maybe now it would. We don’t know each other anymore, and I’m ok with it.

Whatever she does, I hope she’s as happy as I am, with the few caveats of everything that’s going on in my life right now. It’s intense and scary, with no real escape until it’s over. There’s a lot I wish I could share with her, and the fact that she wants nothing from me is enough. I’m not chasing her, ever.

However, I did write a long letter to Argo in my notebook, for two reasons. The first is that she hates reading handwriting. The second is that it wasn’t to mail. Just to talk to her without her talking back. The “angel on my shoulder” trope is working well. I don’t need to have her input to have her in my life, as weird as that sounds. I can miss her on my own, and I never get responses for which I am unprepared.

No chasing, just thnking.

And on that note, I have to go. I just thought a letter in my notebook with all the real things that were happening in my life would help me to get my feelings out while keeping the promise that I would not write about it here and I would not contact her all at the same time. That feeling that I need her is gone; mostly because I realized that my relationship with her was text, and I still have it.

Letters that don’t get answered are still valid and healing, because it’s my emotions spilled on the page and not hers. When I lost that open line to say what I wanted, I realized that I never wanted an escalated conversation ever again… and now they’re not. They’re one-sided and perfect because it’s more like a diary than anything else, because I do my best thinking while writing letters. As I have said before, the chord that was once between us has become a loopback, feeding me. There’s no place like 127.0.0.1.

😛

Just So Much

I haven’t written a whole lot lately, because most of the things I’m trying to process are unfit for publication. You would think that I would have no shame in this area, and I don’t. It’s just that I can’t tell others’ stories, only my own. The people I want to write about have specifically said to wait, so you’ll hear it eventually, just not “write” now. #baitedbreath

The long and short of it is that I feel hampered in a major way, because writing is how I calm myself, how I understand the world… but I also don’t want to hurt anyone by revealing information I specifically said I’d keep quiet for now.

What I can say is that I have a lot on my plate, literally and figuratively. I’ve had to eat a lot of ice cream lately. Ben & Jerry are saving me one pint at a time. Day before yesterday, it was Banana Split ice cream. I went for broke, when my normal flavor is Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt… to the point where Cherry Garcia ice cream tastes weird to me. There’s also a scoop shop close to me, so I have tried Empowermint, and it’s good, but not any different than any other mint chocolate chip. My favorite at the sccop shop is Chocolate Therapy, but not necessarily because of the flavor. I like the texture of the pudding against the ice cream. I wish they’d make more flavors with pudding in them, like lemon meringue pie… but no one asked me.

This is all just filler for what I wish I could say, but sufficed to say my life is coming apart at the seams. I briefly considered moving back to Houston, but not for any reason you’d think of in a million years. It has nothing to do with the Argo situation, nothing to do with my happiness here, and everything to do with what I can’t say when I wish I could. You’ll know in time, and hopefully your support will coming pouring in the way it always has.

I’ve told Bryn and Aaron what’s going on, and for now, that is enough. As predicted, they were supportive with virtual hugs and kisses, desperately needed. I wish Danni was back already, but I’ll e-mail her later. If you’re friends with me in real life and want to know how to help, drop me a line. I could use it.

The thought of moving back to Houston was a knee-jerk reaction, and lasted all of about five minutes. Because moving to Houston always *seems* like a good idea right up until I get there. It’s been like that for years. I cannot escape my past, and now there’s just so much more of it because I’ll be 39 in a little less than a month. My 36th birthday was the turning point, and how I realized I would never be happy there unless there were extenuating circumstances that required me to be there. For instance, I’d never abandon my family if they were in need of my support. And even then, I wouldn’t be happy. I’d just choose to focus on everything but living there. I can write from anywhere, and if there’s anything that the friendship with Argo proved to me, it was that I could live in Houston and completely escape it at the same time.

I could just live in the cloud and ignore the ground, because I don’t have anything tying me to it. It would be a shitty solution to a problem, but perhaps good enough.

For now, though, I need to stay put. The job market is better here for tech people than it is in Houston, and the last thing I want to do is move to a place where the job search would eat my lunch the moment I got there. I’d be waiting tables or working in a grocery store and I won’t go back to that life unless I have to make room for school, and even then, that would be quite a stretch, because I only have enough to cover one semester, so I really need to keep up full-time work so I can cover more than that.

I just met a guy wearing a Fedora oxford and I am so jealous I could spit. I think they need to change the logo, though. If it were a woman, it would look just like Carmen Sandiego.😛

Remind me never to get an iced drink at Starbucks if I’m going to write here, because OH MY GOD AM I COLD. The air conditioner must be pumped down to 68.

And on that note, I think that’s all for today. If I think of something else important, I’ll see you later.

Two Scoops

Last night, I took myself on a somewhat great date… the exception being that I was going to go to a movie with me and the picture I wanted to see had started 25 minutes before. Now, if I had bothered to look up the movie time, I could have made it. I thought I’d just show up and see what was playing next, and as it turns out, close to 8:00 doesn’t really work for anything. There were two or three things that I wanted to see, but the one that was at the top of my list was “Florence Foster Jenkins.” The great part of my date was going to Z Pizza Tap Room, because I was able to get vegan pizza (my favorite because I love Daiya cheese and “sorta sausage” with lots of veggies) and my version of a Snakebite- Angry Orchard cider and a porter made in Alexandria… had to try it… my old “home town.” The sad part was that I could have used some humor, and hearing the REAL Florence Foster Jenkins when I was a teenager singing the Queen of the Night aria from The Magic Flute made me laugh so hard that tears and snot ran down my face and I was shaking so hard that no sound would come out. She does get some of the notes…..

After I finished my pizza and discovered I didn’t want to wait around for a 9:00 movie, I went to Cold Stone Creamery, where I had a scoop of ice cream that was half Rum Raisin, half Banana and mixed with walnuts. I should have asked for mostly banana with a spoonful of Rum Raisin, because the rum flavor was so loud the banana was lost. It was still delicious, though.

And last but not least, while I was eating at Z Pizza, I got a message from an old friend, Scoop, so named because she’s a journalist @ Politico, on OK Cupid. I’d basically sent her a message that said, “I was just poking around on here and clicked on your name because it said you were also from Texas and HOLY SHIT! I KNOW HER! That was months ago and she finally wrote back, because as she says, “you see how often I check this…” I don’t remember how Kathleen and I met her, just that we didn’t grow up in Houston together or anything. We met her here, decked out in every possible piece of clothing you could buy at University of Texas.

Anywho, I asked her if she wanted to meet me for a movie in Silver Spring. She doesn’t live that far away- somewhere in PG County- and she sent back a flirt that went straight over my head… and when she said that it was a lame flirt because she was rusty at it, I said, “you don’t want to date me. I’m a hot mess. You should flirt with Claudia Schiffer.” I love a good “Love Actually” reference.

I’m flattered, but I don’t want to date anyone because “hot mess” is accurate.

But it was nice to have two scoops.


Not Even Me

This morning as I was driving in to work, I listened to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, in which they were discussing one of my favorite TV shows, Steven Universe. It is not a standalone cartoon, but a deep and winding mythology that crosses all kinds of lines, from gender to sexual orientation to alien to human. It makes me happy that in the modern world in which we live, there are cartoons with lesbian characters… when I look at them, I see me.

I also see Dana, and I cry. In fact, I cried on the way into work today, because the commentators were talking about how Ruby and Sapphire are a lesbian couple that fuse together to become Garnet (the aliens are called “Gems”), and they sing this song about how they are so much better together than they are apart, and I could not even.

That’s because I was reminded last night of one of our truly funny Facebook conversations in the “Memories” section.

Here’s my status update:

I had the best coffee yesterday- called the “Indivisible Blend” at Starbucks. It tastes like rich malt, maybe a Shiner Bock without the twang of alcohol? It is so good that it needs neither sugar nor cream. Just itself. I pledge allegiance to this coffee, and to the delicious flavor profile for which it stands.

Here is Dana’s response:

One coffee, under Howard, with Ventis and Grandes for all!

We used to have a running joke about starting a book called “Bleep My Wife Says,” and I am seriously sorry I never got around to it. For instance, there’s this hilarious story:

Leslie: I really love taking Willow with me when I go places, because I don’t feel alone (she was our foster dog for a while).
Dana: Plus, she’s also really fun to play “Slug Bug” with because she doesn’t hit back.
Leslie: Have you been beating our dog?
Dana: ………………….

I talk a big game in terms of dating, but I have to look at my words vs. my actions. Every time someone has wanted to meet up with me, I’ve said I wanted to meet them as a friend. That would last two or three outings before they’d want to start dating and I ran away. The drugs I’m taking coupled with enormous grief leave my libido in the toilet, so not only do I not want to date, I’m not sure I’m physically capable of it. Romance doesn’t occur to me at all, and I’ve had a grand total of two real dates since I got here, and then I freaked and realized I wasn’t ready. I don’t trust easily, especially myself. I really hurt both Dana and Argo, and I feel like I owe it to them to really get over what it was that made me capable of hurting them in the first place before I unleash myself on anyone else.

Again, it was irrelevant that Argo didn’t have feelings for me. I only cared what it was doing to me on the inside, the way I lashed out at her to get her to leave because I didn’t have the stomach to “man up” and say, “this is too much for me” a second time. I did the first time we “friend broke up,” just took a machete to my own heart and tried to live with it, and I just couldn’t. We were back in contact relatively quickly after that, because I couldn’t bear to see her hurt that I’d packed up my toys and gone home.

So I did everything in my power to help her make the decision to “friend break up” with me. It was shitty and childish and totally out-of-character for me, but at the time, I was barely holding on emotionally with Dana’s insistence that Argo was in love with me and couldn’t express it, and the ridiculousness that surrounded it. It was crazymaking, and all I wanted in the world was for Dana to see the absolute truth, that Argo has female friends that she treats like sisters, but would never cross a romance boundary with me, ever… it wouldn’t even occur to her to do so, and the idea that she was a threat to my relationship with Dana was completely laughable. We both wanted to shake Dana until she remembered what was real.

Crossing the romance boundary for me had nothing to do with thinking that Argo was any smarter, more beautiful, etc. than Dana. It came out of pure sapiosexuality, the part of my brain where smart, capable and confident creates attraction because she was sincerely overclocking my processor. I was thinking about bigger things than I ever had before, and Argo’s ability to make that happen for me reached inside my soul and extracted a piece that I thought I’d never find. It was absolutely the reason that I wanted the relationship to end, because at the time, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror every morning. Feeling these excited feelings for two women at the same time created feelings in me that I wasn’t making bad decisions, I was a bad person, and there’s a big difference.

There was nothing in my history that modeled deep female friendship without that element of excitement, even with straight girls, because even though those wires would never physically cross, that didn’t mean that I didn’t have my own feelings about them… it’s just that with the others, I was single and therefore, doing all my processing without offending the one person in my life that should have gotten all my attention… the one I was married to, the one to which I’d pledged my allegiance and committment and a new family that differentiated us from our first families, as hard as that was to execute and enforce.

There are so many things I wish I’d done differently, but I can’t change the past. But that doesn’t erase regret that I carry with me in what seems like the proverbial “albatross around my neck.” I am slowly walking away from it, but a relationship that lasted over a decade doesn’t seem like something I can or should get over quickly… as if I can just put it in a box and walk away… because those feelings will keep resurfacing until I resolve them, and writing helps. I can wrap a lot of things in “Oh God, I never meant to hurt you the way I did,” but that doesn’t mean jack or shit in terms of the future. Argo’s words reverberate in my head every day… the first sentence being that the price of friendship with you is too high, and the second being that not a day goes by that I am not filled with regret at letting you into my life. I can only hope that she was just as angry as I was in the moment, and that those words are not gospel truth. If they are, it sickens me to an enormous degree because there have been so many good moments between us that I’d feel wrecked if they didn’t carry any weight. We are both verbally vicious to an enormous degree, and I can’t help but think that neither of us could have been nearly as awful to the other in person. But that is not for this lifetime unless a miracle occurs, one in which I cannot hope for or imagine because it hurts too much. What I can hope for is that as time goes by, she’ll be able to look back with different eyes, not to rekindle friendship, but to see that everything wasn’t all bad.

What I have begun to see is that the price of friendship with her is too high for me, because she gave me an open line to say whatever I wanted and, without telling me, began keeping a file on what she viewed as harassment… something I would have liked to have known because I didn’t realize I didn’t have that open line anymore and everything I said was taken as threat, when none of the things I said flowed from that place. It seemed like a short leash from “there’s nothing that you could say that would make me like/love you any less,” and if I’d known how uncomfortable she’d become, I would have changed my behavior to match, and in fact, did.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that she did, and I just missed it. I miss a lot when I’m not looking for it, especially since our relationship ran so hot and cold that I focused on the hot and ignored the cold altogether. In a lot of ways, I never knew which Argo was going to show up, and I am sure she would say the same about me. We were both these moving targets of emotion where neither of us knew how to find “home base,” the hallmark of a toxic relationship that was both of our faults and neither. We are both products of our environment, like all people. Because neither of us knew each other on the ground, it was easy to trip over childhood landmines because we didn’t know where they were… and even in the midst of all that, healing took place… and then we ripped it to shreds so that we were more fucked up than when we began. Over time, healthy reactions were beyond us, because it was easy to send both love and hate when you can’t see the other person’s face.

Dana and Argo were the faces I looked to for love, one on the ground, and one in the cloud. As I have said before, I chose the ground because I could see it. And then I’d read something I’d want to share with Argo and the confusion started all over again. I felt like I literally couldn’t walk away, and I didn’t want to, but it was necessary. It’s the only thing that would have given Dana peace, and if there’s anything I wish I could have given her, it’s that.

I hope that peace is being achieved by not communicating with Argo, not making things worse, but the awful part is not making anything better, either. My wires aren’t crossed anymore, and I miss her every day in the fullness of friendship and not the brokenness of being emotionally attached to something the relationship will never be able to sustain.

To paraphrase Emily Saliers, I wish I could bring her heart back to my island, but the sand beneath me has already slipped, and that just has to be all right. I don’t really have a choice. What is done is done. I for damn sure don’t want to fall back into old patterns over the internet, and the chance of her actually wanting to look at my face as we talked is a large negative integer.

So I focus on Danni, Traci, Kim, Sam, and all of the other friends I’ve met in real time that don’t have a history with me of taking things out of context and blowing up over them… on both sides of the equation. They are the faces I can literally look to for love, instead of just hoping that pictures become real.

I also wish that Dana could see me, really see me, but that is not for this lifetime, either. I can only take the lessons that I’ve learned from that relationship and try like hell not to be that person to anyone else. But again, I hope that with the passage of time, she’ll remember the good parts, too.

Nothing is ever all bad. Not even me.


Here’s the song I mentioned above…………….