Hurt by Love

Writing is late this morning because I dragged ass and made it to Starbucks to drink a doppio con panna and run to the train, but I didn’t get my usual morning writing time. The only reason I’m writing now is that everyone in the office, including my office mate, haven’t arrived yet, and I don’t have any projects from yesterday to finish before they get here. This entry may abruptly end like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, because when my office mate gets here, it’s time to put together our to-do list and get busy… although since it’s New Year’s Eve, I think we’ll be out of here by 3:30 or so…. which is good because I just could not fall asleep last night. Too much going on in my head, because like a lot of people, when I lay my head on the pillow, my brain has to remind me of everything I’ve ever done wrong in my life. It’s the time when I can’t wait to fall asleep, because the same problems on which I ruminate tend to work themselves out in my dreams.

Because Counselor asked me not to contact Dana under any circumstances, I get closure by dreaming about her. I talk to her all the time, for hours. The nice thing about dreaming is that I always get the responses from her that I want, because I’m making them up. We don’t fight, we discuss calmly, and we laugh…. oh, how we laugh. Not only do we talk seriously, old inside jokes come up and sometimes I laugh so hard I wake in the night with joy.

When I awoke, a Facebook memory that made me laugh was Dana is the best thing that has ever happened to me. #lafawnduh There are very few pains in life that cannot be made better by a quote from Napoleon Dynamite or The Big Lebowski…. or paraphrasing them to fit your needs. For instance, this is not ‘Nam… this is divorce. There are rules.

Apparently, one of them is maintaining no contact, which is easy, and so hard. It’s easy when I cry, and hard when she makes me laugh. Because we’ve been best friends for so long, every day there is a Facebook memory with her in it. Most of them are seriously, seriously hilarious. Facebook has introduced a new feature for “managing ended relationships,” but I don’t want to use it because those memories make me so happy.

I don’t want to focus on pain. I want to focus on joy, and I’ll take it wherever I can get it… that being said, letting pain out is important, too. I wrecked a good relationship because of my mental illness, and the fact that I grew so much as a person in the last two years that my actions and reactions were not the same anymore, and I literally was not the same person, for better or for worse. The resolution to our fistfight was even hilarious…. She agreed to take 75% of the blame if I would take 25%, and we high-fived. As I have said before, I would have settled for 51/49, but she chose to be generous and I will never forget it.

My kindness was that Dana’s dad is also a lawyer, and has several bottles of Johnny Walker Blue for being a badass with some of his clients. I bought the smallest bottle I could afford and brought it to her with the words I just wanted to tell you that your dad is not the only badass in this family. We were broken up, but at the same time, there’s not going to be a single point in my life that I won’t treasure her friendship and think of her as family. What she does with that information is up to her, but there it is regardless. I am sad and disappointed that we could not work on things anymore, but she got this idea in her head that I was obsessed with Argo, and not just processing things that had already happened, which was a whole hell of a lot. Argo and I had our own issues, but not romance… just deeply personal to both of us. We both needed to say things to each other that freed us…. but it was having that freedom that made me crush out in the first place. Obsession is too strong a word for processing the past, and because of it, I lost someone I considered the deepest friendship I’d ever had in my life. I can only hope that Argo knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that after my move and all of the things I’ve done to establish myself here, as well as reconnecting with old friends, that of course I wanted to be a part of her real life so we could cut the Internet bullshit, but it wasn’t the most important thing to me about moving. Getting away from everything I knew was. That being said………………………

In my mental illness, I did some things that showed it clearly, and I know I hurt her. But at the same time, when my meds were corrected and I saw myself in an out of body experience where I could comment on seeing myself lost in blackness, I corrected it on my own. I am an INFJ, just like Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. I don’t know that I have their visionary capabilities, but I want to try. They’re my favorite preachers, and to live up to their examples is intimidating and exciting all at the same time.

When I go to Howard for grad school, I want to study race relations as a writer…. not as a class. As observations from digging around and people-watching. I am interested in social justice as a practice, and I can’t think of a better place to start. I kind of want to be a watered-down version of Jeremiah Wright- passionate and yet, not political. There is no room for politics in religion if you are in the practice of accepting everyone for exactly who they are.

I feel that i have the capacity to vision now that I am not weighted down by my past mistakes, and have no interest in starting any relationships except networking and friendship. I want to see my friendships with both Rev. Matt and Rev. Susannah deepen, as well as Rev. Audrey, who comes from the black church tradition and can bring a crowd to a standing ovation because they are so pumped up by her words.

I was hurt by love, but now I want to live in it.

Amen.

 

 

The Snowman Cookie

I was standing in line at Starbucks this morning for my Venti French Roast and the woman behind the counter said, “here. This is free.” It was a huge snowman cookie, the one I’d been eyeing not one second before. It had to be some kind of reward attached to my Starbucks app, but I’m pretending I got cruised just to stroke my own ego. Or maybe I was being cruised, and I’m just an idiot (I usually am about these things). Picking up that I think other women are attractive? Easy. Telling when people are attracted to me? Not so much. Not so much at all.

I need an app on my phone that instead of making matches, just says, “she’s looking at you, jackass.”

I’m in a punchy mood because I made it to Starbucks on time this morning, the coffee is fresh, and the onslaught of humanity has not yet begun. It’s 7:04 as of this writing, and it doesn’t start getting busy around here until 7:30. By then, I’m finishing up and heading to the train. It’s a win-win situation.

Overhead, they’re playing some kind of Bob Marley album that feels like indy coffee shop and not Starbucks. As far as I could tell, no one behind the counter was wearing patchouli. Which reminds me that I need to go to Whole Foods.

This morning I saw an article on Facebook thanking her friends for catching her when she was down, and it hit so close to home that there were tears streaming down my face as I read it. She fell because of alcoholism; I fell because I was too proud to admit my bipolar disorder/PTSD was WAY out of hand until I couldn’t hide it anymore. Letting that much emotional pain ride on that much anxiety without medication to keep the physical effects under control was the wrong. move. entirely. It’s no wonder my entire life blew up- I’d been trying to pretend it was fine since I was a teenager, not knowing why my relationships wouldn’t work out, why everyone looked at me like I had three heads because I just didn’t get it…. well, I don’t think anyone will ever stop doing that, but you get the picture. There are things that actualized adults know that people who are faking it don’t. I am starting to catch up, one day at a time. I feel better than I have in a long time, and wrongs are starting to “write themselves.”

It’s been a hell of a journey, and in some ways, I’m glad I have record of it. In others, I would gladly set fire to the server and watch it all burn. Going backward is enlightening and painful all at the same time, but they are different pieces of me, and thank God I have friends who are willing to put up with the bad parts to get the good. I would like to think that the good parts outweigh the bad ones, but I’ve only recently started to feel that way again, because in some sense, I thought the bad parts were bigger than the good ones because I couldn’t not. Not since I was a kid. As I have said before, meeting Diane at the time that I did in the way that I did made me feel like I was damaged goods, and I’ve carried that burden for far too long. Susan unwittingly said so when she said it was this “big bag of shit I’d been carrying around forever,” not knowing what was in it, and not listening when I tried to tell her. But she was never going to be an objective audience, because if I was Diane’s partner, I wouldn’t believe me, either. But kids just do not have enough malice aforethought to make something like that up, especially with so many details that have stayed the same for years and years, under duress or not.

There’s a homeless man trying to beg for change wandering around, and I wonder if he knows that no one carries cash anymore? I’m betting at least half the people here have paid with their phones. I did, and I’m just barely a yuppie. I have an iPhone 5c, which I believe stands for 5cheap, because the battery life is terrible and I have to keep an $80 Otter Box on it just in case it drops from my bed to the floor. I’ve had it long enough that I think I could upgrade, or just buy a new plan out here if I wanted, but I hardly ever use my phone. I’d rather use my iPad instead. I can even take my phone calls on it as long as it’s hooked to wi-fi.

People ask me all the time as a tech person what kind of phone I would get. Not sure, but Android over iPhone because I use Linux. I don’t really care about the OS of the phone itself, just that the iTunes store encrypts all your music so you can’t get it back off the phone, and there is no version of iTunes for Linux (yet, at least). You can try running an old and busted version using a Windows emulator, but good luck getting the hardware to work in a virtual machine without a lot of gut-wrenching pain. I’d rather have something that works natively with Rhythmbox and Banshee, the two media players I use on Linux the most.

Wow, this entry has skipped around a lot. But that’s just where my brain has gone this morning as I’ve sat watching from what I call “the technology loft,” so named because all the tables that are upstairs have outlets. However, it’s time to get moving now. Maybe I’ll see you at lunch.

love you miss you mean it

Deep Focus

Having a coding issue that is taking up more time than I want, because it’s got to be some stupid, small issue that I can’t see because I’ve been staring at the code so long. It looks right, but it’s not. So I’ll keep looking as my eyes glaze into brain melt until I find it. Because I know I will, and then I will treat myself to a Diet Coke, because I earned it.

I’m also downloading a movie to watch on the way home- Little Giants, one of my favorites. I may even stop at Macy’s in Metro Center because if I find this bug, I earned a trip to Macy’s. If I do not find this bug, it is retail therapy.

Whatever happens, I’m stopping at Mickey D’s on the way home for some ice cream. Can’t decide whether I’m going to be a purist or get Oreos in it. If I get the bug out of the way, I deserve Oreos.

I’m usually a purist, though. Mickey D’s ice cream tastes like white. It’s simple and delicious. I go for pure. At Dairy Queen, the blizzard I like the most is bananas only.

Seriously, this bug is driving me nuts. I’ve done a code compare, and fixed the differences, and it’s still wrong. But I WILL NOT GIVE UP. I will make that code my bitch if I have to stay late.

Last night I went to see The Big Short and treated myself to Mod Pizza. It was the best date ever because I don’t like to talk during the movies. No one was around me, and I got the full effect. If you haven’t seen it, it’s hysterical AND depressing. It’s about betting against sub-prime mortgages, the kind where they don’t even check to see if you have any income and hope the loan defaults…. because invariably, it will if you buy too much house on too little income. However, there are some really hysterical parts in it, as well.

When it comes out on Blu-Ray, I’m going to watch it again. Ditto with The Force Awakens, because I had a family sitting next to me when I saw it in the theatre and I missed some of the dialogue. I was really angry. Can’t people see that if you pay $20 for a ticket, you’re bothering all the other people who paid $20 and want to WATCH THE DAMN MOVIE? I get that you want to take your kids, but there’s such a thing as too young for Star Wars. I don’t want to hear “sit down” for two hours.

When I got home, I fell asleep to Finding Carter. Totally fascinated by the series and I got to watch it kid-free and under the covers. This is why I don’t generally go to the movies. I like to watch movies with my pajamas on. And while I have no compunction about going to the theatre in my pajamas, it’s cold out.

My sister got me a Henley, a thermal, and a sweater for Christmas. I wear them all together. When you are as small as I am, it doesn’t take much to get really cold, really fast. I’ve lost a lot of weight over the last couple of years, mostly because I don’t eat if I’m not hungry, and I’m not hungry *a lot.* At work, I generally don’t eat anything because I am lost in code and can’t take a break. Just. Cannot. You’re the only thing that pulls me away, because I wrote a blog entry at Starbucks and forgot to connect my iPad to the wi-fi, so it didn’t publish… and I was out of time to bother with connecting and publishing. Had to get to the train on time.

It was basically about dragging ass all the way to the train because I took a sleeping pill last night that just had me walking through Jell-o this morning… which is why I need to earn that Diet Coke.

I’m still dragging ass, and it’s 1:30. However, my focus is incredible because I am only doing one thing.

Making that code my bitch.

 

Double Grape Crystal Light with Energy… Neat

Hey, you celebrate your way, I’ll celebrate mine.

Two things happened that totally jazzed my day. The first is that the envelope arrived at the office containing my driver’s license, so I can go back to work tomorrow. The second is that I got a notification in my Starbucks app that I have now reached Gold Level, which means that I get free refills on coffee and…… wait for it…… ICED TEA. My favorite thing in the whole wide world to drink is their iced black tea with cream. People think it’s weird as I watch them put cream in their iced coffee, but I think it tastes like Thai iced tea, so I do it anyway. So there huh.

If it seems like these things are on the same level of excitement, they are. I have my life back, in its completeness. I can be at Starbucks by 6:00 or 6:30 to await my 7:40 train again, drinking coffee or tea (as much as I want… squee!). I go to Starbucks and write so that I’m fully awake by the time I get to work, because I can’t take my coffee on the train with me. It’s a win-win situation, despite that. I get to think in longhand and then listen to a podcast or play Plants vs. Zombies or read or do any of the things that I would be doing at home, anyway. In fact, Amazon Prime lets me download movies and episodes to my phone so I can watch offline. I haven’t done it yet, because I don’t have much space on my phone, but it’s cool that I could watch TV on the Metro nonetheless.

Right now I’m obsessed with an MTV series on Hulu, though. It’s called Finding Carter, and it’s about a teenager that gets arrested for sneaking into a carousel with her friends, and is waiting for her mom to come and bail her out when the police take her into a special room and tell her that she was abducted when she was three and now her real parents have found her…. so she has this whole new life with all these people that she doesn’t know. It’s absolutely fascinating, and the woman who plays her real mother is someone I couldn’t put my finger on…. but I KNEW I KNEW HER. I hadn’t been paying attention to the credits, and when I saw her name, I nearly jumped out of my skin.

When I was a kid, my favorite soap operas were The Young and the Restless and Guiding Light. The woman that plays the real mom is Cynthia Watros. If you were a Guiding Light fan in the 90’s, I’m betting you just recoiled in horror. Watros played Annie Dutton, one of the most evil characters in the history of soap operas, to the point that Watros told stories on Oprah of fans hitting her with their umbrellas in airports. Seeing Cynthia Watros on TV made my heart flip, because in this role, she’s actually nice. I am hoping and praying that there will be some sort of Annie Dutton joke on Finding Carter, because it would make my day, as if it hasn’t been made already.

I am excited about getting to see my coworkers and celebrate New Year’s with them, and to get my license before Donut Day. We have Donut Day every Wednesday. I try to get there a little early so that I can get one with jelly in the middle. Those go first. There are also bagels, so for lunch I have a bagel with cream cheese. It’s bliss. It’s so much fun to work for a company that really values its employees and tries so hard to keep them happy. Our holiday party was incredible. Prime rib for everyone, and I had key lime pie for dessert.

It’s really put this whole Dana thing in perspective. So I lost her. But I’ve gained so much over the past few months that it’s not enough to stop me from being happy, because happiness is happening without her. As I have said before, releasing the burden of worrying about her is so freeing, because now I know she doesn’t want me to worry about her. She’s got her people and I’ve got mine.

It’s nice to have people. I didn’t want to begin again, and it happened despite my protestation about it. I am on the other side of a nasty divorce when I didn’t want it to be. I have a sneaking suspicion that even though Dana knew she was marrying a writer, she didn’t realize the scope of it…. and that’s okay. Whomever enters my life from here on out will have to accept it, because it’s not something I do. It’s who I am.

I have $1.83 to prove it.

Sermon for Christmas 1C: The Casual Bar Mitzvah

When you think of a 12-year-old boy, your mind does not automatically make the connection that he is a man…. old enough to get married, have children, and create a life for himself outside of his parents. And yet, in that time and place, it was custom. A boy became a man after his bar mitzvah, and even though the Gospel does not record that he had one, I like to call his “Q&A” session The Casual Bar Mitzvah, because indeed, that is how it presents. He wasn’t just a man, he was acting like it. He gave the other rabbis a lot to think about, and they were astounded at his insights.

But to me, this story does not hinge on his theological answers. It hinges on the way he clearly mistreats his parents and how frightening that must have been for them…. and when they finally find him, to be quite honest, he treats them like crap.

I am not a parent, so of course my frame of reference is going to be different than someone who has actually stood in a birthing suite and watched a tiny baby emerge, or someone who has actually been in labor. But the friends I have who are parents say that it is the end of life as you know it. That all of the sudden, it is the end of eight full hours of sleep and your heart being limited to your own body. I have no doubt that Joseph and Mary felt the same way. When you are someone’s child, it does not matter how old you are. Your parents are going to be protective of you no matter what. Passover was such a large festival that I don’t believe for a second that they forgot him- just that Joseph thought he was with Mary and vice versa. So, with their hearts walking outside of their bodies as they realize their child is missing, they rush back toward Jerusalem… and they are far enough away that it is not an easy trip. I imagine their panic growing as they cannot find him, and when they do, I picture frantic anger… the kind where both parents just come unglued with anger and relief.

Some theologians agree that there was nothing wrong with Jesus’ disappearance, that OF COURSE he should have been at the temple. That it was the start of his tempering fire. While that may be true, Jesus’ reaction was to minimize his parents’ frustration by saying, Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Oh, well. That makes it all better, then.

For Mary, it was in effect, saying that she was foolish. For Joseph, it was establishing that he was also foolish and in addition, a very clear “you’re not my REAL dad.” It was classic petulant tween, even though he was supposed to be an “adult.” Because he was a child by today’s standards, I can forgive him. But not right away. It takes time to heal from a wound like that. To me, this is expressed in a nice, clean way by Luke saying they did not understand what he was saying to them. Their worry was justified, and Jesus did nothing to comfort them in their distress… also a tweenage thing to do because they are not other-aware. They are not old enough to see how Mary and Joseph needed him to say that he was sorry for worrying them, that he loved them, that he wouldn’t just disappear again without telling them where he was going.

Alternatively, I am sure that they were proud of Jesus for his accomplishments in the temple, because they knew he was going to be a great leader someday… but that someday wasn’t here. The story says that Jesus went home with Mary and Joseph and was obedient to them. It does not say that he took his manhood and ran with it, even though he clearly could’ve. Mary and Joseph are also not recorded as saying to their 12-year-old that if he wanted to act like a man, he should move out and get a job. Forgiveness abounded, even though Jesus had done wrong.

Mary says that she treasured these things in her heart, but I do not believe it began that day, in all of her panic. The Gospel says it does, but what human on earth can be stung like that and not need to have time to get over it? When your heart walks out of your body and your children refuse you, it doesn’t go away easily. It stays with you internally just as much as the scars and stretch marks that show on the outside.

Her feelings must have been complex, because she could see her son taking his place among the great rabbis of his time. And yet, she still had a ways to go in order to get him ready. Tweens do not have the concept of community, that they can lean on their parents for help, because by then, they just want to do everything themselves. In 7th grade, my homeroom teacher had a sign on her wall that said, “hire a teenager while they still know everything.” Would it have been any different for Jesus? Would it have been even harder for Mary and Joseph to stand up to Jesus knowing that not only was he a man in the eyes of his community, he was also born to unite the people Israel? To me, it is the same as parents of average intelligence being born with a genius or a prodigy. They literally know everything, logically, anyway… but how do you get them to know that intelligence is not the only thing they’ll need to survive in the world? There’s enculturation and socialization to be done… and yet, how do you get those kids to accept help with all the things they don’t know versus all the things they do?

As adults, real ones and not 12-year-olds bar and bat mitzvahed, are we really any different? Are we able to accept help for all the things we don’t know, despite all the things we do? In pain, we tend to isolate and pretend that we are FINE, thank you very much…. while inside, there is a raging storm of emotion. There’s personal problems like divorce, poverty, death…. and plenty of situations that aren’t happening to us, but we feel they are. When someone shoots up a school, there is national mourning. When terrorist attacks happen, we wonder if our community could be next. We want to do it by ourselves, and when we don’t reach out, there is no room for grace.

There is no knowing what people will do to respond to your pain, and if you let them, they will. You will receive the gift of people trying to help you, and they receive the gift of having tried. People are not perfect, and sometimes they say the wrong things, which makes us wont to retreat even more. But if you retreat when people say the wrong things, you will lose the gift of hearing people say the right ones. You will not rise above the wrong things people have said, because you’ll realize they’re not saying the wrong things out of malice… they’re just human and don’t know what to do.

This sermon makes me go back to my youth group, who upon hearing that I’d gone through a divorce this year, held me in prayer and hoped for my joy. Because I had kids ranging from 12 to 18, I did not give them any details, but they knew them, anyway. Several of them had gone through their parents divorcing, and so they knew what it felt like without me having to say a word. They hoped I would have joy in the coming year, and I knew within myself that I did, and I didn’t have to look very hard.

I leaned on my community, and they caught me. In hearing about Jesus’ audacity in the temple toward his parents, I realized that I had true power in my hands in terms of leading my kids to be the adults I know they can be. I can help be responsible for their enculturation and socialization. I can teach them to care and to lean on each other when they need help. I have kids just like Jesus, who come to me with gifts beyond their physical ages. My challenge is how to give my kids the wisdom that Mary and Joseph needed to impart to their son, so that not only would he be the Son of Man, he would also have time to be a fallible human, as we all are.

Luke shows us Jesus’ humanness and the way his parents forgave him for it. It is up to us to follow Mary and Joseph’s example of unfailing love, both for our children and for the world around us.

None of us make it alone, but God, how we try.

What would happen if we just let grace and forgiveness happen? What would happen if we began to receive those gifts, and not in a surface-y way? What if we were able to see and reflect on them for the widow’s mites of hope that they are?

Mary and Joseph forgave Jesus for the way he hurt them. It is an example of grace handed down through the years from Mary and Joseph to Luke to us.

What would happen if we took it?

Amen.

Free Falling

It all started when Dana wished my parents a Merry Christmas and not me. I’d known she’d flown in on Christmas Day, and she hadn’t contacted me. I was feeling like a real baby about it, and one of my friends let me vent and said all the right things as we drank beer “together.” She was at her house and I was at mine, but it was communion, nonetheless.

Eventually, I decided to “man up” and contact her, because e-mail goes both directions, and I thought it would be a dick move on my part if I didn’t contact her at all. I told her that if she wanted to see me, I wanted to see her. She never replied. She got Counselor to say that I was not to contact her under any circumstances.

I told Counselor that my first reaction was “WTF? I don’t understand her animosity if she thinks my family are her friends.” They were when we were getting along, but I sent the e-mail from me and from counselor to my family, and they agreed it was a bitch move, and the best revenge was to live well… actually, I was more kind than my friends. One said, “in a few years she’ll try to contact you, and you can ignore her then.” I told her it depended on where I am in my life then, because just because Dana was “mean to me,” that doesn’t mean I have to be mean back. I want peace, and that doesn’t mean starting shit with Dana in the future. I’ve had enough drama to last my whole life, and knowing Dana does not want contact is extraordinarily freeing to me.

I celebrated my freedom, but not too hard. When I drink, I don’t wake up with hangovers. I wake up with heartburn. I drank enough for a Pepcid, but not enough for a Tylenol. 😛

I am moving on with my life. I actually told Dana that it was no thing if she didn’t want to see me, because I have my own stuff to work out and have been doing it for months. My healing was not dependent on her. It is happening despite her. My life is complete the way it is, with church and friends and the determination never to leave DC, not ever. I want to set down roots, real ones, the way I did in Portland.

I will see Pri Diddy in the next couple of weeks, and that means more to me than crying it out with Dana. However, I am sure that she has a lot to be angry about, a lot to process. But she clearly felt, and I picked up on it a lot, that she had it wired that she was the victim in all of this. But that was months ago, and perhaps she doesn’t feel that way anymore. I’ll never know, and I’m good with it.

One of my friends told me that having Counselor do her dirty work for her was weak, and I’m hanging on to that phrase because it’s true. If Dana wanted no contact, she should have said it. I could have taken it, no problem. It’s not my job to control Dana’s reaction. I was just trying to reach out. What she does with it is up to her, and I have my answer.

Of course it’s sad, but it’s also happy. The blessing of not having to worry about her anymore is the best Christmas gift ever. I am free to put down that burden, because it weighed on me greatly. I’d stopped feeling like we should get back together long ago, but I *was* interested in creating some sort of working relationship, kind of a throwback to our early years of just palling around Portland together. But if that is not possible, I have plenty of other friends to lean on in pain and in joy, which comes in the same breath. Several people got me to laugh with their responses, which was the best medicine.

Being funny is something I’m good at, and my friends aren’t bad, either. 😛 I look forward to laughing with them more as time goes by, and I am looking forward to the future I want to create rather than being stuck in the past. I am bigger than this. Dana wants to be a footnote in my history, so be it.

I have plenty of people to look forward to in my future.

Amen.

@Sarcasticluther

Dear Nadia,

Before I started writing this letter, I was in a foul mood. Just angry at God and everybody and the horses they rode in on. I was shaking with sadness and grief, your description of cortisol and sin coursing through my body like rapids on the Colorado because I complained to a friend that it was difficult seeing my ex-wife, one where loving each other turned out not to be enough, wishing my parents a merry Christmas and not me. I moved to DC shortly after the break-up because I needed a physical boundary, knowing that her parents live here and that even if our paths could not be parallel, at least they could be perpendicular.

But we are not in a space where that is even possible right now, as much as I might want it. A friend told me that indeed, she was in DC, and I told her that I really didn’t want to know that because then I had to deal with the fact that she is two hours away instead of over a thousand miles. My friend did not mean to hurt me, because she thought that I’d at least know my ex was coming.

I did not.

She apologized for putting a kink in my day, but she didn’t need to. If I really want this perpendicular path, things like this are going to happen from time to time and I have to deal with it the best way I know how… going on a walk and listening to you preach.

As I was walking, sin and cortisol melted into the same “fire in the belly” that you carry, the one that needs a king who wipes out ISIS and Al Queda and Boko Haram and the people that canceled Firefly after 14 episodes (I’m a Browncoat as well). Now it is Christmas Day, and the king we need as we fall on our knees is here.

[Just as an aside, the line about being into Sandi Patti as a kid is the gayest thing you’ve ever heard made me snort soda through my nose… hilarious and…. accurate.]

I walked for over 40 minutes, and listened to several sermons that resonated with me. The two men that preached were both excellent, and I am sorry that I do not know their names…. although when one said that seven years ago, he’d been a woman named Mary, I thought, “maybe that’s Asher!”

However, the sermon I needed to hear was the one on Christ the King Sunday, because today I need a savior so desperately… a savior that will comfort me in my distress and distress me out of my comfort. A savior that will take my cortisol and sin and turn it into a forest fire of belief that healing myself is about giving to others… being able to put my life into perspective that this pain is only temporary. That I will move on, letting go and even if I am not happy about it, time will pass, anyway.

Prevenient grace is God’s gift to me and what I do with it is my gift to God, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t dragging me by the ear, kicking and screaming while the violent wind of that Holy Spirit is trying to talk to me, trying to tell me that through the power of Christ, I am bigger than this grief. I am bigger than this anger. I am bigger than this sadness. I am just, well, more than I am right now if I will just listen. If I will just stop with my own rumination on the past to make room for the future because it will be everything I have dreamed if I let it.

Letting it is where I trip. We all get caught in our worthlessness loops and I am no different. My ex-wife told me two things that got my attention. The first was that I would never amount to anything. The second is that she thought I had the capability to lead millions, and she was kind of jealous. In moments of worthlessness, I think that not amounting to anything is quite accurate. When I get out of that loop that says I am incapable and start to see the future, I see myself in that dream of maybe not leading millions, but at least one that leads to two and two that leads to four and so on and so on.

In my hours of need, I know I already have my one. His name is James, and he was the first to say flat out, I will follow you. It was a sincere moment of falling on my knees because I knew that he was not talking about my personality, but my ability to lead with holy authority instead of my own ego, which constantly needs to be knocked down a peg, so I have that friend, too. She said, I don’t do church or organized religion. I said, I don’t need you for that. I need you so that when I start talking to God, I don’t start to believe I AM one. She called me a judgmental dickhead once. She’s doing her job very, very well… and also stunned me into complete silence by saying simply, I don’t believe in God. But I do believe in you.

These are my people, just like you have yours. But since James was the first to throw down and exclaim his belief, I named my religious organization, St. James and All Sinners, after him. It’s not a church… yet… but will be once I am ordained. There is no building. It exists online…. and yet, I know for sure that people are reading my sermons and taking them in. We will have a building one day, and for me, that staircase is starting to take shape.

[Another aside… I hadn’t heard about HFASS when I named it… it just fit because my people in DC are just like your people in Denver. Also, I lovingly call HFASS “hf-ass.” It is anything but, and yet it makes me laugh every time.]

I just wanted to thank you for helping me, as I was walking along in the wind and the rain, to remember WHO I AM. I am a servant to the baby born today, living and growing with him as he turns from infant to petulant tween into a preacher so great we quote him 2,000 years later.

It hasn’t been 2,000 years since you started preaching, but I certainly love quoting you. You are with me in tears of laughter so great that I can’t even get sound out, as well as tears when I realize that what you’ve said is so important to my own growth and development. I have so much gratitude for the gifts that you’ve given me, just by being you.

I will close by saying that because of you, I know for sure that as a tattooed lesbian with punk rock hair I have a place in ministry. Because my vision is not complete, when I noticed that one of my friends always writes with long ellipses, I took it to heart. I am not just praying with words, but on the spaces in between as well……………………………

Thank you for filling one of them.

Pax,

Leslie