Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Part & Parcel: My Biking Route at Home

Between 5 and 7 p.m., Monday, April 26, along  AR Rt. 130. Cloudy, but still like walking thru parts of heaven. These pictures really do not do justice to the beauty of this place.
blue & gold are our school colors;
i can't see these colors combined in clothing without thinking
of every pep squad, cheerleading, and homecoming t-shirt i have ever owned

. . . that i could convey- the opening of summer - the first buds of honeysuckle- thousands of ladies-in-waiting, roadside beauties

The smell is:
dry & sweet- hay, honeysuckle, fresh manure
moist & pungent - creatures of God formerly living, and heated asphalt

The farmland is freshly tilled and waiting.
Not my favorite - I like late summer, tall blades of corn and rice rising to the skies

This Land My Body

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Not Buying It" List

I've been wanting to read "Not Buying It," by Judith Levine (check out her website - http://judithlevine.com/), ever since the book came out a couple of years ago. In my cosmology, this woman is a saint. She gives up buying anything but necessities for a year and journals about it. The book is an exploration of consumer culture, self-analysis, and happiness. Although I haven't read the book yet, I heard the author speak about her techniques for coping with her impulse control. Whenever she really wanted to buy something, she catalogued it in a journal instead. After re-reading her list, she was shocked at some of the things she almost bought (lime green espadrille shoes).

I've been using this technique off-and-on to cope with my impulse to buy things. In my case, this stems from having no money as opposed to an anti-consumer culture self-discipline. I also use it to keep track of things I want to buy for when I do (eventually) have money. When I look back over my lists later, most of the time I find I still want those things. Sometimes, however, I find that what I wanted was a fleeting response to a fad, or something emotional that was going on in my life. That feeling of satisfaction I get from having saved money makes me feel better than any rush from binge-shopping.

So, all that is a preamble for my current "Lust List" - The Movie Edition:
PBS Masterpiece Classic: Wuthering Heights (2009)
$24.99 from "Shop PBS"

PBS Masterpiece Classic: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1995)
$39.95 from "Shop PBS"

PBS Masterpiece Mystery!: Sherlock Holmes, the Complete Granada TV Series
$229.98 from "Shop PBS"
(click here to read about my history/obsession with this series)

Sense and Sensibility (1995)
$11.49 from Amazon.com

Pride & Prejudice (2005)
$11.49 from Amazon.com

I'm so familiar with all of these that I can't believe I don't already own them. This latest obsession was started a couple of weeks ago when I saw "Wuthering Heights" on PBS. The armchair psychologist in me is saying that my insatiable need to gorge on period-romantic-tragic-dramas is a response to what's going on in my life right now. I have trouble crying for myself. I wish I was a cryer, but I rarely melt down in that way. It comes easier, though, when I'm crying for a Jane Austen character, and not for myself.

What's on your "Not Buying It" list right now?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Stillborn Hope

It is finished.
John 19:30
"Crucifixion" by Jennie Szaltis

There is so much about this faith that I don't understand. "Blessed are the poor in spirit," "the last will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven," "love your enemies," "Good" Friday. All of these things are, in fact, the exact opposite of what Jesus proclaimed them to be. How is it emotionally possible to love your enemy? How in the world are those in the depths of despair - those who literally long for death - blessed? Why do we call the memorial of this day, "good"? It wasn't good; it was terrible, horrific, terrifying. The worst possible outcome to a vibrant, life-giving, exciting, beautiful movement.
At the Good Friday service at Cannon Chapel today, I heard the speaker say something like, "Jesus loved perfectly, and he still died." Jesus loved perfectly, and he was beaten for it. He was hurt, and abandoned, and not loved in return. He did everything right . . . why did it end the way it did on that Friday?

Friends and Strangers, I want to tell you now that Brandon and I have decided to end our marriage. It has been a long, hard road. We are tired. We are hurt. We can't do this anymore. He moved out a couple of weeks ago, and the paperwork will be drawn up soon.

Despite knowing that this is for the best for both of us, I was unprepared for the force and variety of the pain this would engender. I am lonely, deeply sad, regretful, and hurt. I feel abandoned and unloveable. I feel like a failure - like I have let everyone down - especially Brandon. Mostly I blame myself, because if this is no one's fault, then where was God in all of this? What have the past 3 years been for? What was the point of everything? Why did I invest so much time, money, emotional energy into this one person? What was all that sacrifice for? Most of all, what use is it loving someone so much if it didn't amount to anything - didn't change anything? I tried. I really, really tried my best to be a loving wife and partner. But I couldn't fix it. My love wasn't enough.

Jesus' disciples had to have felt the same way. They gave up their old lives, pledged themselves to him - to his vision. They stopped thinking in terms of "me," to think in "we." They loved him - the best they could, anyway. They ate with him, slept next to him, went hungry with him, laughed and joked with him, were amazed and stunned that one person could love and challenge them beyond their wildest dreams. He put a new song in their heart - a hope that life could be different, better.

And then after all that, after healing and feeding all of those people, after loving so many people who were hungry for love, he was killed. His perfect love, and the strength of the vision, energy, and hope of his disciples, wasn't enough to keep out the crushing pain of the world. It happened. It shouldn't have. But it did. All the hope and the love and the toil and the tears and the newness and the beauty amounted to nothing in the end. It didn't do a damn thing to make the world any different than it had ever been. Jesus loved perfectly, and the disciples loved him and tried to love everybody else, too. But that hope was for nothing. It was stillborn.

After they left the execution, I think they must have acted the same way we would. They tried to drink the pain away, until they realized that drunk doesn't cure sad. Maybe they tried to find a new leader, or a new lover, or both. Maybe they laid down in bed and cried for 7 hours. Maybe they ran until they hurt, until they vomited, so they wouldn't have to think about it anymore. They hugged each other, and were scared, and thought that their lives were as good as over.

I know that Easter is coming in two days. I know what they didn't - that Jesus didn't stay dead. He re-created the world and turned death into life. The world did change because of what they did together. I know this, but I'm not ready for that yet. Good Friday is about remembering the pain, about being with others who are hurting. And I need that right now.