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Misty Water-Colored Memories

I was a Girl Scout as a kid. I sold cookies, attended camps, learned useful things, and made good (albeit temporary) friends. My favorite part of the camping was always the singing, and I have lots of kind of funny, largely disgusting songs from those days still tucked away in my mind.  (Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts for one.)  When I was at home, my mom and I would sing together a lot, usually songs from musicals or campfire songs. Songs with rounds and harmonies. She had a beautiful voice (to me).  She also sang with her mom and sisters when she was younger. (I say had, not has, only because her voice is not young and strong and clear anymore.)

One of my favorite memories with my mom:
My mom taught me a song that I don’t remember singing in the Girl Scouts, but trying to find it online came up with Girl Scout camp songs over and over.  So, maybe it is. Or, maybe it’s just a a “camp song” / old folk song, as it is song in three-part rounds, somewhat like “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore”. Anyway, here it is. This proves that children’s favorite memories don’t need to be of doing something special and unusual with their parents, it’s the interaction that is important, not the event.

My mom and I were doing the laundry together. I was approximately 10. She was teaching me how to open the door, quickly pull a couple of items out and then close and start it again, to keep wrinkles from forming. We would each make a quick grab before the door closed. While we were doing this in tandem for quite some time, she started to sing this song to me, then when i got the words and tune down, she sang in rounds with me, coming in at the break between verses. It’s a beautiful, haunting lullaby, and I have sung it to myself for many years now. I imagine that her sisters know it too, and possibly my cousins, though they are boys, no girl scouts in that group. Anyway, here it is:

Bed is too small for my tiredness,
Give me a hill topped with trees, (i have seen this online as “hilltop” and “hill topped” now, but I prefer the two word version.)
Tuck a cloud up under my chin,
Lord, blow the moon out please.

Rock me to sleep in a cradle of dreams,
Sing me a lullaby of leaves,
Tuck a cloud up under my chin,
Lord, blow the moon out please.

I don’t know enough about music to say what kind of a tune it is, other than to say that the notes are unusual, full of half notes and minor keys, yet it is easy to sing, as any camp song must be easy.

I just asked my sister-in-law if she knew the song and she didn’t (she’s a campgrounds person from way back), but she said that my “she (my mom) was recently writing music from her head onto blank sheet music to then play on the piano, so she might know what it was.”
My mother, who can’t remember what we just talked about 10 minutes ago, can write music from her head onto blank sheet music to play on the piano.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I’m doing both.

 


If you could only be remembered with one word, what word would it be?

Beloved.


Things are better

For my friends that were worried, things are better now.


Life Goes On

2 days later, I’m being spoken to again.
Not that he feels talkative towards me, but “life goes on I guess”.
Gee. Don’t hurt yourself.

I don’t feel much talkative towards him either frankly.
I don’t foresee an apology,
I foresee the expectation of an apology from me.
(Speaking of unrealistic expectations…)
Uh, yeah… that ain’t happening.

I can apologize for losing my temper and getting mildly hysterical. I could possibly have stayed calm.
I can apologize for yelling and for cussing, because I’m not proud of that.
But I will not apologize for who I am!
I will not apologize for not living up to his expectations.
I gave up my expectations years ago because he was NEVER going to live up to them.

I am not supposed to bring up his past behavior because he has changed.
Because he’s apologized for being a jerk and I’ve forgiven him.
Ok sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s now fair for him to judge me because I downgraded my own behavior to mesh with his previous behavior.

Ex-smoker syndrome.  Angry ex-smoker syndrome.
“i’m not a jerk slacker anymore, so you can’t sit around.”
…. wait, what?

Happy 6th Anniversary to me.


Never Good Enough

That’s me. I should change my name: Ms. Never Good Enough.

You’ll note that the possible variations include Ms. Never Enough and Ms. Enough,
but never ever Ms. Good Enough.

Why am I never good enough? I don’t know, maybe you can tell me.

  1. Other people’s unrealistic expectations? maybe.
  2. My effort never reaching my ability to fulfill reasonable expectations? maybe.
  3. An actual lack of ability to fulfill reasonable expectations? maybe.

Daily I am judged and found wanting. Daily I am condemned for my lack of consistency. If I put forth my very best effort one day, then every other day I should be able to also put forth that same consistent effort.

Dear reader, what does this teach us? Never excel. Be mediocre in all things. You will be judged daily, and therefore must never stand out as exceptional, for that will become the new judgement criteria. Never allow yourself to care.

Also, never stand up for yourself, never fight back, never justify, never complain. Because, if you feel that way about being judged and found wanting, you might as well leave and go somewhere else. Leave everything behind and start new somewhere else.  Find someone new to judge you and find you wanting. There will always be someone more than happy to take on that role.

You will have to leave part of your heart behind, but I’m pretty sure they are growing new organs nowadays in labs. Just sign up for your nifty new heart now, get on that waiting list, there is probably going to be a run on them. God knows we break each others hearts enough to warrant a vast and urgent need for them.

Just remember for next time…  Don’t try. Don’t give your heart away. Don’t think for yourself. Don’t care.

Yours truly, Ms. Never G. Enough


I’m Sensing A Theme Here

I get a weekly devotional from Max Lucado’s email ministry UpWords. This is an excerpt from his book “No Wonder They Call Him the Savior”. I know lots of nice cynical Christians don’t like Mr. Max Lucado much, but I do. I find his words to be comforting, funny, easy to understand for the Christian newbie, and they flow together nicely.

This week’s devotional is on….. Guess!……. No, really, Guess!

Anger! Hidden Anger! Forgiveness!
Boy, when God wants to make sure you get a message He really knows how to cover all the bases. Anyway, i thought it was worth reading, and it is certainly on the same topic I’ve posted about and been thinking alot about recently.

Here is part of it:

They Don’t Know What They Are Doing by Max Lucado

Anger. It’s a peculiar yet predictable emotion. It begins as a drop of water. An irritant. A frustration. Nothing big, just an aggravation. Someone gets your parking place. Someone pulls in front of you on the freeway. A waitress is slow and you are in a hurry. The toast burns. Drops of water. Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip.

Yet, get enough of these seemingly innocent drops of anger and before long you’ve got a bucket full of rage. Walking revenge. Blind bitterness. Unharnessed hatred. We trust no one and bare our teeth at anyone who gets near. We become walking time bombs that, given just the right tension and fear, could explode.

Yet, what do we do? We can’t deny that our anger exists. How do we harness it? A good option is found in Luke 23:34. Here, Jesus speaks about the mob that killed him. “‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’”

(Several paragraphs on how we are all angry and confused omitted here for brevity)

Now, I know that doesn’t justify anything. That doesn’t justify hit-and-run drivers or kiddie-porn peddlers or heroin dealers. But it does help explain why they do the miserable things they do.

My point is this: Uncontrolled anger won’t better our world, but sympathetic understanding will. Once we see the world and ourselves for what we are, we can help. Once we understand ourselves we begin to operate not from a posture of anger but of compassion and concern. We look at the world not with bitter frowns but with extended hands. We realize that the lights are out and a lot of people are stumbling in the darkness. So we light candles.


Getting Past My Past

To all of my former “Perpetrators of Injustice“:

You don’t owe me anything anymore.

Your debt to me, known or unbeknownst to you, is forgiven.  It’s removed from the books.

I  have to move on you see, and all this baggage is weighing me down. These memory stubs have got to go. I let the sun go down on my anger a long time ago, and the darkness buried it deep inside me, until it hardened into these lumps of coal. Now it’s time to dig them up and toss them out. I know, I’ve chipped away at them before, but that’s just not enough for me anymore. I yearn to be free, free of these heavy encumbrances that hold me to the ground, hunched over with the world on my shoulders.

I have come to the conclusion that all injustices happen for one of two reasons:

1) YOU DIDN’T KNOW ANY BETTER, BECAUSE NO ONE EVER TAUGHT YOU; or,
2) YOU SUFFER FROM SPIRITUAL / MENTAL SICKNESS AND ARE UNABLE TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
Your spirit is out of balance! It’s okay, mine is too. I understand. You’re not apologetic? Well, I guess I just don’t care, see reason #2 above.

And, both of these reasons boil down to one fairly familiar statement:
FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!


Unexpected Forgiveness

I’ve decided that I can forgive someone I’ve been holding a grudge against for 6 years. In that time I’ve done bible studies on forgiveness, taken classes discussing forgiveness, worked on forgiving everyone for everything I was resentful for EXCEPT this one person; I couldn’t forgive her for what she did to me and the way that she did it.

But, thanks to Dr. Brunner, who encouraged my class to do Step Four of the 12-Step programs, I have figured out how to forgive her. I read through Chapter Five of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, which covers Step Four (confusing yes?) and this sentence stood out to me in Bold Neon colors: “We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too.”

Well…. so, that means I can view her as a person who is spiritually sick? Someone whose actions toward me are no reflection on me. Her choices about how to treat me could be based on a spiritual sickness. Can I see her as spiritually sick? Yes, I can. I think she is fatally ill if that’s how we’re going to describe her. But, that’s her problem, not mine. I don’t have to forget what happened, I don’t have to reconcile or accept her behavior, but I can let it go. The power that she’s been holding over me for 6 years can float away into the ether. It’s not there anymore. I feel sorry for her instead. What a sad, sick woman, who needs to be in control to feel okay, who fires people for made up reasons, who shames them by escorting them out of the building. I still dislike her, but I don’t have to be bitter and resentful anymore, and that releases a spiritual sickness of my own.


What?

I feel like I have lost my words, and I don’t know why.


Convergence

I expect great things, and I expect nothing.
Poised at the edge, on the cusp, sharp like broken glass,
arms spread wide to the heavens,
I wait for the most important communication of my life.
I wait for something tangible, a keepsake,
I wait for a passing breeze with God’s whisper,
I wait, perhaps, in vain.
Like a lotus, I persevere to see the sun.