Dinner With Betty

Had the loveliest time tonight. Myself, along with my dear friend Betty, a full seventy-nine and a half years young, together with my thirty-one years of age step-son Ryan dined al fresco in Boone, NC tonight at the Red Onion.

Awaiting our meal the conversation was casual and traveled from topic to topic, then Betty began to tell the story of Mary’s cat. Crazy Mary, as she is known privately between Betty and me, made several phone calls to Betty yesterday concerning the declining health of her cat. The story changed and with each call Betty struggled to determine what exactly was her role in Mary’s cat saga. Mary needed a ride to the vet to have her cat put down, but then another call involved Medicaid of Betty to which Betty exclaimed, “I didn’t know cats were covered under Medicaid!”

“Well, when I figured out she didn’t need me to give her a ride,” Betty continued “I took the note ‘kill Mary’s cat’ off the calendar.”

Ryan and I laughed until tears ran and other diners glanced to see what they might be missing.

“Well,” she continued, “I just couldn’t leave it up there, what if somebody saw it?”

Yes indeed, what if somebody saw Betty’s note, “Kill Mary’s cat.”

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Lost Habit

There was a time when my mind raced with a sharp edge. Now I struggle cutting room-temperature butter. I’d like to think it is my circumstances, that unhappiness dulls the sheen of my life and that I have the wherewithal to create change. My purse is full of coins insuring that I can indeed do just that. But, as always, it is a matter of action. Thinking only gets me so far into my paper bag.

No Boxes

I believe in God. I believe in a Reality so big I can neither name nor describe it. People throughout the ages have tried to use human language to describe the Power that creates and each time we fall short. I don’t want a nameable, describable God. I don’t want a God small enough to fit comfortably in a human created box. My God is, to quote Buddy the Elf, “Ginormous!” and beyond. Not big in size, per se, but big in concept.  In fact I’ve often thought that God is in-between: you know…nothing is solid, everything has space inside it from the heaviest metal to the smallest neutrino, and that space in-between is where I sometimes think God lives. And then I shrug my shoulders and confess I have no idea, the concept is too big for me. I have felt the Presence, which in my experience is complete joy to the point of weightlessness. Or so it felt at the time, well, at least that is the best way I can explain it. Otherworldly is a clever term that comes to mind as well.

Jesus, on the other hand, I can completely grasp. The idea of God desiring his creation so much as to try on a human suit and have a walkabout makes sense to me. I’ve wished to be other creatures in the past so as to commune on their level. And the idea of God suffering in solidarity makes me appreciate God all the more. I can’t say to God, “You don’t know how I feel,” because indeed God does know. Been there, done that, God lets me know. Jesus, God in a human suit, is all about love. Love the most unlikely, unlovable person and you experience real joy.

Jesus loved, lived with, and hung around all the folks who didn’t make the “A” list. He loved and cared for the freaks, the outcasts, the weirdos, the aliens. I’m supposed to continue doing that in order for his love to live out. And, occasionally I succeed. Sometimes I fail miserably. The institutional church is really good at failing to follow such a path. The Church as the body of Christ has done amazing good for an enormous amount of people; from disaster relief to holding someone’s hand in times of trial. As an institution the church has wrecked amazing amounts of harm; from the Crusades to the exclusion of the LGBTQ community in the larger picture to simply ignoring those who don’t look like us in our hometown churches.

As to my own example of being excluded, I keep thinking of the Bishop’s comment, “I wish some things in your past were different.” Well no shit, Sherlock, I wish the same thing sometimes. I can look back in my mind’s eye and wonder what on Earth was I thinking? But you know what? My past made me who I am today. My past allows me to understand the folks who are right now going through the same drama trauma I went through. The beauty of it is I got through it. I turned around and stopped the actions that were creating a miserable life for me and those around me. You know who helped me through that “Slow Turning,” as John Hiatt would say? People who had been through similar crap and turned around, not people from the church who all their lives dressed, acted, and smelled like minty-fresh Christians. Nope, the ones who helped me were the ones Jesus would have been hanging out with, the ones who needed him. That is the kind of God I want and at its heart I believe this is the God the Church wants as well. I pray that we both find what we want.

Forgiveness

So yesterday I was up at 5:30, sat for my 20 minutes in Centering Prayer, ate breakfast and then drove to Winston-Salem for the Food Bank Conference. Got back to the shelter at 4:30, worked until 5:45, met a friend for dinner, back to work at 7 and left around 8:45pm for home. Showered, checked my email, visited with my husband and went to bed.

Around 1am I realized I did not blog. I thought about it and decided that it would be OK. I would write today and the world would not come to an end if I missed one day. The difference is…when I’ve tried journaling before, if I missed a day I managed to make that an excuse for stopping all together. I’m a different person now. Turning round ’til I turn round right.  Now, I still didn’t sleep much after that, but it wasn’t because of not journaling. It’s because I don’t know where I’m going now that I’m not heading towards the diaconate. But I’ll be alright. I’ll find my way again. I DID manage to post of Facebook a GOOD NEWS, which is my Pentecost pledge, if you will, that I took all for myself. Since the Holy Spirit has arrived (traditionally, if not actually) and we are to speak the Good News, I thought a little post on FB would be a good way to do that. So far it has gotten positive response which is, of course, Good News!

And I’ve found self-forgiveness for my non-blogging. Woo-hoo! Spiritual growth, man!

Hello Gov’nah

My boss was all atwitter today with Bev Perdue, the Governor of North Carolina, stopping by our homeless shelter to have a quick look. My boss is a politician, I am not. I don’t remember people’s names, I don’t like playing favorites, and I mostly believe that Jesus’ actions were on the socialist edge. So I don’t fit well in the political scene. In fact, I can’t join the Rotary Club because I won’t pledge allegiance to a flag. Not the US flag, not even the Episcopal flag.

I like my country, don’t get me wrong. I’ve travelled enough to have seen how easy we have it here. But for me it is God before country. Sometimes I think I should become a Quaker, and for all I know I may end up there. I do like oatmeal!