Sunday, August 13, 2017

Misplaced desires

I knew it would happen eventually. My mother did this table in 1967 and I donated it to charity. It's marked "very old" and $39. They've dabbed a bit of paint in the chipped places and clear coated it. They spiffed it up very nicely, and if it weren't so emotionally freighted, I'd want it back now. I've been distracted by quite a few parrot Victorian designs in different things - wanting them, but not knowing why. This is probably why, and it's a very good thing to discover where a desire is really coming from.

 When Maggie did this table, Dad was in Vietnam, she was going back to college to finish her degree, and she had a rather joyful burst of creativity around the house. Several pieces of smaller furniture got antiqued with the new "old" finishes of the era, she took on a border for extra income in the mother-in-law suite, and I think she felt younger than she had for a long time. Navy and wife and mom were none of her favorite things, ever, but she loved school and she loved seeking out a new identity for herself. 

[Over and over again.]

I've also been listening to a lot of Jerry Wise videos, he's very good for long term healing and a big picture kind of guy. Like me, big picture, that is. I've been very blessed in discovering some ancient sources of desires and wounds within myself, like the tea cups and this table. I suspect for a great many people, the cues for so many behaviours have been lost in time and chaos. To heal and grow out of the damage from childhood, they have to wrestle onward in sheer gut determination, the shrapnel from old battles still in place. 

Jerry Wise has some great insight into ACOA's (Adult Children of Alcoholics), and that is the paradigm thru which I realized how much damage I carried around from my raising. This morning's revelations of truth include that ACOA's can't handle intimacy because it hurts. Being intimate is a painful experience, just in and of itself. But that's what we all want because we weren't getting it in a healthy manner growing up. But when we do get it, it's painful. Not just scary or awkward. Painful.

Growing up in a river of denial means I can pretend the thing I want and need to be fully human and alive isn't painful at all for awhile - because I can stuff down and deny any kind of pain at all. Until it gets so big that I'm in screaming agony and have to run away. That's the beauty of long distance relationships - big dose of intimacy, often in the guise of confessional conversations or sex, then big separation where relief and recovery from the pain also goes unnoticed. Rinse and repeat, the addict/codependent mantra.

What I'd like to know is how to do over the creative discovery process that should have been childhood. Dana Morningstar at Thrive After Abuse had an interesting opinion at the end of one of her videos that if you really know yourself, you'll have clarity. CLARITY. It's a mystery word to me, I haven't experienced anything like it... Ever? In a long time? Since I was small? I don't know. I don't even have clarity about clarity, but I know that I should be able to identify (as a human adult) not just things and projects I should be doing, but things and projects that I-want and I-will do, regardless of what anyone else's opinion is on the matter. I don't just want clarity as a result of long term healing, I'm thinking it's my right as a human, a being who is entitled to think and be and make good choices for myself.

If you don't do Facebook, I think Morningstar's video excerpt there is from this much longer livestream video here. If I find the part later, I'll cue it up. Meanwhile, give Jerry Wise's videos about family of origin a listen. This is a good ACOA starter video:

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sunday morning conversation

Great meditation to start the week.

"Dr. Todd Pickett speaks with Malcolm Guite and Steve Bell about the role of poetry, creativity, and repetition in the Christian life. They discuss the practice of liturgy and how a revamped understanding of liturgy could benefit modern culture."

Been a long time now

First, I've started listening to the Audible version of Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance. His family in Kentucky lived 70 miles west/southwest from Maggie's family in West Virginia, both older generations having toughed it out in the hollers, and the younger having moved to a larger town and looking to advance in the world. I think I'm all of four chapters in, but the people are very much the same. It's a little wild and a lotta scary, but he carries much of the same mix of respect, love, and woundedness that I feel towards Maggie's family. It wasn't easy, they had to be strong, but that toughness can and did turn right around and slaughter their sons and daughters after them. We don't get to pick our parents or the generations before us, it's neither fair nor unfair, it's just how we all got here. We have to move on.

This morning I stumbled into a review of Borderline Personality Disorder in a mother this morning, which is what I knew about Maggie before I knew anything about narcissism. I'll start you off with this video where he reads a poem he wrote for his mother's funeral. It's a good place to enter into thinking about how these things work out in real life. My experience was very similar to this man's growing up, which surprised me, but you never know who's been where.  After this one, go to Part One, then to one made a week later on children of BPD's, all by the same therapist.

It's good to go back and review the raw material sometimes, especially after several years of exploration and refining. I haven't been back this far at all in about two years, I've tidied up quite a few things in my mind now, but it's good to take a morning's walk thru the old trash back when it was in its raw state.

If I don't, I deceive myself into thinking this isn't what it really was,

that this isn't the mess that can overtake me still,

that this isn't the chaos that I has been passed down to me thru many generations,

that my soul can just walk away and start new.

In truth it all has to be acknowledged, sifted, and then cast out. I laid my hands on every single thing left in her house and dealt with it all, will I not now have to do the same with what is in my own "house?" 

I'm finding I'm having to get very ruthless with old affections and likes and dislikes and familiarities and plans and purposes and comforts and all of me that's ever been until now. I'm tired of carrying everything I've ever been and everything I've ever thought. The sheer tonnage of stuff that Maggie never dealt with or parted with was staggering. I know because I was the one who hauled everything that had lost all value to the dump over the county scale. It feels very much the same as I keep hauling out bits of myself to either refinish or turn loose of, no matter how long I've been storing it. But I can't stop, I'm too tired to quit now. If I sit down, I may never get back up again. Best to just keep working.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Blog touring this morning

Stopped by Sippican Cottage this morning and this was his most recent post. How many of us ever listen to a Bach fugue after high school band? Does anyone in high school band play them anymore? Anyway, the little tidbit on that video had me looking for more, so I went and found the full version of Toccata and Fugue in D minor. If they aren't your bread and butter, listen to it as a language and communication from a brilliant and foreign people, aliens even, speaking great wisdom and truth that you've never known before. Which, of course, it is.

About 2:40 into the piece is where I start to get high, or drunk, or whatever it is when your brain gets overwhelmed but your spirit will not give up the ride. Three times I've listened to it this morning, every time tears overflow from a well within that isn't often tapped. Our culture is rank with pew prophets, but the joy that springs from hearing the tongues of angels is life and medicine to my soul.

Steve Bell used a bit of something similar to transition two songs on Beyond A Shadow,  The Wellspring and Holy Lord. The shortened reading of Isaiah 6 between them is wonderful and clear, don't let the edits offend you lest you miss the majesty and the reality of Isaiah's commission. In this case, it's the music that fills in details, not the words. I've got both songs below, but cue them up before listening as they should be played cleanly back to back. Don't let any advertising break in on your meditation.

Steve Bell - The Wellspring

Steve Bell - Holy Lord

The sound of the great doors closing behind Isaiah broke my heart the first time I heard the album. One day, one hour, one moment with Him is what we live for as believers, isn't it?  He is with us always, I know, but we long to remain, unfettered, at rest, in the fullness of His own dear presence.

Job knew His voice, clear and true, and shared it with us, despite the humiliation and gory details of his own life story in which it came. "Not us, but God" is one of the hallmarks of Judeo/Christian testimony and prophets. If you're reading about some religious leader that worked really hard and finally achieved all the works that finally got him to God, then he's in some other religion. Our bunch is found by Him, despite ourselves. (If you can't find Him, call out and ask Him to find you. It's okay to be small and lost and scared, He isn't offended about that at all. Just call and keep calling, He'll come after you. Promise.)

I've also been listening to Dr. John Walton's lecture series on the Book of Job. I'm about halfway through (there's 30 mini-lectures!), but it's worth it. The place to start with Walton is Genesis... belay that. In looking for a video, I also saw all kinds of upset many people have with him, generally because it upsets an interpretation of the book they hold dear. I've listened to all sorts of Genesis theories and sermons, but it's always been something I've held lightly because of the way I first heard God speak out of the book.

I always heard "Let us make man-in-our-image," not "Let us make a new creature, call him Man, and he's going to be like us." Obviously, Adam (male and female) failed to be a faithful representation of God nearly straight off the bat. Not eating the forbidden fruit (until they Did eat) was the whole of their faithfulness, and that's not much of an Image of God, is it? We've just assumed that being a big leap over the beasts of the field was the Image of God. Being human is really special in the animal pantheon, but it's still an infinity away from being like God, to wit, every human that tells you he's just like God is immediately known to be a nutcase.

(Besides, all the contortions that expositors go thru to explain nothing dying and cities full of people springing up and Adam's sons marrying their sisters just gets so complicated it just falls apart. Yeah, you can come up with a lot of teaching on it, but way too much has to be fabricated out of whole cloth. Simplicity. If you don't know what a scripture means, just keep in the book but quit worrying on it. "I don't know yet" is a very sound response to things you don't know yet.)

I always believed (like, from elementary school onward) that God was starting a process that was going to result in humans and a tribe of people that would be His Image in human flesh. He liked all of creation (it was "good"), but he was working a process that didn't have its outcome until Jesus came along. Remember when Jesus said, "Father, in to Thy hands, I commend my spirit." That wasn't for safe-keeping, Jesus was saying, "I'm done. I've done everything and been everything You wanted me to do and be. Now, weigh me in the balance, examine me and my whole life. See if I am and I've done it right and completely to Your standards."

The fact that Jesus took up his flesh and his life again and walked out of that grave is the proof that He got it right, that his entire earthly life was acceptable, and Jesus was indeed The Image of God that the Father had been creating all that time.

So, then, back to Dr. John Walton's view or interpretation of Genesis and the ancient world - I don't have a dog in the young Earth creationist hunt. I'm fine with however God did indeed make the light and the darkness, the sun and stars, the land and seas, the creepy crawlies and the humans - however He did it exactly is fine with me. It doesn't have to be evolution, it doesn't have to be six days, it doesn't have to be anything I've already heard about, it could be something none of us have heard about.

I am stuck on "this is my Father's world," but I'm also fine with "we'll learn a bunch of the details later." Hey, I'm in my mid-50's now, I have no doubt the smartest people who ever lived barely scratched a mark in the surface of all there is to know. Wisdom isn't knowing everything, wisdom is knowing how to do what's best for today. All my capacity for knowledge and wisdom leaves this world when I die, there is no cumulative wisdom. You have to get it for yourself, no transplanting it into someone else, no matter how much you try.
(How many parents just said, "Amen, sister.")

How about starting with Dr. Walton the same place I did - via Seedbed. It's a great, short video resource site for a number of theologians I've come to appreciate. Short videos, I think 7 minutes is generally the goal, and it makes for a light meditation on subjects you haven't thought about in awhile. I don't actually remember what Walton says about Noah, so let's start there!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Adult Children of Narcissists

New (to me) overview description of adult children of narcissists. "Emotional reactivity" is my new paradigm for some aspects of CPTSD, it doesn't cover every bit of it, but it is working well for dismantling good bits of it. As ever, I find there's always room for a skilled tradesman with fresh eyes - in demo and in rebuilding.

Six Painful Core Issues for Adult Children of Narcissists, by Jerry Wise

Sunday, June 18, 2017

New video help - Jerry Wise

As per usual, I don't know how I found or clicked on his videos, but I haven't yet found a bad one in the lot. He's a family systems therapist, has decades of experience as a therapist (a HUGE difference among the youtube pantheon of codependence therapy), and I recommend his videos without reservation.

There are other therapists in the practice, they also make videos, but I'm not recommending OR warning about them. I will say that I recoil in horror from one of those therapists, he just creeps me out like watching a demon speak. Another one just brushed me the wrong way within a minute, so I just stopped the video and went back to another Jerry Wise video.

YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. You may not like Jerry Wise. Watch what speaks to you. It could be that all the other therapists' videos from the Family Tree therapy group except Jerry Wise are the ones that are a real help to you.  I'm taking it on faith that everyone in that group is qualified and competent and could be of help, so, watch what helps you.

But, here's one that's a bit different and has some ideas that I'm working thru this morning. Below it I will link to some video lists that should encompass all of Wise's videos for easy shopping and viewing.

List "My Jerry Wise List"
(Not me, just the name of the list.)

List "jerrywiserelationshipsystems"

List "Jerry Wise's Videos"

Monday, May 22, 2017

Some would say

Some people would say that I have an issue. Perhaps I don't really need all these tea cups and maybe I should quit and get rid of a few. I can see that point of view, I really had no idea that I had so many until I just got them all out. I've got three tea kettles (for boiling water on the stove) and I'm not sure how many tea pots I have, I haven't gotten them all together to count.

Eight. At least eight tea pots. I had to find out now that I'm counting things.

Nine. At least nine.

I'm restless and a little bit all over the place. My father is having a liver biopsy this morning, and it will take a few days to figure out what's what. I'm hoping it's nothing at all, just a precaution. He may be in his 80's, but I'm not in any way prepared for him to be sick or to leave this world. I know he will someday, but I'd just as soon Jesus came back first and we all leave out on the same flight.

I cried my way thru the front door of the hardware store this morning, I can't bear the thought that there might not be at least one more trip to the hardware store with my Dad. It's what we did. I don't remember playing games with him, I can't remember that time we had tea together before he went to Vietnam, and I can't remember any of those times where he said I did a really good job and he was proud of me, but we had hundreds of trips to the hardware store together. He had a plan to fix the house or get some chores done, and I would go along and "help."

Now that I've long been grown, I still walk the aisles the way he did. I feel like I'm playing hooky a little bit when I veer off into the home decor and lighting sections, and I mutter just like he mutters when I can't find but one kind of dinky, el cheapo tape measure in the whole store. I mean, of all places, why can't you find a section of proper tape measures to choose from in a Hardware Store!!! What is Wrong with These People?!

Dad called just as I was writing this. He's back home, feeling fine, with orders to "make like a couch potato."  

I'm on a regularly scheduled vacation this week, I'll give him a few days to recover from being rather rudely poked and sampled, then go down and check on him myself. He's always been the steady one, never got sick much, and even if I only see him a few times a year, I count on him being somewhere. Somewhere where I can find him. Somewhere I could call him if something awful happened and I needed rescuing. Somewhere seeing to things on the farm, or blowing up beaver dams in the bottom woods, or fixing the drain at the stay place.

Some people would say I need to be more mature and stop thinking in such a childish manner. Grow up and deal with it.

I think I need to beef up the strong cobalt tea cup section, there's only two of those. And definitely branch out into more Imari patterns, I couldn't possibly leave all those beauties out there for someone else to have. And I believe I'm going to cry like a terrified toddler before the Lord and plead with Him to fix everything. Because there should ALWAYS be at least one more trip to the store with my Daddy.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday collection One

Okay, I'm being ambitious that there will be a "Two" at some point.

Quiet morning at home, avoiding estate sales (because I really need to donate/sell some things first myself!), cruising the interwebs, and sharing with the world-ish.

Dana Morningstar of Thrive After Abuse had this little photo up, which struck me as the most radical, revolutionary change in perspective I could make in my life.

I understand that I probably already am the most important person in my life, that is just human nature, but what if I stopped stuffing it behind all the other shell games I play with my thoughts and emotions and just let it be loud and proud and out there for the world to see. Kinda makes me blink fast just typing that phrase, but I also think it's on target.

So then I began listening to some of her podcasts and found some great nuggets in these episodes:
Episode 8: How (and Why) We Get Hooked In with Love Bombing
Episode 20: Why People Don't Listen to Their Instincts
Episode 18: When Your Idea of Love Equals Pain
Episode 25: Some Thoughts on How (and Why) We Rush Intimacy


Doing a little Ebay/Etsy shopping. Kept it down to less than $50, even tho they were small, antique china vessels for hot beverage. Three of them. Ahem.


And, lastly, I've been observing myself to see if tossing hard memories into the river has any immediate effect. I am happy to report that there is a change in outlook, a sense that I've moved out of the old mind trap and into a greater sense of both freedom and safety. I was very happy to hear myself say (to myself) about one person who always gets under my skin, "She's not one up from me and I'm not one down from her - big surprise for her!"
(That's Pia Melody talk there. Glad it's sticking and producing results.)

Alright, I'm putting the kettle on, maybe bake something. Did you know Mary Berry has a great website?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Stones to remember. Stones to forget.

I believe I wrote earlier (somewhere, I think) about my great aunt and her brother who died young, were buried, and then a great rain came. Because the earth had been freshly dug and wooden coffins float, my great great grandfather had to pull them out, weight the bodies and coffins with great stones, and rebury them. Smaller stones are also left at graves and memorial sites to mark that the deceased is remembered - and to keep the deceased from being dug up by wild beasts or otherwise coming up out of that grave.

For whatever reason, today there was someone sitting in my soul like a dead memory. It felt like a dead thing in my gut that I finally wanted removed entire, no attachment left behind, just gone.*  Many years ago, there was one thing in my life that I just didn't want to remember anymore, and I asked the Lord to take the memory away and He did. I can dig the thing up if I just really try, but I don't go round looking for it. I like it gone. Today, for the first time in a few decades, I was finally willing to relinquish another person and memory, never to recall him again.

Well, long day summed up in a short paragraph is that by the time the afternoon was over, I had a mental list of people and associated memories that have weighed me down for years. In some instances, years and years. And years.

At first, I toyed with the idea of writing their name on a piece of paper and burning it, but that's a bit pagan and lacks the visceral quality that I want to feel and mark the time I give the memory away to God, for good. I've settled on writing the names on small stones (not unlike those pictured above) which I will toss as far out into the river as I can possibly get them tomorrow. I'm literally casting off the weights that have so easily beset me**, throwing away those memories which, by their burden, have done a great job of burying me alive in a grave of other people's shame.

It's not a process or solution for everyone, I'm not calling you to mimic me. It's my process, and tonight I've got three little rocks in my hand calling to mind every wound, betrayal, and dismissive arrogance that I just took and took and took - without protest and without a clue for what was really happening. I'm actually stirring the pot, scraping my insides for every bit of foreign trash that isn't mine to bear anymore.

I wonder what time I can get to the river safely in the morning?

*I'm speaking metaphorically, you dipshits, it wasn't a physical ailment. And no, it wasn't Maggie or any other family member. Who it was specifically is none of your business.

** Look up the scripture reference yourself.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

That's some good preaching right there

It may not be your style, but it's lifted my heart to hear it.
As we say here, "I receive it, LORD!" Preaching starts at 42 minutes

(It's actually from today - Sunday, April 2, 2017. I did not know that I had tuned in live when I first watched it, it still had 03-27-17 on it.)

Hanging on to the past?

Another point of view here.

The points listed remind me of this from 2011, as well as Seduction. I've been chasing a past I never had, attached to a history that wasn't mine. It feels so important, so needful to never forget, but other times and others' experience belong some when and some where else. My efforts to hold the fort of memory for other people is a pantomime that keeps them entertained - and wastes my life.

Sean of the South

You ought to read him. He's good, real good. He gets out more than I do.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Secret Attachments II

In case anyone has actually taken my advice to read

Secret Attachments: Exposing the Roots of Addictions & Compulsions, by Peter Michaelson

and gotten hinked up* real quick (because it might could maybe probably, well, definitely will offend you in some deep down don't want to admit it way), this example from the book is one that anyone other than a compulsive gambler will make his Michaelson's point.

From the chapter Compulsions Galore:
"Consider the compulsive gambler. The gambler is secretly attached to the feeling of losing. His major defense, however, is to rush to the telephone to call in a bet to his bookie to "prove" that he really wants to win. His gambling is out of control to the degree that he is attached to losing. He becomes convinced that his compulsion is due to a lack of willpower, or selfishness, or cruelty to his wife, or being a bad father, or being too lazy to make an honest living. He will not be aware of the real cause of his compulsion - his attachment  to the feeling of losing. Told this, he will usually resist believing it or even considering it."

Think about it. The feeling any gambler gets more than any other is losing. Every gambler Knows the advantage is with the house, no matter what the game. He Knows that if when he gambles, he will have hundreds of losing experiences for every win, no matter what the amounts won or lost are. The house is not the gambler's enemy at all, the house is providing exactly what the gambler is paying to get - the feeling of losing.

Not so? Then why do non-gamblers find gambling so wretchedly dull? What's the point in paying if you keep losing? Non-gamblers want to win money. Gambling addicts want to feel loss.

We had a family reunion down in Tupelo, MS at one of the casinos "on the river." (They've dug big moats that connect to the river and the gambling portion of the building has to be on floats - so it's "on the river." Desperate and ridiculous.) I had never been to a casino before so I gave myself a gambling budget before I went, lest I been drawn into the den of iniquity and be captured by the addiction to gambling. $20. No point in tempting fate, you know.

In any case, I started at the nickel slots, I thought I'd learn to work the machine and see what games were available. $5 in and LOTS of noise and not even a nickel won in return. I think I moved up to some other things besides slots, some kind of group machine where you pick something and a wheel is spun - nothing. I watched some card games, which was much too social for me since I had no clue what the etiquette was or how to play. I searched all over and all I could find was people losing their money. I lost all of my $20, not even five lousy cents won to keep me going!

Looking back now, I can see there is a bit of hypnosis going on at the slots. I get the same repetitive, can't stop feeling when I play Mahjong on the computer. I played it a lot when I was dealing with Maggie constantly, it was just something other than all the everything else. I'd hit the "next game" over and over before I could think about how long I'd been at it, even if it was late and I'd rather sleep. And once you start a game, you can't stop, right?


Michaelson is writing out of a Freudian model, so you have to make sure you are hearing the word "attachment" in the Freudian definition. The repetition cycle here comes out of the emotional mind, not the rational. We keep doing these things because they bring the comforting familiarity of our emotional childhood, we keep returning to what we've felt as a child, and we do what it takes to keep feeling those feelings. It's not rational, it's irrational. It's not linear thought, it's emotional, gut level thinking.

Michaelson does have a bit of comfort to offer in his model, and I think he may have it right to some extent. He says that if you are aware of what you are really seeking (control, rejection, shame, loss, etc.), then you can learn to observe what you are doing in your actions and thoughts to set yourself up for those gut level emotional results. His premise is that you will start to change as you gain insight, without having to mount a fight against your gut or your mind or your personal history. Just keep letting the light in.

Emotions are powerful things. To the extent that I have to give up the emotional patterns and payoffs that I've been clinging to, I've got to step out, experience, and be satisfied with emotional patterns that I've never known and am not emotionally convinced have sufficient payoff. Oh, I know they do intellectually, but I don't know it emotionally. Opinion versus experience, two entirely different kinds of knowing.

I've spent a lifetime not feeling, not being emotional, being rational and linear. I was praised for being responsible and reasonable, and that only, because manipulative people can talk you into nearly anything. It is the liar's refuge. Now I've got to start, I dunno, doing something with that whole emotional life system down in my gut. The first feeling I get is ewwww and panic, not unlike being told I've got to rout out the drain line in the bathroom and rewire the lights. Rational thinking is the design and decoration of my self-house, emotions are the guts that make it all work effectively and live pleasantly, like plumbing and electrical.

Gut job.
Apparently, I wasn't kidding.

We're going down to the studs, kids, but the framework is sound. I'll talk about that later.

* hinky - apparently neither auto-correct nor online dictionaries are familiar with this word anymore. Hinky is without at doubt related to the old Scot's meaning of limp or hobble. We use it in the South all the time. It means to catch and fail, the way a gimpy leg fails only part of the time. If you were running a motor and it kept catching on something unpredictably, or if you had a chain on a bike that sometimes jumped the wheel, or if you were trying to work a line of thought but found it kept halting and going sideways into something else - your walk, the motor, the chain, or your mind would have gotten hinky on you. I can see where the term would be used to describe a drug user (hinked up), they definitely get hinky in their behavior or thinking.

Sunday, March 26, 2017


Woke up this morning from a dream that makes no sense until you start explaining it in words:

I dreamt that they were making a documentary about my company and the group of people who do my job. By the time that part of the dream was finished, we were out in rural Henegar, AL on top of Sand Mountain at the four-way stop. They had traffic diverted while they filmed different scenes, by this time no cameras were pointed at me and they had only men doing my job. It wasn’t clear if they were actors, but they looked awfully tidy and handsome. (My company is a big international deal and they won’t have women on their free to the customers calendar anymore - women are offensive, apparently.)

I had been busy doing the actual job while the movie crew were busy staging the men doing it on film. They finished and it was time to go back to the office, and some younger woman who had been there to play a part offered to drive. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Until, instead of heading straight up the highway, she goes off the other direction saying all the roadblocks from the film have traffic backed up, it would take too long. I compromise and say, “Okay, but I know the back way to go and get back on the highway, we’ll turn and get back to the highway there. Right?”

Right. Not so much.

We get up to the turn and there’s this Big Country Church where we are supposed to turn having a big crowd doing something, and she insists on going in to speak to someone she knows about whatever. I follow her in and it’s just one office after another, all full of different groups of church people doing all their church activities: Mother’s day out, choir practices and church plays rehearsing, different Sunday School classes having socials and gathering for Bible studies, men’s meetings getting groups together to go build houses for widows, child care sections, just everything you could ever think of for an off-Sunday activity. The offices and meeting rooms and auditoriums were an endless maze, truly. That woman I was following kept getting ahead of me and I kept following hallway after hallway, door after door, and Surely I’ve got to catch up to her at some point!

So then, what does it all mean?

Two big time issues of my adult life are addressed here. Work and church.

Work - I do the job, I’m still doing the job, but I get no credit for it and the credit they do give comes out of corporate back to the corporate marketing message. The reality is messy and difficult, but the only people who garner the respect are good looking men who are pretending for the camera.

^This reality goes straight into Church and my walk thru the church.

Lots and lots of stuff going on in the church, lots of groups having their fun and virtue points addressed, but none of it is getting me to where I need to go. None of it is intended to get me where I need to go, its function is to keep me busy searching thru the church for that younger woman who took the wheel of my car trying to be nice and a know it all. She didn’t know the best way there, she was easily diverted and entangled in church niceness, and I’m being nice trying to catch her and get her back on the road home with me again.

Is there some law that says I have to bring her with me? It’s my car, why can’t I just drive off and let her go? She’s old enough to be responsible for herself and she’s in no danger.

(At this moment, I’m thinking of the “inner child” that therapy is trying to raise. Perhaps for an older person like me there is also the younger 18-40 year old self that has to be dealt with and let go. We are many selves and have many lives - our child self, our young adult life, and the middle age self  that lives between who we are when we first craft our adult life and who we will be when our strength is fixed and we are just riding it out to the end.)

In any case, I’m meditating on all this on a Sunday morning as I want to hook up with a church again, and the one I found a couple weeks ago is very nice, but the pastor also threatened that the church has to have a “revival” or shut down.  I don’t know what that means for that church or that pastor, but I’m not doing “revival or else” again. I’ve been down that path, I’ve been churned by emotional efforts from the pulpit all I can stand, and I have no interest in being fleeced. I don’t know if that church or just that pastor is having financial issues, I’m unconvinced that I owe a church organization 10% of my cash income (even though I do not regret the training and freedom of faith that comes from doing that,) or it’s possible that the pastor knows the membership has become calcified in their seats and needs stirring up.

My point is my season of letting someone else, even a pastor or saint of God, tell me which way to go is over. I may be slow, but I need to get where I’m going and I don’t owe any church organization the diversionary time of doing their activities, none of which are my activities.

My conclusion is that I’m not going to get into a mental or spiritual turmoil over it wondering what my inner motives are or how I’m not doing the right works in the church. Galations 5 says I was set free by Christ so that I can be free to follow God and His will by the Holy Spirit who dwells within me because of Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Paul is very specific and repetitive in that chapter that I should not get entangled again by religious law - do this, don’t touch that - but that I’ll find where I’m supposed to be and I’ll have the power to do what I’m supposed to do if I follow as the Holy Ghost leads.

Not pastor.
Not my church friends’ advice.
Not my know-a-lot, rational, calculating “this is how getting from here to there is done, it says so in all the advice columns” mind.
Not what I’ve done before.

I want to go home and no one but Christ in me can get me there. The “home” I’m so incredibly hungry for is someplace I can see in my dreams and I feel it every Monday when I go back to work - because it’s not my job!  I go to work and I actually, tangibly feel like I’m in someone else’s dream playing a part for them to look at. Where I should be is completely different and I’ll never get there unless the Holy Spirit blows into my sails and moves me over into that lane. I can’t row my little dory fast enough to ever get there, it will have to be a story of turns and doors and moments that moves me and everything else thru space and time to get me there.

I also know this home is for this life, it’s not heaven nor the world to come. They are glorious and real, but there is a reality and a glory that is only for this life, and it testifies of God in a way that can’t happen in any other season or time. I look forward to the day the saints go marching in, and I’ve seen myself in that cohort on That Day, but there’s also someplace here I should be and I’m not yet. Time is short, I need to be about the business of getting there. I’ve got to mind after my own house first.

(I don't mean house shopping, actually, but I had another dream a few months ago when I had that "this is my home" feeling - and I was in an old white Victorian farmhouse, with columns and a vintage kitchen. This photo is just for the feels.)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Secret Attachments

Secret Attachments; Exposing the roots of Addictions & Compulsions, book by Peter Michaelson

I started this several months ago, put it down, and now I’m back to it at the right time. It’s a new premise that I wouldn’t have been able to deal with at the beginning of my secular search.  I read the first four chapters earlier, put it down, picked it up last night and had to back up half a chapter, now I think I’ll have to back up to the beginning again. It’s a real corker. I don’t know if he’s Jungian or Freudian, but he’s not the 12 Step user/model that a lot of what I’ve read in the past couple of years has been.

I think I’ve mentioned before how much I liked Linda Ronstadt in my teens. I had all her albums and listened, grieved, and sang all the harmonies again and again alone in my room.  She says that she was just a girl singer, but she sure did specialise a lot in lost love and misery. I didn’t understand a tenth of what she was singing about, really, but that didn’t seem to affect how much I identified with it.

I recommend you buy everything she ever did before 1990.

You may or may not love it all, but you’ll learn how to hit a pitch dead on and sing a decent harmony, dammit.
/young punks these days can’t sing for nuthin’….

Simple Man, Simple Dreams