Friday, February 27, 2009

Adventures in Lent – Day 2

I think that giving up soda may have been too easy of a challenge. I’m well into Day 2 and have no cravings whatsoever. It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all.

I didn’t do so well at giving up television. I have some alternatives planned but I rationalized, "I'm so tired from work. I'm depressed. I'll start tomorrow. I want to finish watching the series." I'm glad Jesus didn't rationalize.

And yet, I DO want to finish watching the series. So, I'm going to watch the final 5 episodes and then begin my TV fast.

Alternatives: knit, go for a walk, go to the gym, read, do the stuff I always put off

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Feeding the Ducks

It's a beautiful sunny day so I decided to have a flashback to childhood and went to feed the ducks at lunch.

I found a nice bench by the lake. I envisioned a leisurely time of tearing small chunks of bread and tossing them out into the lake while a few ducks dabbled around.

Boy did I ever have it wrong.

After I tossed the first chunk of bread in the water, the lake erupted with COOTS. Dozens and dozens of them surged towards the little scrap of bread. Others ran toward me, honking and screeching, beaks questing for the next slice.

I shredded the entire loaf as quickly as I could but--golly--I could scarcely shred and toss quickly enough. The boldest ones gathered around my feet, snatching at the scraps I dropped. I feared they would snap up one of my toes. Some of them were so close, I could literally put the bread in their mouths.

It took less than 10 minutes to go through a full loaf of bread. It was as invigorating as a 10-mile march.

Although it wasn't the leisurely activity I was looking for, it still was sort of nice. So, if you ever feel unwanted, just take a loaf of bread to the nearest lake. You'll feel like a movie star in no time.

Adventures in Lent - Day 1

Depression is on the rampage today in this brain o’ mine. Even though I’ve prayed the sinner’s prayer and offered my life to God, I never quite feel saved.

I don’t see that my life has radically changed. Even before I became a Christian, I’d never been one to take drugs or swear like a sailor. I’d already gotten to the point in my life where I didn’t get drunk or sleep around. And yet, I still felt lonely and sad.

When I moved to a new town, I decided to get involved in the community by going to church and volunteering at the local library. I enjoyed volunteering at the library. And, after a few times of going to church…I felt so sad…I remember sitting in the back row, wearing solid black and praying, “God, I can’t make it another day without you.”

For awhile, I was really focused on prayer and going to church…but after about a year or so, the pastor did a lousy thing and my church imploded with grief and anger. The pastor was kicked out and a new pastor took over.

The whole drama shook me so hard. I fell into the deepest depression I’d ever known. I was hospitalized for a few weeks, but it was months before I was functional again.

I’ve stumbled around for years…dropping out of my career, following a new master that let me down, going to a different church…but after about 6 years, returning to my original church.

The things that make me feel unsaved is that I don’t have a deep desire to pray or read the Bible or tithe and I feel guilty when I don’t do it and that I don’t have the desire to. It’s not easy for me to go to church, that is, I don’t go “woo-hoo, it’s time for church!” I often drag myself there. Currently, I’m forcing myself to memorize Psalms. There’s no joy in it though.

I feel trapped in no-man’s land. Not finding the peace of God or peace with God. I want it, but it’s so elusive. Today I told God that I give up. I don’t want to, but I just don’t feel the fruit of the Spirit. I don’t see/feel the action of God in my life. Maybe I’m ungrateful or something. I don’t want to be, but I just am.

I was memorizing the Psalms because I thought it would cure my apathy.

Today is the first day of Lent. Even though I’m “giving up,” I thought I’d still “do Lent,” by giving up soda and TV.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sneaky Pete and His Walking Bananas

Today I broke up with my friend, Tom. We've been friends for nearly 20 years. I broke up with him because he's only around when I fall apart.

About 20 years ago, we worked together at Kendall McGaw Pharmaceuticals. We had a boss, Letty, who was an absolute nightmare.We wrote reports to get IV solutions approved for the FDA. Letty would review our reports, praise us like crazy to our faces,and slash us to ribbons when she presented the reports to her boss.

Tom had worked there way longer than me. His confidence had deserted him. He didn't even try to leave. One of the managers at Kendall knew how crappy our boss was. She turned me on to a job at Allergan. I told Tom about it and teased him, saying I knew I could get the job but he never could. His competitive spirit kicked in and we both went for the job, full blast. (In the meantime, I also applied to a job at a software company.)

We both interviewed at Allergan and they narrowed the field of candidates to two: me and Tom. We went for our final interviews.I hated the guy I interviewed with; we didn't click at all. The next day, they awarded the job to Tom and I got the job at the software company. (Tom won the job fair and square, on his own merits.) Together, we handed in our resignations and escaped the evil witch.

We were really close friends for a long time. For a very short time, we flirted with the idea of a sexual thing, but we both been pretty messed up from other relationships. We would have
destroyed our friendship if we went down that path. But we stayed friends, having coffee, going to movies and always joking. I think we were such good friends because we love language and have a twisted sense of humor.

But our lives gradually took different paths. We dated other people, got more involved in careers and hobbies. The intensity of our friendship faded, but we still emailed, talked on the phone, and sometimes had lunch or coffee.

About 10 years ago, Tom started dating a women, Nadine, who was horrifically jealous of all of Tom's friends. She'd monitor his phone calls and basically forbade him to have contact with us. When he tried to break up with her, she'd threaten suicide, he'd rescue her and the cycle would start all over again.

Tom also suffered from terrible depression. I fell awful because, at the time he was suffering most, I told him to pull himself up by his bootstraps and snap out of it. He took medication and did counseling any way and got better. He tried to get help for Nadinet hrough counseling, but she rejected it. All in all, they were together about 10 years.

Eventually, Tom became so well that he broke free of Nadine. I think it's not only because he became healthy but because he met a cool woman, Lily, who liked him. She shares his interests, loves his hobbies, and really loves him. She's his equal. He had been so screwed up by Nadine--she's the kind of woman I'd hoped he'd find.

When I went through my own battle with depression, Tom floated me financially and helped me keep my house. Later, he helped me fight a battle with the DMV to keep my license.

But, I broke up with him today because he's only there for me when I fall apart. There's something yucky in having someone who only wants to talk with me when I'm broken. I can't remember the last time we had *FUN* like coffee or lunch or even talked on the phone for more than 10 minutes. I let him go today, not because I was mad, but because it started to feel like shit when, on the rare occasions I would call him, he'd always say, "I've gotta go and meet Lily at the gym, at the pool, for dinner, etc."

In the past, I've screwed myself up by pretending that a relationship was something it's not--that sex was love--stuff like that. The truth is that I DID sometimes want to talk or hang out with Tom and he didn't need me at all any more.His priorities had shifted--and it's cool that he found a loving relationship. It's something I'd prayed for him for a long time. But,I also didn't want to feel like shit on the rare occasion that I called him.

I know I'm a jackass because he really did help me save my life. But, I also need a friend who wants to know me when I'm strong.

When I broke up with him, he offered to do lunch next week, but I know it's a lie. We'd have lunch, I'd be placated and, when I called two or three months from now, he'd say, "Gotta go..." And I'd feel like shit again. I can't change him and I can't change what the rejection feels like. So, the only thing I could do is to let him go.

I'll miss him...or the idea of our friendship. He's irreplaceable and I'll never know anyone like him ever again. Even now, I feel like I made a mistake, but you can't fake reality.

Grief fades but doesn't disappear

It's coming up on the one year anniversary of Mommie's death. It still makes me cry when I think of her.I can't shake the feeling that I murdered her. This year, I want to do something to memorialize her insome way.

I've almost forgotten the details of her face and her questioning trill. I still sometimes sing the nonsense song I sang to her:

Mommie Loo, I love you.
I really do, O Mommie Loo.
Mommie Cat, I love you
and that is that, O Mommie Cat.

It's not as though I don't love my trio of tabbies. It's not as though I don't have a cool, full life, full of things I love. I just sometimes still miss her.