Aug 052009

One evening while we were doing the dishes, Craig noticed that I was aggressively quiet and he asked me what was wrong. “Nothing,“ I said. He waited. I turned and continued, like he knew I would. “I’m frustrated. I never have time to write. I feel like I’m not doing something that makes me who I am.” Craig pulled out his Blackberry and set his alarm to ring at 5:15 am the next day. He put the Blackberry on his night stand before he fell asleep, and the next morning when it sounded, he leaned over and whispered “5:15, babe, get to work.” Then he silenced his alarm and went back to sleep. He has repeated this ritual every morning for the past three months, without ever suggesting that I set my own alarm. So each morning while it’s still dark, I wake up to Craig’s encouraging voice, and I tiptoe into the kitchen to pour the fresh coffee that he has made for me the night before, and I sit in front of my computer, and I do what makes me who I am.

Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Aug 062009

Recently I was at a Bible study listening to a discussion about recent archeological digs and how they prove that the Old Testament stories were real. It may have been suggested that Christians who believe that these stories could be figurative are not as Christiany as fundamentalists. I was uncomfortable. So when I got home that night, I wrote this and sent it to some members of my Bible group, who I love.

Dear Friends,

Okay, I admit it: I don’t know if the Old Testament Stories are literal or figurative. I know that they could be literal since God can do anything, but I think it’s okay to be uncertain. Here’s what I’m not afraid to say: it doesn’t matter to me. If one day an archaeologist discovers that Noah’s ark was really a row boat, it won’t shake my faith. Regardless of whether those stories HAPPENED, I know that that those stories are the TRUTH. I know that the fall is the truth because I live it. Every day I am Eve, as I assert my independence from God and decide to go it on my own. Every time God calls, I am Jonah, running away from Him and then begging for help when I get stuck. My entire life I have been Paul, persecuting God and then begging Him to transform my weakness into something worthy. When faced with any big decision, I am Samuel, asking God for sign after sign while knowing in my heart exactly what He has told me to do. For decades, I was Esau, trading my divine inheritance for fleeting worldly pleasure. Daily, I am Sarah, praising God one minute, and then laughing in the face of His promises the next. And far too often I am Peter, losing my faith when the waves arise, and denying my savior. I believe the scriptures because they are the true story of my soul, the truth of me. And I know, since I have never revealed the truth of my soul to anyone, including myself, that this story could only have been written by my creator. Every time I read the Bible an alarm goes off in my soul because I am being confronted with myself, with my sin, and that’s hard, but it’s also a relief. At least I am known. At least my deepest darkest secrets aren’t actually secrets at all, but simply the painful truth of the human condition. I am not alone, I am just a sinner, like everyone else. And so the alarm is loud, and jarring, and makes me uncomfortable, but it’s sounding off to save me, like alarms do . And as it’s sounding, I am reading on, and I learn that a hero is coming to rescue me. And when He arrives, He picks me up and reveals the unbelievable news that I am not going to get what I deserve, after all, because He already has. And then He silences the alarm in my soul, leaving stillness and peace. The scriptures are a love story between my creator and me…the perfect love that I’ve been yearning for my entire life. He created that yearning in me, and He fulfilled it.

So why don’t we just tell our stories? Why are we worried about “proving” something we can’t see, touch, hear, taste, or understand? We can’t prove anything that’s not observable and repeatable, but we do have the capacity to believe, love, and share. And this must be God’s purposeful design. If he created us to seek him and love him and put our trust and faith in Him by our own free will, how could he possibly allow us to PROVE, beyond a shadow of a doubt, His existence? If God’s existence were proven, love as we know it would cease to exist. Because at love’s core is faith, and choice, and risk. Love’s beauty lies in the fact that we chose it, without demanding proof. But just for the sake of argument, if I’m ever on a witness stand and required to prove my God’s existence, I’m not going to start by reviewing the latest archeological dig. I’ll say something like this:

Twelve years ago I was so strung out on booze and drugs that my hands weren’t steady enough to hold a book…and a few years ago I published one. Eleven years ago I was a cheater about to be expelled from school, and last year I opened one. Ten years ago I was sitting in a jail cell, drunk and doomed…and today I’m sober and free. Nine years ago I was lying in an abortion clinic, and this morning I am waiting for my three precious, perfect babies to awake. Eight years ago I was struggling to get out of a toxic relationship with a man I might have married, and this morning I’m watching the most generous, kind, selfless man I’ve ever known prepare breakfast for my children. Less than a decade ago I sat in a basement believing I could do nothing to escape other than end my life, and today I believe I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Today I can’t keep up with my list of dreams because they keep coming true so fast. And I know, like I know I love my kids, that the trajectory of my life was altered the night I fell to the bathroom floor and whispered: HELP JESUS, IM SCREWED. AND EXHAUSTED AND SCARED. YOU ARE MY LAST RESORT, SO IM GONNA GIVE YOU A SHOT. That’s all, I think.

So the reason I believe in Scripture and in Jesus is not because of historical accuracy or archaeological finds or this sermon or that dissertation. I believe because I was BLIND and now I SEE. Because I was a PRISONER and now I’m FREE. And if I can feel the wind blowing on my skin while you are proving that the same wind doesn’t exist, then I guess all we can do is shrug, for now, and keep on walking, together.

Love, G

Aug 122009

This morning, stuck home alone with my children, I had the following epiphanies:

-My husband hates me and our kids. When he called yesterday to say good night to us from his “layover in Atlanta”, he was actually sipping his fifth margarita at a resort in the Keys, where husbands really go when they say they’re on business trips.

-My house is filthy, and too small to exist in. Too small to breathe in with all of these high pitched voices and dolls and teeny shoes. I am not a home-owner, I am a half-home owner. I accidentally purchased half a home, which is perfect since it’s worth half of what I paid for it. Where is the other half of my house?

-My son will be in therapy soon for co-dependence. He keeps nervously telling me I am “the best mommy in the world,” which is his effort to keep us all on this side of social services when he rightly senses I’m teetering on the edge.

-Tish will join him in therapy to deal with her neglect issues. This morning when she fell down and cried for the fourth time in an hour, I left her there crying, without even turning my head. I’m sorry, but somebody’s got to start sucking it up around here.

-My parents definitely like my sister more. Which is understandable, but still. Rude.

-My hair is horrible. And I am fat, and short, and ugly, like a gnome. And on the day I die the undertaker will have to use concealer on my wrinkly 80 year old chin because I still will not have grown out of my acne.

-I have far too many children. Every time one of them says “Mom,” I bristle like it’s an act of aggression. One or two will have to go. In an effort to avoid playing favorites, I will get rid of the next two who ask for water.I am done getting water. Forever.

UGH. And one more gloomy, lifeless, miserable UGH for good measure. actually, I’m too blah for capital letters today. so… ugh, instead.

At one point this morning, as I stared at the wall and wondered how I hadn’t noticed before that my life was spiraling into this black hole of despair and drudgery, I was brought back to my surroundings by a sharp cramp in my side.Then another, and then finally the big epiphany…OH. OOOOOOOOOOOOOH.

I got my period for the first time when I was 12, which means that it caught me completely off guard for the 250th time this morning. Why don’t I ever see it coming? Why aren’t I ever prepared for the viciousness of it?

After breakfast when the kids and I were playing Chutes and Ladders …the game that makes me grateful we don’t have guns in the house, for fear that I might use one on myself if I land on that long freaking slide one more time…I heard an interesting news report on the radio.

Apparently, a woman walked into the Louvre today and threw a mug of coffee at the Mona Lisa. She was immediately arrested and the commentator described it as an “unforgivable” act by a woman who was clearly “not well.” But I immediately understood this woman, and I smiled for the first time all day. In fact, I had half a mind to walk out my half a house and put some bail money in the mailbox.

Maybe the poor woman just woke up on the wrong side of the month this morning. Maybe she walked into the Louvre and saw that smug Mona Lisa hanging there with that composed, unruffled, amused smirk that she wears everyday regardless of the time of the month, and the woman had her own epiphany: Mona Lisa’s going down.

I, for one, stand in solidarity with this woman. As a matter of fact, when the kids go down for their naps, I will go outside and spit my Diet Coke in Mona Lisa’s general direction. Take THAT, Mona Lisa.


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