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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...sort of

Today is supposed to be a day where we are thankful for what we have but for us, and I'm sure for many others, it is a sore spot reminder of some of the things we are missing. This is Susan's first holiday without her Mom. While she is a nurse so she wasn't historically able to spend every holiday at home with her family, she was able to call and talk to them and hear their voices. She doesn't have that this year and it weighs heavily on her heart.

For me, it is the relationship with my family that I don't have. Thanksgiving and Christmas make me miss my Grandmother. The family that I was close to, except my parents, are all dead now and holidays feel sort of like paying homage to those that aren't there. My parents and I...well we have a complicated relationship. I love them. They love me. There has always been a block there, though. They are spending Thanksgiving with my Aunt and her kids. I'm glad they are doing something and being with family and I'm jealous that my cousins get their approval and admiration and I'm the embarrassing daughter who they only ever talk to others about career accomplishments or living in Chicago because the rest of my life is shameful to them.

Susan is right, they probably would have come here if I would have asked. Truth be told though they would rather be where they are. I'm sure they wonder why I didn't turn out like Kathy and Julie. They weren't all that different kinds of parents than my Aunt and Uncle. Why didn't I turn out to be straight, living in the suburbs of Dallas with three children whom I home school and take to church three times a week.

I'm so tired of carrying around their sense of shame and let-down. I do pretty well most days being at peace with it but today I worry that on their list of things they are thankful for, I'm just not on it.

Well, enough of all of that. I am thankful for many things and I'm going to go and focus on those things now, take a breath, realize that this feeling will pass and that I need to show them more of what is good in me rather than feeling sad that they don't see it on their own.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you find peace and happiness no matter what your life circumstances today.

Monday, November 17, 2008

In need of a vacation

I am itching for a vacation. some sort of a rash that keeps spreading until you drop down on the floor and roll around in some sort of "i got the spirit" shakes to scratch the itch. I got a new camera and it is itching to be taken somewhere pretty...somewhere fabulous...somewhere lovely.

About this time last year I went to Maine with my family. This summer I spent a little time in Alaska...but it was so fast and furious that the relaxation and experience seems like so long ago. This year has been intense. Work wise it has been a roller coaster. Normally I like roller coasters but this is the kind that makes you feel like your skull has turned in to a Cuisinart and made brain margaritas and you need to throw up. Susan's work has been this way too. She's leaving, she's staying, she's going to Superior, she's staying at St. Francis - all for good reason mind you (I'm not accusing her of being job fickle). We've had a death in the family, trials and tribulations with the little dog, moving get the point.

Vacation. Somewhere that cell phones don't work. Somewhere with water. Somewhere with cheap drinks. Somewhere with an ocean breeze. A massage, some snorkeling, a good book (on my new KINDLE). Maybe I just need to feel a purpose in life rather than a break from life.

I look at what I do for a living. I like my salary but I don't like that I don't contribute to the world around me. I do finance for a company that sells stuff. I can't say that I get all warm under the collar about that. I feel like I'm missing something in life. That some essential component to contentment is just out of reach - and that it has to do with how I make my living and spend the majority of my days. At the end of my life I may be proud of the career I built and the promotions I've had but will I be proud that I had the job that I did and felt like I made a difference?

Probably not. So a vacation is probably a temporary fix for a bigger issue - but what a nice fix it would be. Time to make the commute home. Oh boy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spiritual Musings

I'm wasting a little time before my work dinner. I've got too much time to do nothing and too little time to start a new project. So, I'll pick my brain like the Swiss cheese it has become and see if there is anything solid that can be extracted.

We went to church Sunday. It is a spin off of the place we went in the burbs. It is downtown across the street from where Obama gave his acceptance speech at Grant Park. It is held at the Auditorium Theatre, an old theatre with gold leaf sculpting on the walls and ceilings, balconies on the side (not reserved for the wealthy in church) and amazing acoustics. I think it is easier to "feel God" in a place like this than some of the churches I've been to.

The place I attended in Dallas was in a warehouse district. Around it were semi trucks loading and unloading at receiving bays and workers assembling all sorts of widgets and gadgets. Going to church there left me wondering why I didn't chose a profession that required driving a fork lift - it looks like fun. You can't feel God when you are thinking about fork lifts...unless you build a fork lift to heaven.

The place I attended in Denton, before the widget church, looked like a ski lodge. It was big and pretty but I kept dreaming of snow and hot chocolate and wondering how difficult the hills in the parking lot would be to ski and if I could use the parking curbs as a slalom. Hard to feel God when you are at the ski lodge...unless you are Sunny Bono and hit a tree and get to go there personally.

A theatre is a perfect place to hold church. It is gold and shiny and your voice rises up to the ceiling. They have a cello player and people singing with angelic voices and there is no noise of the truck next door backing up or birds in the lodge rafters...just music and voices.

All this made me wonder if God is everywhere and in everything and everyone...why does it take such a production to get my attention and stir my emotions? Is it my tendency towards the theatrical? My love of the theatre? My longing for a good story? Why, when God gets our attention in a whisper do I only sense him in a production?

Dang, I was just about to get somewhere with this and I have to much for not starting a project. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Blog For Hope

So the race isn't final and I don't want to jinx it but I find myself watching the numbers rolling in and I'm very emotional about the shift that has occurred in this country.

I'm not African American (I have a keen ability to state the obvious) and I don't know what it feels like to be African American but I am part of a group that is discriminated against and judged for something that is beyond your choosing and control...I know what it feels like to be hated and shunned by people who think they have the moral high ground and the right to sit in judgment because they are the "other" which makes them the "better."

The fact that racism is depleting in our nation to the degree that we may have a black president gives me hope that homophobia will deplete to the degree that we will have the right to marry (or some legal equivalent), to inherit each others' property without taxation, to make medical decisions for our partners, to have joint custody of a child...I'm not dreaming big here. I'm not asking for a gay man in the white house or a lesbian for VP - just that America will become enlightened enough that they realize that the hate that they used to put in to women, then in to minorities and now in to homosexuals has to be stopped. That someone being different from you is not a threat to who you are. That in order to be seen as right and good you don't have to make another group wrong and bad. That judgment of others is NOT part of the Christian belief. That discrimination is NOT in the teachings of Jesus. That Christ died for ALL.

OK, stepped up on a soapbox a bit...but it's an emotional issue for me. I live this every day. This blog isn't about the soap box...

This blog is about hope.

It is seeing all these young people who look at Barak and do not see him for the color of his skin but for the quality of his character.

This is a Dr. King speech leaping to life.

This is Rosa Parks keeping her seat to start a revolution that will one day break down discrimination enough that Americans will choose an African American man as their representative to the World and their leader.

This is the beginning of the end of the oppressive beliefs and behaviors.
This is the a sign that one day people will be judged for WHO they are and not their label of Woman, Man, Gay, Black, Hispanic, Christian, Muslim, Conservative, Liberal.......

I can't even imagine what it feels like to be an African American tonight. I can't imagine what salve it must be on the wounds that discrimination has inflicted. I can't imagine what healing it must bring.

I hope that one day my minority group can experience the same kind of healing.
For the first time in eight years, I have hope for Americans that maybe we can come together.