Tired and Terrible

Today my brother talked about Genesis, specifically the part about God making a sound like footfalls, walking through a garden and calling out, looking for Adam and Eve. And when he started to preach I was already a little irritated, I’m still tired from the last week, and my children insist on sitting on top of me.

This was our first Sunday since last summer to all sit together out in the congregation and I’d been looking so forward to it. It’s a bandcamp thing, where you think it’s going to be so fun and you forget about the parts that are decidedly not fun. We had a guest organist today, and he is a lovely man who actually offered profuse compliments after I sang last week for a different service, but the reason I sang sans organ last week was because I knew the way I needed to sing the song and the way that he needs to play ALL the songs wouldn’t mesh well together.

He was rockin’ and rollin’ this morning, he must not be a singer as he doesn’t realize that those who are trying to hard to keep up with him must also breathe.

And it was warm and my hair felt weird, it was just one of those days. I never wish church would just be over but today I was about 70% there when the sermon started. Between the racing organ and continually bumping my elbow on one of my children as they struggled to have a puppy pile at church and my weird hair – Ugh. It was enough.

But then Jared talked about the fall of humanity, even though the text of his sermon doesn’t say it, I am certain he said “the first” fall of humanity. And so I paid attention to the rest of the sermon and my sweaty children didn’t bug me as much, but its been sort of running around in the back of my brain all day, like an image I have of the silhouette of a little girl flitting among tombstones at dusk, playing and coming in out of the shadow only once in a while.

I’m sorry, I have to go back, back to the Walking Dead and what that show is about, which is about not hiding, but about trying so hard to hold onto the humanity that is left in a world that has fallen, come apart at the seams, that you don’t even understand anymore.

And we don’t have walkers (zombies), but we have scary things like kids who shoot up their schools, and we have Mother Nature entering Menopause, and we have terrorists and Isis and men in Africa who steal women and girls and sell them into slavery.

And men in America who sell women and girls in slavery.

As I turned this over and over in my hands I realized that the world is fallen once again. And I realized that what so many of us are doing is trying to hold on. We’re like Glenn at Terminus, we’re telling Rick that that isn’t us, not yet. We’re holding on.

I helped in the kitchen for a little bit today, took one casserole out and put it into the warmer, put another in. Directed other volunteers to put fruit into bowls or roll silverware, stocked the food cart. And there was a volunteer I’d never met before from a neighboring church, and it started almost immediately, “so what do you for a living”.

I hate this question. Because what it feels like is that someone is trying to narrow me down and figure me out, to pare off the parts of me that are important to me and get down to BRASS TACKS. I feel that this is the most asinine question you could ask a person, especially if it is the first question you ask after learning their name. Because my work does not define me. It pays my bills and it’s a great company that I am proud to work for, but I am so much more than my job.

There are things that are so much more important than the way that all of us are, in the end, little spark plugs in a big engine.

There are things that are so much more important, things that define us that we don’t do 40 hours a week. And those are the things that matter.

I was doing that terrible thing where I am thinking of a reply while someone is still talking. I was thinking:

I am a lot of things.

I am a mom, and I try to be a good one. I am a wife, and I try to be good at that too.

I am a writer. I love to sing, do you want to know what my favorite book is? (Bag of Bones, Stephen King).

I try to be a light in a place that is dark and scary.

But I’ve done my share of hiding this week. I hid from a woman at Meijer because I was tired and overwhelmed and couldn’t bear the small talk. I hid from a person today who was an old friend, many years ago.

I hid a little bit all week, because I took on a lot and I was trying to get it all done. I wish I could have been more present at the opening meeting of my discernment committee, but I felt the tears right there, and I couldn’t give in, in that moment I had to be relentless.

I am tired. I am so tired. I have those tears I mentioned, the ones that you know you can’t let go of, because if you do they won’t ever stop. If you hold onto them they dry up a bit and you can go on. I know you are tired too.

It’s a battle that we are waging, here in our fallen world. A battle to bring light, good news, but not in a way, NEVER in a way, that shames people or makes them feel other. Rather, in a way that shows people that we can be reconciled to one another, that we are divinely created, all of us, all the time, even when it doesn’t feel very divine to be me, or you.

Today we went to the park, we flew a kite, the girls and I tried to hit golf balls and I was amazed again as Casey smacked one after another over the tree line. Today we had a picnic with homemade potato salad and deviled eggs and sandwiches on ciabatta bread and Shasta soda.

Ave fell off the merry go round twice, and Casey saw a boy playing basketball by himself and couldn’t help himself, he strolled over.

“You wanna play pig?”

“Yeah!”

And swish, swish, swish, the game was over.

The boy said, “have you ever played basketball before?”

And my husband, who is almost 40 years old, who played basketball light years ago, who still holds records at the high school he went to, he just shrugged and said, “yeah, but that isn’t what I do anymore”.

I’m going to hide for just a little bit longer, I can hear the foot steps, I can hear the voice that is calling me out of myself. I can hear my grandma singing that song my brother sang today, but it’s 2am and she can’t sleep and she’s wearing a housecoat. And I’m a little girl sitting on the landing, hiding, and listening to her sing, trying to not cry because I miss my mother.

And she is being who she truly is, she is playing the piano and she is singing in a way that is so free that even a little child can see it.

I’m going to hide a little bit longer, and then I will be drawn onto the garden path, probably by a song. And I’ll try to shine once more.

Shalom, my friends.

Sweet Annie, can I stay with you awhile? ‘Cause this road’s been putting miles on my heart. But someday lightning will strike, and my bark will lose it’s bite, don’t give up on me. 

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