Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dear Bruckner,

Journeys also make for fine reading.
What sort of journey'ed tale did you have in mind? Mine is boring or if not quite boring mostly of the mind. For if truly we told the tale in concrete terms I've been sitting at this same desk for nigh on 2 years or more, with some jolts that may make it onto the scheme of life but otherwise my ass is sore as my bank account poor. The rest of the tale will not be so jaunty. It's like in that episode of 'Spaced' where daisy leaves this heartfelt note and the guys both go "skip to the ennnd". Just tonight when i was complaining and danica had to go make a frittata she said, skip to the end- i realize i struggle with encapsulating. Either I am completely cryptic or completely ridiculously longwinded. and even then i feel i'm missing something.

The journey to which you may be specifically alluding has to do with The Church. As somebody who has lately been studying the redemptive gifts i was identify'ed as RULER. It confirms every bossy impulse I've ever had. More on that later- But it also confirms how wrong this one particular person was in the worst interview I've ever had when she said I was waiting for life to happen to me (rulers totally don't do this. go manifest destiny! i am however waiting for something to rule.) and my essay told her nothing about me... my essay was about institutions and Rulers have serious issues with institutions as their principle is Freedom. We may or may not have a hard time respecting covenants and God-installed leadership. And so when my primary issues were with the Church, School and Family it really should've come as no surprise. It should've actually told her a lot. (It's near the anniversary of the Massacre.) I may or may not have to keep forgiving this woman in my mind who said i wasn't ready to help people and that I had to fight harder for freedom (as if its my initiative or strength that does the doing *snarf!)

But I digress. LIkE i said. S.T.T.E.

Anyway Bruckner, here is where the story starts (in vignettes) and it goes long.

1. the 20 something mom is bathing her daughter in the sink. she loves the light from the window. the daughter to this day loves the sink and likes to sit on the lip of it. the deep cool ceramic and the mint green tile. part of the mythology the mom is creating in the daughter is telling her this story: when you were a baby i was giving you a bath and i baptised you in the name of the father, in the name of the son, and in the name of the holy ghost. she motions with her hand the cupped water spilling over the infant head. and in that moment I felt the Lord heard me. i felt the Lord claim you as His. what the mom actually means is that, it was a special moment. but all she actually does-- she touches her heart to indicate the feeling. what the daughter believes, a divine anointing.

2. when the daughter was 3 she did not like DaddyLongLegs or worse yet, JuneBugs, that haunting buzzing thwacking sound. she remembers the fear of those particular bugs in her room. and her mom said, one night you screamed out really loud, I WANT GOD! the mom knows the Lord brought her to provide for the daughter and care for her. for she's the one removed the bug. the daughter sees it as a sign that God has long been instilled upon her heart. that she knew who was the utmost boss of her bossy self. from where does my help come from?!

3. when the daughter was 6 or so she was on the toilet talking to jesus. she was really worried she didn't have jesus' forgiveness. she really really wanted to make sure he loved her and accepted her. this worry was probably not unrelated to the fear she had of never passing each grade she was in. she felt irrespective of grades that something in the inbtw time of summer- something would go horribly wrong. am i saved jesus she'd ask? she'd hope yes yes yes. please FORGIVE me jesus. please love me.

4. along the way she became really upset at the devil. she remembers singing "if the devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack!" she doesn't remember the rest of the song but here is part of it. i think it's appropriate the girl did not remember the joy part.

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
Where?  Down in my heart!
Where?  Down in my heart!
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,
down in my heart
down in my heart to stay.

And if the Devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack.
Sit on a tack.
Sit on a tack.
And if the Devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack
Sit on a tack today.

at the time the girl was stomping vigorously upon the wood floor. and she probably said a great many other things but she and the devil? they're not friends. later she became convinced that everything that happened to her in high school was his attempt to get her to abandon jesus. she was not incorrect.

5. she also sang this song a lot, and just like the other one there's more to the song but this is all she sang, over and over until the neighbor across the street yelled out the door SHUT UP and slammed it shut. later in life he got hauled away in cuffs as the cops confiscated bags of dope and shotguns. the girl was watching through a slit in the blinds.

I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice
To worship you, Oh my soul rejoice!
Take joy, my King, in what you hear
May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear...

6. the daughter also got used to telling the mother a great many dreams. she's sorry that blurry eyed from sleep in the bathroom and sitting on the toilet with her mom trapped in the shower she did not write a lot of the dreams down. many of them however included casting out demons. they included black amorphous spaces. they included a pressing and a threatening feeling. she remembers being jealous of a girl who heard angel wings once in highschool.

7. she sat through over 600 chapels (every wednesday or so for 13 years).

But i was going to tell you about Church. I read scripture when i was young and i wore robes and lit candles. But wait, the mother recently said,

8. the daughter liked to sit up front. she liked to talk too and her mother drew her pictures and encouraged her to write notes back and forth instead. she doesn't remember much about sunday school. this is before she sat in back with her arms crossed with her friend crystal. she had a car and they often went to get fro-yo or tacobell during the sermon. but the girl does remember the steps down where the robes were kept. it seemed mysterious, musty and holy.

9. and despite not understanding church must = coffee, her pastor cursed her in a couple ways: when she was around 12 or so she really just wanted to be a secretary. the desk, the organization- she really liked it. it hadn't occured to her to be anything more or less at the time. he said, you could be something better than that. and one time after a whipped creampie fight in the new youth room he whispered in her ear, i'm really disappointed in you, and then later after all the youth had gotten into trouble because of her, don't be surprised if they hate you. (the mother heard what the pastor said and was not happy). and then, you can't babysit our kids anymore. and then at a confirmation class the girl was making a cross with a pencil, knife and rubberband- the pastor threw the knife across the room and yelled, how old are you?! FIVE!?

10. the girl stopped going to church.

11. but the girl often sung

Father, I adore You
Lay my life before You
How I love You
Jesus, I adore You
Lay my life before You
How I love You
Spirit I adore You
Lay my life before You
How I love You

but the dad saw the song tucked into the vizer of her car once and the girl was sad it could not ever be for him. (she knew the signlanguage version too. ) he didn't mention it as he slid it back into place and neither did she.

12. meanwhile the girl found her way to a christian acting company on the base of a presybterian church. the route would be obvious but i don't have time to tell you about school too. anyway, she learned to pray in small groups better, and thought look at all these people practicing their faith and they're actors... they were not however good at being friends. (she knows they were family in the middle there but she doesn't have time to talk about the acting company either). but waiting for a sunday matinee show to start one day a woman named elaine saw her and said she should come to church sometime. she held out for the better part of 3 or 4 years but eventually she decided to give it a go. she was mostly bored there too, but she did like the occasional bibleclass and from there she hopped around churches- went kayaking, read the bible all the way through a couple times, found interest in the old stories, went on a mission trip to Alaska (near disasterous as it was profound) moved to chicago, kept going to church, found more profound moments of forgiveness, volunteered to paint fences, tried and failed to find biblestudies that didn't make her cringe, helped a girl to found campus crusade on her grad campus quite accidentally, and after she made the decision at 18 that if this was her faith she needed to speak about it and tell her friends, she found that her friends did not answer back. she entered a desert and by 2003 told God that in no uncertain terms she was done with church if she didn't have a community. waste of time. she should've known that after asking for peace and losing one friend after another, with the idea that God was her anchor and no one else... she found peace but thought she didn't quite know the cost, she should be careful what she prayed for.

13. so that in the midst of reaching out one particular day she met a girl named danica childs who was wearing white with queer black bangs and piercing blue eyes and in charge of a team going to turkey. it was a sort of nonspecific trip the girl needed. no orphans, just a tour. she didn't need to fit into some passionate demonstrance. just go. watch. pray. and there it began.

14. then she met a couple new to the church, and somehow found her way into the best biblestudy she's ever known. it lasted 2 years and ended abyssmially. but in the meantime it was family and it was beautiful. they dined together. played laser tag. the girl read of her own accord one of her first christian non-fic books. she prayed on the sides at the end of church services. she found comfort in the din of the really loud band and the non-traditional service. she didn't have to cringe everyttime she heard liturgy. there wasn't any. she decided in obedience to become a  member of the church after 12 years of on and off attendence.

15. they even had an 80's prom. that was near the beginning of the end. when the church itself began to crumble from the inside. it split. it hemorraged. it was a massacre. but the 80's prom was one of her favorite memories so far in life. she was ok with never going to church again but she was caught up in a conversation and she couldn't leave it midsentence. she renounced her membership however.

16. so that in 2005 she left with her rebel band and started something new. she grows ever tired of hearing the word founder. the word it was all of us, not you, not just the 7 no. and here's where despite the blur in the middle, gets hot and jungle like and a bit intense. but it's late and i've grown tired. but there amidst the survivors were fellow pages whom she liked and actors whom she tolerated, and somewhere in there the word 'calling' came. because the girl suddenly found herself in a position of obedience over mere desire. and that's where the pressure became crushing. and the word community became some sort of harbinger. a struggle. a crying out and a pain.

17. and i could tell you between here and there the word hate was uttered, the absolute horror of entering the building, the anguish of attending, of negotiating people who were once for me became against me, being innundated, working for, friending, and in the midst helping to run the prayer team and at the time not really understanding what it meant or what it could be but gradually catching on until my ego was crushed and my spirit so low i had to leave it and slog through thank god on the mercy of friendships and duty.

18. and then around 2009 as a man named mick prayed long i was healed FROM the church as he said BY the church, as my spiritual guide at the time said, FOR the church.i wish i had the time to describe it. if you've read this far my dear bruckner you tell me and i'll write more- but suffice to say i might have doubled over laughing. i might have stood weeping and gasping at the profound thing that broke over me- the legalism, the hypocrisy, the cynicism, the hurt, and all the lies, authority, feeling small and marginalized and gaping wound at my foot... healed.

19. and today i'm tired. i try to carry things when i should let the Lord. and the girl who saw demons still sees them though by this point she may have seen a giant angel munching on something dark and squirming. i smiled. the girl, she prayer walks. she breathes. the water is deep and clear as it is mysterious as it is sometimes unknowable. but anyway she's been walking this road a long time. and she grows weary. not of the call which is light, assuring and its pursuit is straight. its the people obviously and the long way in which to get the natives to understand the language she's speaking. she pursues it because she must. and does not quite understand how she found her self here. or where she'll go next. this middle part she thinks will work itself out in a few encapsulated moments 20 years from now. and obviously the problem is her. and the problem is the devil too. and things get muddy when you hear too much of everything but the Lord. and its not so much the work i put into Him but the work He puts into me. and the working out of a relationship in which it is essential to trust. He calls me to it this mess the church. of humanity.

20. but to be specific, more on the journey of me and the prayer council at my church later... the rest of this is merely prelude.


tell me more said...

Can't wait to hear how it turns out.

ooo, my word verification is "praing"

Danica said...

What a beautiful story, if at moments heartbreaking, of a beautiful woman! I'm so thankful I'm a part of it and am witness to it as well.

Daniel Bruckner said...

Wow, this girl had a lot on her mind at six :) When I was six, the only thing that dominated my brain was finding the nearest sandbox.

Stories with the devil in them are the best. Good touches there!

So the pastor at 12 was a form of the devil?

I'll admit it, I'm a little jealous danica got such a big part in this story! If only I wore white on our first meeting (and was more outwardly religious).

I feel like I could've been squeezed into vignette 16: 'And one day, this guy daniel even attended. He had a fun time. Pretty much everyone loved that he was there. Even Danny Bonaduce, wearing a bleeding skull leather jacket, tried to bum a cigarette off him.'

Yes, I read every word. It has taken me about an hour. So continue on with documenting your journey.

Have you really seen demons???

I must say I am struck by how dominate God is in your life. Hmmmm, I must seem like a bad friend for saying that. I mean, I've always known you to be religious, but this story is quite an eye-opener! I really like the way that your faith has always been the centerpiece of your life. Not to come off as a heretic, but I can not relate to any of this (though I was fortunate enough to shake Jesus' hand in a dream a few nights ago. Very nice guy).

'my ass is sour as my bank account poor" my God woman, that is very nearly iambic pentameter without even trying! You are a wordsworth beyond your years and a tribute to your species!

You are certainly cryptic if you're going to reference a show called 'Spaced.' Who even knows of this show's existence? Twenty years from now, people are going to stumble upon your blog and have no clue as to what you are referencing. Your words should be both 'of the moment' and eternal. Write to stand the test of time!!! Remember, you are a tribute to your species!

'i was identified as RULER' You lost me again.

'she said I was waiting for life to happen to me.' I know you're not going to like what I'm about to say, but I sort of agree with this person's assessment. Please don't dispense your wrath upon me just yet :) To avoid a potential fracture in our friendship, I won't present my analysis in public, but I will ask you this: when is the last time you really, TRULY, went after something (non-Church related)? I know you can/will argue that it is impossible to separate the two. But please, for the sake of getting you away from that gloomy desk, tell me when is the last time you pursued something (non-Church related) with a genuine passion, where there was actual risk, where the stability and comfort of your life as you know it was put on the line? When was the last time you committed yourself to an endeavor which took you away from that desk (of two years) and exposed you to the unknown? You speak of manifest destiny, but have you ever thrown all your belongings into a covered wagon and set off across the fruited plain? Scorn me if you must, but I see a person who resists change and clings to her comforts. I shamefully admit that the last few years of stagnation that have taken over my life is due to an ever increasing passivity. Maybe I am simply projecting, but I feel, in this regard, you and I have much in common.

pen said...

tell us more, indeed! love the images you create.

mendacious said...

you're going to have to be more specific penelope- what more do you want to know? ;)

pen said...

MORE images. like all the ones from your childhood. and danica too. bring more of those into your present-day/adult experiences. verbal snapshots. they rock.

i want to go into the community garden, or on a ghost/spirit walk at your church. i want to sit at your desk with you. and more.

pen said...

MORE images. like all the ones from your childhood. and danica too. bring more of those into your present-day/adult experiences. verbal snapshots. they rock.

i want to go into the community garden, or on a ghost/spirit walk at your church. i want to sit at your desk with you. and more.

Danica said...

I must add that I still doubt your memory on me wearing white. I find that highly unlikely and can't even imagine what it would have been. I'm fairly certain I owned no white clothing other than my wedding dress.