09 December 2010

Intelligence Squared: Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world

I just had to re-post this...

December 7, 2009

Hmm. I think I'm too worked up to sort it out before going to bed, but it's worth considering, worth blogging, even at this late hour. I might mention that I feel compelled to be thorough, so this won't be short-lived.

I just watched a five-segment debate as done by BBC World (and posted on YouTube) that featured four panelists (two for the motion, two against) debating on whether or not the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world. I have to say I was immensely disappointed.

The two panelists for the motion were the Archbishop of Anuja, Nigeria, John Onaiyekan and Ann Widdecombe, a British MP who converted to Catholicism after protesting the ordination of female priests in the Church of England. The two panelists against the motion were Christopher Hitchens, who writes for Vanity-freaking-Fair, and Stephen Fry, an accomplished British TV personality and actor.

Let me reiterate. The two panelists for the motion were a well-known (to Africa) clergyman, an archbishop of the Catholic Church, THE Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, and at a glance the hope of an entire church to sufficiently and masterfully represent the church in its entire complex, gruesome and blessed history; and a stuffy, old British female politician staunchly rooted (or self-embedded, as it were) in staunchly traditional Catholicism (by which I mean personally [to her] fundamentalist principles.)

And the two panelists against the motion were an extremely well-articulated and accomplished writer, well known for his radical views, and frequent contributor to a haute couture magazine, among several other publications; and a perky, cheeky, left-wing television/radio personality who, to add to the controversy (or the ratings of said debate), is also homosexual.

Why could they not have chosen more articulated spokespeople for the pro side? Better yet, why did they not seek out as equally eloquent and vocal representatives for that side of the argument? It's an argument you at least know is going to heated, and at most will require adequate (matched) artillery, why not give both sides a real, running, gunning go?

Yes, I'm saying the side against the motion far outweighed the side for the motion! They did so by what appeared to be leaps and bounds. What's more is that I am personally a huge proponent of the motion that the church CAN be (and has been) a force for good in the world and was holding onto my breath waiting to hear what the rest of the world was (in theory) waiting to hear.

The sheer lack and disregard for a 'fair fight' by all those involved in assembling the debate notwithstanding, the debate itself began with the Archbishop at the podium, trying in what seems to be all earnestness to open up the doors to all the watching eyes of the world by delivering a dutiful opening statement that quickly dissolves into the all-too-familiar rhetoric by the Church. And then followed by Chris Hitchens, against the motion, back to Ann Widdecombe, who was for, and then closed by Stephen Fry.

The opening statements by both speakers opposing the motion were precisely articulated, clear and concise, eloquent. The points brought up were emotional, appealing, and spoke for a secular truth in the world. Raw emotions were brought up here.

But the opening statements of the two supporting the motion were not. They were the very stereotypical rhetoric by which the Catholic Church has been grievously known for and is perceived in current times, which only adds insult to injury in the eyes of a waiting world and, more namely, this believer. Especially when there have been motions and actions by people of the church, well-known and barely known all over the world, to have made a positive difference in the lives of others and significant impact on the history of the church (which I will get to.) None of which was mentioned.

There was little to no acknowledgment for past sins, compensation, explanation from a historical perspective, or delivery of what to hope for, what the message is (which I will also get to), what the church has done and is doing to do to progress, change and improve, what the church is sorry for. There was no mention of the past, present, or future, and furthermore, no acknowledge by either speaker of the repercussions the opposing side brought into view.

What of the emotions of the members of the church whose beliefs and vocations were betrayed by the monstrously sick actions of others--the members who have believed and acted in good hearts and real faith only to be slapped in the face by the evildoers, misrepresenting one in the same church? What of the points made by the opposition: the compensation for four ages of inquisition, for the epic horrors of slaying, brutalizing, ostracizing, and judging those with different beliefs over the centuries? What of the responsibility the church holds for its members acting out of ignorance, hate, intolerance?

There DOES need to be full-on acceptance by those most in place to own it--the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the people who committed the crimes, and more than anything, the very souls whose dark, shrouded, and debauched judgment were the hands of these grave, grave sins. There should have been statements in the debate by the supporting side demonstrating that extensive research concludes that massive reparation must be made, that a vital, integral element of that full contrition, expiation and absolution of that reparation must include the unfailing transference of knowledge by the church to her members, so that what is known by the world can (and should have first been) known by its members and there can be NO excuse for ignorance.

But there should have been statements that showed where the church has owned up to the sins of the past (past popes' apologies, Pope John Paul's request for forgiveness in his March 2000 address in addition to an apology.) There should have been statements by the supporting side that full and extensive research shows a full history of good in the church, that the majority of her members from the top down are working toward a more reconciled church (worldwide missionaries in third world and war-torn countries), that old, dated teachings of a wrathful God are currently and continuously being replaced by teaching a message of a loving God in a sweeping, unifying movement (vast changes in catechism curriculum, worldwide sermon content, the direction of vocation education, clergy and lay newsletters circulating with a variety of Catholic authors acknowledging this much more peaceful, loving message); and that IN that new message is one of tolerance. Of love. Of peace. Of freedom to live in the love of God. A message which teaches us to not judge because we are ALL God's people. ALL people. And there could have been specific resources of these changes and movements named, referenced, called into light, presented.

But there were none.

I even watched the Archbishop's argument twice because I had to stop watching and come back to the debate to see if a second chance would reveal something I missed; and still nothing.

There could have also been statements to direct attention to the fact that there is access to all kinds of information on spiritual enlightenment, that all souls no matter their station or religion are responsible for their own levels of personal and spiritual maturity, that we as a church have suffered the humiliation of those members but don't have to be defined by those imbeciles; and that anyone who is willing is able to harness that information. As well, the fact that there is awareness of this information and complete and total access to it at all is a step in the positive direction.

There could have (should have) been more references to the motions Pope John Paull II made to work on bridging the gap between the old, staunchy, rhetorical idioms and rituals of yore and current times through his significant contribution as pope and one of the most influential leaders in history and the hope that that offers. There should have been more references to the late pontiff's remarkably nontraditional steps outside of the Vatican circle, his contribution to aiding the end to communism, his unprecedented request for forgiveness of the church's sins, his profoundly humble address in the Novo Millenio Ineunte, which urged a universal call to holiness, all of which was delivered in the spirit of hope and reconciliation between ALL peoples.

The problem with the church--or the perceived problem by all those struggling to accept the church in its entirety (from her painful past to its blessed output and everything in between)--is that in the the true deliberation of any given topic (especially in regards to change, hope, and goodness) under a true sense of the divine accompaniment which is in true communion with the Holy Spirit also needs pure minds and pure hearts, free from any influence, to come to a deeply holy and spiritual decision; but these minds and hearts belong to human beings, who are far from perfect and even in the holiest of states, are not perfect and cannot make perfect decisions. We, as the watching masses dissolve under pressure and timelines, struggle to accept (if not right out deny) that there are reasons for deliberation. I know as a parent that the best way to make a decision concerning the children is to deliberate with my partner. Sometimes making a decision involved asking other parents around me. But I have learned in my short life that the best decisions are not made hastily and for the ones that are, it was more luck than love that made them good.

This kind of deliberation takes time and almost immediately incurs doubt because there is lack of patience. Impatience for time creates the perfect loophole for all those resisting anything the church has to say/offer/extend and it justifies the doubt which seeps into the minds of those fed up with the entire entity and gives those resisting the critical value of the church to write off the whole church. These thoughts and feelings are very human, but it must be said that one cannot judge simply because those imperfections are license for one human to judge another, or a group of humans to judge another group. If we are all trying to be better people, then better people we all must try to be, in its very principle.

To be fair, no priest, bishop, archbishop, nun, lay person ALIVE, no person, no human being on earth could have come that far and answered for the monstrosities and abhorrences that belong collectively and historically to the Catholic Church. No one person could have stood under the barrage of fire, no single human being anyway, intelligent or witty, charismatic or otherwise, and answered for the single most humanly corrupted entity of religious authorities on earth. But we did not have intelligent and witty or loving OR emotional representation of any kind. We had no way of relating to the pained masses because we did not have adequate spokespeople, nor was there a basic, unfettered acknowledgement OF that pain in the debate, of those sins, of the wrongs of the church.

There were no clear, demonstrative answers of relenting and contrition, no mention of the late pope's recognition, apology, and asking of forgiveness for in an unprecedented move towards the beginning of the millennium (though he realized, as do many Catholics the world over, that that is only the beginning of the road to healing and reconciliation), no mention of the enormously different kind of pontiff Karol Jozef Wojtyla was at all, no mention of all the good that has been done in the church by its members, no mention of the hope its upstanding and holy members gives us. Doing so to the contrary might have proved more by action than lofty rhetoric that the Church DOES see its mistakes, that the Church DOES want to move toward whole and complete body of virtuous members, toward whole and complete contrition (from the act of apology all the way to compensation for victims to perhaps a suggestion of far stricter, faster, and swifter punishment for the violators--I'm thinking isolation in a dark dungeon far below the Vatican for all perpetrators and bread-and-water-only diet), and that there are already motions and actions in place (a wide host of documents I'm far too spent to amass containing that information, but that anyone curious enough this late at night could surf and read for themselves) for showing that the Church CAN move and is moving toward a brighter, more healed future, and that the Church CAN be and is a force for good in the world.

Update: those videos are no longer posted on YouTube. The owner removed them.

02 December 2010

Why the Do-Over then...?

Well, because I had no idea, absolutely none, that what was coming was coming. No clue at all. I wouldn't have wanted it had someone told me it was going to happen, I would have rejected the notion entirely.

It is so entirely deceptive in its appearance, no matter how much I wish the world would understand. The unfolding of the treachery wounds me to tears even now. I understand how my friends feel. I understood it before they even knew it was coming, in the tender, quiet that was the space ahead of the storm. I understand how my girls feel. Their every corner and strain of their world torn; my every fiber longs for their well-being. I was concerned about how this would affect them even before leaving. I cried with them, I held them and comforted them when we landed here. I held them. I held them. I held them.

When I went back to fetch a few things, get my dog, and see my girls some two months after leaving, I saw the family picture we took. It had come in the mail after leaving. The picture was taken nearly moments before I knew I would go--that is, with things between the old us changing already and feeling more and more not meant to be, but before I even pondered such dramatic exit. I had wanted a professional family photo taken for ten years. How could I do this? My eyes fell upon the image, stacked among other wall hangings in the old entry way, and assaulted the part of my chest which still aches.

Nothing of this takes away from what my girls have been going through, how mortally this affected them. I knew it would. I prepared for it the best I could. And still I failed in one respect. In the respect of the world. But they grew, they healed, they even smiled. And my only concern is them. Not the world.

I did not see it coming. But I should have. Growing apart for years, there was refusal and denial about the actual state all around. We made it look good, but it was truly good for parts of it. It just wasn't enough. As long as we were taking turns at the wheel by ourselves and not working together to take responsibility, it would always be doomed.

08 November 2010

(...continued from previous entry...)

It's just all so.... "messed," as my pop-jargon-savvy 10-year-old would say. I grew up far more emotionally conscious of myself and others I think than a lot of others around me were. Who knows why that was so, but it is the wheel behind the prolonged torture I put myself through. What I mean is, being that aware of my own emotions and the emotions of others really put me at a disadvantage well over the majority than the advantages it brought. While the rest of the world was taking off, not giving a shit, or just plain growing up like normal kids, I observed how selfish they were being, or other various observations. Not that I was any less selfish. It's just that I processed the same kinds of things they did in a different way; and I took stock of my observations. And then I had to try to do this in the adult world, where most functional human beings were working on various stages of putting childish things away, and I was only getting started. In this same observational mindset, I also took stock of my observations and noticed that fundamental truths were created and developed, etching their creations right on the inside of the person I was, fortunately most right and true, but like any erred human, not always right and not always true.

I see this in my daughter already. Both of them, actually. But the older one most of all, right now at this point anyway. It makes me proverbially raise my eyebrow and take note. I do not want her (or her sister) becoming the over-analytical freak I became. It has caused me so much unneeded duress in my life. Well, I guess not knowing how to handle it is what caused the duress, but in the dealing of it (coping, learning, processing, rejecting, whatever), I came to know rather suddenly that parenting from an emotional state is not always reasonable (simply for the fact that it can screw up in the way their worlds are supposed to work; and because I learned this the hard way), and not the most responsible core to start from. I try to maintain a balance, and learned to try for the balance when I became aware, so I'm not going to jump to my mommy pulpit just yet, but as any parent knows, there's no job manual for being a mom. It is definitely marked on the back of my brain.

The most important part of the journey is how my previously-mentioned spirituality filled (and continues to fill) the gaps. Besides learning how to be practical (over emotional), rational over theoretical, I've also learned how sacrificial love is.

05 November 2010

" I really did feel like everything I did was about..."

I really did feel like everything I did was about 50%. I didn't want it to be that way, and I really tried putting 100% into everything, but as long I kept feeling let down no matter what kind of effort I was putting in, I knew something wasn't sitting right.

It wasn't as though I wanted these things to happen. It is, though, that I didn't make the decisions for something else to happen. I was, in part, looking for somewhere else to throw the blame if something went wrong. When I finally thought about what kind of decision I should have made, could make, and consequently did make, it was almost too much to bear. At first it was unthinkable. Then it was necessary. And it's like my dad told me (which I all-too-inconveniently forgot): If you don't make a decision, someone will make it for you. I let people make decisions for me for years without even realizing I had gotten in the habit of it. I did not realize it exactly like that. It explains so much. A puzzle piece in the big jigsaw of life. But then the other part to Dad's piece of advice is to make the decision and execute it. If it was right, then move forward, if it was wrong, make it right. Seems so simple, doesn't it. That's how easy it is for us to complicate things. Even as a woman who was raised to think like a guy and reconciled with the woman I really am, this makes sense. I complicated things ALL the time, unnecessarily. And why? Because I was too busy trying to "prove" something, to make it look good, all the while not investing with my whole heart. In a phrase: I was lying to myself.

And how bitter that seems!! How terribly raucous it is to put my life and the tremendous sorrow I have for the hurt I caused people into a simple paragraph! This was not an easy conclusion to come to. Not for one second. The elaboration of which I'll have to save for another entry, but suffice to say for this entry, it comes with heavy, heavy consequence and the duress of a summation of approximately 13 years. However, I am still not bitter.

And I was thinking about love. What it means. How we say it. How it is true. Most of all, in terms of myself and how my life has led me to really give it a good, hard look; and how it still means something, now more than ever. The other day, I was sitting on the bench outside staring at the supporting post of the balcony above, and the words "love" and "not enough" breeched my thoughts. Never in my wildest dreams did I think about my non-choice way of living exactly like that for a really long time, or that finally taking responsibility for my life, myself, and my actions (finally!) would bring me here, but neither did I think my life would unfold the way it did; and it occurred to me that sometimes, love just isn't enough.

Proper communication (learning how to speak the other person's language and giving it importance), matched fundamental values, short term goals, long term goals, and a solid base of all these things IS what's "enough", it's what sets the tone to the degree of compatibility, but most of the world gets automatically bored with the idea, especially because the advanced stages of love are not being taught--the crucial, underlying truths of what love can be. (There are marriage preparation-type courses for a reason! And yet we all cry that divorce is as easy as changing our snow tires.) The world is (and even I was, to a surprising degree) lacking in the concept of building a foundation, fundamental to the core of a relationship. Everyone gets to the point where they are at a loss for what to do after the "ohmygod I think I'm in love" love (or whatever version of thought gets us into the state of fundamentally unhappy couples) fades into something else. Here's a hint: it's supposed to mature. It becomes a decision then, an action, and it is love like that which supports the structure built on afore-mentioned foundation like layers of a pyramid: likes, dislikes, common interests. It is love that can sustain the soul during conflict of the initial layers and it grows from there, if nurtured, but it does not generally shake the foundation. Love grows, but it also transforms. Most of all, it is an action. Love is an action that requires sacrifice, but sacrifice comes in all forms--but usually means letting go of our pride, allowing our walls of defense to be softly penetrated, and when done right is the most tender, precious thing in the entire world, here or thereafter.

Things Not Allowed in Love: bitterness, lukewarmness, indifference, lack of action, blandness. That's what I think, anyway. Even intense negativity is better than absolute lack of participation, because at least it's dedicated in some way (although it doesn't have a good place in a relationship.)

Now. Here's the thing. None. Of. These. Things. Are. New to me. Not once, ever, in my existence as a wife of a cancer victim, or as a mother of two, or as a woman exposed to the attrocities of the world, or as a person whose sense of emotional awareness/perception was her own flogging, or as a person whose made a bazillion minor-to-major grave errors in her whole life, did I not live these things as best as I could. I knew, even if I struggled like an s.o.b. with knowing better, what love was supposed to be. How, exactly I can't describe, but it was always something intrinsically inscribed on the walls my soul. Perhaps taught to me through the faith my parents transcribed unto me, perhaps acquired through years of observations watching them miss the mark with each other every time they opened their mouths, watching other couples, watching the nuances and inconsistencies that created hardship and strife, but most of all, living exactly as I have lived, eff-ups and all. It has only become all the richer now...

Lest I become a sermon from on high, let me be perfectly clear that I am among the generalizations I have made. I have no more place to mention these things than say, a criminal or banished sinner. I am just, in a word, sharing.

...to be continued...

19 September 2010


Yes. Did I forget to mention something very important in this blog post? The answer is undoubtedly, unequivocally yes, I did.

It is a word that bears repeating out loud, after having thought about it, felt it, poured from every cord of my heart, my feelings, and my mind multiple times of consequence and conscience. It is an element, a vital step in just about every kind of moving on, that dwelt so loudly in me that I almost missed saying it.

It deserves to be broadcast on top of a mountain, the New York Times, on prime-time TV, perhaps even a tiny blog like this one, but it is more appropriate to center it in the hearts of those who need to hear it.

It is something I could never afford to keep to myself and is something I would never want to keep to myself. It is something that I have felt for so long and known all this time towards all the ones I love and have known, above all and despite all other processes in my life to date, that there can be no resolve without it. There cannot even be hope to resolve if it is not said and stated loudly and clearly, no real hope of truly moving on and certainly no hope to expect forgiveness if I do not express it. Especially if I do not express it like I have been feeling it for so long. Especially since the form in which I have done most of my processing is also the form where now it needs to be addressed.

It is also something I was not too quick to blurt out, at the risk of saying it too quickly or it sounding too convenient, as it was anything but easy or convenient and it needed to mean everything to those who needed to hear it; and even to those who didn't, as the truest essence of it (love) is not bound to the limits of human perception.

They are two of the most difficult words in the English dictionary to say; and even though I've never considered myself too proud to say them, I almost missed saying them myself in the deconstruction/reconstruction of the massive, percussive tide of my decisions and their consequences:

I'm sorry.

I really am. I'm sorry for the hurt I caused, for the confusion, the apparent hypocrisy. I'm sorry for stringing everyone along (even though I wasn't intending to) because I was stringing my own self along. I'm sorry for looking everyone in the eye, pretending to be going one way but planning another. I'm sorry for the worry I caused, the initial and potential damage my leaving caused; but most of all, for hurting the ones I love the most.

I haven't stopped loving you, haven't stopped caring for you, and in that I make my full conscious plea with you for your forgiveness. But with or without your forgiveness, I shall forever remain sorry for these things and carry on. I pray that we can work through these things individually and in private; I will be holding onto those days and hoping for reconciliation.

17 September 2010

Les canards

Every day I get up, get a coffee and have a cigarette out side. When I first got here and the mornings were still warm, I'd go "all the way out" on the dock and watch the ducklings. (I've been here two and a half months.) I would take in the open blue sky, the towering evergreens, and the thicket of forest where all kinds of creatures hid in the safety of their refuges while standing over the water feeling like the floating dock would take me away.

It was the only thing that kept me from dwelling on the world that I left, an entire other life that felt sacked by me up-and-leaving (a life that I had grown rather accustomed to living.) I breathed in the fresh, pine-heavy air, and struggled to appreciate that I was there and incapable of turning back before I could change my mind.

Before the girls went back with their father, my youngest would come out and greet me a sleepy good morning and sit with me. And after they were gone, it was a place I would go to collect my thoughts and wake up. I've had many a day here like that. Almost every single one. This haven, this beautiful secret garden, has been the refuge I've needed to clear just about every basic (or complex) thought I've ever had.

It has also been, much to my charm, a world unto itself. The ducklings grew and more seemed to join the family. And they've gotten fat eating off the ground where the birds spill their seed. As well, I've had the privileged delight to witness not one or two, but three blue jays, which I've never seen before. Between the birds, the squirrels, the wasps, the dragonflies, the two odd otters (one day only), and the odd porcupine, it is enchantment best saved for the movies.

The funniest thing though, is how the ducks have made a path in the grass with their waddling march to the tree where the bird feeder is. It's truly a delightful little show of mother nature's humor.

12 September 2010

Mass in French

What an enriched experience Mass is in French when you have a small stash of vocabulary and the little missal in front of you!

I came here under premonition, decision, wincing in preparing for the barrage of fire, but the one thing that helps me even when I'm feeling like the scum of the earth about my decision to live here like I am is to go to this massive cathedral where I am just a peon.

In the whole sense of the word "blessing", it just doesn't matter what the whole world thinks for a moment in your life. For just one hour, you get to be a person who could be worthy of forgiveness, a person full of graces, and part of a family. For one hour, you can focus on something so much sweeter, nicer, more loving, gentle and warm, forgiving than the weight of all the raucous crap people feel entitled to give you just because you made a decision to do something with your life, and every person you ever knew, ever loved was hurt or pissed by it and had something to say on Facebook about it. (True story.)

For just a few moments, you get to shed the unraveling of the prior week (or weeks), the pain them feeling betrayed. In French, "blessure" means "to wound." In my studies of eternal matters, I have found that many of the saints refer to this "wound of love" that pierces them. It is this pain that they rejoice in because it signifies death to self and a welcoming of the eternal love that floods the soul through the light and mercy of our most Eternal Lord. (Can you imagine the light pouring in your eyes? The pressure of joy bursting from withing your gut? The sheer, overcoming relief of total welcome?) Isn't it something that we refer the the word "blessing" without really even realizing its sheer and pure, yet absolute meaning.

Funny thing is, the scenes didn't all unfold caustically until human judgment got in the way; and, like it or not, I'm finally realizing that it isn't their forgiveness I'm seeking. (Although it used to be. Weird, huh?) But I digress. I still felt like this (refer to "peon" paragraph) before I made the decision to move here and eff up everyone's perceptions of me, hurt their feelings, shock them. You know, when I was a Stepford wife.

That doesn't mean that you are reprieved of the things that you do which suck, or that your journey to be a good person and make fully conscious decisions, complete with consequences just stops there. It means that for a concrete, singular moment you get to breathe. Which is a blessing.

Of course, it seems easier when the people in the church don't know your every last sin, but when you're sitting there with the uncle of the man you're with on the other side, and he knows that you are there under some matter of dramatic sequence, you know you are going to be facing the music eventually.

But even then, it's okay. It's peaceful. Because even when they know my story (at least the people closest around me), I know they're not going to be the type of people to judge. Even if they heard all the gory details down to the final indiscretion, these people I already love already love me and this life, here, is already its own proof that I am not the same person who just lays idle about life and allows everyone else to define her boundaries.

Ici est la cathedrale de Chicoutimi:

25 August 2010

If I may...

I didn't meant to hurt anyone. I knew that it would hurt a LOT of people around me, but I didn't count on it affecting every single person who felt entitled to write me and tell me just what kind of person they thought I was before and after the whole initial step.

Not everyone who wrote me had something ill-willed or damning to say, but the entire collection of messages and emails I received did, in fact, make me think about my actions AGAIN, yes, of course, but mostly of yelling my defense amidst wracking sobs from on top of a mountain. I did consider this--and all these things that happened--in the full scope of making this decision before I even left. I have had the darkest days of my life so far contemplating these things. And I've seen some pretty dark days.

I considered the entire drama of it all, the potential tidal wave of reactions to ensue, the confusion, the hurt, the heavy impact of what I was about to do, the most important people in my life that it would affect. I tried to write them letters beforehand, erroneously, trying to explain (why did I even bother?) that what I was doing was huge and that I had to do it.

I made mistakes in my execution of this, used words that poorly conveyed what I really wanted to say, but I had no intentions of escaping the aftermath; and I did not escape it. I faced it full-on, like a matador in the bullring that knows full and damn well that if he dies, he made the choice to be there.

I also considered the people I knew, love, and respect to count on their forgiveness. Not in the way that I deserved it or would even get it or would ever learn of their processing of the entire situation, but in the qualities I saw in them, the reason I could be friends with each one, to believe/hope/see that place inside them that could and would conquer even the obvious hurt. It has been a tremendous blessing to see those who have nurtured their wounds enough to come out from the shadows of judgment and reach out their hands. Somehow I think they knew I would never turn them away.

I considered the light and beauty in each one of them to evolve past the initial tear, once things settled on the first level, in fathoming such a thing; and then to ask questions. I believe(d) in their ability to love past and through the hurt, which I could see in them, was (is) greater than anything I had to offer them, greater than whatever perceptions to come, greater than the general mass mentality.

I considered that no amount of explanation, then or now, would make it any more right.

I considered that at the end of the day, there was and is so much more to get from life than what I was preaching to everyone else to get, to soak up; and that if I had to be responsible for my life and what I got out of it (like I've preached to everyone else), then I had a decision to make.

For so long, people around me my whole life were unwittingly putting me in a cage with words and phrases like "oh well" or similar, critically judging my every move. Until, one day, I just did what was "right" and everyone shut up. Everyone didn't have to worry about sticking their two cents in, no one could tell me how stupid I was being. (No one was listening to ME anyway.) And while any time that people, family, friends meant well, it left me feeling like I couldn't do anything right unless I laid low.

Did I think that my aunties, old friends, dear family should allow me to get away with messed up choices? Of course not. Would have killed them to let me make my own mistakes? What happens when you cage a free spirit just for doing bad? You don't have a chance to see them do good.

I had a chance to change the direction of my life, just the right person to take the journey with, and the opportunity to be true to myself with massive consequences. With the daggers of people's opinions on every side and the future of my precious daughters at stake, I took the first step of my life, braced for just exactly what I got. And I still got the wind taken right out of me. The only load of crap I've ever fed myself was believing that some of the people closest to me would jump over the wide gap of broken pieces to see me for real. Some were able, some were not.

In my opinion, it's never too late.

I didn't figure I was being caged just like that, though, with exactly that intention on my mind trying to "shut" everyone up. I realized from early on that I wasn't speaking loud enough to be heard nor did I give anyone in the infancy of my adulthood the chance to see I was more than they gave me credit for.

I didn't realize I was being that way, and I wouldn't have admitted it had I seen a glimpse of it. I just was doing what I thought was right, following the path that I didn't see was meant to lead me here, making a shitload of mistakes in the process, but wanting to embrace what I was given, rather than discard a moment of it in ungratefulness.

But in a life that was one succession after another of making concessions, letting go of even the smallest dreams towards the end, and finally having lost my voice under the barrage and weight of all other perceptions but my own, it led me here. It led me to making painful, painful sacrifices. It led to the most consequential, supremely massive decision of my life. This wasn't just about a guy. This wasn't just changing life on a whim. It was and continues to be about something greater than myself, which is what I said from the beginning.

19 August 2010

August 19, 2010

I'm surprised it hurts so much. To be without my girls. I mean, I'm not surprised because a mother's true love is not without some foresight, wisdom, realization. I just mean that with the way I came into motherhood as a naive, young flit "coping" with it and then how I've changed my method and moral to choosing to be a mother, the pain of this just stings so much more than all of the sting I had anticipated.

I'm not as surprised to be missing their voices, their laughter, their hugs, the smell of their hair, the sandwich cuddles---I knew that I would. It's just that the reality becoming real stings more than I could have ever prepared for.

So how do I dare cry about this when the choice to leave the way I did was mine? Sure I took them with me for the first part--so they would never have the pain of seeing their mother leave, but what did that prove? It seems like it would almost be nothing at the current juncture.

But I tell you what. I'm holding onto something higher than myself to get us through this two-year period.

05 May 2010

All You Need Is Love

One of the greatest song done by the Beatles, in my opinion. But I digress.

Today I have a small window of time before tackling the evening shift at work to ooze something more appropriate than the things I have blogged about in the past.

I have felt, as I'm sure many others have, the despairing nature of the world. Something in all of us, at least, has at least noticed the difference in the societal sense--"things aren't what they used to be", "things weren't like that when I was younger", "can you believe people today?" and so forth ad nauseum. What we are seeing, in all of our varying degrees of sights, is a graphic insurgence of hardened hearts. (I have a friend who could term this better, but for now this will do.) Without analyzing the crap out of is, which I have been known to do, the better question is, "why?" Why do we have to live in a world that is like this?

Already people are pointing to the signs of the times, trying to predict the end of the world, or at least the world as we know it. People are hurting each other, souls are broken and wounded. Crimes of mass destruction and of unspeakable nature are occurring in every minute. There is certainly no denying that, where we are in history, we are engaged in the inevitable last stages, though what "stage" is precisely defined is anyone's theory; and I am not a doomsday advocate. Are there no sacred places anymore? Is there no reaching out for another in humanity? What happened to the simple belief that the One greater than us would take care of all of us; and in that love, care for another? Why is it, how is it, that we, as a people chosen by God, can so easily forsake His great love, so easily forget to treat others with love and humility? It is our duty, our obligation, and our call in this test of life to respond to that love by loving one another.

I am profoundly blessed to be surrounded by those who understand this on some kind of basic, intrinsic level, even to say those who aren't aware of it in themselves. But a new hope, even greater than these, has been bestowed on me these last few days. Hope and light of epic proportions. My desire is that all souls be filled with this light, this hope, this promise. My life now belongs to my Lord in a way that it never has and my only mission is to impart that peace and love that I have been given on others and to share it with others. What I am and who I am are a pathetic, measly resemblance of a human being, but if I can use what little I have to inspire others, especially so in my humiliation, then my existence has been for good. And in a world that is hurting for love, this is all I could ever ask for. To be a servant of Him who called me.

26 April 2010

Tidal waves

In the tidal wave of this move, there are boxes and messes and piles colliding into each other everywhere! I keep rewriting lists in my mind, trying to organize, prioritize, and mainly keep the girls on board with their help without overwhelming them. But it isn't working. I have empty boxes, packed boxes, and well over half a houseful of unpacked things strewn about, taking up space we didn't have in the first place. And, with the open house coming up on Saturday and all the packing in suspended motion (because I usually just freeze up when I'm overwhelmed), I've realized JUST how much crap accumulates in ten years.

And in the meantime, there are still full-time jobs to maintain and I just got a cold. I was in a daze enough with this move, detaching from things, head not in the game as it was, and then BAM! Here comes Loopy Ville. As IF we women didn't have ENOUGH to think about with their daily lives! Now some... sinus THING, monster, some germy phantom takes over my body and renders my brain useless as the mucous jam packs its way into my brain via my nose and tiny, supernatural snot dams per each Tylenol Sinus/Cold dosage. Maybe I'm getting allergies. I've never had allergies before, but this is the second time in a month I've gotten sick in just this way. And it would just figure. It would just figure that I'd find out I do have allergies after successfully ignoring my body for 30 years. Bah!

I don't have my head in the game. I am finding it particularly difficult to connect to the things I usually find comfort, solace, peace, or joy in because I am detaching from here mentally, I know it. I must be. My head is already gone. It's in Estevan. I mean, perish the thought for all the beautiful people we've known here--and I don't particularly enjoy this lifting out of myself--but I cannot, for the life of me, put myself back into my old shoes. And now that I'm fighting this snot-brain and whatever is draining into the back of my throat, my mind is spinning even more than it usually is. It really does feel out-of-body. There is just so much to do. At least I'm not panicking anymore.

The good news is that we have moving buddies. Turns out one of Kyle's friends, also a junior high teacher here, is moving on up as well. He got the high school industrial arts position at the same school about two weeks after Kyle got his position. His wife and I are good friends and I'm so excited to know someone automatically when getting there--it really is some kind of miracle. It's kind of like having an automatic fortress moving into a new place: no matter what kind of friends we make apart from each other, there will at least our friendship to go wading out into the waters with. And this will also be the perfect excuse to hang out more. Not that we needed an excuse, but that our schedules will come to a screeching halt--or at least come smashing into each other's! The best part is that we both like to blog, harness our inner band geeks, and share richly drenched life experiences.

Here's to new chapters in life and putting on the mask until we get there!

10 April 2010

By far, the worst day in the history of the world.

I just had one of THE worst days of work on record. EVER! Well, almost ever. It pretty much ties in there with tipping a rock truck fully loaded across the main dam, anyway. I think I want to die. Pretty close, anyway. Or at least disappear. Into a small, dark, secluded hole where no one can find me. Among making monumentally regressive mistakes at work these past two weeks and getting called out on having my head up my ass (and being insulted about it, to boot), I practically destroyed the second computer, phone, a tray of rolled cutlery, and place mats as I lost control of an entire tray of drinks. And not just the small drink trays—but a PILE of filled glasses on the large food trays! ALL over. Bam. Like that. Massive tide of beverages cascaded down in a crashing deluge of liquid, ne’er to be saved.

I was the opening supervisor, madly dashing around a nearly full restaurant, alone, while a team of badminton players sat down at three booths in a row. I was doing pretty well considering the circumstances. Everything timed right, plates coming out of the kitchen on time. I was borderline panicked, but I was covering guests adequately, and reminding myself to breathe. I made the fateful decision to get the team’s drinks in one trip. I was right there. It made sense. Save your steps, I heard myself say. Hey, this is some inspired idea! Let’s get a BIG tray, put all the glasses on it, and make one big saving trip. If only I’d listened to that little cry from far within, “no! Don’t do it!” If only I’d heeded the sense to trade a little added inconvenience for the nonsense of putting fifteen filled glasses on a tray that I would be carrying with one hand... if only I had just thought a little further ahead...

But it was not to be. Down they all went, all the cups, all the juice, chocolate milk, water, iced tea, and pop. Down, down, down. Soaking the entire tray of cutlery, splashing the computer, dowsing the phone, leaking and dripping down the sides of things, ruining an entire stack of placemats, oozing onto cable cords, down the sides of the fridge, behind the fridge, under the fridge. A scream of sheer terror curdled deep within me that I could not release. And as my little spinning world came to an irreversible stop, I pulled myself up and tipped my head up just enough to see customers standing at the till...

As the pace of the morning compelled me to move forward, a deeper part of me went somewhere else. I shook nervously, I lurched into Cope Mode, I resolutely went through the motions of being a waitress out of sheer will, and became quietly manic while I tried in vain to clean up the mess and continue with service around me.

Then my boss came in.

And found the phone and the computer in the state they were in. Back in the kitchen he was looking at me funny, picking at his pants, and I couldn’t tell if he was trying to be funny in a wry kind of way, but I told him what happened. He said he knew. And then with this changed look in his eye, I knew something more was ever so seriously wrong. He asked me what he should do about it. Facetiously. What little recovery I had been able to manage from the incident itself now washed itself away completely and a number stood wretchedly between us, so stark and so jagged that it will probably forever more mark a searing scar on whatever working professionalism I ever worked for the achieve in this place. Twelve hundred dollars. That’s not a paycheck dock. That is a serious offense. A federal crime.

And now I am left wondering what to do. I finished the day with nary a word or glance between either of us and did my day cash-out quietly, trying desperately to slip out unnoticed. I just want to die. I still, as of this entry, have not processed all of angles of this. The fact of the matter is, both of my bosses are far more different than me and I could not, in all of a thousand or million years, begin to understand how this is going to unfold from here on out. I am just really, really sorry.

05 April 2010


I can't wait for the next episode of "Chuck" tonight on NBC! Going from just tolerating some new show Kyle wanted me to watch three years ago to devoutly catching every Monday night episode (AND committing it to PVR), I've come around to being a full-force, all-out fan. Zachary Levi is just adorable, Yvonne Strahovski is believably badass, and Adam Baldwin is the kind of the Bruce Willis element needed to drive this full-hearted ensemble headlong into the world of high-spy espionage, frozen yogurt, and electronic gadgetry.

It's got ALL of the elements that appease the eyes, ears, and neurological receptors of this dorky, half-Latina, half-go-getter. Pretty boys (okay, just one) to look at, believable plot lines (it's about TIME Chuck and Sarah get together!), and all the adventure that comes from a feel-good James Bond adventure. Plus sideline characters that add to Chuck's real life as well as his spy life. His sister, brother-in-law, best friend, and creepy co-workers to make up Chuck's life side and then Casey, Shaw, General Beckman, and of course, Sarah, to make up the spy side. It just gets better every week!

And now after having gotten some packing done, putting a roast in the oven, and getting ready to have a phone meeting with the mortgage specialist, I'm ready to see what happens tonight now that Shaw captured Sarah (after learning she killed his wife during her "Red" test) and Chuck having finally told Sarah he loves her.

19 March 2010

So we're moving!

I guess we're moving to Estevan, SK! I'm so excited! With the ten-year anniversary of our wedding and Do-Over renewing of vows at the last part of 2009 to lead into 2010, it seems to be a year of renewal and change.

Kyle interviewed, and got the job for, teaching band in a high school position down in southern Saskatchewan. This is good news on so many levels, but I'm expecting my daughter's friend to drop by any time now, so consider this bomb dropped!

02 February 2010

Tiny Bubble

I just want....

...my space. You know? I just put up with all kinds of people all day long and I have to chock away the urge to internalize it all--the general increase in societal rudeness, the general public disregard (whatever happened to the simple joy of human interaction?), my personal judgments (analyses) of where 'those' comments come from, 'those' attitudes. Then I try to prioritize, stay focused, positive, even upbeat, and be the comic relief so that there is some distraction from the daily mundane. I realize that I am being critical and try to "just not think" about any of it, go out for my break, have a smoke, and clear my head. But then a coworker's comment or passing misunderstanding will agitate something new and I'm left to battle a part of who I am to overcome my pettiness.

The fact is, I'm just a critical person. And it, for a lack of a better word, wounds me to admit it as much as it does to be it. For whatever optimism I am trying to impart on my daughters and pull for the world, it's almost as if it is lost on myself and I don't know how to just... change it. To just be different, as in, better. I bank on trying to bring my daughters up to be better than me. But it doesn't say much for where I'm at in the game. And so then I get stuck right there, spinning out on the thought that I need to lead by example, yet struggle with letting go of things, and therefore come up with nothing to get me unstuck. Except for maybe needing to understand why I am so critical, which would require letting go of a WHOLE lot of other shit, and might be something I considering figuring out right after posting this.

At any rate, by the end of the day it seems lately, I am peopled out and I bury myself in my laptop, and I find that what I am motioning through now partly resembles the motions of yore--when I was sitting alone six and seven months pregnant with my oldest in a bare-walled apartment, considering doing my homework and doing something of substantial value, but doing nothing in the end and staring at the antenna TV until I couldn't keep my eyes open. This behavior astonishes me on some level because not only has it been eons since those self-pitying prego moments, but I don't think I even resemble that same girl. The things that happened back then and the circumstances surrounding them are not even remotely the same.

And... I know how to search out my happiness besides there being a whole host of other blissfully good distractions in my life: my kids, my husband, my music. It's just that I can't believe I'm finally acknowledging that I need those moments where I can slip out of the house unnoticed and take a breather on the back deck.

01 February 2010

Never Say Never

You know, some songs just capture that one feeling that is difficult, if not downright impossible, to capture in words or expressions. There are a whole host of these kinds of songs that make up the soundtrack of my life, as I'm sure most other people have, and if anyone knows me, they know that Collective Soul is the majority chunk of that soundtrack.

However, in my adult life, in the true wake of adult pains, pangs, triumphs, and tribulations, there have been few to ever capture the raw, visceral emotions that make up the human experience. The reasons we grow, we learn, smile, or close up, build walls, barriers. It can truly be said that the entire gift of music is that it can tell the story in a way that nothing else can, no matter what side of the scale.

But it isn't just a really emotional hook with empowering chord progressions in a rock song that does it. Many a number of classical pieces and composers have instilled the same raw, visceral, guttural instinct with something as simple as a passing tone in a matching phrase that appeases the cerebellum. Or as multiple layers (polyphony) of perfectly blended sections rise in a crescendo and resolve the aphrodisiac-like dissonance into a brilliantly pleasureful calm. Resolving the tonic from minor to major. The suspense of raised 5th with the sub dominant chord (a characteristically Spanish trait.) Phrases that create mystery and play with dynamic. It all just works together so well in both classical and in rock.

This is why I went into music. Less to teach it--or the technical side of it--than to pass on the vital, integral energy saturated in the soul that only music can bring out. I saw a girl on TV once who masterfully and intensely manipulate the black and white keys of a grand piano as she performed some classical piece (the name of which I wish I knew) on stage. Her stunning evening gown registered nothing in her mind as her wrists and arms were a concentrated flurry of well-executed timing, and she physically moved on the bench as though she were not encumbered by it. I was filled with awe. I remember looking up at my mom, pointing to the Miss America pageant we were watching, and specifically declared that I would "play piano like that some day."

A great many days have come and gone since then, but I recognize that as the moment I knew music was going to be my life. My dad bought my mom an upright piano for their anniversary some time in or around then and I bugged them about lessons almost immediately; and then fought them on having to practice until the plug was almost pulled. If something didn't come easy to me, I didn't want to work on it (a personality trait I would learn to struggle with for the rest of my life.) I changed piano teachers and took lessons for about another two years. All told, I got about three years of lessons in before the last teacher had to quit taking students to run her insurance business. Never took lessons after that, save for the few I'd get at music camp in the summers, never received any formal performing instruction, and along with my limited knowledge of the music world, moved into post-secondary education feeling under qualified and like a small fish in a big pond.

The point is that despite my dismay and reasons for throwing in the towel, by the time I dropped out of school, I got my level 6 proficiency, which would have gotten me into the Upper Division--and qualification to teach instrumental or vocal music--had I stayed, and it did instill, amongst the greater disappointments, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Since then, my life has changed in epic ways, but I've always had music to lift me up, help me escape, or deal with life. And I will always have those songs, those composers, those pieces to fall back on and be waiting for the next hook.

24 January 2010

Wait for it!...

Well, now that I've got your attention, I'll tell you that this isn't going to be that interesting.

I was just thinking on my break at work the other day that this age in history has become so speed-obsessed and riddled with this demand-and-supply of need for instant gratification that it has actually precipitated this phrase, "wait for it!" as coined by Generation Me. Our current world has become so far removed from simpler times that education has become more about how to access information rather than retaining it, which is only logical being that there is SO much (too much) information out there, and we are having to adapt to those enormous chunks of information by concerning ourselves less with memorization than acquisition.

I've realized this through having two children in school, having a teacher for a husband, working with a wide range of ages, and being naturally analytical about the rising level of chaos in the world in general. I mean, children are awarded for being disrespectful, sneaky, and a whole host of other stupid reasons just because we are looking for something to feel good about. I guess. Or because these children are different or darker or wittier than we remembered being or seeing in school. Or whatever. But it's creating these swells of humans with egos the size of the Atlantic Ocean that have no business being that full of themselves and it shows, even on television and in movies. With great power (this increased working knowledge of things in the world/the elevated average state of mind) comes great responsibility (being able to handle knowledge with care and great fortitude) and there is a visible, trend-shifting, overall lack of being able to handle any of that knowledge. We, as a generation, have rarely accepted what we have been given with any fortitude, grace, appreciation, or humility.

I just can't handle it! Well, I can, but even considering that I'm from this same me-first generation, it drives me crazy on a number of levels. 1) I loathe change more than I realized (or the older I get--"things aren't the same as when I was in school" as put in my best crotchety old woman voice) and 2) the care and consideration that it takes to know something is falling by the wayside. But that's life. And for as prolific as the number of brats being produced (and reproduced), there are nearly as many heroes, inspiring people, and humanitarians of every kind in the world.

It's just that this phrase struck an amused chord with me. It just seemed so fitting that in a world where instant gratification and self-gratification are practically synonymous, that the lingo among young people would evolve and produce a phrase that actually, though rhetorically, instructed the impatient listener to just... wait for the climactic point in the story. Imagine being so impatient and so hurried that you had to be instructed to wait for an orgasm halfway through a romp...

#1: "Oh, baby!"

#2: "Myeah. Oh, baby!"

#1: "Oh OHH. Oooooh. Oh, oh, o--"

#2: "Nooo! Not yet"
"Waaaait for it..."

#1: "Too bad. I'm done."

And for the record, I know it's just a phrase. It just got me thinking. And I haven't blogged for a while.