I drove home from a friend’s last night in tears, which is not a big a deal except I can’t identify exactly why. It started when I was praying, which happens, so ok, but I don’t really do basket case – except at Christmas and sometimes Mother’s Day – so I thought I’d make a list of probable causes.
And since I’m reading Brene Brown on vulnerability, I thought I’d write it here, in public. Lovely.
Probable Cause #1 – I could use more safe space to write the crazy shit in my head. Even writing that exposes “safe” for the illusion it is because that isn’t the problem. Caring what everybody thinks is the problem. In some of my circles it’s a little sketchy to admit I still say shit from time to time. I work daily on not conforming to the patterns of this world but sometimes, in certain circumstances, my word demons insist that shit is absolutely the correct word. Refusing to use it or just muttering it because I’m trying to look holy, is disingenuous. So I think I’d rather be a Jesus-following, recovering potty mouth than a churchy sweetie pie who says shit only when people who don’t care are around.
Ultimately, I am working to erase the line between my secular and sacred lives so you can expect the same person no matter where I show up – an objective, I think, worthy of suffering occasional profanity. However, if it offends you let me say, I am very sorry and wow, you should have met me five years ago.
Probable Cause #2 – I can’t find my wooly socks and my feet are cold, which is a distraction I don’t need. Also, because I am a woman of a certain age, I seem to be growing a beard and developing weird ailments in my feet, which cause me to perform yoga poses incorrectly while I’m teaching, so my feet don’t cramp. My hippie friends say my fear of stepping forward into my best life is manifesting in my metatarsals, and if that’s true, it scares me. My friends who aren’t doctors but watch a lot of Grey’s Anatomy think it’s tendonitis. If that’s true, it sounds expensive.
Probable Cause #3 – I used to read three newspapers a day. In the past four years, I haven’t read three newspapers in a month. It’s a totally selfish, defensive measure prompted by my disgust for corporate media and the mouthy outrage it provokes in me. To this day, if you want to talk immigration, please please only use the word “illegal” as the adjective it is – not the pejorative noun or personal pronoun favored by certain Americans. Plus, as I was learning to follow Jesus I couldn’t handle the behavior of some of his followers, so I shut everybody out. But since there have been 100 school shootings in the two years since Sandy Hook and each week a new unarmed black man is killed by police, sequestering myself so I don’t have to be outraged and discouraged, seems like a cop out. So, if you need me I’ll be reading and praying.
Probable Cause #4 – I love Jesus but Christmas wears me out. The solstice, however, resonates. December 21st is the shortest, darkest day of the year and, as it happens, the anniversary of the worst day of my life. I realize I’ve only written about that in kind of oblique ways, and maybe someday I’ll write it because if it helps you it’s worth it. But for now, if you’re trudging through the season, dutifully stringing garland on your mantle (yes it’s pretty when it’s done) and shoving a nine-foot tree into a room with eight-foot ceilings, I say, notice the trend. Maybe it’s time to consider different traditions. Some churches host solstice services where you can light a candle, acknowledge the darkness and anticipate the lengthening of days.
It’s clear to me now, this is all Christmas’ fault, but if you love the season, ok. I’m happy to to come sit on your couch, with my socks on, in front of your fire, to admire your mantle and drink eggnog, but I might cry on the way home too.
And maybe that’s just the way of things.