Archive

Author Archive

Get a Job

February 13, 2015 Comments off

I find myself with a day off from work.

Ok. They were having a massive campus wide clean up and I decided to opt out. I hate cleaning with an intense passion. Always have. That’s why I don’t mess up my place much — so I don’t have to clean it. We had another cleaning day about a week ago and I managed to undo some of the work my LMT has done. I was in pain for four straight days. All I could do was sleep it off. It hurt to move. I still hurt… so I figured a day off was in order. I don’t think God healed me to have it undone by cleaning.

I woke up with a head full of thoughts. So many thoughts have been flying around in the cavernous space that is my mind. This whole healing thing has had me looking at the past 6 years of pain and suffering in a new way. It also has me turning to my bible more. I haven’t picked up any of my multiple bibles in a long time. Dust is a very real possibility.

The words just felt hollow. I never stopped loving God or believing that he loved me. I never gave way to unbelief. My life is God’s to do what he wants. If he wanted six years of physical pain piled on top of all of the years of mental and emotional pain, it wasn’t my job to understand even though I desperately wanted to. It was my job to believe that God was still God no matter what he allowed into my life. I didn’t have to try to believe any of the popular Christian sound bites about how he “would deliver me.” Living in this world on a daily basis provides enough evidence that, for many people, God’s deliverance was not earthly healing but deliverance into the next world where their pain would not be remember and where fear and suffering would no longer exist.

There are a lot of Christianese-y beliefs floating around that I do not think line up with Scripture but people bleat them out all the time to somebody in crisis OR they take perfectly good scriptures out of context and try to build some major argument for it’s lack of context. They are trying to comfort, but it is often comfort of the cold variety. And that does not comfort me. That confounds and disturbs me and only adds to the mental maelstrom being waged in my mind.

Nearly a year ago I started reading the book of Job. I wanted to understand the nature of unwarranted suffering and how to handle people who were adamant about giving well-meaning, but off base wrong counsel. People who thought they were helping, when in fact, they weren’t. I wouldn’t have turned to the book of Job of my own initiative. If it’s possible to hate a book of the bible, I would have to say that I hated Job. What is up with that story???!!! It always seemed like God hung poor old Job out to dry. He had a sit down with Satan and it was decided that he could mess with Job? It seemed like that scene in the Matrix where the good guy and the bad guy are playing chess with the lives of the people in the Matrix. It was all just a game to them. It galled me to think that Job’s life was a game to God. It all could have been avoided. It didn’t line up with the benevolent God that I worshiped, so I thought it would be easier if somebody came along and just edited that book out of the next edition of the bible.

It has taken me nearly a year to get through Job. As my life does it’s best imitation of a roller-coaster, my desire to pick up my bible wanes accordingly. Today, I have a day off. The big thing on my four day weekend agenda is to braid my hair. It’s going to take me three days minimum. It was not on my agenda to open my bible up to Job and start reading, but that’s what I found myself doing at 6:30am.

Over the years I have suffered. I continue to suffer: first with the Bipolar, then with the hysterectomy, and finally with the adhesions. I have wondered why God would so afflict me and take me off of the mission field where I thought I was supposed to be. The suffering infected every area of my life with the stealth of a chemical weapon seeping in unnoticed. I’m not like all those famous Christian suffers who can smile in the face of pain and thank God for said suffering. That requires a level of faith that I just don’t have. Yet what I’ve read in Job so far gives me a perspective that I didn’t have a year ago and couldn’t have had six years ago.

As the hours and minutes of this four day weekend slip away I want to pause to hear and reflect up what Job is saying to me… or rather, what God is saying through Job to me. I haven’t felt much like blogging lately, but I want to write this down because my memory has gone all to hell. If I don’t write this down I am not going to remember it. Besides,  I know that God wants me to “get a Job” while I take this time away from my day job. He wants me to think about such things as grace, forgiveness, and godly communication/confrontation. I am experiencing a lot of this at work but I haven’t had time to just be still and reflect on it. Praise God for four day weekends and for understanding that I hate to clean. If I didn’t I might actually be work today and missing out on this.

 

 

I Never

January 31, 2015 Comments off

When I was in college
we used to play this
stupid drinking game
called, “I Never.”
Kinda raunchy
so I won’t go into
details.

But I will say that
this week has been
kind of a PG version
of said game…

I NEVER knew that after all these years, walking could be such fun.
I NEVER knew that I’d ever walk really fast ever again.
I NEVER knew that walking quickly up stairs could be so exhilarating.
I NEVER knew that I would want to do a jig and my “Snoopy dance” all in one day.
I NEVER knew that I would actually have a real dream about running
and actually believe that someday soon it might come true.

I NEVER knew that I could be SO happy about so many things I used to take for granted.
Walking… running… dancing… you don’t miss it until it’s gone.
I NEVER knew that those things would be returned to me.

I never knew that I could be so thankful.

This week has been a week
of things I thought I would
never do… but did.
Praise God that
what I never knew
I could do…
My omniscient God
certainly did.

One Small Step for Mankind

January 6, 2015 Comments off

I haven’t said much about my sessions
with the LMT.
I’m not sure why.
I started seeing her in Dec.
It’s not like I haven’t had time.
The sessions have been great.
So I should be singing
her praises like a big
old fat black canary.
My sessions have been great.
She has been great.
And tracing all this greatness
back to it’s source:
I have been reminded
that GOD is great.

All that greatness
oozing out all over the place
and I’ve been zip lipped about it.
Guess I’m not as chatty as I used to be.
In prior blogs I would have written volumes.
Maybe I’ll give a more detailed accounting
later then again, maybe I won’t.
I want to.
I don’t want to forget this stuff.

For now, it is enough to say
that I KNOW that God sent me in this direction
and I seeing healing that I never expected to see.
I’m also having pain that I never thought I’d have…
but it’s a different
kind of pain,
so I’m ok with it.

SO the update??
Will I get to it?

I can walk.

Maybe not the way I used to walk
but it’s a far cry from the way that I
was walking.
Every day I keep making people
watch me walk
because it is noticeably
different.

I give all props to God
because  I never would have
tried this a year ago.
I’m a cynic and it didn’t
fit anywhere on my grid
of preconceived notions.
It seemed to granola crunchy to me
and I hate granola.
Now, I wonder
what took me so long.

We have a few more sessions
which she threw in for free
and I can’t wait to see how
much more healing God has in store.
The LMT sees me as her “poster child”
and wants to see me restored,
hence the extra free sessions.
I think she wants healing for me almost
as much as I want healing for me.
She wants a poster child?

If she can fully fix
what was has been broken
all these years — I’m it.
Tell me where to look
for the camera
and I will smile like I just found the
pot of gold at the end of one of Maui’s
many rainbows.
It is the least I could do.

God sent me to her.
I wouldn’t have gone left to my own
devices.
Any healing she provides
comes from him
and it’s doing wonders for my faith
and my “what if?”

Today my “what if” looked different.
It’s run the gamut of what I want
to be able to do when my time with
her is done: long walks on the beach;
Art Night in Lahaina; dancing with some
gorgeous man.
I thought about going on long hikes
Then I decided that there’s just
not enough money in the world
to get me to go hiking.
I hated hiking before my surgery.
My friends like hiking.
I only went to try to fit in
and only ever ended up traumatized
and once I  nearly drowned.
I do NOT want to go hiking.

Today, my “What If?” held some regret.
What if I’d gone to see her after my
hysterectomy?
What if I’d tried something
kinder and gentler
than having doctors
cut me open and pull stuff out?

Now this could easily become morbid…
So I’m stopping now.
I cannot undo what I did
or didn’t do in the past.
But God in his wisdom
had a plan that was greater
than my cynicism
and could overcome
missed opportunities.

Today I could really walk
and I’m beyond grateful.
What if I just thank God
and call it a night?

Bipolar Deja View: Let the Adventure Begin Again

January 1, 2015 Comments off

It’s New Year and time to dust off one of the first pieces I ever blogged back in 2004. I actually wrote it in 1995 the year after I met Jesus and embarked upon what I considered back then to be an “adventure.” My life isn’t quite the train wreck it used to be, but it’s nowhere near that adventure I thought I was signing on for back then. I dusted it off today because my former student asked to read a copy of it. She’s sixteen… but I didn’t think my manuscript was NC17. My memory is so messed u[ that I don’t remember what is in the manuscript that took me years to write. I cried as I read the first chapter  aloud because it reminded me why. Why I accepted Jesus in the first place. Why I continue to follow him even though my life hurts. And why I share this old essay today: It’s New Year’s… ma birthday… it’s what I do:

 

All great adventures must start somewhere.

It’s only in the telling and the re-telling that details get changed or left out… but the adventure itself is always great. The moments in time that it unfolded in can only be relived if someone takes the time to carefully unpack the baggage, remove the tissue paper, and shake out each memory, carefully, and look at it intently, until such a time as it must be refolded and carefully packed away again. Each person who unpacks a memory takes a little piece of it away with them and adds it to their own storage of memories, so that no two people can ever unpack the same thing… and therein lies the beauty of the adventure. For each person an adventure is many things and anything… and with each telling and re-telling we grow.

The other neat thing about an actual adventure is the sheer spontaneity of it all. You can’t really plan an adventure. It just happens as it wills and the only true enjoyment comes from the acceptance of the fact that YOU CAN’T CONTROL AN ADVENTURE. It controls you.

Adventures are like that. So it’s no surprise that my adventure with Jesus often consisted of the completely unexpected. Ok… always. My adventure with Jesus always consisted of the completely unexpected. Just when I thought that I had the plot all figured out—Jesus would introduce a scene change that he hadn’t mentioned to me. I guess you can say that Jesus is like that. He likes to surprise me. That’s why I decided to pack my memories on paper and call it, “My Adventures with Jesus.”  This was one adventure that I wanted to pack carefully, so I wouldn’t forget anything. I also came up with what sounded like a really good one liner for the end of the story: the title is wrong.

It’s not about my adventures with Jesus. The focus of that title is all wrong. I’m not the focus. Jesus is. Jesus was creating the adventure around me and I was just along for the ride…. and what a ride it’s been… what a ride it is… what a ride it’s going to be!

Jesus himself is the adventure. He has to be the absolute most coolest guy I’ve ever met and I haven’t had a dull moment since I met him. The day I opened the door of my life to him was the day he came into my life and promised me a freedom unlike anything I could ever imagine. To this day, I’m still having a truly hard time grasping just how incredible the freedom he gives me actually is. But it’s like electricity or gravity or mom’s apple pie—it doesn’t matter if I completely understand it or how it works or even how to make it myself… I’m just glad that it exists.

Now bearing with me is going to be important. I have a tendency to digress and wander, but have you ever heard of a linear adventure? That just makes for predictability and predictability is boring. Jesus may be a lot of things, but boring is just not one of them.

Case in point about predictability: last night – New Year’s Eve? I stayed home to wash my hair. Boring? Predictable? Maybe. Maybe not. I’m watching a TV show that involves a murder with multiple suspects and no real leads. Then, AH HA! The butler calls the cops because he has “something to tell them.” Let me guess? The butler knows who the killer is?? When he heads for his car I think, “Okay Butler, you’re going to get into your car and it’s going to blow up.” I figured he’d never make past the first commercial alive. After all, I’d watched enough TV as a child to be able to write the script for most of prime time television: Classic “Kill Off the Butler Scenario #96.” I watch expectantly as he gets into his car and…

DRIVES TO THE END OF THE DRIVEWAY????!!!!

Hey! No explosion? No Exit Stage Left??? Not even a spark or a punctured gas tank? Ok. I was wrong. Maybe I couldn’t write award winning scripts for nighttime TV. I continued to watch as his car nears the end of the driveway and KABLUE-EE!!!

The car bomb must have had a timer instead of being connected to the ignition. I guess I could still win an Emmy some day. I also guessed that the “butler didn’t do it.”

That movie made me think about predictable. “The predictable” is safe and easy to plan for and, well, boring. Take alcohol for example. That’s boring. Believe me: Been there. Seen that. Drunk it. The drill goes something like this: Girl meets boy. Boy flirts with Girl. Girl and Boy date. Girl gets dumped. Girl drinks to drown her sorrow. Girl gets so drunk that she spends hours puking up her soul and is nearly hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.

Extreme… but predictable. Thousands of high school and college kids, millions of people everyday get drunk for one reason or another (and everybody has their reason… only thing is that not one of them is original) and they all usually end up the same way the next morning. They roll over and open gritty, bloodshot eyeballs as they contemplate their bruised stomach and pounding head while savoring that pasty, “yuck-mouth” feeling coating their tongues. If you stop to think for just a moment… not only is the morning after boring and predictable, but it’s downright ugly. And thousands of high school and college kids, millions of people everyday do this for one predictably boring reason or another. I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like an adventure to me.

I guess I only started thinking about adventure today. Today I realized that Jesus is the adventure. One year from the day I met him I decided to go back to where we met: a beach on the island of Maui. All great adventures need exotic locations – – a tropical island, a quaint cottage, but hey, even your office or the ladies bathroom become awesome on-site locations when Jesus is in charge. Anyways—Jesus and I have a date and I’m pressed for time. At the last minute I almost cancel even though I know that he’ll be there waiting… patiently… for me. I figure that if I bail, he’ll forgive me. He always does. He’ll still love me – he promised to love me forever. He’ll never leave me. No, he’d walk with me right into the next age. I was all set to forget all about him and go do something else…

Then I thought, “Wait. I love him too.” And figuring that no one has, or ever will, love me the way that he does, I got dressed and hauled my carcass to the beach. Talk about beautiful scenery: Kam III Beach in Kihe’i, Maui… definitely Oscar material for Best Direction, Costuming, and Set Design. As usual, I don’t have my lines memorized. I find that method acting is more my style. So I winged it. I just sat there on the rocks and talked to him. What he told me in return was so cool… and absolutely none of your business. I’m realizing that some things are best left between me and God. It was then that I decided to call my story “My Adventures with Jesus,” but it was a split second later that I thought up that one liner about the title being all wrong. (Remember– it’s never about what happens when I’m with Jesus. It’s about who Jesus is and what He can do through me).

Anyways– I’m walking back to my car and I see a woman. “Happy New Years” I say to her. I notice that her feet are bare and she walks shufflingly, like her feet hurt or something. Her clothes are dirty and she looks lost. I figure it’s time for a scene change and she’s an extra or something. Y’know, put there by God as a bit player in my life to remind me of just how much I have to be thankful for.

Predictable,” I think to myself as I walk on by.

Do something,” Jesus tells me.
“Must I?” I whine, “And if so, what??”
“Her feet,” Jesus says.

I knew then that I had to give her my extra shoes that were in my car. I hurry to get them and return to see her eating out of a garbage can. I pressed a ten dollar bill into her hands and turned away ready to rush off clutching the shoes. She’d tried them on (they didn’t fit). She made me feel nervous and scared and sad all at once and I wanted to escape her suffering. Besides, I figured that I had done my good deed for the day. Time for a scene change or a commercial or SOMETHING. But Jesus had other plans. I got about thirty yards away before he asked me to go back. I stood there with my back to her. Struggling. Wanting the safe and the predictable, not this detour into the unpredictable adventure of caring for a hurting soul. He asked me again to go back.

“Do you love me? Then feed my sheep.”

He didn’t force me. Jesus will never force me to do anything. He’ll just lay out choices and trust me. When I turned back to her, that’s when I saw her fish a piece of cake out of the trash can. My heart just about broke. “Jesus??!! I can’t handle this. I’ve never done anything like this before. Help me! God, please help me.”

And he did. Jesus and I spent the morning with her and it forever altered my way of thinking. What really blows me away, though, is that it was all so unexpected. Yesterday, I didn’t even know that she existed. Today, she is all that I can think about. I pray without ceasing that she is packing her own bag to begin her own adventure with Jesus even as I write.

Being with her set the tone for my entire day… and what a day it was: my first birthday as a Christian. A year ago today on a beach in Maui I met a man named Jesus who’d been waiting for me all of my life. I went back to that beach today to meet Him and He introduced me to her. Later, that same day, Jesus and I returned to the beach. This time I was with another woman he’d recently introduced to me. We, three, sat watching other people ushering in the New Year with their barbeque and beer… while we just sat there enjoying the Creation. We had an awesome time talking about anything and all things. Jesus sure does have cool friends. She shared the amazing story of how she had begun her own adventure with Jesus. It was 100% unplanned, 100% awesome, and 100% ANYB (absolutely none of your business– you know the drill.)

To make a long story shorter, I’m here at home on my bedroom floor writing about today. What a day it was!! I pray to have many more days like this and even more that surpass it. Today, Jesus made my calling and election sure and boy, am I excited! But even unpredictable adventurers must sleep. So, for tonight, I bid you adieu. The curtain is closing or your screen is fading to black. Good night and God bless.

Adventurer’s Log Date: January 1, 1995

9:48 pm Maui, Hawai’i

Christmas Present Extraordinaire

December 24, 2014 Comments off

Today I came home after a fairly good day at work. The students are on vacation and the campus is a ghost town. In this down time I am able to get a lot of work. In the last few hectic days when I was having mood swings all over the map, I wondered, once again… why God has me in teaching. Teaching effects my mood and it’s generally in a bad way. I often end up feeling like a horrible person at the end of the day. And I’m not one of the militantly dedicated teachers that they make Lifetime movies about. Whoopi Goldberg and Halle Berry are never going to argue over who gets to play me so they can win an Oscar.

I sometimes wonder if it ever even matters to anyone if I teach or would anyone notice if I were to just get up and walk away.

Today after my fairly good day I came home. Early. Since we’re on holiday mode my boss gave us a half day. I like my new boss. I looked around my classroom as I left. A pile of my old manuscripts were on a table. They were my failed attempt at trying to chase my dream. Too many rejection letters and I’d quite.  I’d brought them in to school to shred them. For some reason I haven’t brought myself to do it even though they’ve been in that filing cabinet for months.

As soon as I got home I opened up my email… and what I read made me cry. I don’t usually share private messages on my blog because “private” implies, well, privacy. But I see the hand of God in the background weaving together loose edges. It’s from a former student back in my Christian school teaching days. She’s Indian and was very much an atheist. I’d say she had a quick mind for a fourth grader, but that wouldn’t be accurate. She had a quick mind period. We had many a religious debate this kid and I. I felt like for this one, I had to really practice what I believed or she’d see me as a hypocrite or a charlatan. I think it was the year later that she accepted Jesus. I always wished that I had influenced her decision. And it is from this young woman (now 16 years old) who sent me an email:

 

Hey Ms. G! 

I’m not sure if you still use this email, but I’ve been thinking of you a lot recently. I am currently 16 years old (12/1/1998) and a Junior in HS. I am in accelerated learning classes (including AP English, which is undoubtedly one of my favorites). Actually, when I was in eighth grade, I took a test that would later qualify me for Honors English.The question was, “Why do you want to be in Honors English?” I actually wrote all about how our creative writing group and how you inspired me to utilize my creative talent in the form of writing. (*Note: I had a small creative writing group that met at my house with four young girls).

 2014 hasn’t been my best year. I was admitted into the hospital on Oahu on October 27. My diagnosis was inconclusive, but they tried many experimental medicines, which only made my condition worse.

 In my hospital bedroom, I had meager strips of paper. On it, I kept writing the Bible verses I memorized in elementary school. At that time, I knew that no one would really help me but God. I also thought of your testimony, and I really wished that someone would bring me a hard copy version of your novel so that I would read it and feel comforted. I miss you so much, and I really hope that I can see you soon.

 

All I could do was sit there and cry. I’m still crying even though I did pull it together enough to reply to her email. She wants a copy of my manuscript. Now I know why I couldn’t just shred them all yesterday. She thought of a writing group that I had hosted that I had also long since forgotten. My testimony gave her strength. There are days that I hate my testimony… but God used it to touch a child I haven’t seen in nearly six years. More importantly, God used a child who used to be a hardcore atheist to send an email that would touch me. I normally hate Christmas. It makes me feel alone and broken.

Today God gave me a very extraordinary gift….

I’m Off to See the Wizard…

December 20, 2014 Comments off

I’m off for my
second treatment
with the LMT.
Oddly enough, I’m tense
and anxious.

She emailed me this week
and suggested I see a homeopath
but I just can’t get on board with that.
Seems like a load of hocus pocus.

FB is trending some story about a guy
named Dr. Oz.
evidently, no connection to
the “Wizard of”
so I googled him because
that’s what I do.
I’m into the sensational
but only enough to
gain a glancing knowledge of it.
One article mentioned he was
a proponent of homeopathy
and down that rabbit trail I
fell because I didn’t really
know what it was.

I look stuff up…
only to end up following
whatever bunny trail it leads me.
I am a possessor of tons of small
pieces of information.
I did not like what I found
about homeopathy.
Placebo? It works because
people want it to?

It was a huge step of faith
for me to step out and do
this visceral massage.
A huge step with a big
price tag.
I felt excited in the beginning
but this week I felt pain I have
never felt before.
My movements were
more restricted
than they’ve ever been.

My innate cynicism
reared its nappy head.
And I started to doubt.
“What if” took on a darker shade.

I have no way
of  knowing if this is going
to work and no guarantee.
I could spend a boat load
of money only to find
out that cynicism trumps
placebos.

But on the flip side…
I have tried everything
else and it didn’t work.
I have no other options.
It would be so much
easier to just bail
on this and make
excuses like the guy
at the pool who met
Jesus.

“Do you want to get healed?”
Or maybe he asked if the guy
wanted to be “well.”
In any event, Jesus
was asking him if he wanted
to be well enough to stop
making excuses or
looking at the obstacles.

Ok. I am not on board with
the homeopathy stuff.
Nobody is forcing me to do it.
If Jesus EVER wants me to go that
route…
he will surely guide me.

Right now I’ve got just
enough faith to
go see the LMT.
My faith might be small,
but Jesus can work with that.
He sees my anxiety
but he says to cast
it to him.

He sees my doubt
and tells me of little faith
to bring it to him.
He says that faith the
size of a mustard seed
can move mountains
and he knows that I
just need it to remove
a few adhesions.

Po-TAY-toe… Pa-TAH-toe

December 18, 2014 Comments off

After writing my last post I went to bed and even though it was late I felt compelled to read my bible. Since I was talking about David I randomly opened my bible to a Psalm and got this:

 

Psalm 56

A psalm of David, regarding the time the Philistines seized him in Gath

O God, have mercy on me,
    for people are hounding me.
    My foes attack me all day long.
I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
    and many are boldly attacking me.
But when I am afraid,
    I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what he has promised.
    I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me?

They are always twisting what I say;
    they spend their days plotting to harm me.
They come together to spy on me—
    watching my every step, eager to kill me.
Don’t let them get away with their wickedness;
    in your anger, O God, bring them down.

You keep track of all my sorrows.
    You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book.

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
    This I know: God is on my side!
10 I praise God for what he has promised;
    yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised.
11 I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
    What can mere mortals do to me?

12 I will fulfill my vows to you, O God,
    and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for your help.
13 For you have rescued me from death;
    you have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in your presence, O God,
    in your life-giving light.

 

…. so, again I ask, “What’s the difference between “whining” and “writing a psalm?”‘ I might whine and complain a lot, but in the end I know who owns my life and I trust him with it.

The Anti-Grinch

December 17, 2014 Comments off

So after making all those
cookies and cupcakes
I finally wound down enough
to sleep.
I got about five hours
which is not good.
People with Bipolar
need their sleep
or things can get ugly.

And after all the ugly of yesterday
I really didn’t need to start my day stomping
around and complaining,
but that’s what I did.
Y’know… God killed people in the bible
for grumbling and complaining.
Praise GOD he doesn’t adhere to
this now… because I’d be long dead.
I comforted myself by thinking of David
and what a big whiner he was.
Psalms is full of his mood swings
so much so I believe, without doubt,
that David had Bipolar and it manifested
when he was hiding from Saul…
so I tell myself that I’m in good company.

There was  surprise site meeting this morning
that put a crimp in my nose hairs.
I had already set up my class for the first party.
The meeting started late and ate up forty minutes
of class.
Grumble.
Complain.

My students, however, restored
my faith in student-kind.
They were all that was gracious and kind
and it soothed
my wounded soul.
The best part came during the movie “The Grinch.”
I’m not a Jim Carey fan… so I’ve never actually watched
more than minutes of the movie.
It got to some part where this little girl was singing
a rather tinny song about something
and I was just about to find
other things to occupy my time
when I heard this feint singing
coming from this rather
large, masculine Hawaiian guy.
He was singing the song perfectly in a really
high pitched girlie child voice.
It was CLASSIC.
I couldn’t stop laughing.
I begged him to sing more because I needed
To feel better. I needed my Grinch to be defused.

Turns out he has three younger siblings who
watched the movie almost every day.
He stopped singing because people were watching.
I kept begging him to sing more
but when he self-consciously refused,
then the young man sitting closest
to me (with eyes like that cartoon
puss and boots) looked up at me
and started singing where the other kid had
left off…
in an even higher pitched, girlie voice.
It was HYSTERICAL.

God in all his mercy and grace
gave me laughter today.
Turns out most of the young men
in my class know all the lyrics
to that song
which only served to remind me
that these big tough guys
 aren’t as tough as they want us to believe.
They are somebody’s older brother
and somebody’s son.
They are young guys
on their way to being men.

Days like yesterday make me forget
that these students come from troubled
and/or underprivileged homes.
The expectations I have of them aren’t
always realistic.
I kept saying that my last class students
acted like they’d been raised by bears.
In some cases, that might not be too far
from the truth.
But I need to look at the bigger picture.

I have built a rapport with my first class
so it wasn’t unexpected or unheard of that
they would want to do something to make me smile.
My second class also received my Christmas offering
and there were lots of hugs and smiles.
One guy even hugged me when we took a group photo.
They know that I care about them.

The last class and the fiasco yesterday?
It was unrealistic of me to expect much from them.
I hate to  admit it, but there is a clique of students in the class
that I don’t like and they know it.
I try to control my attitude, but it’s like they go out of
their way to mash my buttons
and I always react with anger and nagging.

Why WOULD they be grateful
for a Christmas party
from me?
Anybody will take free food
without worrying about the feelings
of the people who prepared it.
Getting mad was unavoidable.
Staying mad was unforgivable.

I forgive them even if the feelings
haven’t caught up yet
because Jesus never has to
wait for his feelings to catch up
when he forgives me.

And The Grinch?
I sat and watched more of
the movie than I ever had.
Who knew that it explained
WHY he was such an angry man?
If that wasn’t a direct hit
for me I don’t know what was.
I feel like I’m always angry.
The bible says that we shouldn’t
“let the sun go down on our anger.”
I think it should also say that if you
do… you could end up like a furry
fat guy who is all alone
because he’s angry at the world.

I still didn’t watch it all…
but the movie struck a chord.

I don’t want to spend
the rest of my life alone,
afraid, and angry.
But since that’s
how I am now…
something’s gotta give.

I been telling God that
for years now
with no real change…
but I’m not yet ready to paint myself
green and let my leg hair grow.
Though I don’t see the change
I have to believe
by faith
that God is remaking me
in the image
of his Son.
God will turn me
into the anti-Grinch
the fear and anger
will dissipate…
but it will be in
his timing
not mine.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , ,

Jesus Doesn’t Live in Who-ville

December 16, 2014 Comments off

One of the most draining aspects of Bipolar
is the tremendous amount of self-control
that you have to exert on a daily basis
to present “normal.”
By the time I get home I’m
generally exhausted
because “normal”
isn’t cheap.

I strive to keep the look
on my face
at neutral
because what I’m generally feeling
is anything but.

When I’m screaming inside
and wanting to throw things?

The world sees neutral.
When I am so angry
my spleen is about to rupture?

The world sees neutral.
Shades of gray
are better than
violent streaks of red.

Today I was livid.
But all anyone say was “neutral.”
Christmas is not my season.
Lots of reasons why…
and since their mine
I dub them “valid.”
Besides, I’m one of those
Christians who doesn’t believe
that Jesus was even actually born
at this time of year…
so falalalala that.

I thought I’d de-grinchify myself
by getting into the “holiday spirit”
I decorated my classroom.
I even braved Costco on Saturday
because I planned to have class parties
for my students.
I stayed up late baking stupid cupcakes.
I woke up late feeling like a zombie…
but I actually had a good day
until my last class.
I inherited this class
from another teacher…
and haven’t really bonded with them.
I thought today would help.
Serves me right for “thoughting.”
They grumbled and complained.
They broke several class and school rules.
They sucked down all the food in seconds
and trashed my room leaving me to clean it up.
Only one student stayed behind to help clean up the mess.
And only one of them bothered to say “thank you” or “goodbye.”

When my feelings are hurt I get angry.
I don’t cry. I hate when people see me cry
so I don’t.
I was angry at them for not even caring about the fact
that I wanted to do something nice for them or
that I had failed at it because I couldn’t
get through one final friggin’ Christmas party
without being mad.
WWJD?
Certainly not what I did
that’s for sure.
I know, in the scope of things, this is minor.
That’s one reason I disabled comments.
I don’t need snarky strangers telling
me what a whiner I am.
I know I’m a whiner.
But it still doesn’t mean
that my feelings aren’t
hurt.
And today was only round one.
I didn’t have all of my students today.
I get the other half tomorrow.
So here I am again, baking cookies
and cupcakes… and preparing all the other food…
Because despite the neutral mask
that I’m gonna’ cram
on my face tomorrow…
I do care.

Nightmare Before Christmas

December 8, 2014 Comments off

Despite the nightmare
my day
was pretty good.
My first class can always
put me in a better mood.
The dream seemed fifty
million miles away.

My second class brought
it a little bit closer to home.
My second class has a way of
mashing my buttons and making me
mad and I thought about the dream
because anger fuels anger.

Before reality intruded this morning
I was in a black and white world.
Not that kind of color. All of my dreams
are in color.
This dream was racial.
Growing up in South Central Los Angeles
I was not impacted by issues of race.
Seems weird, but I was really sheltered.
When mandatory busing rolled around
I got bused to the San Fernando Valley
but even still racism rarely intruded
on my reality.
I was smart, studious, and I
talked “proper.”

When I hit middle school
most of my friends were Jewish
so I wanted to be Jewish too.
In high school, most of my friends
were Latino, so I learned Spanish.
I was back in an inner city school
and the only real racism that I had to
deal with were the black kids who
didn’t like me because I was “an Oreo.”
Y’know: black on the outside and white
on the inside.
They’d call me that or “white washed” or
“white girl” or “wanna be.”
The only black kids
who actually
liked me
were the ones
who were Oreos too.

White people have always like me
so most of my friends are white.
And living in Hawaii I just don’t
relate to all of the turmoil on the
mainland in Ferguson and the recent
one with the choking
because that kind of racism
doesn’t exist here.

It is so far removed from my reality.
I have three black friends total.
I have no ties at all with my family.
I am usually the only black person present
at any gathering.
And just about every guy I’ve ever
dated has
been white.
Some people (like my family)
would say that I’ve
“forgotten my race”
while I wonder if I ever really knew it
in the first place.
I feel guilty that I don’t feel
the outrage that other blacks are feeling
but I cannot fake what I don’t relate to.

Then I have dreams like last night.
I was with a white boy on a date.
We were young and it was new.
We went to a diner like in the 50s
and there was a soda jerk.
The details are fuzzy now
but somebody called him a
nigger lover
and then shot him.
There was blood all over the seat
of his shiny red and white convertible.

Then the mob found me.
somebody called me a
nigger just as the mob
started to chase me.
I was covered in blood as I
ran
fear gripping me.
Then I was trapped.
There was no escape.
The guy called me a nigger
just as he was about to shoot me…

when I rolled over and woke up.
It is hard not to feel
in the wake of something
like that
but I’m not really sure
what I’m feeling.
It didn’t happen to me…
but it has happened.
My nightmare might not be my reality
but it has been the waking nightmare
for someone else.
The anger is my dream
fuels Ferguson.

I can’t say that the nightmare has
given me a load
more empathy or understanding
but it stopped me and made me think.
It made me pray and it made me give thanks.

I am blessed that I have not been
the victim of overt racism.
I am blessed that my physical person
has not been the victim of racial violence.
I still don’t know what to make of the violence
and anger
and hatred
erupting on the mainland
This is generations deep.
It’s not going to just go away…
and there are no easy answers,

but I wish like with my dream
we could all just
roll over
and wake up.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 93 other followers

%d bloggers like this: