Sunday, September 18, 2005

On Having Nothing To Say...

I really want to write something. Something dazzling. Something profound. Something even half-way decent. And I can't even summon the energy to be half-way entertaining. The fingers are willing to type, but the wit--she is gone. Where oh where is the creative muse? The Beatrice to my little Dante of a mind?

I'm not a new-agey type woman. While I consider myself someone who believes in the mystical, I'm more of a pragmatist. I don't sip a lot of green teas, preferring mine in the caffeinated form. I can't tell you the perfect herbal concoction for your bunion problem, although I can give you directions to a nice natural food store in North Manchester where they'd probably have the answer to your intimate foot issue. I don't align my chakras, nor do I balance crystals on my solar plexus. I don't believe in colonics to purify one's karmic power, nor do I find Tarot readings especially ominous. All in all, I'm sort of a rational girl. I'd sort of like to believe all this kind of stuff, but my brain always says, "Ah...I don't buy it."

But...(you knew there was a but here didn't you), today as I was leaving church (the 11:15 service, which is a reach for me...far different from my traditional 9:00 service with the white haired gang, as I affectionately call them...the ones who like their hymns acapella the way God intended, and who don't go for this happy-clappy new-fangled madness known as "Contemporary" [and having said all that I confess to sort of clapping a long a little in the second service but I did not sway, there was definitely no swaying as that might be seen as a little too praisey for me]) I stopped to talk to Deanna, one of the pastors and dear friend of mine. We chatted about this and that. She expressed surprise at seeing me at the 11:15 service as she knows I'm not a happy-clappy kind of girl, and I said, "I was just so tired I couldn't get up this morning!" And then I recalled that I had gone to bed at 9:30 the night before and had, get this friends, 12 hours of pure, unadulterated sleep. I said to Deanna, "I just don't get it. It's weird." And she said, "Well, Christen, you've recently grieved the loss of two grandmothers, and well, look at the work you do?" Hmmm...yeah...I can see it....

So, I'm thinking. I'm thinking that perhaps there is a psychic energy (I know, I know, I cringe even as I type it) which drains us when we're around grief. Perhaps that old adage about a grief shared is a grief halved has some truth to it. Perhaps that is what Jesus knew when he spoke of being aware of what it meant to drink of the cup.

Regardless, I pick up the chalice and drink anew each morning. But I also need to remember to allow it to be filled by One who offers more abundance and grace than my humanity can muster.

And, having said that, I'm off to bed. It is, after all getting close to 8:00.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Miscellaneous Thoughts...

Forgive me in advance.

Yesterday I caught the latest cold virus flying around the metropolis of Fort Wayne. For several days I've been priding myself on the fact that perhaps I was the only cold-resistant species in the tri-state area as both Tess and Brynn (my step-daughters) my father, and my mother (who are divorced and never see each other), and numerous office colleagues have all been infected and lo and behold I, mutant being that I am, have not. Perhaps, I have been...the carrier. I got all excited and decided that, indeed, perhaps I was the anointed one...the missing link. And then it started with a sneeze. Damn.

One of my colleagues said to me today, "Christen, this isn't one of those colds that comes on like a freight train and gets away fast. This is one of those colds that comes on like one of those coal trains that gets stopped on the tracks during rush hour." Well, double damn. To ward off mutant germs, I decided to have some extra-hot chipolte salsa with my supper.

So...when one doesn't feel like they have all that incredibly much to say (and I'll blame that on the snot cramming up my head...), one often resorts to internet blog shortcuts...or gimmicks. Here's one I saw today...and will make writing a little more is (ta-da) the ABC's of Me.

  • Admiring: The fact that Maisie, the miniature dachshund hasn't peed on the floor in over a week (I know, I know, she's three years old and she should be trained by sue me. She's cute. That's her schtick. She's cute. And she's German. So, she's zehr cute.
  • Beating Myself Up About: Not enough green vegetables.
  • Crying Over: Katrina, and her wily ways.
  • Daydreaming About: Unseating my husband in his Snood victories.
  • Excited Because: Autumn is finally arriving. I hate this @%#$ heat.
  • Frustrated Because: Aforementioned cold.
  • Grumpy Because: See above.
  • Hate-filled and Seething Over: The current administration.
  • Indignant Because: There are those who would still re-elect above.
  • Just shoot me now because: ... Uh-oh, I don't have an answer here. Please, don't shoot me. I work with Hospice patients. I don't want to die....
  • Kidding myself regarding... Whether I'll get the "real scoop" on what happened at the 7th grade dance tonight when T. gets home...
  • Listening to... My sweet dog snore.
  • Mooning Over... I always moon over my hermit of a husband...
  • Need... Some vegetarian refried beans.
  • Obsessing Over... Fertility rites and passages. Ovulation predictor kits. Yadda, yadda, yadda...
  • Praying... For this great big world and all in it...(how's that for a pat answer?)
  • Questioning... Why my college roommate became such a rigid Christian and decided to write me out of her life.
  • Reading... The Position by Meg Wolitzer
  • Singing... "WAR...What is it good for, absolutely nothing say it again..."
  • Trying... To remember to re-stock the toilet paper in the bathroom before a catastrophe happens...
  • Unnerved By... High school stud boys driving muscle cars who cut me off in traffic. Why? I don't know. I just don't know...
  • <>Vexed About... Haven't we already covered this?<>
  • The X post has mysteriously disappeared...but what I typed was...and I'm serious here..."There is no X post as clear channel has elminated it in its ultimate desire to purify your computer." But, really, for some reason it did get deleted from my blog in my inept computer typetitude...
  • Yawning over... Rush Limbaugh's rantings and gruntings.
  • ZZZZ... WHAT?!? This is how an ABC questionaire ends? Who wrote this? What 13-year-old weblogger made this up after cheerleading practice?
Alright...the party has ended and it's really time for me to be seduced by the siren's call of Nyquil now. It's been fun. Send me your own ABC's...I worry that no one ever reads of me (except my loyal therapist who tries to figure out the neuroses that is me...thanks again, John. You da man).

Sunday, September 11, 2005


This evening I sat quietly in my "sanctuary," (i.e. the room which has become my safe haven, the "room of one's own" that Virginia Woolf claims every woman needs, the room where I cloak myself in the knitted afghan created by a powerful woman who knew me at my birth and who I refered to as "Old Lady Loose", and gaze out my window adorned with a stained glass frame from my first home, and light the candles which reconnect me to the sacred). I was reading the North Manchester newspaper (I have a strange fascination with tiny town news...the police reports read like a bad sitcom..."police were called out to investigate a strange noise in the kitchen of Mrs. X assists were made in relocating local owl"..."11-year-old cited for riding bicycle on downtown sidewalk." [actually, that final one really existed. Sigh.]) and found this little teeny tiny blurb under the heading Marriage Licenses:

______ . Miller-____, 35, Seattle, Wash. and _________ , 24, of North Manchester.

Those were the words printed (imagine the names if you desire, I feel the need to honor those who haven't given permission for their names to be in print and their ages and home cities are probably already too revealing). Black and white words on the page of the Manchester Monitor. For me, they were surrounded with a swarm of memories and hopes and regrets.

You see, the man with the hyphenated Miller-______, the good man here mentioned is my ex-husband. The Miller in front of his name is the Miller that was placed there when he and I were married in May of 1998. We shared that common hyphen (among the sharing of a 30-year mortgage, and the parentage of five cats).

I knew of this wedding...indeed, received word of it typed from my ex-husband's own fingers in an email shortly after his fiancee agreed to marry him. The subject line of his message was, "She said yes!" and my heart leapt for both of them. And I immediately wrote back a congratulatory note. I have always wanted him to find an amazing woman who would both embrace and challenge him, and who would love him far better than I could or did. I have met her. I have heard stories of their relationship from others who know them as a couple. She is beautiful and insightful (and in a weird incestous-Manchester-College-way was named by my sociologist professor husband as one of his favorite students).

And yet, seeing their marriage announcement in print gave me pause.

It didn't give me pause because I resented either of them (instead I was thrilled that they had found one another). It didn't give me pause because I regretted our divorce (it is one of the mysteries of my life that I still carry pain and guilt over, but which I continue to believe is in the best interests of both my ex-husband and myself). It gave me pause because it was a symbol of life moving on. It gave me pause because it called me to reflect, again, on the nature of relationship. It gave me pause because it invited me to offer a release and blessing over the past. It simply gave me pause.

I cut the clipping out and took it downstairs to show Robert, my husband. I said, "they filed this on August 12th and I don't think they're getting married until marriage licenses expire? Maybe I should let him know?" Robert smiled and said, "I think you can release that. Why don't you let him and his future wife handle that now. You've tried to take care of him for long enough. Let it go." And again, I loved, loved, loved the way Robert read me, and wasn't threatened by my words (for he has known his own reflections upon past relationships).

Ah yes, but what I spoke to Robert, the words I uttered, that was always my problem. I couldn't just let things go. I couldn't let K. be K...another thing I have learned (am learning?) to release.

Blessings to you, newlyweds (how presumptious of me to assume you need my blessing...but I offer it anyway, for what it's worth). May you dance in the light of God's love.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Everywhere the heaviness of the aftermath of hurricane Katrina surrounds us. I continue to pause in slack-jawed wonder at how in the hell any of this can be resolved. It all seems so big, so overwhelming, so tragic. I sat for hours on Thursday afternoon watching CNN and MSNBC and felt helpless and alone. I went to bed that night wondering why this world was going to hell in a handbasket...wondering why the poor are always neglected...wondering whether there was a good God. I woke up Friday morning in a sweat, literally panicked at the state of humanity ("Here I am, making it all about me," I chastised myself).

When I arrived at work, sullen after a car ride spent listening to NPR, I plopped down in my chair in my little corner cubicle and Michael, our local grief coordinator guru, asked how I was doing...a standard morning greeting. I swung around in my swivel chair and said, "well, Michael, not good. That's how I'm doing. I am heart sick for these people in the south. I am angry at the government. And on top of it I don't know where God is in this mess." I thought Michael might be surprised, as usually my standard response is, "good, and you?"

It is a sign of the grace of God that I was not smote in that instant and was intead given a wise messenger who heard me in my wonderings.

Michael nodded and then said softly (I think grief therapists always speak softly), "I've felt that heaviness too. This morning in my hike up Reservoir Hill I watched the sun rise and prayed that I might feel God's peace so that I could embody that sense of peace and presence to others."

This time my slack-jawed look of wonder was one of awe (in my head I thought, "Holy cow, this Michael is the shit! Why isn't he the chaplain?" But, I tried to act cool....). While I lament that there is little I can do from Fort Wayne, Indiana (apart from pulling out my credit card and donating to the Red Cross), I recognize that I can cultivate that sense of God's peace which reminds me to be still and know that God is a good God who embraces all who suffer.

After work I stopped at Fox Island Park for an hour or so and sat under a pine tree seeking that peace. It's coming. Slowly.

May we all hold the survivors and victims of this hurricane in our hearts.

And may God grant us the peace to be God's hands and feet in the midst of this disaster.