Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tapioca pudding...

It's interesting how inspiration or insights come to one who is seeking for some kind of direction in a difficult moment. Whether it's happenstance, divine intervention or just one's own mind seeking to fill a void, I'm not sure, but it's all good no matter the source...

Three recent examples:

* It's amazing what impressions may come while sitting on the toilet. The other day I picked up a book I'm reading about Lincoln, and flipped open to a random page, while doing my business, and my eyes were drawn to this:

"I have been very, very indulgent with my children - chided or praised for it. It is my privilege that my children are free, happy, and unrestrained by parental tyranny. Love is the chain whereby to lock a child to its parents." - Abraham Lincoln.


* Coming up the stairs, there was left a wrinkled up sheet of paper. I don't know where it came from (maybe from a lesson my wife was preparing), but I picked it up with the intent to throw it away, when I looked down at the paper and printed in huge 36 point font Swiss Roman letters was this quote:

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." - Mother Theresa.


* I had a very emotional day at church on Sunday. I guess it was obvious to some that observed my emotions very close to the surface. Afterward, a sister (who I am not particularly close to) came up to me to take care of some business. She stopped, stared into my eyes and said: "I don't need to know what's going on, sweetheart, but I promise you it will get better. Just go home and eat some tapioca pudding!" I burst into tears of both grief and laughter and we hugged. (NOTE: Interesting aside - that evening this ward sister (who has never stepped foot in my house after living here more than a decade)brought a huge plate of the best nutty brownies and said "I didn't have any tapioca, so I hope these will do instead..." held my hand for a moment, squeezed it tightly, smiled, and then left.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

House of Cards...

Why does life have to be so hard? Now that's a question that nobody else around here has ever raised before, right?

Where is the joy in making life so hard?

What's the big deal about self-denial and obedience first above all else?

Where does mercy outweigh justice? Shouldn't there be consequences to be paid? Drawing lines in the sand are not meant to be crossed - and yet, when they are crossed, then what? Is there mercy or justice? Does one offer more unconditional love by being empathetic and understanding? Or is that a disservice to the offense and that instead one should "pay" the consequences of one's actions? There are always consequences, right? And if not, then aren't we just enablers?

It's called tough love, no? You are supposed to show the way and it needs to be followed. And if it isn't followed, then what?

And why, when all emotions and anger and flare ups boil to the top, as they always do, does it feel like it comes back to one point... that you don't know how to love in the right way... you don't know how to love your spouse... you don't know how to love your children... you are a bad father because deep down, you're all screwed up yourself and really, you don't know anything about love.

So tempers flare... fights break out... family rules and "drawn lines" are crossed. Are there consequences to be faced - justice to be paid? Or is there forgiveness and empathy?

And even though others have their own choices to make that really have nothing to do with you, why does one feel so guilty? Why do you twist the situation to be so self-centered and selfish as to think that it's all your fault because your gay?

If you weren't so gay, maybe you'd have loved him better and been there for him, but you couldn't, or worse, wouldn't when he needed you, because you were so caught up in your own self-reflection. Where were you when he really just needed a father to love, to talk to, to share with, to have fun?

If you weren't so gay, maybe she'd have felt the love that she needed from her father and wouldn't have become so depressed, despondent, deluded.

If you weren't so gay, maybe you'd have loved her better, been a better companion and help-meet, someone who really is a partner for eternity who loves and knows how to love - but because you're gay, well... there really is just a facade - a house of cards - and sooner or later it just takes a little instability, a little lateral shear force and the whole incredible structure collapses into a heap of ruin...

Sure, you're the great provider - the one thing you do well - you "provide" for everyone, making sure all is taken care of and needs are being met - at least physical needs. But what about the other needs? The needs that make a person whole and complete without the need for anti-depressants and other stimuli to get by?

But this really isn't about you - you just twist it to think that it is. Your self-reflective, self-absorbed life leads you to think of it in no other terms. It must be about you. You're the problem.

Otherwise, why hasn't all that you've tried to do in "doing what's right" and staying on the "right" side of the line, and doing all that you're supposed to - keeping yourself from yourself, not revealing the authentic you because this other "you" is the "better" you that you believe you should be - why hasn't that paid dividends in helping those around you? Why are they hurting so much, feeling so much pain, suffering the loneliness and heartaches of lost hope, depression, and I-just-don't-care-anymore-isms?

It must be because of you, right? You and your totally screwed up, lie-filled, house-of-cards, unauthentic, incapable-of-love, anger-induced life!

There you go again - you're making it all about YOU again! You self-centered no-good!

So the "D" word comes up... you talk about divorce, and the inevitability of it all. Yeah, you're certainly a good provider, but that's about it. You're incapable of love because you don't know how and never will.

Maybe you don't and won't because you can't first love yourself enough to forget about it all and just let it all go. If you weren't so gay you wouldn't be so self-reflective and you'd be able to see the pain of others in the mirror instead of just your own, and what that pain must have inflicted on them. But because of the way you can't see past your own image of pain, you cannot see how to really forget yourself, forgive yourself, and begin to see others, know their own personal pain and grief, and forgive them, and extend mercy where mercy has been extended in abundance to you.

But, of course, it sucks to be you and because you are who you are, you'll never get to that point...

Yeah, life is hard. It doesn't have to be this way, but, it is...