Monday, November 22, 2010

Processing my own Pain

It is Monday morning, very early Monday morning. 3 A.M. To be precise.

I hurt. Pain, real intense, sharp, constant pain. For months now, I have been in pain. Weekly trip to the chiropractor have not been putting an end to the agony. My neck and shoulders are the worst with some lower back pain as well. It is crippling. I went for a therapeutic massage on Thursday and I think the masseur aggravated something. This weekend has been excruciating.

Yes, I am whining. I can do that here. That is why I created this blog... To have a place where I can write about what is really going on. I am forty-two and I feel like I am eighty two. Only at eighty-two I wouldn't have the responsibilities that I do now. I wouldn't be asked to lift toilet bowls at work, shovel snow, or even haul laundry up and down stairs. I want a miraculous healing or I want my life to stop for the time it would take me to heal.

There, I wish I could say that I feel better. But I don't. I am going to get this stiff and aching body up in a couple of hours and start the routine all over. I can't take any pain medication. I wouldn't be able to drive with the amount I would need to make a noticeable difference.

Venting this kind of stuff on people is hard to do. All that is received back is a look of helplessness. There is a strong desire to fix things that are broken, especially in men. My husband had been giving me back rubs to help alleviate the pain, but the pain runs deeper than what he can massage away. I am even a challenge to my chiropractor.

I guess this is the extent of my griping. Pretty soon the battery on my iPod will die and I will be left to my thoughts and weakened prayers.

"God, what right do I have to beg You for an end to this? Job endured 40 chapters of worse agony and I remember Your response to him.

Jesus, You removed a lot of pain in three years of ministry, but maybe there were a few that were not healed. Where they any less special to You? I have few questions and even fewer answers. I think I will put my iPod down and try to get some sleep. I will lay here in pain and still be stubborn enough to believe that You love me. Even if the evidence proves otherwise."

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Transition and The Journey:: Part 2

Me: Welcome back

Myself: I didn't go anywhere

Me: I know... Just wanted an opening for the interview.

Myself: It has been a while since we talked.

Me: I know, I don't talk to myself as much as I used to.

Myself: Where did we leave off?

Me: I can't remember.

Myself: Well, if you can't remember... I won't be able to help you.

Me: Let's start over.

Myself: Let's not. I had an interesting conversation at work today. It
kind of has something to do with our interview topic.

Me: Go ahead.

Myself: I had a customer come to the counter today to pick up some
faucets and plumbing fittings. I found out that he is brothers with
one of my former YFC co-workers.

Me: Small world.

Myself: I know. I told him that pastors are highly unappreciated in their field of employment. That led into a few minutes of telling him about my departure from organized "church".

Me: Did he agree with you about the "unappreciated" bit?

Myself: He told me he felt appreciated.

Me: Really. Did he give you an example?

Myself: "Pastor Appreciation Week"

Me: Oh.

Myself: I think it is a sad thing that a pastor had to schedule in time for people to show their appreciation.

Me: Let's get back to your journey. We need to lay the foundation for this adventure before we shingle the roof.

Myself: Okay, ask away.

Me: What about your relationship with God. You were bumping around from building to building and from theology to doctrine... How did that affect your relationship?

Myself: I am 42 and still trying to figure out what the relationship is about. Looking back, things seemed to be cloudy. There was so much stuff in the way that looked like relationship material, I am just not sure it was.

Me: Did you have any moments when you were sure God was trying to connect with you.

Myself: Outside of the institution?

Me: Sure.

Myself: Nature... God has always been able to talk to me somehow through creation. That may sound lame, but there is a stillness there.

Me: What about people? Who has influenced your relationship/journey with God?

Myself: Boy, you sure ask the tough questions. There is a name that comes to mind. His name is Rapheal. I actually dedicated a poem in my book for him.

Me: Tell me about him.

Myself: Rafi was one of the Youth Guidance Kids. Youth Guidance was a program that I volunteered with for over five years. I had interaccted with so many kids, my favourite being Sophia.

Me: Your little sister.

Myself: That is a story in itself.

Me: Raphael came after the Sophia years. Right?

Myself: My YG time was on the tail end when Rafi was a part of it. He was a most inquisitive and hyper boy I had seen come through that program when I was there. He liked to ask a lot of questions about God and spirituality. He was constantly interrupting the flow of things. That kind of behaviour wouldn't be appreciated Sunday morning when the paster is delivering his sermon.

Me: Probably not. Interruptions are not part of the planned program. "Sit and Listen" is the encouraged response if I remember correctly.

Myself:: Rafi was adorable, his questions were honest and innocent. If something puzzled him, he wouldn't just pretend that he knew the answer. There was no head nodding with Raphael unless he absolutely understood. Even then he would let everyone know that he didn't get it. There was no spiritual shame with that boy.

Me: So why choose Raphael as a spiritual influence?

Myself: He asked questions. If he didn't understand something, he asked a question. I have been around a lot of churches with a lot of folks in the pews that don't understand but won't ask the questions.

Me: Are there any other people like that that have made an impression on you?

Myself: There is Gail. She is another courageous person who doesn't fear asking questions. I met her when I moved to the Edmonton area.

Me: Tell me about her.

Myself: My love for that woman grew because she didn't always accept the sermons that were preached to her. Her boldness and curiosity were her most admirable character traits.

Me: Is that kind of curiosity and boldness missing in church circles today?

Myself: I believe it still is. Asking questions has only been acceptable in Sunday School. Even then, it isn't a positive thing to suggest something that your teacher doesn't agree with.

Me: Really. In all of your years as a Sunday School teacher, did you face some of those questions?

Myself: I had a few of them.

Me: Do you want to elaborate?

Myself: No. Let's change the subject.

Me: Okay. How 'bout we take a break for now. I want to talk about your book and what lead you to write "Still Broken". I also want to dig into your post "institutional church" life and how things are going for you now.

Myself: You mean "us", how things are going for "us"?

Me: I think everyone gets the point. So until the next chance I get to talk with myself...

Thank you for taking the time to read "our" story.

Myself: Oh! So now it is OUR story. I thought it was my story.

Me: Whatever.

Myself: Hey! Don't "whatever" me!

Me: I didn't. I "whatevered" you.

Good bye all... Until next time.

Myself: You always get the last word.

Me: Of course.

Myself: That's not fair.

Me: Life isn't fair. Goodbye.

Myself: Goodbye.

Me: Goodbye.

Myself: I said goodbye.

Me: I heard that.

Myself: There you go, getting the last word in again.

Me: Yep!

(a whisper from off stage)

I: This can go on for a very long time. I would suggest a hasty exit for the reader right now. I know these two. They like to talk. Thank you for stopping in. The conversation is far from over. I can assure you of that!

From Me, Myself and I !!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Processing someone else's pain.

This week I received news of death... Twice.

First I had a letter arrive in the mailbox from my former landlady in Calgary. Her husband, my former landlord, had passed away in October.
I lived with Helen and Fraser for three years. They lived upstairs and I lived in their basement suite. Both were special to me and my heart hurt when I read Helen's letter. I am thankful that I was able to visit with them this past year.

The other news came via email today. My godmother lost her husband to cancer. Here is a woman who has prayed for me for 42 years of my life. She is the one who held me in her arms when I was an infant. Now 42 years later I wish I were close to her do that I can embrace her in her time of sorrow.

Death is inevitable. But that doesn't mean the journey through the valley is any easier.
I wonder about something. Are hugs enough? That seems to be all I am capable of these days. Words are empty, understanding isn't specific enough. How do I process these events? And more importantly, how do I allow others to process their pain in their own way?

At work, the boys are raising money for prostate cancer research. I am not on the bandwagon for supporting cancer research. I see it as useless. As long as this country makes more money on cancer and it's treatment, a cure will not emerge. But maybe for the people raising money, it is a way to walk through their own grief. I am not the only one who has lost a loved one to cancer. I am just experiencing the journey much differently though.

My friend, Carla is loosing her Dad to cancer. How will I help her through this process? She will hurt differently. That is a given. I just hope my hugs and my shallow level of understanding will be of some comfort for her.