People Over Potties, Pat.

Last night I was driving home from dinner with my family. As I pulled onto my exit there was an older gentleman with snow-white hair and dazzling turquoise eyes sitting on a dirty milk crate. “Hello gorgeous,” he said. “Did you have a nice Mother’s Day?” “I did,” I told him. I didn’t ask him the same question in return. It felt rude to. I had the feeling that if he was busking for change he very likely had not had a good day, though these things are relative. I didn’t have any cash but I gave him what I had, a little bag of almonds and a CLIF bar. When I pulled off I was a bit of a wreck. I think it was the phrase “Mother’s Day” in combination with this interaction that really messed with me. This man, no matter what else he is, was someone’s baby just like I am – just like you are. When he was born there were, I am guessing, so many hopes and dreams. How have we let this happen? Why are we OK with him having to ask for change in order to eat?

I was saddened for the evening by this interaction but when I saw that my governor has chosen to spend money on a suit to continue this bathroom bill nonsense  I was livid. People over potties, Pat. People matter. My friend very likely has to use the restroom outside a good deal of the time because of spending priorities in our state. That isn’t OK with me. Enough is enough. We have plenty to deal with by addressing real issues. Whenever you’re ready.

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Happy Mother’s Day and a Happy Priceless Motherf—– Day to You

Ah, Mother’s Day. That magical time when those who have lost or are without their mothers for whatever reason are reminded more acutely than nearly any other day, and when those who are without children for any number of reasons feel like everyone is at a party they didn’t get invited to and they have no choice but to watch the festivities.

Let me tell you, as someone with a remarkably healthy relationship with my mother and someone who is so, so glad I have not as yet had children, Mother’s Day is the WORST. I am asked all the time from people who know me well enough to ask such a question and from people who don’t even know my last name, “How come you don’t have kids?” “When are you going to have kids?” as if the answer to that isn’t as simple and complex as “never been the right time, I’ve been busy raising myself.”

As have you. For those of you who are parents in the traditional sense and for those of you who are parents in the way that I am; mothering or fathering as a citizen of the world, a person in your building or a part of your city, you are a Priceless Motherf—–. Today, and every day, I hope you know that. Today I declared it “Priceless Motherf—– Day,” and spending all diggity damn day celebrating myself. I encourage you to do likewise someday in the very near future, but whether or not you do please remember the following two truths:
1.We are all family, and it wouldn’t be the same without you. You. Yes, you. I am glad you are part of my neighborhood, city, life, and world.
2. Tomorrow is hard for lots of people. Don’t downplay whatever celebration you have for your mothers out there, by any means. I would never minimize my Mother’s Day celebration for my own mom. But do remember that for lots of people there is a lump in the back of their throats and tears barely kept at bay. A ridiculous amount of the benefit of the doubt and good old graciousness never hurt anyone. Spread that sh– around like frosting tomorrow.

Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Priceless Motherf—– Day, to all.

Speeding

As someone with ADHD, time management has never been my strong suit. It has been something I have had to work on continuously — and something I will likely always struggle with.

 

I tend end to do better the more I have to do. For the past six months or so I have had a lot on my plate. I have done well, but it has been a struggle of a juggle.

 

I am am finishing my second full-time semester in my MA Mental Health Counseling program next week. I can’t believe I have been at this a full academic year already. I began working half-time in January. Neither are particularly difficult alone; simultaneously they are perpetually exhausting.

I am very much looking forward to the month between this semester and the summer semester. It’s the little things that stack up and cause me so much stress: tire rotations, eye appointments, getting my taxes to my CPA, finishing my FAFSA documentation. Those things have a cumulative effect and weigh a ton as they sit on my shoulders. I sometimes lie awake at night and wonder how old the HVAC in this house is and how much life it has left in it, and panic because of my (lack of) retirement savings. These are not things I dealt with a decade ago. But these thoughts are rare, and fleeting, and normal, even, and in no way take away from the happiness I experience most of the time. They just point to the fact that I still have work to do, both on these concrete issues themselves and in my tendency to have anxiety when overcommitted.

The last year has been so good. I have been humbled, stretched, hurt, loved, loving, surprised and continuously challenged. Rather than shrink back when confronted with a disappointment or an obstacle I have in the last 9 months especially pushed myself to keep going; keep surprising myself with what I am capable of. It turns out that the only person who has been at all surprised of what I can do is me.

Keeping up the pace and the pressure and paying attention to what’s outside the window – that’s what I’m up to now.

 

 

Speaking: Tomorrow & December 27

If you are local (here in the Triangle) I will be speaking tomorrow evening in my hometown of Knightdale, NC at Knightdale Baptist Church  — dinner at 5:30 and an informal group discussion about social justice & the church(‘s role) to follow starting at 6:30.

Additionally, I am preaching on Sunday morning, December 27 (11 am), also at Knightdale Baptist Church. The address for KBC is: 15 Main St., Knightdale, NC.

If you can make it to either I would love to see you!

 

Back to the graduate student life.

In August I decided that I would return to graduate school full-time. Somehow, I blinked and it is November. In two weeks this first semester in my program will be over. In the next 12 days I have three tests and a paper to get done on top of everything else that I have to do at the place that I am a chaplain nearly every day, and you know… all of the things that keep my life running (finding loans for next semester. going to the dry cleaners, scheduling my dentist appointment, buying baby shower gifts, wondering when I last washed my jeans). But – I chose this and I am glad that I did. I am getting my Master of Arts in mental health counseling and have decided to specialize in marriage and family counseling as well as substance abuse. I am also getting certified as a Pastoral Counselor in my state so I can assess fees for that in 2016. So much is going on, but I am happier at this particular point in time than I have been in a very, very long time.

I’m happy but very overwhelmed — I have read and re-read the same paragraph no less than three times, which is a good sign I need to take a break. I have a little post-it on my laptop that says “November 14: Bed and Breakfast,” which is to remind me that when this next stressful period is over I will reward myself by going to my favorite B&B in Asheville, NC for the weekend.

So I suppose I should get back to it. I promise to update again after the semester is done, very likely as I am soaking in the clawfoot tub in my favorite suite in Asheville.

Endings.

Any kind of ending is really, really difficult. I’m one of those people that can sometimes hang on for longer than is either necessary or healthy, seeing in people the person that was there in the beginning though I am sitting across from an entirely different person. This is true not only in romantic relationships but in friendships as well. In fact, I have found that it is much more painful for me to end friendships than strictly romantic relationships. I had to do that recently with a very long-tenured friendship and it left a gaping hole and many unanswered questions. I wrote about it on another social media site and decided to share it here. It’s a true story, but also an extended metaphor. I dedicate this to Shane.

They removed a HUGE tree from my front yard this week. I have a lot of feelings about it, really. Every time I walk out the front door I stop for a second, its absence as jarring as a front tooth from the landscape.

But it had to go. I have had some flooding and water drainage issues for nearly a year now. It turns out the roots of this tree had burst the water main, causing a small leak that now has to be fixed before it turns catastrophic. Getting rid of the tree and its roots were triage. It was necessary but still a bit sad. It was at least 25 years old, here before the place was even built. It took the arborist all of 10 minutes to skillfully remove it and lift it into his truck with a crane.

Creation goes slowly, it seems, but destruction takes no time at all. Isn’t that the way it always seems to be?

 

I Woke Up Baptist

As I have every day since (according to your take on things) my birth or my baptism when I was 7 I woke up Baptist. I have certainly been swimming in the sea of Baptists my entire life and this is something that I hope will not change. I love so much of what it means to be one of them. But for a long time I haven’t felt like one of them; I just didn’t know where to be instead.

After a long time asking a lot of questions, being willing to be very uncomfortable and patient I finally entered into a season of responses, feeling at peace and experiencing in the past 9 months.

If all goes acvording to plan tonight I will be confirmed in the Episcopal church. Confirmation is not an ending, but a beginning – of what I don’t know. But as in all things, I look forward to finding out.