Just to recap: Season 1 opened with the lead character standing inside a torn-down house. No longer protected by a castle of certainty, he was exposed to new ideas and people. Blinded by sunlight across the camera lens, you could feel the raw fear in the morning air of those early episodes.
It seems he had built those walls to divide the world into Us and Them. But when one of usbecame one of them, the whole facade came crumbling down. Why were there two tribes in the first place, he wanted to know – and why such a big wall between us?
Season 2 turned that passive uncertainty into an active rejection of certainty. Watching along, we wondered if the house would be completely destroyed. Or was it to be a thorough cleaning? Either way, we watched in horror as everything was put out onto the driveway for examination.
Today we visited a church to hear a family we love play music. Man, the music was so good. Filling the small, high ceiling sanctuary were the organs of gospel music and the cadence of Americana. The fat and tender guitar riffs drifted into my soul. God was pressing on me, as he had many times before in worship. It nearly always took the form of tears, and this time was no exception.
Though the music was modern, some of the hymns were not: we sang “Standing on the Promises”, familiar from my childhood days at small Bible Chapels on the east coast. Back in those days, I’d memorized God’s promises from scripture through clubs like Awana: “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. The promises were God’s, given to a different people at a different time, but we were taught to take them on as our own.
But today I heard the promises in a new way. I thought about my parents, and their parents, great uncles and aunts and more, who sang similar hymns. While cleaning the garage just a day earlier, I’d come across an envelope of cards sent to me on my first few birthdays from these very people. “We’re praying for you every day… we think of you often… we love you”. Besides their signatures, the cards didn’t say much more, but seeing them some forty years later had caused me to weep. I could not have seen at age 3, as I could now, that they really meant it. They took joy in me, loved me, and through the years would constantly remind me how they prayed for me every day.
When I was a young parent, the beach we frequented hosted a Pride Festival once a year. On that day we would go to a different beach. I can’t remember all that we were afraid of, but the answer is probably somewhere close to everything. We didn’t know what our young child might be exposed to, so it was avoided. (To be fair, it also wrecked the parking)
As that very child came of age, the ineffectiveness of protectiveness was revealed. She is attracted to other women, and covering her young eyes would not change that. And so, twenty years later, I found myself volunteering alongside her at that very same Pride Festival. How did I get over myself?
A24 Films have done it again, first horrifying us by exposing our high school hearts @ladybird and now a disturbingly honest portrayal of @eighth grade. Spend your therapy money on seeing this film twice.
Back from vacation, with my brain as slow as a lime in an oceanside cerveza. Only now can I see how much my mind works overtime. Like the 405 freeway every brain lane is full, with thoughts honking and swerving to pass each other, overloading themselves to get into that carpool lane and move.
But now, clear air. Wide open country lanes are few but free, ideas fueling the engine to get things in motion.
The freedom comes not from multi-multi-multi-tasking, getting it all done so that it would be all done and rest would follow.
From a skyward Seattle hotel room, I watch strangers walk in the rain, past a McDonalds drive-through painted into the parking lot like a toy playset. The gray and drizzly afternoon is filled with people going about their business. They move on, oblivious to the cartoon duck overlooking the “Duck Rides” touring company, an old relic now penned in by modern high rise buildings and greyish-green hills beyond. People on the way home from work, looking neither left nor right, not knowing who they walk amongst, stepping unconsciously from one block to the next.
I’m in the midst of a job change now after nearly 10 years, after somehow working my way into the Committed Club. You know the Club, you’re probably in it too. The Club is for people who go above and beyond, even when no one is looking, in order to please…. who exactly?
Even after giving notice, my manager is still pouring on the requests and I am still – still – trying dutifully to fulfill them, on my way out the door. But instead of writing about his high expectations, I once again have to own this – this is me and now that it’s happened in two significant parts of my life, it’s clear that I am the common thread.
Yet another strand to unwind from this spool of yarn deconstructing all over my floor.
I did the same as a volunteer. My organization of choice just happened to be the church. Now that we have attended a new church for a few months, Continue reading “Pleasing Others”