They Can’t Change the Gospel

So my pastor told me this morning.  I told him how disturbed I am by the events of the last week at the Synod.

Don’t worry, he told me.  They can’t change the Gospel.  No, they can’t.  But what if they continue to change the Church?

There is a big leap from love and mercy to acceptance of sin.  They can’t redefine sin.  One of the Gospel stories that gives me so much hope is the “Woman caught in adultery.”  In this, Jesus shows mercy to the woman.  He asks the others, who are prepared to stone her to death, to step forward and cast the first stone if he is without sin.  No one stepped forward.  No one condemned the woman.  Jesus told her “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.”

We are to show mercy.  We are not to judge.  I get it.

But Jesus didn’t tell the woman to go and continue with what she was doing.  He demanded that she change her behavior!  That she sin no more.

I rely on God’s mercy on a daily basis.  I trust in his forgiveness.  I am a sinner, for sure.  But I do not deliberately live a lifestyle that is inherently sinful.  This is not my idea of fun.  I would love to have a man in my life and I would love to enjoy the carnal pleasures again.  But when I compare the pleasure to the idea of sinning, it looses its gloss.

So I live this life of “chastity.”  It sounds so strange to say that of a 62 year old woman, but I was corrected by a priest at confession when I called it “celibacy.”  I am “chaste,” not “celibate.”  What ever you call it, it is not easy.   It is lonely.  And sometimes very very sad.

So now I see this huge party in Rome.  Embracing all manner of people.  Fine, but don’t pretend that sin has changed, because it hasn’t.  The truth is eternal.  It is not about “time.”  Every time called itself new and modern.  But the truth is the truth, and it does not change.

As a Christian, I am called to love all people.  It is not up to me to judge them.  It is not my job.

But my life is my business, and it is my job.  As I have grown in my spiritual life, I have had to realize that this is not Burger King, and I cannot “have it my way.”  This has been very painful for me.  I have had to make sacrifices that have felt like they cut to the bone.

How can my church abandon me?  That is how I feel.  My pastor told me not to despair, but I feel slightly devastated.

I would ask for your charity.  If you are not a fan of the Catholic Church, please don’t use this as an opportunity to pile on.  I am struggling.

Thank you.

We are to show mercy.  We are not to judge.  a

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Monday Holiday

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It’s a Monday Holiday.  Columbus Day.   I am at home with kitty.  She’s a good girl.  After seven months with me, she has grown quite affectionate, and doesn’t hide so much.

The blog has felt like something that takes too much time.  I am working out almost every morning and that requires a certain amount of discipline.  I just don’t feel like I have the time to sit down and write something meaningful here.  Although I never did ever sit down and try to write something “meaningful,” it was always more of a journal.

Over the last month, I have struggled a bit.  I had another episode at work that makes me want to leave the workplace forever and never look back.  It is upsetting enough, but now I feel like I am the common denominator and that there is something very wrong with me, and I no longer fit in the workplace.

Here’s someone who “fits” in the workplace.  She took the job I had when I left the hospital, now almost 3 years ago (can you believe it?).  She is one of those thin, pretty, sharp, squeaky, harsh people.  I don’t know how else to say it.  Maybe early 40’s?  Very cute, seriously, she is very cute.  I would say she is a very bad fit for my old job because she has no eye for detail.  She doesn’t quite “get” numbers.  She has no idea about statistical concepts.  She doesn’t even have a good understanding of how to use Excel, let alone SPSS.  She is an RN, and that is all you need where I work.  (young people take heed, don’t bother with bachelor’s or master’s degrees, get an Associates degree in nursing and you will be set for life.  I am not kidding.)  She is good at Lean.  Of course she is.  In Lean, you just blast through problems without taking the time to understand them.  You come up with a solution in a half second and then you walk away.  Awesome.

I have tried to help her because I wish her success, I really do.  I don’t want that job.  I am happy enough, or overwhelmed enough, with the job I have now.  Two weeks ago, she saw me in the hallway and asked for help with something in Excel.  Seriously, it was so simple, it took me a second.  Then she gushed “Oh!  I Love you!  Thank you!!!”  And then went on effusively, to say “you can come in here and be an asshole anytime!”

huh?  What? Then she wrote me a coupon:

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No, I am not making this up.  She actually handed me that “coupon.”  I was dumbfounded, but managed to tell her that it really hurt my feelings.  She laughed.

I decided to forget about it, but she herself brought it up when she inserted herself into a serious work related conversation I was having with my boss.  She asked “do you have your coupon?”  ha ha ha ha.

Oh, it goes on.  She has now insisted that I invite her to every meeting I have with another co-worker.  It is insane.  She hates him because he did actually file a grievance against her (which HR thought was unfounded).   Anyone who talks to him will be subject to her ire.  I refuse to hate him or anyone else, including her.  But she sits in the back of these meetings with her arms crossed and makes snide remarks to whoever sits next to her and they break into peals of giggles.  Awesome.  If my 11 year old granddaughter acted like that I would school her quite harshly.  But a highly paid professional in a hospital setting can get away with this nonsense.

I do not want to work like this.  The last boss with the “f*** off” note.  Now a coupon to be an a**hole.  Perfect.

I went to visit the folks with the retirement facts and got a plan to retire in September of next year.  I was ecstatic.

Then I sat down and did some calculatin’ and really, it just would not be a good idea to retire next year.  I figured I would get out of the hospital and go work somewhere else.  But that is a bad long-term plan for retirement.  What if I can no longer work?  What if I don’t want to?  What if I become disabled?  What if I can’t get or keep a job?

One minute I feel peace because I know it is in God’s hands, the next minute, I am madly “figuring” things out.

Can you see why I haven’t wanted to write?

Oh, and now I am having nightmares almost every night about the trip to Rome.  Every time, I have either lost my passport or left it at home.  I have no luggage.  No clothes, no passport.  The last dream had terrorists in it.

How defective can a person feel?  The trip of a lifetime and I can find a way to have nightmares about it.  I have considered putting my passport under my pillow so that I know I have it, maybe that will follow me into my dreams.

Oh, and my last refuge, Adoration at church.  My quiet hour.  My Holy Hour with Jesus.  You know I value this hour above all others.  Last week I was alone in the chapel, which was glorious.  Then a man I share the time with came in and instead of sitting where he normally does, he came to my same pew, and scooted down until he was sitting next to me.  I felt horrible.  I felt like maybe that was a friendly gesture, but I took it as super creepy.  I prayed and prayed.  I finally got up and moved to another pew.  He then scooted back to the other side of the pew.  WHO has difficulty getting along with others during Adoration?  I can’t believe it.  Me.

But today is a day off.  I can work out this morning and then get down to the business of cleaning my desk and my bedroom.  No minor feat.  I am participating in “Clutter Free in 31 days.”  I think you can find it on facebook.  I bought the book on Amazon.  I will include a link here.

My best friend is back in my life and I cannot describe how wonderful that is.  I have gone back to my old AA group and that is wonderful.  God will certainly help me get through this weird time in my life.  He has gotten me through every other.

If you have read this long diatribe, I appreciate it.  I am truly sorry if I have worried any of you.

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The Freedom of Post-Menopause Life

It takes a while to realize this, or at least it has for me, being post-menopausal is really kind of great.

I don’t have to worry about menstruating a quarter of my life away, and all the attendant nonsense with that.  I don’t have PMS, so I can trust what I think and feel from one minute to the next.

Menopause is over.  And as far as our culture goes, so am I.

No one talks about the joy of being post-menopausal.  I never expected this.  I don’t need to worry about eating soy or taking pregnant mare’s urine.  I no longer have the hot flashes that were an absolute terror to me.  It wasn’t just being hot, it was feeling like I was going to die from heat and not being able to breathe.  And to sit in meetings and try to act like that was not happening.  Oh, hell no, I am so glad that is O.V.E.R.

I finally let my hair go natural and I am thrilled to see the grey streaks in it.  I think they are pretty.  My hair is sort of a “sugar and nutmeg” color.  (yes, I did make that up.)  I cut it short, just like old women do.  It looks pretty and fresh, and I am thrilled with it.

I don’t lie about my age, never have.  I am 62.  I like being 62.  I would like it better if I were retired though I think.  I like that I am as good as I am going to get.  Yes, you may call that being on the decline, but I am good with that.  I’ve had a big life.

I am grateful to be as healthy as I am.  Grateful because I think in life this is largely a crap shoot.  I could of course try to take credit for that by saying I eat well and exercise, but so do lots of people.  I have some arthritis, that is life.  My eyesight and hearing are not what they were.  Again, that is life.

I am happy to be the way I am.  I have a belly, I have some wrinkles, I have some veins on my legs.  I am not so freaked out about the way I look.  I am not so invested in clothing or even shoes as I was just a few years ago.  I am not trying to look like I am in the market for a man, because I am not.  I frequently go without make-up.  What fun!

Why don’t women talk about what a great time this is?

I think I shall do that for a while.

And thank God he let me live this long.

Posted in Aging | 10 Comments

September Eleventh

Rose September 11

This is a beautiful rose that is in my garden this morning.  On a cold and dreary September morning.

I have been sick for 2 weeks.  I finally went to the doctor yesterday, who diagnosed a sinus infection.  I have never had one before so I had no idea it could make you this sick.  I am now on antibiotics, and I hope to be well again soon.

I have wanted to write about my peace with my age, so this is a reminder to me.  But right now I really need to go back to bed.

I hope all who visit here are well, and please know how very much I appreciate you all.

Posted in Health, Roses | 7 Comments

AA Coffee

I went to a meeting this morning and saw something that brought a quiet kind of joy to my heart.  Big, quiet joy.  

Several months ago on my way to the meeting, I noticed a woman with a terrible limp walking down the sidewalk.  She looked scraggly and unkempt.  She was walking rather fast for someone with a terrible limp.  About 20 minutes later, she walked into the AA meeting.  She walked over to the coffee bar and fixed herself a cup of coffee.  Then she walked over to the table in the middle of the meeting and grabbed a donut.  Then she made a beeline for the door.

I’ve seen her several times since, always the same routine.  

This morning was different.  She walked into the room when the meeting was about half way through.  She grabbed a cup off coffee and sat down.  There were no donuts today.  After the meeting, I saw people hugging her and calling her by name.  She was smiling!  I was one of the last people out of the room, she looked up at me from her chair and asked if the door was going to be closed.  I told her the Alanon meeting would be starting in a few moments.  Her face lit up, “Alanon!” she said, “do they have a meeting here every day?”  She got to stay in the room.  Who knows what will happen to her.  I love the thought that she will find sobriety there, if indeed, that is what she needs.  

When I drove down the road, I thought of my old friend Tim.  He always said it was the “AA coffee.”  He said if you drank enough AA coffee, eventually you would get sober.

I know it sounds silly, but I have seen it happen.  If you’re drinking AA coffee, you are usually sitting in an AA chair, listening to AA talk.  That stuff can worm into your brain if you are an alcoholic.  

I am also happy to see that we are still the way we were.  Kind to a probably homeless woman who only wants a free cup of coffee.  

I’m glad of that.  

 

 

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I didn’t mean to leave…

IMG_8492There’s sweet kitty, sitting in the bedroom window.  She is such a good kitty.

I didn’t mean to leave.  I am sorry if I worried anyone.  I always think it is rude of others to leave without notice and cause others needless concern.  I didn’t mean to do that.  I just didn’t blog one day after another.  

My best friend who lives in England wrote me on my birthday, and we have been writing daily ever since.  She will one day vanish, because that is her pattern.  But for now, it is so good to be in touch with someone I know so well, and who knows me.  And having limited free time each day, that has pretty much taken my blogging time.  And I haven’t had much to say.  And, as you know, I am unmotivated to blog when there are no comments.  

I went back to my old new homegroup for my birthday, only because my sponsor and her husband wanted to go there.  It was so good to see so many people.  People I have loved over the years.  I have been going back there on Saturday mornings.  And then my homegroup on Sunday mornings.  Or some combination thereof.  It has been so nice to get reacquainted with old pals.  I have two groups, and that is good.  

But I seem to have two churches, and that is not good.  My parish is a lovely old church, that I think is a little haven in the midst of the modern world.  It is very traditional.  The music is beautiful, an organ and a cantor, the music sometimes latin, but always old.  We have a young pastor from So. America who is just amazing.  Such great homilies, so many insights, so many things I have never even considered.  He isn’t afraid to talk about hell, which I find very refreshing.  The church is 8.5 miles from home.  The congregation is mostly older, maybe 60% hispanic, 10% asian, and 30% white/non-hispanic.  They are not very friendly.  After going to several of their social events and finding myself standing alone feeling awkward, I don’t go to their social events anymore.  

The other church is 1.85 miles from home.  It is a modern church on a mountain, behind the altar is a window, with a view of the mountain and the bikers, hikers, and runners.  I have also seen deer while at mass there.  The pastor tells jokes from the pulpit, also from the altar.  The homilies are often given by deacons, who can say things so outrageous, I have to fight the urge to walk out the door.  The music is more fitting to a hootenanny than a sacrament.  The people are so friendly and welcoming.  I go there when I have one hour for mass, not two hours.  But I often feel very empty when I leave.  

In the last 2 weeks, both churches have asked me to do things.  The friendly church asked me to be a “greeter,” formerly known as usher.  They think I am friendly and outgoing and would be a great “first face” for people to see.  That has very little appeal to me.  I mean, seriously, I want to do something meaningful like feed the hungry, not smile, shake hands, and ask people who get to church on time to squish in so people who arrive late can have a seat.  

The traditional church has asked me to be a lector.  I told them I don’t really read out loud that well, but I would really like to get involved in some way.  My speech is not that great, it is somewhat slurred, always has been.  I talk slowly and almost lisp.  This is not something new though – when I was 16, a young man who did not like me called me a “female John Wayne” because of the way I talk.  The deacon said they would give me a try out.  I am happy with that.  I can trust that God will have his hand, and if I am not meant to be a lector, I will not.  If I am, I am more than happy to.  

See? This is why I like to blog.  I have answered my own question.  Thinking about it over and over again did not lead to an answer, but writing did.  

I’ll be back, and I will try to adjust my expectations about comments.

Buon Giorno.  

Ciao!

 

 

Posted in Faith, Mass, Roma | 11 Comments

Back to our regular programming

IMG_8366It’s been a whirlwind of activity around here.  The weekend just past was the first “normal” weekend in what feels like months.  It was nice.

The weekend before, my sponsor and her husband came and stayed with me.  They came for my 30th AA Anniversary.  I celebrated at 2 meetings, and it was wonderful.  I think it was the best birthday I ever had.  No big deals, just lots of loveliness.  One of my friends gave me her recently deceased mother’s 30 year chip, I got goosebumps and cried.  It was so special and deeply meaningful.  She is someone I have known since I got sober and I had spent a lot of time with she and her mother.  Sober women.  Sober family.

There were two people at the meeting at my homegroup that I know were at my 1st birthday.  I think there may be others too, but those two were speakers that night, so I mentioned them in my journal.

Yes, my journal.  I yanked it off the top shelf of my closet and read my entries from my 1st and 2nd birthdays.  Honestly, I forgot.  I forgot who I was.   I felt like I was reading something my daughter would write.  So much profanity!  So much drama!

Over the last couple of weeks, after returning from Montana, I have felt happiness and peacefulness that are not “baseline” for me.  I needed a vacation so badly, I had no idea.  It was also a great, great trip.  I feel rested and relaxed.  And dare I say, happy?

I had lunch with my former boss last week and she told me it was so good to see me so “happy.”  My sponsor’s thank you note said she was glad to see me “relaxed and happy.”

It’s almost scary to write that, but I will just thank God instead of doubting.  Even if it is only for today that I feel so serene, I will just thank God for it and not look for the cloud outside of the silver lining.

Thank you God.

 

Posted in Friends, Gratitude, History, Sobriety, Travel | 5 Comments