Posts Tagged ‘Don’t Judge Christ By Christians’

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When you get mad, what calms you down?

Jun 18, 2011

©2004-2011 ~S-Pan

I have been so angry lately, a trait that has never really been an issue for me in the past, but is becoming more and more difficult to deal with.  Because depression is often defined as “anger turned inward”, I guess I’ve always just opted for the depression thing. I’m better at that.  But the more evident it becomes that I am powerless to change the things that anger me, the more I find my inward filling to capacity and unwanted emotions spilling outward.

So I snap at people. I avoid people. I try to avoid myself. Guilt soon crashes my anger party because I’m a Christian woman who is unable to find or keep the peace that I know God offers and I know is experienced by others. I should know how to do this; I should know how to cope. But I don’t. And then, I become even more angry… at myself.

Right now, my anger has made it necessary for me to hide in my bedroom away from everyone, including my brother-in-law who is visiting from Chicago. I get two days notice and then he’s here, at my messy house, for 3 days. We haven’t seen him for about a year, but worse than that, he hasn’t seen me for just as long. During this time, I have become sicker; my ability to keep the house clean has become increasingly hindered; I have lost 2 more teeth – a fact I hope to keep hidden by smiling very little and, if the occasion arises, to laugh politely while covering my mouth  (Think: Geisha Girl ).  Perhaps worst of all, I am so much fatter than the last time he saw me because I continue to gain weight for reasons my doctors cannot identify.  Since I never wear shorts and only wear t-shirts with sleeves that extend down to my elbow, I am always warmer and crankier than everyone else in this hot house that lacks central air.

The bedroom is safe. The bedroom is air-conditioned.  The bedroom is closer to the bathroom – always something I need to be concerned about.  No one can look at me while I’m here in the bedroom and I can’t see all the things that need to be cleaned… and then stress over it. It’s easier to lie to myself about my life and easier to believe some of those lies when I’m in here.

But hiding is not enough; still, I am mad.

Today is the anniversary of the day my husband and I first laid eyes on each other. It is a date we have remembered and celebrated every year, but one that he has apparently forgotten today. Perhaps it’s for the best that he not remember the healthy, much thinner, attractive woman (who still had the majority of her teeth); the woman who was wearing short flouncy skorts, a sports bra, a tan and a broad smile. It’s probably better he not allow himself to think about who I used to be and how much fun we used to have when I was able to participate in the activities we once enjoyed doing together.

He and his brother went on a long bike ride today – something I was once able to do, but now I just glance at my still nearly-new bike in the garage and pretend I believe myself when I think, “someday…”

And the anger intensifies.  No, no, no… it’s not fair!  I throw a little tantrum in my bedroom sanctuary. I cry tears of anger more than sadness and make a mental note of how much uglier I look when I cry. I honestly don’t know what to do to feel calm or break free from this runaway train of thought that always leads to anger. So I resort to my trusty Xanax. It takes the edge off and, at some point soon, I should be asleep. Barring any dreams that mimic reality, I will then be calm and free of any anger… and blissfully unaware that I let it get the best of me again.

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I’m Not Invisible

Sep 15, 2010

courtesy: Photobucket/kiashee

But most of the time
I feel like I am,
Or feel like people wish I was,
Or *I* just wish I was…

invisible 


Well, this is no way to celebrate Invisible Illness Week, now is it? :-/  Sadly, this week that acknowledges those of us with Invisible/Chronic Illnesses, who most people don’t understand and find it easier just to make assumptions about and/or mock, did not fall during a particularly “Daisies-and-Butterflies / My-life-has-purpose-despite-my-illnesses / Everything-is-going-to-be-dandy / I’m-beautiful-on-the-inside (and other lies fat people tell themselves) 7-day span.  Sorry, everyone.

And that’s the key word, isn’t it?  For me, anyway: “Sorry…”  Sorry I’m sick; Sorry I cost so much money; Sorry I can’t work; Sorry I can’t go do that thing with you guys; Sorry I’m depressed today; Sorry you have to work a second job [because of me]; sorry I’m not thin and beautiful anymore.  I’m one sorry piece of work.  But you know what? 

I’m the sick one

I’m the one who takes 18 pills a day and is dealing with dueling side-effects (sans the banjo :-/ ).  I’m the one who gained weight, despite having Crohn’s with the diarrhea and the nausea, yet I still have to look at me.  And I’m the one who wakes up feeling like I’m encased in cement and I have to break free each new day and then hobble to, where else?  THE BATHROOM to see what new adventure awaits me.  I never know how bad or how good a day is going to be, but I know my good is never going to be what it used to be – and never as good as yours – so what the hell is YOUR excuse?

I’m sorry… did I say all of that out loud?

I received my first comment yesterday; short and sweet and appreciated.  The last 3 words keep repeating in my head: “Keep telling truth.”  I was reminded that this was my intent from the beginning, to be completely honest.  This is why I won’t show my picture or use my real name or tell anyone I know my blog address; the idea being that anonymity promotes candor.  Yet, it has been more difficult than I anticipated, probably because I have been ‘trained’ to be more considerate of everyone else’s feelings (and have done a really good job at it – though often times, have been a complete phony).

Do people want the real “us” or do the prefer the phony version?  Sadly, the latter has been my experience all too often.  With chronic illness, the ability to ‘fake people out’ is all but removed and we are left exposed… “warts and all” as they say.  The rejection flies like never before if our audience wants the old us and we can no longer deliver.

There are a few more days left of Invisible Illness Week.  I may wear a lampshade and sing “Louie, Louie” yet.  Or I may just hide under the lampshade and turn the music up loud because that’s what makes everyone else happy.  I don’t actually have to sing, as long as they think I am… that should suffice.

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Praying for the Taliban

Aug 19, 2010

 

How does one pray for the Taliban?  I have to admit, though I’ve spent a lifetime in and out of church (mostly ‘in’), I’ve never been asked to pray for an enemy I find so distasteful.  

When people think of the Taliban, there is no shortage of images depicting the horror of murder, of violence, of terror…of things we all think of as ‘unforgivable’.  Even the tainting of “religion”.  Me?  I hate religion, and I detest religiosity.  

I love God.  I love His son, Jesus.  I benefit big time from the fact that They love me.  And I spend most days trying to analyze why in the world They do. 

My friend who gave the sermon this past Sunday and asked us all to pray for the Taliban, my dear and loving and liberal  friend, [Pastor] Louie, originally from Brooklyn like me – whose children I once babysat, who was once my camp counselor, who gave the eulogy at my late first husband’s memorial service – Louie, who constantly reminds me that yes, God does love me (really?), it’s something I can’t earn.  OK, I have it on the authority of an authentic Italian[-American], AND the Bible… so fuhgeddaboudit. :-)  


Interestingly, my father is also a pastor (or used to be), but we are no longer very close and I would not attend one of his sermons unless… Actually, I’m not sure the circumstances under which I would attend a sermon given by my father.  Also an Italian[-American] from Brooklyn, he somehow became an associate pastor of a Mennonite Church out here in the middle of all this farmland, but now attends a different church, occasionally speaking instead of the pastor on a Sunday morning. 

Louie and my father seem to have little else in common after the Italian, Brooklyn, speak-in-front-of-a-church thing; while Louie encouraged us all to pray for the Taliban, I couldn’t help but think of how unlikely it would be that my father would ever ask this of anyone, I could only only imagine him scoffing at such an idea.  Even worse, I can almost hear him in my head saying, “Let us all bow our heads and pray that the fires of hell are 100 times hotter for the vile members of the Taliban.  Amen.” 

And then my mother would go home and make a 3-course meal for someone on some list in the church after it had been printed in the bulletin or announced earlier that Sunday morning that she would be doing so :-/ 

Religiosity, anyone? 

Again, I’m not saying it was easy for me to pray for them – it wasn’t.  It was unpleasant and difficult for me to know what to say and to mean it, but God knows our heart(s) and fills in the rest.  And the fact that the first thing in my head was not imagining the hottest fires of hell burning members of the Taliban was also encouraging to me.  

Later that day, my husband (the atheist) said, “Well, I guess the Taliban needs prayer more than anybody, right?”   Yeah, you’re right, honey.

I wanted to say, Atheists say the darndest things, but immediately realized THAT wouldn’t be appropriate.  Things can get so confusing for my rapidly shrinking brain to decipher, but I believe that God has it all figured out, so I just do my best to trust Him.