Friday, July 17, 2015


Today, in my feed, I find this article about a new bill being introduced in Congress by conservative Republicans:  I find this kind of thing just almost incomprehensible.

I get that there are people who hold religious views that specify all sorts of prohibitions and proscriptions about what is and is not acceptable for them and their relationship with their "god."  I am fine with that.  I really am.  Whatever you want to believe, for you, is really just fine with me.  What I do not understand, even a little bit, is how anyone can be so utterly convinced that whatever they believe should impinge on my life and my belief.  What is that?  Where does that come from?  How can you ask for, demand even, that I respect your right to worship and believe whatever you choose, and then deny that same right to me and everyone else?

Balls!  Pure unmitigated arrogance and bad manners to boot!  These people, these fundamentalist, so called "christians," because let's face it -- they are the huge majority of the ones who are convinced that their religious liberty requires the subjugation of everyone else's view to theirs, have gone over the edge altogether:

  • Same gender people have the constitutionally guaranteed right to marry AND that means that they may, in the course of conducting their business in the public sector, "participate" in some fashion in that constitutional right.  Horrors!
  • Women may choose to conceive, or not to conceive, AND that means that they cannot impose their will on them in the workplace.  Abominable!
  • People may choose to manage their intimate lives in any of a variety of consensual configurations, AND no one will be stoned in the public square or dragged in front of a firing squad.  There will be no scarlet letters adorning the breasts of all and sundry who do not toe the one man and one woman line.  How can it be?!?!?
  • No one will be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy.  No one will be forced into some back-alley abortionist's hands, AND no matter how much marching and screaming on the sidewalks, women will not be treated as property.  Inconceivable!

I am so tired of it all.  Believe what you will believe.  Live your life by your very best lights.  Honor every bit of whatever wisdom and guidance that you think you have been given.  And then...  Leave the rest of us alone!  Your soul is your business.  Mine is not your business.  If you choose to come into public, then you are in public.  "In public" is not "in church."  If you want to live your life inside of some sort of spiritual cocoon, tucked safely away from those of us who are, in your view," confirmed sinners, then remove yourself and go off to live communally with those who are of like mind with you.  Do not seek to stick your values and beliefs into the public square, and then scream discrimination when the rest of us say, "No!"

And that is as polite as I can be about it.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Companionable Kitchen

My kitchen has a dish-washing machine.  It is the same age as the house, and that makes it "elderly" in dish-washing machine years.  It still washes pretty well; a good and faithful beast chugging away as it sloshes my dirty dishes with hot water and suds.  However, it has its quirks.  Most notably, the top rack is no longer very firmly attached to its anchors, and that makes it nearly impossible to slide in and out of the machine.  It is fairly well worthless, and so the utility of the whole contraption is diminished.

Image result for washing dishesOf necessity, my regular kitchen clean-up routine has come to involve a significant amount of "doing the dishes by hand."  When that circumstance first evolved, I fussed about it.  "Just one more thing to do; one more chore," I labeled the business of making soiled plates and pans and tableware into clean and usable items.  But time has passed, and I have fallen into the routine ... warm sudsy water, and rows of clean dishes lined up drying on my counter.  And, I have learned something that I knew once, a long time ago, when it fell to my brothers and I to clean up after dinners in our family home.  Doing dishes is both sensual and companionable.

The water is warm and soothing to tired muscles and joints.  The scent of the soap is clean and refreshing.  The bubbles tickle.  The rhythms are made for quiet contemplation, or pleasant conversation.  If there is a companion, doing the drying and putting up, then the kitchen sink becomes the site of far-reaching philosophizing.

The time required is not burdensome.  It serves as a buffer between the pleasantries of the meal, and the quiet of the evening ahead; a natural and useful transition.  I like it, somehow.

Perhaps, I will simply clean it out and let the old dishwasher be.  Let it retire.  Maybe I will become an old woman who indulges in the simple pleasure of washing her own dishes.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Quiet in Mind and Heart

Image result for green shoots

I am feeling quieter today.
Quieter than I have felt for many, many months -- years even.
Something in my insides has shifted, and I am finding some level of peace in my internal world.
I am glad for the change.

I have no big explanation, and no real understanding of how I came to be here now.  Anyone who is looking for me to point the way to this place will be sadly disappointed, I am afraid.

I've been noticing this happening for a few weeks now.  I've watched it quietly, feeling a bit skeptical.  Too many rounds, and too many ups and downs have taught me that it is easy to get knocked off this horse.  Better to hold on tight and not get too cocksure.

Here are the outlines:
I have learned to say what I need and what I mean.  If something upsets me, or if there is some circumstance that seems unfair or unreasonable, then I say so.  I am learning to do that without much heat -- trying not to let myself get SOOOOO upset that I cannot simply say what I need without bitterness or anger.  Being able to recognize my own boundaries, and defend them for myself, by myself, is important to me.  I do not handle resentment well.  Better to just own the things that make me unhappy, and ask for those things to be addressed appropriately.  I understand, finally, that allowing others to act in ways that make me unhappy isn't, in any sense, a good thing.  Not for me, and not for them.

I am listening more carefully.  Most of the emotional hurt, and the burden of fear and anger that accompanied that hurt has worn itself out.  Like some sort of tattered flag, whipped by stormy weather, the shreds of all of that have blown off.  They do not wave in front of my mind's eye any longer.  My vision is clear.  I can hear when he speaks of his own fear and his own pain -- and not overlay it with some sort of sense of blame.  I can sit with his struggles, and not feel that they either add to my struggles... or negate them.  Now, at last, I think that we can walk forward together as partners rather than adversaries.

Just yesterday, working to clear up the dishes after breakfast, I found myself rejoicing in that simple service.  I was happy to be able to do this small thing in support of our life together.  There was no feeling that there should be some quid pro quo.  I was able to give and glad to do so.  The sublimation of my own agendas; my wants; and my fantasies came as a gift.  I did not earn it.  I did not reach for it. I felt no sense of struggle at all.  It simply was, and I am so glad.

It has been 13 years since I came to this place, and entered into this relationship.  I came as a dreamer with wide eyes and big plans.  I wanted a very great deal.  My hungers and my fantasies drove me in a frenzied grab for the thing that I believed could fulfill me and make me whole.  I tried, desperately, to build the life that I could see in my life, and I believed that the strength of my own will could bring that dream into reality.  My own ego put me in a continual state of conflict between who I am and what I thought I wanted.  The fragile sky-castle that I was so determined to build could not stand.

I have grieved the destruction of all the pretty, brightly-painted visions.  And while I moaned over the broken bits, something stronger and healthier sprouted quietly from the rubble.  No phoenix, rising from the ashes this time.  This time, I will keep my eyes on the tiny, fresh, green shoots growing in the fertile soil of love and companionship and faithfulness.