Archive | September 2020

Denial’s Consequences

I feel like I am watching multiple train wrecks. I shake my head all day long. All these things cannot be happening simultaneously.

I found out my oldest brother went to the emergency room. This must have been traumatic for his wife. Nothing is harder than seeing your loved one in a lot of pain and not knowing what the hell is going on. Is he dying? Does he have some rare cancer? Uhhhhhhh……no. He had a bad case of diverticulitis. When Ma told me, I was flabbergsted. He was in a great deal of abdominal pain and so went to the ER. They did a colonoscopy on him and he has a bad infection, so they put him on antibiotics.

Are you kidding me? I have diverticulosis, which is the same little pouches in the intestine, without the inflammation and infection. Millions, if not billions, of humans on this planet have diverticulosis. Many, if not most, never find out. If you drink enough water and consume a sufficiently high-fiber diet, you probably will never have a problem. I take Metamucil. I try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. I also drink lots of water. I found out i had it in my late thirties. I followed my doctor’s advice. Problem solved.

I see this as like getting a hangnail, having it get infected, having it get gangrene, being in a lot of pain, and going to the ER. Now the issue is more serious: do we amputate the finger? So much drama.

This is what happens when you ignore your health for decades. Like I said, I feel sorry for my sister-in-law, not my brother. To watch your husband be miserable is not fun. Been there, done that.

At the same time, we are having multiple natural disasters at the same time. Hurricane Sally did a number on Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. And then there are the fires on the west coast. The fires are so bad that the smoke made it to Michigan. We had some gorgeous sunsets. Everything had that French impressionist haze.

Trump was told by a California scientist that climate change was causing everything to be warmer and exacerbate these natural disasters. His response? “Things will get cooler.” OMG. What a moron. The scientist said the science does not agree. Trump said that science is wrong. No, you imbecile for a President. You are wrong!

The Buddha actually had a sermon called “The Fire Sermon” about how the whole world is set aflame with the fires of anger, greed, and ignorance. And now the world actually is on fire!

The problem with denial is that the person in denial simply abdicates responsibility for the situation, thereby forcing everyone else to do their dirty work. The situation goes downhill. Little, manageable problems become unsolvable.

How do you watch multiple train wrecks simultaneously and not lose your mind? I don’t know.

Just Looking at Today

I’ve been trying to have long-term vision. It is not working.

I am looking for a place on the west end of town. I am emailing apartment complexes. That kind of thing.

I want to have a vision for my life. I believe that the people that will fare the best will be the ones that have that vision. But I can’t force it.

I have been reading “Crushing” by T.D. Jakes. He’s a brilliant writer. Most Christian authors are not impressive. I write better than most of them and I know it. But Jakes is phenomenal. The book is about making wine. To a grape that wants to be Welch’s juice, becoming wine is simply a catastrophe. People stepping on you. Then being bottled up for years, possibly decades. But I haven’t gotten to the part where you find out how to stay bottled up for an indeterminate period without going nuts.

We are all bottled up, quarantined, right now, and perhaps for at least another six months. How do we not lose our minds? And the coronavirus is becoming real even to my family. There was going to be a Labor Day gathering at my brother’s house, but his son is self-quarantining because he was exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus. You see, all this coronavirus talk is just a left-wing conspiracy–until someone in your family is exposed.

The problem is that, in the meantime, we still have to make those ordinary decisions: where to live, what to eat for dinner, etc. How do you act normally when nothing is stable?

Old Normal Not Returning

Back in the mid-1990s, I had an epiphany. I was a member of a multi-racial Church of Christ. I was in a black member’s apartment. There were women in the kitchen talking and I listened from the living room. They were attending Joyce Meyers events. They had attended one in Detroit one week and then, a couple weeks later, another one in Chicago. They saw a particular group of people in both places and were startled by it. “What are the odds?” they wondered aloud in amazement.

Suddenly, a whole lot of dots got connected all at once. I knew that many ministries counted each event individually and tallied up the totals from all the events on a tour together to show what an impact the ministry was making. Problem? The double counts. When the same people are attending Detroit and Chicago, there will also be double counts from Detroit and Cleveland, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, etc. This is not a “move of God”; this is a very dedicated, but tiny, group of people attending the same events, buying the same books, buying the same cassette and DVDs, etc. These ministries are double and triple counting the same heads.

I saw something similar in the Greek church. A very small, but dedicated, group of people did all the volunteering, contributing, participating, etc. It got to the point where, if one of the key people sprained her ankle, a fund-raiser was in serious jeopardy. As these key people get older, many activities are scrapped altogether.

Enter the coronavirus. It is 2020 and I work at Goodwill. For whatever reason (the donation guy goes to lunch or on break, for example), I get thrown into donations. A pick-up or a U-Haul pulls up and the driver starts unloading box after box. I watch him put the boxes into the yellow carts. He drives away. (I am not allowed to touch him or the boxes due to social distancing.) Now I look into the boxes. And there are thousands of dollars worth of evangelical Christian books, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, you name it. Because we are not trying to offend our non-Christian customers, the vast majority of this stuff will probably end up in the landfill. This was someone’s legacy. I just encountered the remnants of one of that core group of people that did everything. Perhaps they weren’t in the greatest health in the first place. And they may not have been honest enough with themselves to admit the virus played any part of their demise. But die early they did.

Don’t get me wrong. The forces in this drama were in motion before the virus. I started seeing the process back in the 1990s. However, the coronavirus has hastened the process. It didn’t have to be this fast.

Churches want to get back to “normal.” Just like the Republican fantasy of a “V-shaped recovery”: Not going to happen. People are dying and the economy cannot recover if people are afraid to get their hair cut or too broke to eat out. Churches won’t be reopening to the old normal. The doors will open wide. The pastor will come out and say, “Where are my choir members, Sunday school teachers, and ushers?” The answer will be, “This person died. This other person has lingering effects from the virus. And Joe Blow left the state looking for better job prospects.”

The virus hasn’t changed basic processes, just sped them up. This will not be pretty. It didn’t have to be this bad.

Feeling Older

I just had my 53rd birthday. I am feeling more mature. Whether or not that is a good thing is still up for debate.

I feel like I have been making progress in my life. I love my psychoanalyst. I am making progress looking for a place to live closer to where I work. I have realized tht I don’t want to renew my lease. Even if I have to pay an exorbitant charge while paying month-to-month, I don’t want to renew where I am while I look. I live in a handicapper unit. I need no accommodations. Barry did and this was the perfect apartment when we moved in. He could not do stairs. I really feel like some handicapped person should live here.

But then there’s my relationship with my parents. My mom called me Saturday evening and asked if I would be interested in eating at Texas Roadhouse on my birthday. I said okay. I was not looking forward to it. My parents are die-hard Trumpers and live in the Faux News bubble. I told myself I was just doing it for them. We are sitting there and my dad says something about some cops in some city who got shot. I see the dodgeball fly towards me. I duck and let it come to a rolling stop and I let it sit there, refusing to touch it. I think to myself, “Why?” I was the adult in the room. I was mature enough to see the hazard and avoid it completely.

Being this mature is exhausting sometimes. My mom is always complaining about arguing about politics with people. It really upsets her. Hey, Ma, here’s a thought: if you don’t want an argument, try not starting them in the first place! I did not say anything because I am the mature one, apparently. I have to be continuously on guard, ever vigilant. And then they can’t figure out why having a relationship with them just isn’t worth it. It is truly a mystery to them.

Some day, I would like to have relationships where I can actually be myself. I just need to find some mature adults to have them with. Obviously, it can never occur with anyone I am related to. I get that now. It only took me 53 years to figure it out.