Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Greatest Generation

My stepfather's father died this month at the age of 91.  Lt Col. Frank Crook joined the air force 10 days after Pearl Harbor on the day he turned 20 years old.  He was a fighter pilot and later served in the Korean War.  He traveled all over the world and retired to Shreveport LA.

I knew him as a kind, generous man who was always by the side of his wife Joyce.  I never saw the two of them apart.  For the past ten years, they sent cards to my children every Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  A ten dollar bill always fell out when they opened up the holiday greeting.

This afternoon, when I grabbed the mail, I saw two cards addressed to Luke and Emma in beautiful script that will soon be extinct in the modern world.  As they opened up their Happy Thanksgiving cards, the money fell out, as expected.

In the middle of her heartbreak, Joyce remembered to send my children their cards.  I am simply stunned by our elders and their adherence to doing things in a mindful and honorable way.

As I ponder the loss of the greatest generation, I hope that somewhere along the way, we pick up some of their habits.

God Bless you Lt. Col Crook.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Something is bugging me

Whenever I get stressed, I get psychosomatic lice.  It is such an odd thing to be terrified of, really but those of us who have been down that road never forget.  I tried to get my husband to check my head at 4:00am this morning but he has learned to pace himself, and refused to wake up.  I had a colleague do it at work, very professional but I had to know.  "Just Dandruff" she says jauntily.  Whew.  All clear.  Except for the underlying anxiety that drives me to think I have lice about once every 3 months.

I am reading a biography of Thomas Merton, a Catholic Trappist monk who talks about  his sinful life before his conversion experience.  At the top of his list was his fascination with Freud and Jung and the "false God" of psychoanalysis.  He attributes getting a young woman pregnant and fleeing Oxford for America to that particular cult which ultimately lead him to Columbia which ultimately lead him to God.  A circuitous route.

I worship at both the shrine of modern psychological thought and the mysterious unknown of spiritual contemplation.  Which can shed light on our fears and peccadillos?

I looked up the Freudian interpretation of bugs and found that in dreams, bugs are considered symbolic of cares and anxieties.  They are considered projections of our own disowned human behavior.  Never was much of a Freudian so onto the Jungian interpretation of  insect phobias:

To this day God is the name by which
I designate all things which cross my
willful path, violently and recklessly
All things which upset my views
plans, and intentions
And change the course of my life for
better or worse.

God has landed on my head.

Or the fear of God.

I wonder what Earwigs symbolize?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Keeping Faith

Mom is back in the hospital.  My thoughts are with her and her recovery.  I have written and erased this post three times which leads me to believe that my feelings are a bit complicated about her experience as a patient.  The important piece of information is that she is getting the help she needs.

Times have changed.  We no longer have a neighborhood doctor who goes to church with us and knows our families.  We have three different primary care physicians in our family and I have the following additional doctors:  cardiologist, neurologist, rheumatologist, physical therapist, gynecologist, and hematologist.  I love some of them and suffer through the arrogance of the others.  I currently have been trying to get an appointment with my cardiologist for 3 weeks.  His office will not call me back because I am fine.  Which begs the question of why I have to see him every year?  Let me go, please.

I am no better or worse a patient than my parents.  When I am sick, I  pretend to feel better than I do; I hate hospitals, and I am the boss of me.  The doctor who knows all of that about me will be retiring any second now.  She will be replaced by a 12 year old who I will hate initially but will hopefully come to grudgingly respect.  I can't wait.  Really.

So, what it really boils down to is that I am feeling grateful that the imperfect system we have in place managed to catch my mom as she was falling.  I will try and keep the faith in our medical system, against the odds.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Notes from the Pew

I'm really enjoying not teaching RE this fall.  I love the curriculum, I love the kids, and I love Margaret (our RE director) but I also love hearing sermons.  When I chose to attend church as an adult, I initially made that decision because I wanted to give my kids a spiritual framework.  I also wanted a free thinking group of folks who could band together when we saw injustice in the world and make a difference.  Of course, the UU's spend a lot of time thinking about which particular injustice should get our time and resources but we always eventually land on something.  I have said before that every Sunday I attend I end up singing and crying.  Without fail.  That is worth the price of admission on it's own.  As I was crying this week, I had the thought that crying is soul work because we are opening up and letting wisdom/emotion/pain flow through.  It is often tears of joy but not always.  I also had the thought that crying is not about weakness and that our culture has that wrong.

But there is more.....this Sunday a group of parishioners spoke about what they believe.  All ages, all races, and all cultural backgrounds.  The youngest is 12 and the oldest in her 60's.  All spoke from the heart about the importance of taking responsibility for one's actions (12), believing in the unlimited potential of the human race (16), and the extraordinary in the ordinary (60's).  The stories were inspirational and the honesty and openness, inspiring.

Changes are happening in my beloved community.  I am on the committee to find candidates for an interim ministerial position.  Judith is retiring to pursue her own spiritual quest.  She was the perfect minister for me and so many others.  I can't imagine anyone else as my spiritual teacher and then I receive a teaching from a 12 year old.

As I grapple with Judith's last year of ministry with us, I promise to stay open to the new possibilities.  I also promise to do my best at finding balanced candidates to help us bridge the gap as we let go of the known and move toward the unknown.

This guy plays it better: