Tag Archives: church

Proselytizing can be easy and fun and alienating

Rookie mistake. It’s been almost a week since I last posted and a lot has gone on. I don’t know what to say about it. We’re having a family member come and stay with us and it could be potentially explosive. I am worried to death about it and have burst in to tears twice because of all the stress and pressure surrounding this trip.

Things keep getting switched up and I do not like that. I like to consider the facts, emotions and potential problems and develop a plan. Then I like to follow that plan, perhaps taking a slight detour to look at clearance racks or to use the restroom. When I create books or cards I like to pull out all the things I might consider using and look at them together for a while. Then I like to make whatever it is I’m making. Sometimes I put the things away; sometimes I don’t. This sort of organization soothes me and makes me be a better artist. That is not happening these days. It is dizzying.

Remember T? My sixty-something-bff? She and said relative got on the phone and talked for two hours. From what I understand the first hour was lovely and the second was spent proselytizing. Relative felt judged, which is really how it seems relative feels most of the time. Relative is Buddhist. I don’t know what happened during the conversation, but it sounds like T was judged, too. Part of the practice of Christianity involves sharing ones life and faith, and to obey God is telling the stories of what He has done in ours lives and at the cross. It’s an important, perhaps even mandatory thing to do, if one believes in Jesus. There are different platforms in which to do it. Friends and family members might bear the brunt of their loved ones religion, but it is essential for a Christian’s faith to grow. For some Christians this comes naturally, for others the challenge is praying for opportunities to share. Is all friendship a ruse to talk about Jesus? Of course not. Life itself is a chance to show off God’s love.

I was asked a few questions about Jesus the other day and I want to answer them here.

Why is there only one Jesus to save the world? Why are there not a dozen. How does one man do it all?

When a child dies, often the first question asked is, “Was he an only child?” If so, extra helpings of grief are measured out. It means that the family’s only treasure has been taken from there and that makes the situation all the more tragic. The triangular family in all it’s exclusivity is gone. When Jesus’ died, for a moment, God lost His only child. Yes, He could have sent more people, it would not be too difficult to send a fleet of fully God, fully human folks, but it was necessary. The only child, born of His mother, was a singular joy to His father, and that is why, I believe, there was only one Jesus.

BUT… The Body of Christ, which is the church, is Jesus on earth. The Bible tells us that we complete the sufferings of Christ. We also share His love, some of us desperately and passionately. (I do not count myself among those people, as much as I wish I was sometimes.) The book of 1 Corinthians tells us, “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” There are a ton of verses about sharing in the sufferings of Christ – here are a few: http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=sufferings+of+christ&qs_version=NIV . God is here, and He is in me. He is in us as a group of believers – Saint Augustine said, “Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man…. the fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does ‘head and members’ mean? Christ and the Church.”

I am too tired to write any more tonight.

Advertisements

Working is hard work

I’ve been working sporadically, but determinedly. Today I did an all day in a kindergarten class room with a sweet, intelligent teacher. The school is an inner city school and I’d put Small in her room in a snap. Remember Small’s kindergarten teacher? If you don’t, I won’t refresh you. It was that bad.

It’s dress rehearsal tonight. Seven year old Small is the lead. She sang a teaser to the congregation last Sunday and we got comments like “She should sing in the ensemble” (the church’s worship band). Everyone said she did a good job and in the second service she didn’t miss a note. The director of the play said, “Without Small, there would be no play”. So we’re proud and it may be that Small will have the acting career I dreamed of. I have never pushed her towards this. I think there is too much heartache, but she hasn’t had any of that so far. And she doesn’t know Carolyn Robertson.

But still, when I see her up there, the only actor who speaks with any sort of expression, the only one signing solos, the sweetest singer, the glowingish skin, my face beams. She’s all those things, and more than that, she is the one who is mine.


It Doesn’t Mean, “Just Don’t Want To” (PG)

Lethargy. It’s not really boredom. I’ve been bored, once, and this is not like that. I was twelve months pregnant, two weeks overdue, and naked except a very large football t-shirt given me by a friend. It was enlightening in a way. “Huh” I thought, “this is what people are talking about.”

Lethargy is different. It’s something I just can’t bring myself to do anything about. With boredom I had nothing in mind, but with lethargy there are long lists of ideas and I have the wherewithal to do none of them. A large pile of pills sit to my right and I can’t bring myself to eat something so I can take them. I was ampped last night so I took a Xanax to fall asleep. That usually wrecks the next day, so I’m not exactly sure why I did it. I don’t like to do it, Xanax is addictive and I can tell you my theory why.

Xanax is, among other things, muscle relaxer. It is strange because if you take it, you get a mildly buzzed, sleepy feeling. I have fallen asleep in a really fun church service and have not been able to sit through movies – I’ve had to lay down, under the influence of Xanax. I’m adjusted some to it, but here is the problem with that: Let’s say my anxiety is really high. I take a Xanax. I feel better for a few hours. Problem is that when the Xanax wears off, I feel just as stressed as when I took my first pill, if not moreso. It would have been a better idea to go for a long walk, or do relaxation inducing yoga. An addict is an addict, and the same lists A.A. gives with ideas and possibilities, could be used for the Xanax user.

Mornings are slow for me anyway. I usually get Small ready for school and sometimes I even get dressed. (Drawstring pants are serviceable for any occasion.) I walk her to school. I write for a few hours and talk to or other friends. After I get Small for lunch I come home and do house things. I’m making those cards you are asking about, and I will post them once I have a few to view. One half of the couple likes things austere (in a nice way) and the other is Southern. I think I’m going to make half of them simply and the other half ghastly. (Okay, not ghastly, but with lots of embellishment – sometimes I like things like that, too.)

Must find something to put in the belly. Do you like the word “belly” or “tummy” better?


Retch

Yesterday I work up at 3:30 to vomit.  Later that morning, after dropping Small at school, I threw up again.  All my pills.  All my stability literally went down the toilet.

Today I feel shaking and was afraid to go down stairs.  I was also scared to take my medicine, as I might throw it all up.  I went to MOPS, I took them there with a cookie that I don’t believe I should eat.  I figured, I felt off kilter anyway, why not?

I know that’s irresponsilble and I need to get back on track.  I will.  I figure an hour on the bike and going to bed an hour or two early might help.  I hate this.  My arms and feet are shaking.  This whole thing sucks.  Now that I know what it is to be stable, I crave it.  I felt so centered and happy.  I don’t know why that was taken from me.

In good news, though, I asked God to show me how generous he was.  We talk about a generous God, but I wasn’t seeing it. He responded with new clothes, new paper, and today, the insulated coffee container that I wanted for a long time.  It was wonderful.  I am very happy, now.  And, without even knowing what to expect now, I will keep praying for him to show me his generosity.  I would like some new boots, but other than that, I can’ think of one thing that I want right now. 

I have to admit something.  Mr. M said it first, and it’s correct.  Our lives are better here than they were in the Bay Area.  We have a more comfortable house that doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall over in the strong wind.  We don’t live on a street frequented by motorcycle gangs.  Mr. M has a better job.  We can walk to school easily.  Our church is different than the one back home.  The messages are not as challenging, but they are heartfelt.  We have great friends there.  In fact, we have a lot of great friends and a lot of people have reached out to us.  The bad news is that my mom lives with us, but she mostly stays out of the way.  It’s nice, though, to have her here.  I am suprised to hear myself say that.  Only once, in the 1+ year we’ve lived with her, did she take the opportunity to tell me everything that was wrong with me.  I just prayed that God would put a hedge of protection around me, and he pretty much did.  Some of the things she said still stinged.  I just reminded myself that, even if the things she said were true, that didn’t make me less of a woman.  So, that went well.

Things have not really improved in Small’s school situation.  The teacher name-calls and shames the students.  She doesn not appear to respect them and does things like publically call out a five year old, delicate little girl, for having gas.  I wish I could warn every parent to be careful not to get her.  Maybe I should hand out fliers at the local pre-school.  (I’m kidding)

Small is not being a good friend.  She is hurting their feelings and poking them with pencils.  It’s horrible.  She had the neighborboy in tears.  I made her call and apologize.  She did, but once a little one’s heart is broken, it’s difficult to mend.  She’ll hurt these kids and then be suprised that they don’t want to play with her.  I wish I could train her/teach her to do otherwise, but I’m not 100% sure (or even 80% sure) that I know how to do that.  I was a desperately lonely child, grew in to a very mean pre-teen and then went crazy with mood swings in high school.  I don’t want that for her.  I’m hoping she does better.  I believe Mr. M’s father was mentally ill and we all know I am.  Would she inherit this? 

If she does, I’m totally cool with it.  It will be hard, but I know better how to manage it than most people.  (Arrogant, huh?)  We could work together to moderate things.  If she is open to it.  Mostly I want her to be gentle, kind, smart and ambitious.  That’s not too much to ask, is it?  But I honestly, would be happy if she was just to be gentle.  I would prefer God has more for her, but it’s my desire that she loves and cares for others.  I’ve seen some of this, like the time she gently wiped away her classmate’s tears.  Other times I see none of it at all – like the time she came down stairs to report her friend was crying because Small socked her in the eye.  Still to pray.  I don’t pray enough for my daughter.


My name is Malakoa, and I have bipolar disorder

I decided to share at the Valentines Event that I had bipolar.  I didn’t start out meaning to, but after a woman who has had a way worse life than anyone else there shared about it, I decided to do so.

Funny, though, how much we were able to relate to each other.  My life has been charmed compared to her’s.  I’ve never had to give a child up for adoption.  I’ve never shot heroin or smoked crack.  I’ve never fallen for a guy in that I met during my outpatient drug program.  However, I have taken abilify, and so has she.  I’ve drank myself silly.  I’ve spent two weeks in the hospital.  All of that gives me some sort of credibility.  Emotional pain goes beyond barriers.  We feel it the same so matter how beautiful, poor or smart we are.

The mental health floor is the great equalizer.  Even if you don’t have insurance of your own the county will pay for your stay.  I’ve met all sorts of folks.  Some of us were doped out of our mind, but some of us weren’t.  I could go on and on about our differences, but there is no reason to.  Even if we’ve made a suicide attempt we respect each other (mostly.)  There are not put downs.  No one asks, “How could you do such a thing.”  No one calls us “selfish”.  Most of all we try to support each other’s decision to get the heck out of there and on with our lives, except now we have better lives because we’ll have new tools so we can live a life worth living.

Many of us go in totally defeated.  We wake up from our fog about half way through and decide living again is not such a bad idea.  If we don’t, we have to stay.  And that is okay, too.

I think it was the super Vitamin B dose that was making me ill.  Today I took only half and I feel good.  No nausea.  No talking under my breath.  If I had been keeping my log like I should have, I would see that was the problem all along.  I still need to watch my diet because I don’t and I haven’t.  I want to be strong and gorgeous.   It’s a long ways away.


“What kind of psych meds would you like?”

This is an expanded post as an answer to a suffering friend. If you’re familiar with my story, it’s kind of repetitive; I hope you don’t mind.

PLEASE SEE A DOCTOR.

I, as you probably know, take a whole lot of meds because I am bipolar, OCD and ADHD. You can read about my journey in my blog, however I’ll give you my humble opinion and try not to be a jerk about it. This is your thread and I don’t want to take it over, but I want to tell you some stuff. Take it or leave it, okay?

After the baby was born she cried a lot. She cried three hours once, while we were holding her and patting her. She cried five hours in the car. I wanted to kill her, literally, but figured it was normal: Who would want a baby that constantly cried? I wished I had another baby, not the one I had. It was a very hard time. People talk about missing having an infant int the house. Well, I don’t miss it a bit.

Things were bad, but they were good too. She was a cute baby. She talked early, laughed early and was in great health. I loved trips to the doctor because they felt like report cards. I always got “A”s.

But I was suicidal, as usual. I had been so since the eighth grade and had never done anything about it. I had horrific visions of violence against me – crashing cars, getting hit by a car, jumping from a bridge. This was completely normal to me and every time I sought help I was told I didn’t need it. (Hi Mom!)

I could have gone like this indefinitely, but I got to the point that one morning while she was kissing my face awake I thought, “if i put her under water she will leave me alone.” I called the dr the next day.

Thus began my journey through psychiatric medications and therapy. It turned out I had more than PPD, which is what everyone thought it was. I wound up in the hospital – and I belonged there.

I realized after this incident that I was being a negligent mom. Yes, she got nursed (2 years!) dressed and changed regularly. But I would do things like let her go in our dangerous side yard, watch her pull a roll of carpet over herself, and sleep for hours while letting her play independently and completely unattended. Things were not good and I didn’t even realize how bad they were.

I was given a medication that slowed down my racing thoughts. I tried a lot of meds with some success. (I have rapid cycling bipolar, the worst kind) Only one ever made me feel indifferent, and it wasn’t even that indifferent – I took it for just a few days. They never slowed down my love for my daughter and family. They never stopped me from pursuing my dreams, they never (well, once) interfered with my sex life. I can’t live without them, regardless of what any one says about mental illness being a spiritual problem, or something made up. Just last week someone jokingly asked my husband if we had any psychiatric medicine in the house. He seemed to think about it and said “no”. After thinking about it, I decided what I would say if I was offered this question:

“What kind would you like?”

Of course no body wants to start psych meds. I never thought I would have to take medication every day of my life – but I do and will.

The Bible says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

The world considers psychiatric illnesses to be a form of entertainment. People love to make jokes about the nearby psych wards, or drugs. (“What, did you miss your Lithium today?) I would love to say the Christian community is different, but in a whole lot of situations they’re not. Like I’ve discussed here before: Many Christians consider brain disabilities to be spiritual problems. Others think it is demonic. These thoughts lead me to think that as a community we need our minds renewed. The church should be a place all disabled people are embraced, and even healed. . I’m not talking about praying away schizophrenia, although that would be nice. Healing should never be required in a church community as a prerequisite for membership, or even leadership in the church body.

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Romans 5:7

I’m talking about teaching people about relationships and real love. I’m talking about providing for each other’s needs. I’m talking about genuine acceptance – something that can come through love, but doesn’t come through easily.

Please consider a trip to the doctor. If the meds don’t work for you, you can try others, and if nothing works for you can always stop taking them.