Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Dear Pat Robertson

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

I guess you missed this line.

Yes. Yes, i did just bust out the scripture. I saw it on my friend Melanie’s blog, Big Mama, along with a discussion of the Haitians she met while doing work in The Dominican Republic, and thought about how so many organizations are doing such good work in the name of God, but rotten apples like you give them all a bad name. So sad.

Clark Griswold, Robert Gibbs, Bartimaeus, and Jesus

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

No, this is not the beginning of a joke. It is the only title i could come up with for this post that covered it all. It started out that I was posting about Todd’s high school friends’ husband’s light display, and veered off into a discussion of my Mother-in-law’s failed dreams for Todd’s future, Todd’s 20th high school reunion, and a Houston minister’s sermon, inspired by one of my blog posts, wherein the Minister compares me to Bartimaeus and Jesus. Yes, that Jesus. (No laughing.)

You try and give this post a better title . . . .

Yes, I know Clark Griswold. Or, at least, we’ve met. He’s married to the girl Todd was supposed to marry. You know, if my mother-in-law had gotten her way. Her name is . . .well, we’ll call her “G.,” and she and Todd went to school and church together growing up in Auburn. Their parents are friends and Todd’s mom worked at the church, and his mom finally told me one day, not long after Todd and I married, that she always wished that Todd had dated G. G was sweet and Christian and smart and exactly what Peggy thought she wanted in a daughter-in-law. I think maybe she thought some of this goodness would rub off on Todd. She must have told me 30 million times that Todd used to get in trouble in school. (I think she still holds a grudge about the wringer she was put through due to Todd’s behavior, and now that I am a parent, i understand.) G would tell her that Todd always had the smartest answers in class, and my MIL was just baffled by his behavior. G could see the goodness in Todd! She was perfect. I believe my mother-in-law also secretly coveted an arranged marriage for Todd’s younger brother and G’s younger sister. None of this came to pass, of course, because I am a complete and total Maneater, and we don’t often practice arranged marriages here in the South, even in Alabama.

I never met G. in the many years Todd and I have been together. G’s parents came to my wedding and we would see them around town when visiting Auburn. I even met G’s little sister at one point. But no matter how often i heard about her, I never met G until Todd’s 20th reunion. You know the one. Robert Gibbs, Press Secretary for President Barack Obama was there? It was the one where I got bored and pretended to be one of Todd’s absent high school friends after his sex change. Yes, I am now probably on some kind of CIA/FBI list for impersonating Robert Gibbs’ high school classmate.

So, I finally met my competition, G., and her husband, Clark. And it turned out we hit it off, and now we are friends on Facebook, and she reads my blog. She even used something she read on my blog as inspiration for one of her sermons. (Certainly a first.) Yes, she is a preacher. Or minister. Or whatever she calls herself. I am not sure. We grew up calling the person who did the sermon ‘the preacher.” If you are so inclined, please listen to the whole sermon, as G. is really a great writer and speaker. My mention in the sermon comes in about the last fourth of the sermon. I must add that she did me great justice in the sermon, because I am certainly not as compassionate as she makes me out to be. It did make for a great sermon, though!

So, with all of this high drama, I barely had a chance to get to know her husband at the reunion. I wish I had. I really want to know the man that has the vision to create the following light display. No, I am not an Auburn fan. But I married into an Auburn family, and I do have an appreciation for the fanatical desire to stamp a team logo on one’s house in large, bright, multicolored, musically-coordinated lights to celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus.

And I just love G. all the more for being a Minister in Houston whose house looks like this during the Christmas season.

2009 Lights On Merrimac Ridge Animated Lights from Merrimac Ridge on Vimeo.

Forget About Me, God

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

I woke Rollie up this morning. (After Todd woke me up; I almost never hear the alarm. He usually has to nudge me awake.) Rollie is having trouble waking up in the mornings, after a summer of sleeping later and waking with the sun. It is still dark at 6:45 and he usually mumbles something like, “I want to stay under the covers,” and I kiss him on the forehead and whisper, “I do too.”

I made sure he was awake and then went down to start coffee, make oatmeal, and fix his lunch. He came down, sleepy-eyed, and hair sticking up in a thousand different directions. (I call him, “Little Cecil,” because his hair is just like my dad’s – thick, slightly curly, and sticks up when he’s been sleeping on it.) I told him to put on his shoes, and then he came into the kitchen and said, “Mom, I am going to tell you a joke.” I turned around from my coffee, ready for the laughs.

Now, any parent of a preschooler or young elementary-age kid will understand that this means you will probably get a Knock Knock joke that makes absolutely zero sense. For instance, Todd told Rollie and Tiller the old Knock Knock joke that ends in “Orange you glad . . . .” They have improvised on this theme and will say, “Aren’t you glad I didn’t say Banana?” Or “Knock Knock. Who’s there? Table!” And then they explode into laughter, thinking they made a joke. You laugh, too, because otherwise you would be crying.

It is possibly one of the most torturous parts of parenting, being stuck at a dinner table with young Knock Knock joke comedians.

So, I really wasn’t expecting this joke to be unusual, and definitely wasn’t expecting it to be funny. I really wasn’t expecting this:

Me: “Okay, let’s hear it.”

Rollie: “Forget about me, God!” [He twists his face into a goofy expression, one that indicates that he is trying to be funny.]

I stare at him.

Me: “Rollie, that’s not funny.”

Rollie: “Well, I think it’s funny!” [Runs off into the den, balls up on the couch and wails and cries.]

I stand there thinking, “Well, shit.” I guess he expected me to laugh. We always laugh.

Now, I am not the most religious person in the world. I would say I am not religious at all. But I do think about God, I think there might be a God, but I am not sure.  Because sometimes I also think that we are all just millions of ants in a huge anthill, waiting to get stomped on, or have a huge Dixie Cup of Kool Aid dumped over our hill, washing us all away in a red typhoon. But I was raised to believe in God, and so i have a great respect for that belief (which I think is sorely missing in our society today) and I would be mortified if my child ever said that to a believer.

I took a deep breath. Looked longingly at the coffee just starting to trickle it’s way into the pot. Thought, once again, that some mornings there just isn’t enough coffee in the world. Went in and sat on the couch next to Rollie.

I asked if he knew why his joke wasn’t funny. He protested that his joke was funny. I finally had to tell him that he would lose privileges if he kept using the joke, because the joke might be offensive to other people. I then had to try to explain the word, “offensive,” which just came off as “might hurt someone’s feelings.” I explained that it would hurt his Grandparents’ feelings to hear that joke. That one of his friends might really have their feelings hurt if he said it to them. He said, “okay,” all the while still claiming that it was funny. (No idea where he gets this stubborn streak from.)

I asked where he heard this joke.

He replied that he made it up.

I am going to need a whole bunch more coffee to ponder how on earth my son came up with this in the first place, and what it might mean to him. Should I be glad that he has a concept of a higher being, and that somehow he is thinking about his place in the world? Is he thinking about his place in the world? Maybe he just liked the way it sounded.

It was only 7:15 a.m. when I finished this conversation with him. Have you ever seen me in the morning before coffee?

Parenting is fucking hard.

Balm

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Maybe there is a greater power at work. Kids are a balm for grief. No one with young kids has time to sit around and ponder what it was like to hold a loved one’s hand as he took his last shallow breath, exhaled, and departed this world. Sure, it comes to you in flashes, but you don’t have time to really process it.

I know I will, though. It will catch up with me, and I will wrestle with it.

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Thank God. We are home as of about an hour ago. I feel like I am on tour with Allman Brothers in the 70’s or something. “On the Road Again” has been stuck in my head for days. I put over 700 miles on the car this week. Went down to meet mom and Dad at the hospital in Macon on Tuesday. Drove to Warner Robins that night. Spent the night. Wednesday, drove to the hospital to see Dad then drove back to Atlanta to pack some clothes, pick up the dog, and check on the kids and my Mother-in-law. (Oh, and kiss my husband before he left for Anchorage the following morning.) Drove back to Warner Robins Wednesday night. Went to bed at 11. Got up at 4 a.m., in time to go with mom and lisa to hospital in Macon before Dad’s surgery at 6 a.m. Sat around hospital all that day til they put him in ICU and said he wasn’t gonna die in the next couple of hours. Left Lisa at the hospital and drove my mom back to Warner Robins. Turned around and drove back to macon to be with sis. Saw Dad. Went back to WR with Lisa for dinner, a glass of wine, Xanax, and bed. (Hotel Virginia is awesome: Before bed, everyone got a glass of wine, a Xanax and a hot bath before putting on jammies and retiring to our respective bedrooms, with our dogs lying by our sides and each of us reading books til we fall asleep.)
Got up, went to hospital in Macon. Stayed with Dad for a while, then went on a search for men’s pajamas for Daddy, button front (NOT drawstring) and with matching top. They evidently do not make those anymore – Just the PJs bottoms with drawstrings, and coordinating t-shirts. I went three places. No dice. Gave up and went to bookstore and bought whole Sookie Stackhouse box set instead. Went home, and went to bed. Next morning, got up and packed all three dogs (Quint, Emily, and Malex) and took them to the lake, because i thought their wrestling in the house and the constant barking might give Mom the big one. Drove over to Milledgeville.

Got to the lake and realized how very bad Dad must have been feeling before his surgery; the weeds up by the road and the grass around the house were knee-high. I have never in my life seen that yard not mowed weekly, sometimes more during warm weather. I mowed and cut back some shrubbery that was getting out of control.

Let the dogs go free the weekend, romping in the water, rolling around in dead fish, playing with the country dogs always coming by to see us. At one point, I had eight dogs running around the front yard and in the lake: Our three, two chocolate labs (Josie and Choco – v. original), one unnamed poodle, two yellow labs, one of which they call Lego, but whose name is Legolas (v.literary for Milledgeville) and a pug named Lulu. Oh, that’s nine. Anyway, it was mayhem and it made me happy. It poured down in the afternoon and i sat on the porch and read my vampire book.

Lisa and Dash came down the next morning. I finished the last of the lawn, then we took the boat and the Seadoo out. It was relaxing to get out on the water and cut up on the seadoo and i knew Dad wished he could be there. V. few Memorial Days have I spent with neither my Dad or my husband. Definitely the first one i have ever spent with just my sister and my nephew.

Packed up yesterday morning. Drove to Macon, then to Columbus. If I ever bitch about how boring 16 is, just tell me to shut up and remember the poor people who have to drive from Macon to Columbus. I defy anyone to come up with a more boring drive. From Columbus, cut over to Opelika, then Dadeville to get the kids at my in-laws’. Spent the night over there (decided against driving back to Atlanta for two hours, in what would surely have turned into an 85-roadwork+Memorial-Day-Traffic clusterfuck of monumental proportion). I did get to hang out with my brother-in-law and my niece, Luci, who is cute as can be, and was so fun to watch with Rollie and tiller. They are all old enough now to play with each other and she and Tiller even got into a few arguments with one another. Good times!

Drove back this morning. Had fun discussion with Rollie in car:

R: “Mama, I want to move to Alabama, so that I can go to Sunday School.”
Me: [Laughing out loud.] “Baby, they have Sunday School in Georgia, too. What did y’all talk about in Sunday School.”
R: “We learned about this guy, his name starts with a D.”
Me: “David? Daniel?”
R: “There were three guys and they didn’t like the guy with the D name, so they tried to kill him.”
Me: “Um, okay, can you tell me more? Who else was there?”
R: “Knights and guys on horses.”
Me: “And what happened?”
R: “Well, the d guy, he had a plan. Also, the other two guys had a plan also. God was going to save them from being killed.”

This went on and on for about ten minutes, me trying to figure out what the heck bible story they had taught him, and him getting frustrated because I kept asking questions. Still haven’t figured this one out. Also haven’t decided if all the learning about people being killed is so great either.

Got back home. My garden is growing like gangbusters.

Oh, and Dad went home yesterday. He is driving me crazy, calling every few hours to check on us, tell us things that need to be done (wash the dog, mow the lawn, how is my garden? Don’t forget to fertilize it) and then waiting until we are midsentence in reply, and saying, “bye bye!” and click, he hangs up on us.

Love, Happy to be Home Dogwood

I Pray

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Seven years later, and I am still amazed that it ever happened. It seems like it was just yesterday, and yet another century somehow. I wonder at the fact that I am responsible for two little lives that will never know what it was like to live in the world before that horrific day, and for whom the knowledge of an event of such magnitude will always be conceivable. My children will never know what it is like to live in the thought that it will never happen here. I know that the person I was on September 10, 2001 was not the same person who finally fell into fitful sleep late on September 11, 2001. But I’m pretty sure none of us were; A pebble was tossed into the pond that day, creating something that will touch us all, in one way or another, sooner or later.


Me and T, before


Me, pregnant with Rollie, after

I am still touched by the way our country banded together in those first few days, and I still have hope that we will be that way again. Sometimes I still have that hope.

My thoughts and prayers today are with the many, many families who were affected by the tragedy of 9/11, the ones who can’t say that everyone they loved came out unscathed that day.

Yes, Annelle, I pray!!

I just don’t know to whom I’m praying.

Are You Smarter Than a Toddler?

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

In case there is any question about who is smarter, me or Todd. . .

This morning, Todd got up and we dressed the children for church with their grandparents and Todd took one for the team by going with them. (We have decided, after multiple reports from Senor Tattletale about his grandparents not bothering to strap him completely into his carseat, that the grands will no longer be taking the kids in the car without one of us going along.)

I could have been stuck going with them, but I am smart, and I did not put one item of clothing in my suitcase that could possibly be viewed as remotely appropriate for even the most casual Alabama Baptist Church service. Todd? He is a dumbass and he brought khakis. He will fit right in with all the little Auburn Tiger college kids at church, with their flippy hair, and their flippy belts. Me? Hooded sweatshirt. Multiple faded tees. Ratty boots and rattier Chucks. One pair of jeans.

[Evil, evil bwahahahahaha-sounding laugh.]

I’ve spent the morning lingering over coffee, checking email, and listening to KEXP. Then I heated up leftovers (baby quiches! chicken wings! hashbrownmutherfuckincasserole!) and popped open a coke and watched The Big Lebowski. The only thing that would make this Sunday morning better is if my in-laws had a well-stocked liquor cabinet. Okay, I’d settle for a slightly-stocked liquor cabinet.

Todd’s a gamer, though, so I fully expect him to realize he has been outsmarted and come back in here with some kind of “but Baby, I took the kids to church, so when we get home, I’m going to the Flatiron” scam.

Doodlebug ain’t havin’ it.

Free Santa!

Friday, December 15th, 2006

On Saturday, we took Rollie and Tiller to see Santa at St. Paul’s Methodist in Grant Park. Although I am unsure about my thoughts on God, I am sure about one thing; I love old, beautiful churches. St. Paul’s is really gorgeous, but in a lived-in, non-museum-like way. You actually feel welcome and warm when you are there.


Santa was upstairs in a back room and you had to wait in a not-too-long line to see him. The line wrapped out the door and down the stairs. Rollie and tiller were excellently-behaved, much to my surprise; I guess they were mesmerized by all of the other kids. Living in East Atlanta, I often feel cut off from other people with children, until we attend something like this Santa event. Then I realize just how many young children are living and being born here and I realize that in ten years, this will probably be a really family-friendly neighborhood, and a great place to raise kids. I sometimes wish that I had the confidence to make my children urban pioneer children, working to make the schools in this area better, but I just don’t think that is going to happen, nor do I think I am the Mom to attempt it. I just don’t want my precious little ones to be guinea pigs in an experiment that might fail. Selfish, I know, but also my decision and we are the ones responsible for their educational raisin’, as they call it here in the South.

I digress. We finally entered the Santa room, and then rounded the corner, where we could actually see Santa. He was a great-looking Santa in a traditional Santa suit with the belt and all. He had his own Santa chair and a Christmas tree and we were allowed to take pictures with the digital camera for free, which is really more in the Christmas spirit than those mall Santas. Plus, less waiting in line.

When it was our turn, Rollie hopped up in his lap without hesitation (unlike last year – tears and more tears, making for hysterically funny Santa pics) and told him what he wanted for Christmas (choochoos and cars). We snapped some pictures of them together, then threw Tiller up with them. She was surprisingly good, too, and in fact just seemed enthralled with his beard and stared at him. We had a hard time getting both of them to look at the camera, and of course, our camera acted up throughout, so the shots aren’t great. But hey! They are free!

Cheap Santas are great. Free Santas are the best.

The Rise of Why

Saturday, November 18th, 2006

Let it be noted that this week was the beginning of the neverending whys. Why, why, why? Rollie asks why 100 times a day. I never knew my world could be so confounding. Sometimes there just aren’t any good answers to “why?” Example:

Rollie: “Yoda is a Jedi.”
Me: “Yes, Rollie, Yoda is a Jedi.”
Rollie: “Luke is a Jedi.”
Me: “Yes, Luke is a Jedi.”
Rollie: “DarFader is a Jedi.”

I pause to ponder how to explain this one, the concept of someone with so much promise going over to the dark side. How to explain how it comes about that someone chooses darkness?

Me: “Well, Darth used to be a Jedi, but he isn’t anymore.”
Rollie: “Why?”
Me: “Well, he went bad.”
Rollie: “Why?”
Me: “Well, the dark force pulled him.”
Rollie: “Why?”

[sigh]

Me: “You are just going to have to trust me on this one, until you get a little older and can understand about The Force, and good, and evil.”
Rollie: “Why?”

Next week, Rollie and I will discuss why there is evil in the world if there is a God. How can that be? Why? Also, why is the sky blue? Why do cats have tails and people don’t?