Tag Archives: family

Strange and Marvelous Shiftings of Blame. Part the Second.

I wish my dad’s death had changed the effort he put into his relationships. With me or, really, any of his children.

Picking fights with him or my mom worked. Kind of. For me.

But you know. Before I started in on that- or if I didn’t fight, it wasn’t like he bothered.

And it’s not like any of the others are gay, so it wasn’t even that.

 

Death runs Backwards- Empathy Gaps

Back. 

She’s finally crying now.

The “Joy of the Lord” that kept a smile plastered on her face till now- after now- has given way.  She goes into his room where he’s trapped, immobile, in his body. In his chair. His head balding and shorn. She sits with him and cries.

The cancer has rippled and warped his body too badly for him to live much longer.  Despite everything they did.  The special vitamin C treatments that they drove to Indiana for twice a week. The biological dentist who happily let them pay him to remove his root channel- to get out the ‘bacteria that caused his cancer’. And pay for a secondary excavation when the first had no effect.  The trip to bask in a hyperbaric chamber that supposedly simulated the environment before The Great Flood, when people lived 800 years at a whack because the Pre-Flood Earth was so perfect.

Ken Ham said so, you know. Those evil, ungoodly, evolution-believing cancer doctors didn’t believe- because they were deceived by the devil.  They were blinded from seeing that these things were the REAL medicine- far more effective than their worldly gobbledygook.

Except.

They weren’t.

And now not even the worldly doctors can keep him from dying.

 

Back

 

Sitting on the staircase with my flip phone. Others huddled, all around. Everyone crying.

I knew people died.  A seemingly unending stream of great-grandparents and withered great uncles had died over the course of my high school years. Hospitals, family gatherings, potato salad.

This was college. This was some one I actually knew.

Some one who you talked to every day- who made jokes and laughed at them himself and juiced wheat-grass. Someone who was going to live.

I was trying to explain.

“… they were out walking at night, and climbed up on the roof of a building, and there was an uncovered ventilation shaft….”

His friend had been climbing up behind him. They had gotten to the night quiet roof, with the city spread out around them.  A glowing life sized map of itself.

And he had disappeared. While his friend looked.  No sound.

His body was lying in a pile of ash several stories down, bleeding at the seams.

He’d spent the weekend before with a couple of friends and their young son.  He’d spent most of the trip tramping through the woods, teaching the kid how to whittle and cut walking sticks and be a mountain man. Now his fiance was weeping uncontrollably, rocking, brown banks of curls hiding her face. “He was going to be such a good father. He was going to be such a good father.”

I finished, and the silence on the other end makes me think I must not have explained well enough.  The terrible feelings of loss and tragedy.

Finally a voice crackled at the other end of the line. It was a lot like my mother’s. It was my mother’s. It was cold.

“He sounds stupid

 

Back

 

The family had many children. Was it eight? was it twelve? The blur of so many huge families- the only people we associated with -the blur of so many children.  So many faces. Meetings maybe one a month- maybe. Never enough time to get to know anyone.  

Not really.

I don’t remember.

They had many children.  There had been a party at one of the family homes- we had not gone- but many of the families we knew had.  All of them supersized groups- self gravitating, with self contained atmospheres- merged for the evening into a black hole of fake laughter and godliness.

The toddler had escaped. The sibling assigned to that toddler’s caretaking that evening- an girl in her early teens- had lost track of him in the crowded house.

The baby had escaped. Gotten out of the house. Toddled out onto the highway next to the house. Toddled across three lanes of traffic.

And been hit by a semi.

My mother sighed as she finished recounting the details of her phone conversation to the upturned faces and ears of her own many children.  

“But you know, all his hair started falling out a few months ago, and she didn’t know why. Maybe there was something really wrong with him and this was just God’s way of sparing them.”

Maybe it’s all for the best.”

 

End of the Endless

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My father died on Monday. He was buried on Friday. He had an aggressive cancer that he left untreated because “God told him” that he could heal it himself by taking extra Vitamin C and by giving himself enemas with coffee.

His dad had a similar cancer a few years ago.  He had a doctor advise him on treatment, instead of God. Grandpa is alive and cancer free to this day.

One time, before he got so bad, I argued with dad about his decision. The books and articles “God was using” to direct his treatment sounded distinctly like conspiracy theories to me. The conversation ended when he told me I was making him think he was crazy and roared at me to GET OUT.

Which I did.

I was very angry.

I was in the process of moving out already. Not because I had enough money.  I just couldn’t stand being home anymore. It was too crazy making.

Towards the end, when it was clear that he was going to die, he wept pretty frequently. About even little things. It’s possible the tumor was growing into his brain. It had started in his throat, after all. One day he wept and told me he was so sorry he had yelled at me- that day when we argued.

I was sad too. I didn’t give a flying fuck that he had yelled.

The evening after his death I went to see my family. The front room, where he had been all day every day for the past week, hallucinating and begging to be allowed to get up, had been cleaned.

The furniture had been brought back in. The hospital bed had disappeared.

The spring peeper frogs were singing in the ditches. A night wind was flowing through the fields around the house. Someone had set a jar of lilacs on the dresser. Words and phrases from a poem were eddying in the back of my head, but I couldn’t recall them all or fit them together.

The dresser is an antique. I believe it came from his mother. I never knew her. She died in a car wreck when my dad was- 19? Hit by a drunk driver.

He was angry at his dad about something then and moved out.

Dad was born in March- like me. His mother died in May.

The drunk died in the wreck.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers…
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow 
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
                      Frisch weht der Wind
                      Der Heimat zu
                      Mein Irisch Kind,
                      Wo weilest du?
“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.
Oed’ und leer das Meer.

-T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland, The Burial of the Dead

snapshots and a rainbow

Sister 3: “Excellent, Sir!”

Brother 1: “Wait, why did you call [sister 2] ‘Sir’?”

Sister 3: “I called her Sir because she sounded brilliant and scientific!  Not like a lowly woman!”

***

My mom was explaining to my younger siblings  (aged 18, 16, 13 and 8) how the vast conspiracy aiming to take over America and destroy Christianity is getting the upper hand.

Me: “But if the Government was controlled by a conspiracy like that, they would hardly have given Hobby Lobby their case.”

Mom: “Oh, but that decision wasn’t unanimous! And I think They throw us a bone sometimes just to keep us quiet. Just to- test the resistance.”

Brother 2: “Ah!” He’s a lanky 18 year old in a rotting t-shirt full of holes. “So when people say that we’ve won something, it’s actually just Them tricking us into thinking things are getting better, so we wont fight Them.” His newly deep voice sounds confident and cunning.  He sees that he understands something Most People don’t.  Most People aren’t clever like We are.

Me: “So if things don’t go your way it’s proof that They’re winning, and if things do go your way it’s also proof that They’re winning?”

***

Pastor stood behind the podium of the summer camp’s main hall. Everyone in the auditorium knew why we were here. So much of Christianity in America was corrupt, frivolous, and lacking commitment to God.  Also, years ago, the main church body had kept the building when they kicked Pastor out.

“Some people act like it’s a big deal that they turned their lives over to God.” he said. “They make it into this dramatic story about how they decided to give their lives to God. As if they did something.”

“No!’ he went on. “We are only saved because God allows us to be saved.  He does it! Not us!”

I felt a tad dizzy and kept my head down, focusing on my sketch.

He had spent the first part of the sermon explaining how people who didn’t accept God and didn’t become Christians did this because they didn’t want to know the Truth and deliberately turned away.

If you don’t chose God, it was your own evil choice and you are held responsible. But if you join God’s side, not even your choice counts as good.

No matter what happens, God is the only one responsible for Good and YOU are the one responsible for Evil.

Despite God having all the power and you having none.

God’s a tricky devil, isn’t he?

Mom’s Art and Religion

I was shocked. I didn’t know such things were possible.

After spending years – at least two- treating books, pictures, and papers of every kind with respect, this was some kind of twisted revelation.

My mom finished cutting the photograph. She held up the piece she had cut out.
It was the shape of an oak leaf.

She fixed the photo oak leaf on the end of a tooth pick. Touching it to her paint, like a rubber stamp, she began stamping the shape of an oak leaf onto her painting of a tree.

Less than four years old, I sat and stared, wide eyed, at the thought of the millions and millions of leaves on every tree.

***

One year, when I was home from school for Christmas, mom had found one of her paintings from back in the day. Our house was full of Bob Ross style paintings done by great grandparents, but her paintings had all vanished a long time ago.

It was unframed, leaning against the wall for lack of a permanent home.

It was a painting she had made when she was a teenager- I think- before Dad and before us kids had come along.

It was almost photographic.

A deep well or pit, in an overshadowing forest. It had a worm’s eye view that looked up, almost out of the pit, but took in the sides and floor as well. The floor was deep clear water. Who knows how far down the pit actually went. A little strand of a waterfall was pouring over the edge of the pit, into the depths below. It glistened, shining in sunlight that must be finding its way through the canopy somehow.

Ferns hung over the edge of the pit and clung to niches in its sides.

They glowed in the murk around them, shapes made of green fire. Their veins and fibers visible, the ferns were suspended in time and space, perfect in detail.

Grandpa, her father, had died that year. She had found the painting in some storage room, while helping Granny clean out the old house.

After leaning against the wall for a while, it disappeared.

***
“I’m not your mom. I’m a crow.”

She was saying this in an almost joking tone of voice, but I was starting to get scared. She wouldn’t stop saying it.

“But Mom, if there were a crow living in your chest, controlling you, your heart wouldn’t work. You wouldn’t be alive.”

I was a little over five. Me and my two younger sisters and her were alone, out in the country house. We had moved here because the gun shots you could hear at night in the city scared her. But the empty sky at night, the wind moaning in the boards of the farm house, the endless solitude- they were scary too.

“Well, she’s not here. I locked her in the freezer and took over her body.” She grinned.

Eventually, she admitted that she was our Mom and wasn’t a crow.

Apparently this was her form of stress relief.

***
Nearly grown up, standing at the kitchen table I listened to Mom. She was talking about her younger brother.

“Oh, he says Grandpa abused him. But none of the rest of us remember it that way. He’s making it up.”

***

We were sitting at the kitchen table, with a piece of paper. Mom had sketched out train tracks. They were wide at the bottom of the page, as if you were standing on the tracks. They got closer together and smaller and smaller as they streamed away from you- till they met and disappeared in the center of the page. The horizon spread out like wings, from either side of their meeting.

She was showing me how to create the illusion of distance.

The closer anything was to that point, the smaller you drew it. That made them seem farther away.

She tapped the point with her eraser.

“That’s called the Vanishing Point”

She had spent her entire childhood drawing. She had drawn in sketchbooks, drawn on pieces of butcher paper, drawn while the kids had laid on the floor and watched TV together, drawn with chalk in the basement of her grandparent’s house. There was even a story about the bunk bed getting drawn on at night.

Mom had learned about the Vanishing Point. She knew how to use it.

***

At our Grandpa’s house, there was a stone fireplace. Grandpa had built it himself, despite how poor they had been most of the time. It was topped by a wooden mantlepiece- a single solid piece of wood, rugged, yet polished and smooth.

As a child, I would run my hand over the surface of the wood, marveling at the strange texture.

A lifetime before that, the beam had been laying on the concrete floor, surrounded by piles of unplaced stones and tools. It’s surfaces had all been flat and straight.

Possessed by whatever unmentionable emotion that had possessed him, my mom’s younger brother had gone into the room alone. He had taken a hatchet that was lying nearby. And he had smashed the entire face of the beam.

Then my Grandpa had walked in.

Over the mantlepiece, it’s warbled surface sanded deep enough to hide the hatchet strokes, was a pair of horns. They weren’t deer or elk horns, with multifaceted surfaces and many conclusions.

They were cow horns- almost as long as a man is tall. Their strong beautiful lines curved up into two graceful points.

They could impale you, I thought, if they swung just right.

They were Longhorns. My Grandpa was a Cowboy.

***
We were having Bible study, our morning routine. Sitting on the floor with my sisters, Mom was reading to us from Isaiah- Isaiah 64.

You come to the help of those who gladly do right,

who remember your ways.

But when we continued to sin against them,

you were angry.

How then can we be saved?

All of us have become like one who is unclean,

and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;

we all shrivel up like a leaf,

and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

“When it says filthy rags,” Mom pointed out to us. She had been reading up on it. “It means menstrual rags. It’s not just that the rags have dirt on them. It’s not just gross. It’s that that blood should have helped you get pregnant, but it didn’t. What should have brought life, was wasted. ”

Women were saved through childbearing. Menstruating was the result of God’s curse on Adam and Eve. Being pregnant erased the curse.

Our little brother was asleep in the other room.

“This is what our good deeds look like to God. Filthy menstrual rags. No matter what good things we do, without Jesus’ death, it’s worthless.”

Maybe I was eight. Maybe I was ten. Maybe I was fourteen. Every  year seemed the same, with the wind rolling past outside.

***

I crawled through the scrub, weapon in hand, scanning the trees through a paintball mask, watching for movement. Some shots went past me and I got up behind a tree, safe in the direction they’d come from. I peered out.

Across the gully, a mask appeared from behind a tree. I shot reflexively, and paint splattered across the goggles.

‘Dead’, the masked person got up and went to the edge of the trees, out of the playing field.

After the game ended we went to meet the dead, outside of the trees, and laugh and talk about the game.

It turned out it wasn’t my uncle who I’d shot. It was my crush’s Dad. The father of six boys, his oldest son was the same age as me. The boy claimed that the guys at the professional paintball course called his dad ‘The Jackal’. There were stars in his eyes when he said it.

The dad was impressed. “Good shot!” he complimented me.

I considered it lucky. I decided I needed to improve.

My mom’s younger brother was one of our few adult relatives who would play paintball with the kids.

I remember sitting, listening to him explain the difference between cover and concealment, watching him sketch out on a sheet of paper the different formations a squad could take to move under fire. There were combat manuals at his house that he refused to say how he acquired. Rumors about weekend training courses that he went to.

He was considered a little obsessed with self defence, but he never came across as a gun nut. He avoided things that would make him look like a hick. Or poor.

In our games, if he was on your team, he would organize the players more knowledgeably than the other dads. You, move- now you, cover him. And so we would move through the woods behind Grandpa’s house.

***

My sister, youngest of the three, was telling the story.

“One time, back when we lived in the city, she told me that she had had other kids before us.”

My sister’s eyes got a little wide as she laughed at the joke.

“She said they didn’t mind her, so she put them on the curb and the garbage man took them away.”

***

None of my grandparent’s kids were named after Grandpa. None of them were named after Granny.

My Grandparents met when they were sixteen. One time (while they were broken up?) Grandpa had met some other girl.  In the endless stories Grandpa would tell me when I was nearly grown up, sometimes he would talk about her. She was a dream girl.

Her family moved away. He never saw her again.

My mom was named after the Dream Girl.

When my mom got to be a teenager, she became quite shapely and beautiful. She dated a lot of boys and would go on long walks with them, out in the woods.

One of them, an older boy, was very attached to her. He went into the Navy when she was  still just sixteen.  She broke up with him when he left.  He ended up becoming an alcoholic (and killing himself?). To his dying day he blamed her for his ruined life.

Granny has told me that she didn’t like my mom as a baby and toddler. Her first baby, the older brother, had been so quiet and compliant that she thought she had this parenting stuff figured out. Then my mom had come along and had a will of her own.

That little squirt made her so mad.

I remember my mom once telling me that when she was a teenager, she was so scared of her mom that she threw up every day.

But Grandpa would protect her. She was his favorite kid.

***

It was Bible study.  It was me and my sisters, mostly. The boys were too little to understand. She was explaining the Holy Spirit to us. She had, perhaps, run into some difficulty and was searching for a metaphor.

“The Holy Spirit is like an Alien.” she said finally. “It’s like, when you pray and ask Jesus to come into your heart, there’s this alien that comes down to live in your brain and control your body. After that, if you struggle against him and don’t let him control you, you’ll end up doing evil, ungodly things like you did before you were saved.”

It scared me so much.  I wanted so badly for her to stop talking- to stop saying this. I wasn’t able to make words come out.

I didn’t want an alien in my brain, controlling my body.

“But if you submit and let him control you, he’ll make you do good and be kind to people instead.”

She was completely serious.

***

“I wouldn’t run away.”

We were talking about the end of the world.  About people coming to kill you for your religion.

“I would just stand there- and let them shoot me!” she said.  She seemed exultant and a little blissful in her martyrdom.

I ran the pictures through my mind like a movie. In the movie, we were standing in the mouth of some cave, where we were hiding because we were Christians. Mom went out of the cave for no apparent reason, exultant and blissful, and was shot.

And I was left with a dead mother and five  younger children.

***

Papers were churning out of the printer.  They were churning out slowly, because of how old the printer was, but churning they were.

Mom collected them up, said goodbye, then was out the door.

Grandpa was dying.  He had fought prostate cancer for years and years now.

But this year he was dying.

Granny insisted on taking care of him herself, at home. She had been a nurse after all. She could tough out anything. She could do it.

The stress and grief and the weird things Grandpa would say on morphine seemed to be sending her into complete emotional and mental breakdown.

Mom was over there a lot.  Most of the time, it seemed like.  And when she was home, she was on the internet, looking up websites and printing off articles for Grandpa to read.

Their shared passion was the Apocalypse.  It always had been.  How God was going to destroy the earth and the human race- slowly- using meteors and plagues and starvation and Sci-Fi Demon-Locusts from the Pit of Hell- before destroying the universe and damning to an eternity of pain the vermin who had refused to love him enough.

I turned away as the car backed down the lane.  I was sitting with my baby sister, watching a fuzzy VHS video.

She was my mother’s eighth child.  She was two.  Everyone thought she was adorable. With Mom gone, she seemed to be alone all the time.

I was showing her the Ninja Turtles.  They lived in hiding, underground, taking care of each other and generally being awesome.  Their enemy was Shredder, of course, like my childhood crush had told me all those years ago.  But they had another enemy- Krang.

Krang was an alien brain, exiled from his own world.  Shredder had built a body and given it to him. Time and time again, the turtles kept Krang from taking over the world.

We snuggled together and watched the movie.  She loved it.

***

A few weeks ago I was at the store with Mom. We both had a few things to pick up. She was looking for something.

“Oh, where is it? This store is exactly like the one in Pontiac, but they put everything in different places.”

We found the office supply section. She stood in front of a wall of thick packages and contemplated.

“Copy paper is getting pretty dear” she said finally.

“Do we really need it, if it’s that expensive?” I asked. Dad, the family’s main provider, had a brush with cancer a couple years ago. Now his lymph nodes were swollen for no apparent reason.

“It’s more important to me that the kids can draw.” she told me and picked up a package.

“Do you ever draw any more?” I asked her.

“Oh, no. It’s been so long, I don’t even know if I still can.”

***

My little brother came to me.

“You know the Lego Bible, from the library?”

The seventh child. The older boys tend to leave him out.  He acts too young for his age- even according to homeschoolers.

He can solve math problems like its no one’s business.

“What about it?”

“Mom said it makes God look too mean.”

The Lego Bible was a big hit when it first came home.  Mom and the kids were admiring how exactly it’s photographs reproduced the Bible- in every detail- right down to Mary’s pregnant belly.  I couldn’t bear to look at it.

“How  so?”

“Well, like the story Jesus tells where the rich man makes a wedding for his son.  And then sends soldiers to kill people who wouldn’t come to the party.”

“I don’t know what to tell you. Jesus really did tell that story.”

“And Revelations.  It makes it look like God is killing people for no reason.”

“I don’t know what to tell you. God is so powerful, he could just blow the planet up and be done with it.  I don’t know why he does all that stuff in Revelations. But it does say he does it.”

His eyes flashed.  He thought he had a solution.

“But it was made by an atheist, after all!”

Well, it would be, wouldn’t it?  Not many theists seem to be able to picture the Bible as if it were really happening.

And even in such a simple way- using children’s toys as graven rubber stamps- who else would dare create photographic images of God?

 

 

Confession and Prelude- Sex in the Bible

Sarcastic Trigger Warning: Contains Sarcasm

Today is Tuesday.  For a  short but significant period of my life, Tuesday was the day of Tuesday Night Bible Study at Gutenberg College.  It was the night of coffee in tall urns and teabags in little baskets- setting up folding chairs and sitting in the back of the crowded classroom so that I could draw or write bad poetry unobtrusively when my attention wandered.

It was a ritual, you know?

Then, came the awful change.

Tuesday Night Bible Study was moved to Wednesday.  Horrors.

It caused the slightest stumble in my mind when that happened.  I had to pull out some of the wires in my mind and stick them back together to get over the switch. Tuesday Night… Tuesday… Wednesday Night Bible Study!

Last week, something happened that has caused me possibly even more trouble.

Jack Crabtree, Gutenberg Tutor, began a series of lectures entitled The Ethics of Sex in the Bible.

I had heard about this lecture series.  But when I looked it up and started reading about it for myself, I realized I had to start blogging about it.

I am bisexual.  I have both emotionally fallen for and felt physical attraction for boys and emotionally fallen for and felt physical attraction for girls.  I was raised in a very Christian home where my parents referred to our one lesbian relative as Aunt Sewer.  If I go on pretending to be straight I can probably continue peaceable interactions with my family.  If I break all ties and declare myself Bi I could get- I don’t know- a merit badge from the anti-Christ? A romantic partner? Peace of mind?

Boys creep me out in theory, possibly because I’m always afraid they see me as a sexbot or something. This fear I am pretty certain I got from watching commercials and reading  the Books of Moses too many times before the age of 10. However, in person, I like certain ones pretty well.

There was a period of my life where the phenomena of bisexuality occurred in my life and I didn’t know what it meant.  I didn’t have words for it.  It was like Columbus’ ships sailing up to my island, to put it into a metaphor familiar to Gutenbergers.  I can testify that I did, in fact, see the ships.  I just didn’t know how to talk about them.  Or that there was anything to talk about.

Part of this phase was spent at Gutenberg. I can name the girls and the boys I had crushes on at Gutenberg.

There was another period in my life in which I had realized what this all meant.  I was a Christian at the time.  I believed that homosexuality was a sin, and that these impulses were impulses towards sin, but so what? Everyone has impulses towards sin.  Some people towards greed, some towards gluttony, some towards you know, normal lust- and whatever else. As long as I didn’t act on the impulse, I could still consider myself faithful. I felt very noble and sacrificial about the whole thing.

I spent many years in this phase.  I did not feel these impulses and attractions voluntarily, I thought they were sinful and that they were messing up my life. I did not feel them because I had been indoctrinated or trained into feeling them- the only experience I had was life at Gutenberg and living in a fundamentalist home/community.

Then finally has come the very recent period of my life.  It’s a story for another time, but I guess I can sum up by saying that I’m no longer concerned about homosexuality being a sin.

A detail that may be important to this discussion is that I have never physically engaged in sexual activity with anyone of any gender.  I don’t know that, if I continue my double life, I ever will.  But I have experienced attraction towards members of both genders, and I believe it is that, and my acceptance of the fact, that earns me the title.

But most of all.

I have never

ever

had Sex in the Bible.  EW!

Get your damnation calculators running, folks. Try figuring out what percent evil I am!

I am a alumni of Gutenberg College.  I would not pick on them like this if I were a stranger. I do not feel qualified to represent QUILTBAG individuals generally, I have been too isolated and know too little about ‘non-biblical’ sexualities for that.

But I can’t let this pass.

I do better with the written word than with spoken word (hence the drawing and bad poetry during Bible Study), so I am going to be following this series via the notes Mr. Crabtree has posted here:

http://msc.gutenberg.edu/audiofiles/EthicsSex_Handout_1_Cultural_Context.pdf

Assuming he continues to do so after this first one.

If the handouts do not match what was said in the lecture, that is not my fault.  And they, just as much as the live stream, are open to the general public.  It seems worthwhile to me to respond to the Handout as a separate entity, and it is to the general public that I present my take on them.

And with that, let the games begin!

the ultimate sacrifice


So, I’ve been away for a bit. My car broke down unexpectedly and I had to move sooner than I expected. It was lame and I didn’t get to write a bunch of angry posts about our DLF John Mark’s article like I wanted. However, I did get the house I was staying in minimally clean for my cousin, who’s coming back from the war, and who has both OCD and PTSD…

Although not as clean as I had hoped.

And since then, I have driven across the US in a giant rental car- moved into my current living situation (near all my family and relatives)- reduced the amount of pointless clutter I had in storage here in my home area- and faked my way through several religious services that burned my soul like they would have a vampire’s.

Or. You know. Like molten metal burning the flesh of a North Korean Christian.

As they die for a God who cares so much about humans that he orders genocides whenever his panties get in a bunch.  And had to torture his own son to death before he could feel better about the whole thing.

And probably never existed in the first place.

(The Eyes of the Tailless Animals.  Soon Ok Lee.  She is not an apostate like me. Go read it. )

I was given a bottle of Vitamin B complex and a finch in the week following one of these services. I apparently looked really depressed.

I do not believe that Vitamin B complex will make me happy about God again. But I have been avoiding it anyway. Just in case.

(Picture me moping in a corner with a tiny black rain cloud over my head)

I like the finch.

I have not officially told anyone about my shifts in perspective.  Although I suspect people are talking.

My baby sister and I played Ninja Turtles and watch Hoodwinked and climbed the pine trees in the rain. And I sat with my little brother while he did Saxon Math and teased him so that he laughed and stopped fighting with my mom and sister.

He also imprinted on my Lemony Snicket books…? And has been reading them one after another and asking me stuff about the plot.

Dishonesty has its perks.

So.

I’m probably back to business now.

And, because you were all dying to hear about the oddities of my subconscious, here is a dream I had, a few days before I moved.

I dreamed about a young man. He was moving back to his home area- Amish Country.

A horrible, horrible man lived there.

This man had died.

When the young man was in Amish Country, it turned out that they were going to take the man’s soul far away, into the land of death, so that he could never hurt anyone again.

The older brother was angry and determined. He was the one driving the van. A neighbor- an established man with a family- saw what they were doing and joined them. He was stronger than the terrible man, heavyset and good natured. He was in the back of the van, making the terrible man go with them. There were some other people there- and me- and the younger brother. The younger brother was disconsolate- on his knees weeping- sad and afraid. We were leaving everything- homes- families- and were going to be trapped with this evil man forever, imprisoning him in the land of death. I was kneeling with the younger brother, trying to comfort him.

We all got out of the wrecked van, and were going over to get in the van. I got out last. I tried to shut the door of the wrecked van behind me. Mangled as it was, it bounced open again. I tried several times. The crowd of onlookers was shocked and frightened by the bouncing door. They couldn’t see me. Like the others, I was dead.

I turned away and went to get in the van for the start of our journey.

 

The pictures of time and space are rearranged,
In this little piece of typical tragedy.

I forgot to
I forgot to let you know that…

Forgiveness is
The ultimate sacrifice.
Eloquence belongs,
To the conqueror.

 

What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?!!!

 

-System of a Down, Sad Statue

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/systemofadown/sadstatue.html

a weird dream and how I feel

I was sitting at an old lady’s house, with just one lamp, in the dark.  I had an overnight shift as a caretaker, and the lady had finally calmed down and gone to bed, but I couldn’t go to sleep.  I was writing in a journal that I hadn’t touched in months, trying to explain to myself what I was thinking and feeling. It was all a mess.

It seems to me that God is a story we made up, an unreality, but outside the story there is only energy, mass, and biology.  More unrealities.   I’ve spent a lot of time with the elderly lately, with my job.  I’ve been with them day in and day out.  I’ve seen their conscious minds’ struggle, their fear, as their bodies unravel- except their minds are unraveling as well.  Consciousness- doesn’t it end in death?  And in death there is nothing. 

I have been struggling with my imaginary God.  The more I read about him- his past- the things he used to be- I hate him.  I hate the fact that he passed himself off as a moral being when he hadn’t the slightest clue what morality is and apparently lacked the self awareness to even make a consistent deception about his own character.

I hate most of all that I believed him.  That I…  idolized him.  All the agony I poured into the hope that some how I could… become… what…

I loved him. I did. More than anything- or anyone.  Now- in so many ways- he’s gone.

I am eaten up with jealousy of people who can believe.  What’s wrong with me?  What singled me out for this bizarre fate searching for and hating God? 

I can’t go to church anymore.  The fat happy smiles, the words, the praise of a person who never existed, and who, if he did exist, exalted himself, lied about almost everything, and then committed murder in the darkness of our eyes.

It all hurts like literal fire.  Is this Hell?  The Absence of God?  Only I am the only one who seems to feel it, and people look at me jovially and ask, ‘So, how are you doing?’ And I have to smile politely and make up a correct answer.

I finally realized why its been so hard for me to make the necessary preparations for this spring. I keep procrastinating on  important things, and wasn’t sure why.  Maybe it should have been obvious.  My plan is to set up near my family- but I dread going home. 

My mom has refused to respond to anything I’ve said about religion. But she overwhelms with concern for me, can’t wait for me to get home, will send someone out right now to help me move.

My mom- whose spent the emotionally worst moments of her life obsessively researching the apocalypse- hoping that the world will just end, now, and she’ll be in heaven.

I can’t help wondering if she thinks that, if she could just get me home again, all of the evil will seep out of my mind like water out of a sponge and be replaced by Love and I’ll be Saved again.  And everything will be happy.

Finally I couldn’t think of anything else to write.  Exhausted, I turned out the lamp and curled up on the couch.  I had an odd feeling that I would dream- that all the pieces in my mind were in the right place.

And I did dream.

Here is the dream.

I dreamt about at old man.  He worked at a grocery store or a cafe at a stopping point for an airline flight. There was one flight that stopped there- and one flight that went on further.  There was a young man (late teens?) whom he had seen come on the incoming flight over and over.  The young man had never gotten any further though- something was stopping him.

In fact, the young man was a wizard.   He came from a wizard family and he wanted to go and see The World. It was the thing he most wanted, in a wide eyed, desperate, Little Mermaid style- but he could never get all the way away.  He lived with his family and relations, deep underground.  It was like a cave, but there were no tunnels, no outlets. Just a chamber, with muddy walls, deep underground.

Finally, after all his other attempts to leave failed, he had conspired with an other man- an evil person. This person was devious, hidden, hunted and never caught.  He was immensely powerful.  There was something about a girl, at the stopping point.  She had become romantically involved with the evil person, and he took her out to the country, to a farm nearby. They could still see the stopping point from there.

The young man’s family was together, inside the chamber.  He was gone.  His younger sister, the only child there, asked about him.  Why he was doing such and such?  One of the adults answered her, hesitant and sad, that’s why we don’t —— about David anymore.  David was sort of lost to them.

In the meanwhile, David was on the surface.   He had acquired (from the evil person, I think) a strange substance. He ate it. Immediately, his eyes and jaws started chattering.  He became a Giant.  He walked to the stopping point, and started tearing up great handfuls of earth and buildings and trees and shaping them into a giant ball.  The ball was made out of mud and people, packed together as if they were the same thing.  I saw a mother and her baby. She was crying and struggling to get them out, but the mud was too sticky and thick.

He had made a giant globe.  He had made The World.

Out in the country, the evil dude was standing with the girl, staring up at the globe.  His eyes were wide with fascination and wonder.  He wasn’t very old, either- maybe no older than David- but he was young because he was eternal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmwRQqJsegw

If all we are is a candle flame- that- flickers for a moment and goes out-  I will still do the best that I can.  To be a good person and to heal the world.  Even if this is all I have, it’s still my responsibility.

please don’t leave me

I will say this right at the beginning.  I’m a little buzzed tonight.

I’ve been sitting by myself in this house watching P!nk music videos and drinking coconut rum.  I think I like her.  I’ve heard a couple of her songs on the radio but never really paid attention to them before.

Maybe you have, but here’s one anyway.

A few weeks ago… or is it a month now?  not sure.    …some Christian celebrity made comments grouping LGBT folks with child molesters, saying straight sex was better than gay sex because women have better/bigger holes, and that back in his day, before civil rights, things were just dandy for black folks cause none of them ever complained about anything to HIM.

(I’m pondering this.  Are attitudes like this in white guys the reason that white girls end up with black guys?  ‘Cause this certainly makes me want to never come within ten feet of white guys- if they’re like this.)

Maybe you know who this guy is. Maybe you’re already up on this stuff.  If you don’t, I apologize.  I don’t think I can link to any of this without puking.

I didn’t think it would probably be a good idea to engage my family on the LGBT thing.   Too much room for “its not loving to let people be WRONG- they’ll go to Hell”  Too many questions about why I was bringing it up.

I haven’t told them I’m… well… not a Christian anymore.  I haven’t told them other things.

But the thing about how-life-was-for-African-Americans-pre-civil rights, I thought maybe we could connect on that.  One of my Aunts married a black dude.  My little cousins are growing up to inherit what the world thinks of black people.

My extended family has always accepted them.  I thought?  And my young brothers are best friends with those cousins.  They draw comics together and work on dirt bikes.

Maybe I was being overly optimistic.  Come to think of it.  They also spent Christmas break joking ‘Oh no! That’s racist!’ whenever anyone said the word black or white.  As if racism is so unusual that anyone crying racism was a paranoid freak.

Yeah.  Hindsight.

And my sister made a comment to the effect that: at one point, yes bad things had happened, but so much time has gone by that they need to stop talking about it now- it was just complaining.

Since when does Germany get to decide when the Jews have to stop talking about the Holocaust? That they’re just complaining now?

At any rate, in a different venue, one my family has access to, I ended up posting stuff about this- about lynchings and the actual situation in the 30’s  and how awful it was that  he had said that.  How awful it was that Christians were rallying to his defense instead of calling him out.

So… it didn’t go over very well.   The extended relatives sort of flocked into the comment section and started gnawing on my corpse.   I was sent private messages from one person insinuating that I was the spirit of the anti-Christ.

Because- it seems- insulting an entire ethnic group and re-writing their history to suit your own purposes is just being a good witness for Christ.  But saying a celebrity (who might have the ability to increase your religion’s name-brand recognition), has done something wrong is insulting and mean spirited.

I didn’t try to answer them.  And I haven’t spoken to them since.  Which is easy- since I’m living away right now. 

In the Pink video(if you didn’t watch it), she turns into a crazy ax murderer and tries to kill the guy to keep him from leaving her.  I suppose I am the one who is leaving them?  Unless calling someone the Anti-Christ is some kind of code phrase for ‘we want you to stay’ that I just haven’t learned yet, I don’t think they are going to care.  They aren’t going to try and keep me.

What kind of violence would I have to do to myself to earn their approval?

I could arrange it so that I could stay.  I’m not very good at winning friends or connecting with people and my family is a dependable social group that I know intimately and is willing to help me (as long as I pretend that lynching never happened, presumably).

I could chop pieces of myself off until I fit back into the shell I used to live in.  I could spend the rest of my life saying things I do not believe- until maybe I would come to believe them again.   I could keep quiet about things that my sense of ethics demand I speak about, until, perhaps it would slowly and quietly wither away.  Maybe eventually I could forget why I cared in the first place.

But I don’t think I can.

RUM!! GOOD PEOPLE!!!  WHERE HAS THE RUM GONE?!?

Wouldn’t it be great? To be allowed to disagree without having to leave?