Monthly Archives: October 2018

Yes?

I somehow feel the need to apologize to someone when I am not able. I feel responsible to be healthy, somehow, I suppose, or like it’s somehow my fault when I am stricken with migraines or unable to digest the things people are serving. Logically, I know it’s not true. I don’t control my migraines; they are sudden and unexpected. No matter how many times I’ve had them, no matter how familiar I become with the first warning signs, invariably my first instinct is that “I should be able to work through this.” And I try to, to my own harm — the faster and more decisively you deal with a migraine, the less troublesome it is. The longer you ignore it, the more disastrous it becomes. I know this, but I can’t shake the frustration and guilt that I should not be becoming non-functional.

When it is over, I feel like I have to apologize to people that I had one, or somehow explain that I didn’t mean for it to happen. This makes no sense. I know it makes no sense. No one can chose about having migraines and no one can hold me accountable for bodily malfunctions – and who would that be to hold me accountable anyhow? Still, I find myself by the copier machine, trying to explain to a co-worker what it feels like, how it happens, apologizing for my inability to carry my load the other day.

From a distance, I understand there is no need for this. That is exactly what is so perplexing to me. Why do I feel like it is a lapse in my human duty every time I’m relegated to a dark room? Why do I feel like it is a personal failure of mine that my body cannot be counted upon? And to whom would I apologize to for, who would have authority over, the functioning of my body? The only rational answer would be God, but of all the beings I would feel inclined to be regretful toward — well, it would seem God is the one who most is wanting me to withdraw from activity. He needs no apologies for mine leaving work, or laying in bed for hours. If anything, He wants a turn of heart such that I do that even without being smote with a major brain malfunction.

Am I saying I’m sorry because I feel the burden of not meeting societal expectations? Am I saying sorry because this is not who I want to be – and who do I want to be? Invincible, immortal? I don’t know. Perhaps part of the difficulty of know why is because it is a little bit of a lot of reasons, all blended together. I recognize the guilt and the frustration do me and everyone else no good; there is no benefit to it, nothing accomplished or attended to it by it. So I would like to get rid of it. But the only way to get rid of it is by accepting the infirmity rather than fighting it — and both my heels are dug in hard against that. This, I do not want. But this, it has been given to me. I am pushing it away with both hands; in all honesty, I don’t know what sitting calmly and opening my hands to receive it would even look like.

I am quite certain we cannot only accept the things that we judge to be good. That raging against is rarely – ever? – the called for response. But how do you say, “yes, Lord,” when it is ashes in your mouth, bitterness in your stomach? Acquiescing feels like a statement of complicity, of agreeing, of choosing – but I don’t choose this, and I didn’t think it was a good idea! But is that not what submitting is? Saying, “yes, Lord” for the one and only reason that you believe it is indeed from Him, and that belief alone drives you to accept it, trusting that His judgment and valuation is more right and true than yours, even though you can’t see how? In short, agreeing with His choice?

In the theory, in the abstract, in the vague idea that this should be so — it seems to be true. When the lights begin to shimmer, it becomes difficult to follow simple sentences, and the knowledge that curtain is descending becomes unavoidable — then I don’t know how to actually put that into practice. How do I calmly and trustingly accept that the rest of the day will now be dumped out the window while I lay in silence and wait for it to pass? The theory is there, but the practice is confounding.

Right now, for the time being, it is only tremulous yes at best.

Sit down and listen

You know how it is when you suddenly keep seeing or hearing the same thing everywhere? Sometimes you think, “haha, that’s odd!” Other times you begin to get that strange feeling between your shoulders, as the Omnipotent is trying to tell you something and you are clearly being more than a little dense.

In the later category, I keep stumbling over artists, authors, arm chair philosophers and meanderings of ordinary people giving voice to their thoughts all saying the same thing: pay more attention.

Sometimes they say “learn to see,” or “you are seeing, but not perceiving” or “you aren’t paying attention” or “you see it, you hear it, you know it, but you don’t remember it,” or “you have to really look at” — but it all comes down to the same things. We’re being given far more than we’re receiving. And, leaving the habitual (and why is that?) ‘we’ behind, I am apparently being told this is specifically being directed at me in particular, right now.

One of the tangential thoughts that has occurred to me is that part of what hinders the exploring action is the deciding/choosing/judging action. I am less often paying attention to what HAS happened to my day while I am still thinking about what I wanted to happen to my day or what I still intend to do with my day. I have even noticed that the act of valuation of what happened actually causes me to pay less attention to what in fact actually did transpire. I become instead fixated on my feelings about what happened instead of noticing what has occurred. And while I can tell people over and over how upset I am that the elevator broke, that the building only has one elevator, and that all these frail old people are now struggling to access life preserving treatment — what I fixate on is that I am upset. I am angry. Why? At whom? I can describe my emotions to you, but what aspect of this, in particular, is driving me almost to tears? Is it the powerlessness? Is it the callousness of the building manager? Is it that I am feeling the fear of the old people and feeling protective?

As I pick it apart, it is curious to me to realize how much of it is once again rooted in self-centering or self-absorption vs. centering around God. Am I trying to take ownership and control of everything around me, or am I recognizing that something is being given to me and exploring what it is I have been given? (Note that while I say “given” I don’t say “gift.” This is probably because I carry around so much baggage about “positive thinking” and any feeling miserable being a problem with your perception. I think sometimes we are given very hard and challenging things, but if we are consumed with the ‘I am miserable’ it becomes harder to see the ‘why’ of God or even the ‘what.’ When I am busy valuing and judging a day as a ‘bad day’ I am so caught up in my valuation and sense of oppression that I’m not honestly considering why on earth God might have allowed any of that to happen or to put me in the middle of it. Bluntly, I don’t care. I’m too busy caring about what a bad day I had and how oppressed I am.)

Poorly organized parenthetical thought aside, what I am trying to say is that I am beginning to see a pattern in how I react to things directly dependent on whether I am attempting to put my hand on the tiller and control, or whether I perceive myself as a passenger and I believe the actual captain to be competent. When I am attempting to direct and choose and decide, I have very little acceptance and the raging runs high. When I am more willing to go along for the ride as a passenger (usually I am more capable of doing so when I am more well rested), the raging subsides as I find myself more detached and take things less personally. I don’t mean that I am apathetic and don’t care; I just mean I am more willing to accept that getting stuck behind someone slow and hitting every red light is not in actual fact a direct attempt to destroy me. It is not “everything going wrong.” The guy holding the “slow” sign is actually another human being, and what is going through his head today? — not an insult to my existence.

If I’m not paying close attention to my own argument, it sounds almost as though I just said, “I’m more rational when I sleep more.” While that’s true, that’s missing the point. The point is, when I determine how life “should” be, I become very blind to what actually is. And my determinations of “should” are invariably thin, superficial and generally meaningless; what “is” is full of complexity, subtlety, interwoven relationships, and things greater than human comprehension. I become angry at the disconnect between what I think should be and what is, but in reality, getting what I think I wanted is the lesser of the two. Is there a component of gratitude tied up in all of this? Sure. But the relenting message I keep getting is “you’re missing it.”

I’m missing what? I don’t know. How would you know what you are missing if you aren’t paying attention enough to know what you are turning away from? But I’m missing it. I’m missing important things. That message keeps being handed to me, on one platter after another. With it comes little arrows toward what might help me correct that. Rest. Stop trying to control. Slow down. Ask why. Stop handing out valuations so rapidly. Someone is pulling back hard on the reins, and I’m trying to push forward anyway. I’m not going to just gradually without noticing it settle down into the proper pace. I have to be deliberate about changing my approach, and I am in fact exceptionally long over-due to do so.

Currently reading: Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor
Currently listening to: Miracle or Not, by Alisa Turner
Currently contemplating: avian handwork, including quilting/piecework and embroidery. Why is this so fascinating to me?

How to Change Low Beam Bulbs in Your Subaru Outback

It’s eeeeeeeeeasy.

You just need a few things.

– This helpful video: https://www.carcarekiosk.com/video/2012_Subaru_Outback_2.5i_Premium_2.5L_4_Cyl./lights/headlight

– a flashlight

– some disposable gloves

– a nylon rivet tool. (Preferably, the other tool. Not the one you have.)

– back up rivets, you know, just in case

– the right replacement bulb, not the one that the corrupted databases tell you that you need (SilverStar Ultra H7 is low beams, NOT H11, which is probably high beams, although I haven’t pulled them out yet to see if H11 matches anything)

– a sense of humor helps

I think that’s all.

Oh!

And —

– a contortionist brother with the proportions of the Slenderman — must be able to scratch his right ear by wrapping his right arm around his head and in front of his neck in order to scratch his right earlobe. And have a long neck. And he should have pretty strong hands, and be able to perform fine motor tasks by feel. And be willing to help. And pleased that it’s your car and not his.

If you don’t have that, then basically, just give up. Because nothing really happens without that.