Months and two posts ago I indicated that I was rethinking my online presence.

And then my fall got all kinds of interesting.  A little bit was normal fall interesting of long hours and busy schedule; some was some unique job stuff I’m not talking about here (don’t worry, everything is good and I’m talking to people and being healthy and sane); and some of it was health stuff I choose not to talk about here for a lot of reasons (short version: while interfering with my life it was ultimately easy enough to deal with).

I never stopped thinking, I just also never had the creative energy to make a decision or do anything.

But somewhere in between everything else I made a decision.  This blog isn’t the best space for a lot of the writing I want to do, feel compelled to be doing.  If you know me in other parts of the internet, you may have already seen and read some of that other writing.  If you haven’t, more will be coming and more attention will be paid drawn to it.  If you don’t know me in other areas of my life and want to follow me, email me.

I’m leaving this blog up.  I will be changing some of the information.  I’m not even ruling out coming back and writing more here.  I just am not making any commitment to how often that will be.

Until next time

Wednesday was my 18th MRI. (I went back and counted, so I’m pretty sure I’m right.) 18 MRIs in 10 years. Nearly 2 a year.

3 brain surgeries.  1 radiation treatment.  1 other surgery. (I never talked about it here because, unlike my other surgeries where we’ve spent time discussing the unlikely possibilities of death, paralysis, and blindness, this time we talked about the unlikely chance of a blood transfusion.  I’m fine, it helped with what it was suppose to help with.)  Migraines.  And countless orders for bloodwork, medicine scripts, and pills.

10 years.

It is unfair.  It is burdensome.  It is invasive.  It is hard to explain to other people.

It is my life.  It is all woven into my life to the point where I no longer really remember “before” except that it was.  It is all woven into my life so that my life is so much more, and always connected.

18 MRIs, 10 years, 3 surgeries.

 

I know I’ve gotten quiet here again. I’m busy, but I’m always busy.
It’s more that I’m thinking seriously about how I want to continue writing. Once upon a time, this existed on a different site and was all poetry. Then more prose crept in and I switched to wordpress. And now things are changing again. I’m still writing, but I’m writing differently and I’m thinking.
I’m not going anywhere. Or at least, I’m not going away. Just give me a little more time to figure out what is coming now.

I’m writing all sorts of things, including half-finished blog posts.  And until some of those move closer to done, or until my life hits a lull (ha!), here’s some more information about The Dog.

Remember The Dog?  He’s all cute and sweet and we’re working really hard on training, still (and always will).  He’s getting much better at the speed of his response to a command and the length of time he’s willing to follow a command–especially stay.  There are still a few major hurdles, most noticeably “come.”

The biggest change, though?  He now leans.

Yes, leans.  You read that correctly.  He leans into me to be petted.  He never used to do that.  If you remember, or if you went back and read the letter, you’ll remember that I allege neglect on behalf of his first owners.  He came to me loving people, dogs, children, everybody and not knowing what to do about it.  He’s starting to learn.  He leans into me to be petted instead of sitting an arm’s length away.  He sits on the couch with me, with his head on my lap. Sometimes he attempts a 90 lbs impersonation of a lap dog.  At night he curls up, not just on the bed, but next to me.

He’s learned affection.  I almost don’t care if he learns come.

Almost.

I had a doctor’s appointment this past week.  Which is not remarkable in and of itself.  I have a lot of doctor’s and they all require a visit from time to time.  But this doctor offered to take me off one of my medications, to see if I really needed it.

Medically, she is right.  There is a decent chance that I could wean off the meds without a return of the pain, the constant pain, and life would be fine.  Actually, life would be slightly better.  Less pain, less medication.

And yet, and yet, I said no.

I’ve talked here before about how hard it is to be healthy after you’ve been sick, and as I walked out of the doctor’s office I wondered how much of my no was about that.

Most of my no was about other things though.  I’ve only been pain free for about a year.  And I’ve spent most of that year re-learning how to tell when I’m in pain.  (I’m well aware of the depths of the problems in that statement.)  So I don’t trust myself to know if the pain did return if I stopped taking the medication.  I occasionally miss an evening dose and I notice that the next day.  The medication has few side effects, so staying on it has few negatives.

Someday, I hope, I look nervously forward too, I will get to say yes to this offer.  Despite how hard it is psychologically.  Despite how much easier it is to keep saying no.  Despite how scary it sounds.  Despite the open question of whether or not I can actually live, pain free, with out the meds.

But for now, for a lot of reasons, I’m staying on them.  One more pill.  It’s the right choice.  For me.  For this season.  For however long this season lasts.

For Mother’s Day

I don’t remember your voice,
Or what would make you laugh
I don’t remember your hands,
Not really, not enough to count
I don’t remember the last time
I saw you healthy, rather my last memories
are as you live ill and dying,
not what either of us want
I know there were times before
when you insisted on going out
and seeking hidden places
of import to you and dragging us along
Times when we yelled and laughed and cried
but today, 16 years and two months since you died,
what I remember most isn’t what I remember
most clearly or what has faded best
or even all the things I wish I knew
Today I remember that you love me
Which is what I believe you wanted to last
Written May 7, 2011

There is one kind of praise that I hate.  I hate it when people try to make me exceptional.  The “it’s so nice to see someone [insert usually age related descriptor here] doing [insert various commitments/achievements/basic intelligence here]” sort of praise.  The people saying such things are always well-meaning and always genuine in their desire to share their opinion with me.  I know this.  I won’t dispute this.

The phrasing of their praise though, makes it easy for me to hear it like this, “I’m astounded that someone of your [usually age, but any] group is doing something so [pick a complimentary adjective], but I’m going to refuse to let that change or challenge my basic stereotypes of aforementioned group.”

Usually it’s my age, sometimes it’s my gender, sometimes it’s related to my health, and every time it feels like the person refuses to see me.  I’m not exceptional.  There are lots of other young people, women, and people with a less than perfect health history doing all kinds of noteworthy and amazing things.  I’ve made choices that have allowed me to do some pretty cool things.  I’m proud that I’ve done those things.  I was able to do them not despite or because of my age, gender, or health, but because I was able to figure out what it would take to accomplish these things and willing to do the work.

The challenge isn’t me, or people like me, doing things.  The challenge is seeing people doing the things they are doing.  The challenge is seeing what I do become ordinary.  Because I’d really rather it did.  I’d rather be exceptional for doing exceptional things.

I still have good days and bad days.  (I suspect I always will.)  The difference between good and bad and better and worse is often one of degrees.  Today my head hurts slightly.  Today I will always know where the excedrin bottle is.  Today I will barely leave the couch.  Today I will only get out of bed.  And similar scales.  Most of my days, thankfully, land on the better and good end of the scale.  I know what it’s like when days tend to land on the other end of the scale.  When the “good” days are the days when you only have to take two naps, one pain pill, can think.   And I know that there are days in the middle days where I don’t want to or don’t have time to or am just sick of talking about being sick and so need to pass as healthy,  as having a good day.  I need to act healthy.  Despite the pain in my head, or my back, or my leg, or whatever.

There’s another time I do this.  I do this after surgery as I become healthy.  It’s actually an important skill then.  Because if I don’t start acting healthy, despite wanting to sit on the couch and sleep, despite better knowing how to be sick, I’ll never really believe that I am healthy.  I’ll never discover that I can make it down the street or up the stairs or do whatever or go where ever.

In the church I think we get caught thinking we are still sick.  Or to put in the terms we use, still dysfunctional, still caught in a prior generation’s way of thinking, still caught up in the way we’ve always done things.  We forget that the world has moved and that we, sometimes, oftentimes, haven’t.  And as this reality catches up with us, we want to take things slow.  To stay on the couch and have committee meetings, to read books, to commission studies, when what we need to do, sometimes, oftentimes, is try getting up and moving across the room.

But sometimes we need to act healthy.  Today.  Even when it seems impossible to believe that it could be true.  Even when our heads hurt or our muscles ache and the people coming to church aren’t the people we thought would come or aren’t coming at all.  Because sometimes when we act healthy we discover that we are better off than we thought we were.  Today.

Both of my ordination certificates declare that I have been “ordained as a [deacon/priest] in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”  It’s a line I cherish.  It links me (even if only in a vague and can’t-really-be-proved historically way) with everyone else who has ever done my job in any way, place, or time.  It’s profound.  And it’s important for how my Church understands itself and how I understand myself.

And yet sometimes I think it should have come with an * and some fine print at the bottom of the page.  I was ordained at 25.  I’m still the youngest clergy person in my diocese.  There is no sign that this will change in the near to middling future.  Most of my colleagues are my parents’ age.  Which doesn’t disturb me.  Until.

Until Gen Y or Millennials come up and every one looks at me.  (Or worse, no one looks at me because every one has forgotten that I’m actually there.)  Because clearly, I know everything about this generation that I barely belong to.*  Because even after you ignore all of the problems of dating a generation or a movement (as my history professors would say, “people don’t wake up one morning knowing they are a part of the next movement/era/generation”), I got ordained at 25.  I can intelligently discuss the hypostatic union, eschatology vs apocalypse, and the theology of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.  And would often rather have those conversations or ones like them than talk about most TV shows, computer games, popular music, etc.

I may not actually represent my generation all that well.  Just because I’m in Church doesn’t mean the rest of them will find their way into the Church, and certainly doesn’t mean they’ll stay if they do.

I know things about my generation, this Millennial group, in part because I have worked with them for years, in part because I am like them, but also because I read everything I can get my hands on about them.  Then again, I also read about Gen X, Baby Boomers, the Greatest Generation, and everyone else, because my job means I have to figure all of them out.  They are all (or should all) be sitting in the pews.  Because we are all (or should all) be linked.

*Most dates that I see attached to Gen Y or Millennials start either right around the year I was born or right after.  Either way, I’m probably more accurately part of the cusp between Gen X and the Millennials, especially when I compare myself to my younger siblings.

I’m writing this on Ash Wednesday.  This is important to know.

It’s the pause in my day between my services and I’m taking a chance to eat something and work on my vestry agenda for tomorrow.  Season 2 of The West Wing is playing in the background because I love Aaron Sorkin and I know it well enough that I can work and listen.  And in the middle of all of this I’m still bothered by my sermon.

It’s a good sermon.  I make good points.  Gospel points.  I believe everything I say.  Still, it’s under my skin.  And then a character on the show, a one-off character so I don’t know his name, says, “My entire life doesn’t have to be about this one thing.”  And I think but “sometimes it is.”

Sometimes my entire life is about being a priest.  (Try dating me, being my friend for very long and you’ll learn this lesson.)  Sometimes my entire life is about having had brain surgery and my health issues.  Listen to my sermon.  (Except, of course, you can’t.  I’m sorry.)  Hear me talk about mortality and death.  I learned those lessons the hard way.  The way of pain and suffering and blood work and tests.  Of having looked into the certain knowledge that death was close.  Sometimes my life is informed by one aspect of my life so completely it is as if my entire life is about that one thing.

All of that often makes me a better person and a better priest.  But this week, this week between MRI #17 and the doctor’s appointment, this week when my mortality is a little closer to me, I wonder if my knowledge of my mortality has bleed too close to my priesthood.  Because if my schedule were different, my sermon would be different.  It’s a good sermon.  I just wonder.  I wonder what other words I would have found, would have said.  What other part of the Gospel I would have proclaimed.

“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Health Care Reform

I support Health Care for America Now

Categories

Archives

Counting

web tracker
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: