I opened up my blog tonight to post something cheeky about Halloween: a meme I had encountered on Facebook… snarky and lovely.
After entering my old email username (hotmail lives!) and my over utilized password, a list of blogs I had subscribed to in another life began to pop up at the bottom of the screen. I forgot they were there.
There were posts about ballroom dancing and where the latest swing band would be playing. Posts from preachers and lady reverends the U.S. over offering Christ and compassion to the blog world. And at the top of the list sat a blurb of a blog of a friend who hasn’t posted in seventeen months.
Love god, embrace beauty, and live life to the fullest.
I knew what the post would be about.
But it was Lynnette who was writing the blog. So I couldn’t not read it. Cognitive dissonance would not win over words from Lynnette.
After I read her poem, I remembered how much has changed. And the one person I would really like to talk all this through would be Kyle. I would love to know how he would have changed.
It’s been seven years since he left us and two years since I left the church and Lynnette is right, so much has changed it’s hard to discern where to put what remains. She writes:
The distance stays; the empty lasts.
The missing you, the missing me,
and everything I used to see,
and all the ways things used to be,
and all the possibilities
and yet have slipped into the grave.
I close my eyes to look inside
and take account of what has died
and what is left. God knows I’ve tried
to do my best to extricate
the remnants of a lifetime’s faith,
the threads that somehow still have stayed
unchanged and say to come awake
I’m a big fan of not crying. It’s probably why I flew past today’s facebook posts; why I ignored Craig’s letter last week asking alumni to write and remember. I’m at a point in my life now where everything seems so overwhelming, that to some extent I just have to let life happen and hope that someday soon I’ll catch up and be able to process it all. That’s why I rarely blog anymore, that’s why I don’t fall in love anymore, that’s why I don’t scrapbook anymore, that’s why I don’t write anymore. It’s all going forward for me now, and life is happening so fast, I don’t have room in the present for the past.
I don't know why, but I don’t swing dance or two step or go to dance halls anymore. I don’t attend church or write sermons or keep up with the Christian subculture. I don’t listen to David Crowder Band or sing hymns or seek out solice for my soul in song. I don’t even think of my soul. I don’t go to the dog park or ride my bike or hear friends’ bands at bars or do happy hours or music festivals. I never see the Eades, or visit Waco anymore.
I do visit other places though. In the 25 months since I left my job as a full time minister, I’ve been twice to Disney World (to see Lynnette!), once to Hawaii, four times to St. Jo; I’ve visited Guatamala, Vail, Virginia Beach, DC, and I’m off to Portland for Thanksgiving, and Haiti for New Years). I’ve been in seven productions ranging from community theater to professional theater, from ensemble to starring roles, from no pay to equity pay, and have sung with a Tony-award winning Broadway star. If I’m not shopping at Goodwill, I’m buying expensive, locally-made clothing. I go to the doctor and the dentist regularly, and in therapy, I have tried to figure out some shit from my childhood. I gained a lot of weight, and am starting a new movement called “embrace the fluff.” I stopped hating men, and started hating conservative evangelicals instead. I learned to drink expensive wine and not begrudge rich people, and let someone love me even if I don’t understand how or why they would want to. I read much more of the news now, and listen to NPR. I donate to charities I didn’t know existed. I work on my house and have beautified my backyard. I can now cook meals other than cereal or Crazy Carol’s spaghetti.
Kyle wouldn’t recognize me.
Or maybe he would.
“We’ll never understand why you didn’t marry Jeremy,” was one of the last things he said to me.
God, that was a million years ago. Dave & Toni aren’t even married anymore. But I’m still putting my job… what I do… how I live in this world… above everything (love) and everyone (men) else in my life. It’s just that now I’m an actor. Back then I was a different kind of artist… a preacher… with paper, pen and pulpit. Now I have greasepaint, a script, and a spotlight. But in both vocations, I have a story to tell, and I won't let anyone hold me back.
Kyle was so good at telling stories. I learned storytelling from my father, but I learned how to use it in a sermon from Kyle.
I don’t know how I will tell my story from here on out.
But I will try very hard to love God, even when people use Her to justify so much wicked in the world, and I will try very hard to embrace beauty which somehow seems easier and easier the older I get, and I will try to live life to the fullest whichever less travelled path I find myself following.
And I pray that Kyle and God and everyone else will forgive me and encourage me along the way. "I close my eyes to look inside and take account of what has died and what is left." I don't understand life or death or the universe at all. Not at all. What I do know is I can only be who I am today, and look curiously on toward tomorrow.
Love God, Embrace Beauty and Live Life to the Fullest... Amen.