At Annual Council

(I wrote this on Friday after the first day of annual council.)

Me and faith is a funny mix.

It occurred to me today that the chain of events that culminated in my break with faith had to do with mysteries of childhood being shattered. Two things happened between 1980 and 1983 that really messed with the stable universe that my parents tried to provide me. It’s hard to talk about them publicly, because I love my parents. It’s a very hard line to draw when you are a compulsive writer and honesty has an edge that’s painful to share.

But what I can share is that both my mother and my father lost their respective jobs during that time. My father spent a few dark years as a traveling salesman (when he was a psychologist by trade), and my mother was let go from her post as organist of the church I grew up in.

Though I didn’t understand it at the time, there was a dot.dot.dot that kind of trailed off after I was confirmed in 1982. I won’t go into the details, but I went from being the star of the christmas pageant and first in my class at everything to being a lost child who didn’t always do well in school and really could care less about church.

And today I saw the kind of kid I could have been, running around at Council being a young leader. It was kind of a shock, because in seeing that reflection of another Helen, I became her.

It was a beautiful thing. And yet it makes me sad. I am–fortunately–in a position to restore that balance to my life, but the more I find that my troubled relationship with my parents was what _caused_ my break from faith for 15 years, the more that anger comes back. I thought I had wrestled through all that during counseling–both the therapist kind and the pastoral kind, but I see now that forgiving my parents for what transpired between them and me during my teens and twenties is only part of the problem.

I also need to forgive them for what transpired between me and God.

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Got my membership card today…

Off to Annual Council tomorrow. Having lunch with the aforementioned cousin on Friday between other Annual Council stuffs.

Anyone else with a diocesan convention this weekend, have safe travels. I’ll definitely come back with pictures, although we’ll see who I can get to stand next to this here sign I made for our booth. I keep looking at it over on the bookshelf and going, wow, I made a sign. I actually can do much more–graphics and whatnot, but we just wanted something that people could see, given that we just got word that we have a table on Saturday.

I should built a portfolio for this kind of thing. Maybe I could go into business doing this for progressive groups all over the country. Make it a side business to fund the progressive piggy bank, because I get asked for handouts to progressive organizations more than I did from homeless men on Philly streets, and that’s saying something. I have learned the hard way that I need to not overextend myself, overvolunteer, or overcommit. But EFM and PEV are the places for me to be.

I do consider myself on the grand spectrum to be a moderate. And that sometimes makes it hard. But I do feel blessed to have learned, over the years, that the best way to make a friend across the aisle is to reach over and shake their hand, for any time you truly listen, you will learn something. I hope they are listening to us as I am trying to listen to them, and I hope we both learn.

But in the meantime, a journey!!

25 weird things meme

File under:

As seen at Songbird‘s place:

1) When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Why are there so many zits on my forehead?

2) How much cash do you have on you?
$6.58

3) What’s a word that rhymes with TEST?
Best.

4) Planet?
Miranda.

5) Who is the fourth person on your missed calls?
Probably me, because I often lose my phone and have to call it to find it, but I can’t check it at the moment, because I don’t know where it is.

6) What is your favourite ring on your phone?
Bittersweet Symphony, by the Verve, because before I made it my ring tone, it used to get stuck in my head out of the blue all the time.

7) What shirt are you wearing?
It’s a zipup sweater with jewel-toned stripes.

8) What do you label youself as?
See my profile description in the righthand column.

9) Name the brand of shoes you’ve recently worn.
It’s always Doc Marten or Merrell.

10) Bright room or dark room?
Bright over here, dark over there… chiaroscuro, I guess.

11) What were you doing at midnight last night?
Muttering that it was time to go to bed.

12) What did the last text message on your phone say?
Batty told me that it was loud in the bowling alley she was at.

13) Where is your nearest 7-11?
Hop on to Rt. 50, drive about a mile, turn left on Jermantown Rd. It’s on the right.

14) What’s a saying you say a lot?
Typically Anglican “I don’t know how I feel about all that.”

15) Who told you they loved you last?
My future Mr.! (No, it’s still not official, but it gets closer all the time)

16) Last furry thing you touched?
Cody, the owl-monkey hybird. I mean cat.

17) How many drugs have you done in the past three days?*
Caffiene, caffiene, and caffiene. I’m even birth control free.

18) How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?
4, and that’s been true for three years.

19) Favourite age you’ve been so far?
30 was very good. But 35 was also very good. Just different.

20) Your worst enemy?
My teeth.

21) What is your current desktop picture?
well, on the machine that isn’t using a default OSX background, it’s a goody one of the future mr. and me.

22) What was the last thing you said to someone?
I’m reading this meme aloud, but before that, it had something to do with flying monkeys and shiny things. Yes, we’re very strange.

23) If you had to choose between a million bucks and being able to fly, which would you choose?
Can I go with a half-mill and a Prius?
(The future mr. chooses chocolate, then recants and chooses beer.)

24) Do you like someone?
This is where I put in my standard “Who writes these things? 14-year-olds?”
Besides, we all know I have a massive and inexplicable crush on George Clooney and Rob Gifford.

25) The last song you listened to?
The theme song to “Star Blazers,” because that was tonight’s DVD, since the Buffy disc was UNPLAYABLE (Sob….)

*The future mr. says: These things are obviously written by teenagers when they are asking you how many drugs you’ve done in terms of days. By the time you’re in your 30s, you can’t afford them anymore. And if you’re in your 30s and still doing drugs, you need to have children and grow tfu.**

**I should note that several of the men in my life were not inclined to get their acts together until after they had children, so I’ve seen firsthand how the latter sentence works.

Adventures in real estate

I’ve found a house we can afford. It’s way the heck out, between Front Royal and Middletown, but it’s a perfect starter home, and even with no downpayment and a 8% interest rate, we’d be paying what we are now to rent a small box.

This will be my first attempt at even considering buying a house, and it’s about an hour and a half from work, but it’s a mild bike-ride to the park’n’ride.

More searching found even more houses within the “what I’m paying to rent now” price range, though this one has the best access to the interstate and all kinds of improvement potential.

We’re going to look at it.

UPDATE: We found another house to look at. It’s in Front Royal proper, first left-turn off 340 after you cross the Shenandoah, is an 1800s farmhouse complete with wood stove, on 3/4 of an acre. It’s had some work done on it and needs a good bit more, but we’re totally comfortable with that, particularly given its location, size for an in-town lot, and, well, the ambience of a farmhouse with enough rooms for us to provide lodging for any itinerant friends who feel a need to get all Shenandoah National Park-y. And the chance to make it our home, our first home, our first real home…

Please, please pray that we’ll make the “first-time homebuyers” cut. We’re not totally prepared to buy, but we hate to miss a window when God is so clearly opening it.

From Serenity to serendipity

So it turns out that Charlotte Hays, co-author of Being Dead Is No Excuse, is a fourth cousin of mine. (My mom is very obsessive about genealogy, and that side of the family is very well documented.)

It also turns out that she is planning to visit Richmond next weekend. She lives in my neck of the woods.

It also turns out that I am going to the 211th Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia next weekend, also in Richmond.

Mom called me tonight to enquire whether I might be interested in saving her some train fare.

Faint!!!!

Pie Fridays (crossposted from one of my other blogs)

(Key: H–me; D–pre-spousal unit; K–son)

*wham, clank*
H: Was that the salad?
D (sheepish): No. (meaningful pause.) It was the pie.
K (hyper): what? what? what happened? (trying to find the scene in serenity we left D. off at last time)
H (comes around to look): Oh. Pie foul.
(The apples are piled under the bottom crust, the pie plate is empty on the counter.) It’s the pie that didn’t want to be anyway; the apples had tried to go south, the crust tried to be overcooked…
K: Is this the scene?
H: We’re not going to be able to watch it just yet; we’ve had a pie foul.
K: What??! (comes over, peers over counter, gapes)
H (leans over): this part didn’t touch the floor…(rescues a bit of the bottom crust)
D: Oh! You’re right! (helps himself to half the bottom of the pie, gestures to K) Want some of the pie that didn’t touch the floor?
K: Oh, yeah!! (this is his third piece)
D: Come on, H, you know you want to blow a few more points.
H: That’s ok. I’ve already blown too many.
D: (guffaw)
H: (realizes what she just said, only to look up and see K and D lifting their pieces of broken pie to their mouths in perfect synchronization): That’s just wrong on so many levels.
D, K: (crack up)
H: I’m writing this down.
D (to K): So is this your first pie foul?

Random Fairfax Fridays

I really hope they make the Book of Daniel available on DVD, because I always forget to watch it when it’s on. Tonight, I’ve remembered in time, but the television is already booked for a showing of “About a Boy” for son and future-stepfather bonding. And then they will likely overdose on Firefly episodes (sound of me mock complaining, Whedon-addict that I am).

It’s ok, I am making pie and knitting furiously. Son is listening to an audio version of one of the Redwall books. Why is just about every fantasy book read by a densely-accented Brit?