April 29, 2013
Lessons Learned: A Memorial, ME Newsletter Vol. 6, Issue 18
Feeling the loss of a wonderful person and mentor, and the pain that goes along with it. For those of you who knew her, and those of you who didn’t, the following are my snapshot memories, which I am gladly sharing with you.
It seemed Chris didn’t particularly like having her picture taken. Most of the time, her hands, or her clipboard, or her hair purposefully got in the way. I don’t know why. She was a beautiful woman with an amazing smile. Somewhere, though, I do have one picture. She couldn’t avoid it, since her hands were full carrying a music themed thirtieth birthday cake. I’m sure I could find it in one of many boxes of memories, but I really don’t need to. It’s vivid memory, even without it.
Lessons learned: a picture you may not want taken now, may be a comfort in years to come, and black icing creates black tongues and black lips and lots of laughter.
I very much admired Chris’ ability to not let anyone ruffle her feathers, no matter how hard they tried. In my thirties, it was an unfathomable mystery. Heading into fifty, I well understand it now. I shake my head at the thirty-somethings I know - boiling over, letting off steam, jet-propelling right past an easy solution. I am glad to have such a peacefully, dedicated spirit to emulate.
Lessons learned: be the best example you can even if you’re not getting through to anyone; someday it will catch up to someone and they will finally see the wisdom in it.
A few days before an Asylum staff white- elephant holiday exchange, Chris showed me some canisters she was planning to get rid of. We decided that she would bring them to the event. We were pretty sure that no one else would want them as much I did. They matched the ridiculous chicken border in my kitchen. I’m not 100% sure who I traded a bottle of wine for the chickens. I do remember it was a very fun trade. I still have those chicken canisters. I've thought of her every time I've packed and unpacked them, and sometimes when they’ve unexpectedly caught my eye from their top shelf perch. I really wish I'd told her that they, and she, have stayed with me for all these years.
Lessons learned: Only a true friend would see the value of making someone happy with something no one else would want, and if you’re the recipient of such a treasured gift, you should never stop saying, “Thank you.”
My favorite Chris moment of all occurred in the tiny Asylum Records kitchen one morning. After putting my lunch away, my head came up from behind the refrigerator door to see Chris standing there with an empty coffee cup and a silly grin. She nudged up next to me, and whispered conspiratorially, “I just wanted you to know that Kyle and I are seeing each other… just in case you come around the corner too fast someday and catch us kissing.”
Lessons learned: it’s not always easy to deal with a fast-moving New Yorker, and most importantly of all… when love makes you glow, you should let everybody know.
May your happiest memories carry you through.
With fond regards,
April 23, 2013
Bad Things Happen, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 17
Growing up holidays were more about tradition than religion. Most of the time, they centered about food. Passover Seder dictates historical, emotionally significant dishes; matzoh, bitter herbs, haroseth. Hamantashen for Purim reminded us of Haman’s triangular shaped hat. On Yom Kippur we ate honey and apples to bring us into a sweet new year.
So, I’ve been thinking about Christmas, and Easter, and although there are traditional family recipes we expect to enjoy, there isn’t any specific holiday-honoring food demonstrating or pictorially representing the birth and death and rebirth of Jesus. That is handled in Communion.
Hallmark holidays are pretty much the only ones where no one has suffered. Unless you count the childbirth suffering required in order to participate in a Mother’s Day of your own, in which case I’d have to agree, but not from experience. In the same way, very few of us can claim the direct experience of having lived the history of any given holiday, still we understand the significance of the events
Most Holy Days are set as reminders rooted in seriousness. Bad things happen. National holidays follow this rote, as well. Their main purpose is reflection; often on gruesome events with a “whew” sort of subtext. First the horror or the hardship, then delayed thankfulness.
Freedoms are a huge part of it. I’m having trouble applying that to now, as waves of upset, strife, mass shootings, mass knifings, and explosions rock our world and our souls to the core. I, for one, remain caught; swaying between the repercussions of ’HIS will be done,’ and crying out for intervention.
April 16, 2013
Counting Happy, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 16
Post by Philosophical Friend: You don't have to be happy all the time in your life maybe just sometimes
Reply from a near double-decade sage: That's stupid
I recognize it, now; I tortured myself from a very young age with unguided imagery. No one planted these ideals in my head. I gathered them from books, TV shows, and movies. Always, a happy ending made the suffering worth it, whatever the fictional price. No one ever promised me that I would have a happy ending-point and then, from that point on, my life would be… happy. I just believed it would be.
I figured out the obvious in my teens. Nothing had worked out, so far. Nothing had made me happy. That’s when I turned from quiet brainiac to pouting rebel. Rainbow hair, pierced nails, one long & one-short earring. I even clockworked a little bit; right side blonde and short, left side black and longer, left side full make-up , right side significantly less.
Managed to conformed a little for a Manhattan retail job, but even then I was warned I was pushing the limits. limits. I wasn’t following fads or on-boarding trends.The fashion industry expects fashion conformity, so walked away from that.
I found an easy crowd to fit in with: musicians and artists. There office outlandish was acceptable. Fishnets, satin bubble mini-skirt, silk previously retired men’ pajama tops, lace gloves, uniform rebel docs, multiple necklaces and bracelets, funky hats. Negativity was the norm. That wasn’t really happy, either.
Then came London - where I found leopard print, large frame eye glasses no one in New York could boast, and a unique bi-color hairdo a Japanese magazine photographer stopped me on the street to record on film.
Then came Nashville – where eventually someone had to ask me, “Do you ever wear anything but black?” “Of course,” I replied, “Navy Blue, Dark Brown and Storm Grey.” An attempt to keep the white blonde part white in Nashville, turned into pink. Pink so wasn’t me, either.
No matter what, Happiness managed not only to efficiently evade me, but danced away laughing.
Finally, and lastly, Michigan found a way to show me. Here is what I know:
Being pleased with your life is a wonderful long-term thing, but happiness…?
Happiness is a notch above, usually for a shorter time than we'd like.
How would we know what happy was if it didn't sweep in and out of our lives, in response to our changes, while GOD remains the same?
We forget to trust in what GOD has for us. We allow the folly of supposed riches wind us down into the valley and climb for the mountain top believing someday we’ll get there. We believe that someday a dapper-coated gentleman will tap lightly on our shoulder, hand us everything we think we desire, and we’ll spend the rest of our days in splendor. We believe we are forging ahead when we are truly wandering aimlessly. We simply forget to check our path. Because we are human: not GOD-lik. Because we are imperfect. That is why no one can be happy all the time.
Happiness can only be counted in moments.
So, count them.
Safe-guard the memories.
Someday ahead, you’ll need them to remind you
that you were indeed happy once, and for a while;
Trust that now may not be your time,
Act on this: happiness is something you can give away,
To whomever you choose,
Even if you don’t have any, at any particular time.
"Whosoever trusteth in the Lord, happy is he." - Proverbs 16:20
April 09, 2013
Wickity Wak, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 15
Wickity Wickity Wak!
13 is an interesting age between silly and seriousness and the switch flips rapidly. Approaching 13 x 3.8462 (not exactly, but close enough) it’s getting easier to be silly.
After all… why not? I think I’ve earned it. Through seriousness and struggling, it’s been chasing me for years. I’ve let it catch up to me once in a while, and it’s always felt good. Still, I’ve always stepped away from foolishness for the chase. I’ve been chasing success for years. That tunnel isn’t exactly straight, though.
Each time I believe I am about to step into that end-place glow, I find myself at a bend staring at a cleverly placed corner mirror that was only ever promising something much further down the line. It’s good to aim for something but the prize can’t be found at an ever moving end.
I’ve adjusted. I no longer care how far away the light is at the end of the tunnel. I can see it there, and that is all that matters. I’ll get there when I get there. And, when I get there, well, then, I will have arrived. Truly, there is no need to rush, which leaves way more time to be silly.
Anyway, back to 13 – the former age of creating cassette tapes of pretend radio shows, interviews and commercials and theme songs, giggling when we came up with new ideas, laughing until we can’t breathe when we mess up our previously awesome rehearsal. Not that much has changed, except now I’m re-embracing my inner 13 alongside a real 13. We’re recording original songs and ringtones on phones. The giggling and laughter remains the same, and that in its own right is quite a success.
April 02, 2013
Care, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 14
Just as I am getting back into my post-surgery life, making decisions based on age and supposed maturity, the same old sticky cog throws the wagon into a tight spin. Dizziness ensues as I try to differentiate mature acceptance from post-adolescent apathy. I’m not apathetic. Of course I care. Obviously I care, or I wouldn’t be so beside-myself upset. I just don’t … care.
I don’t care in measurements: Is it too much of an effort? To get upset?
Yeah, that’s too much effort. To fight back? Yeah. Too much effort.
I take a few necessary clarifying and oxygen restocking breaths and sit way back before I file what will undoubtably be unpleasant unopened emails into my “I’m Never Going to Open This” mailbox folder. The only way to control reaction is to eliminate the barb. Yanking it out is the only way, still that leaves a bloody mess and more heart scars.
I was just coming down from an idiot-induced house-cleaning rampage, wearing workout yoga pants, because I figured wearing them would allow me to count chores as exercise, when I came across a forgotten repackaged-for-freshness baggie of Zingermans Raspberry Marshmallow Bunnytails. I popped one in my mouth, moisturized my unhappy hands, and decided to peruse Facebook just to see if anyone else was having as fantastic a day and night as I’ve had. You know, misery loves company and all that malarky. My misery doesn’t love company. My misery has established that inviting difficult persons into my life in order to win them over is a ridiculous way to live. The familiar family motto “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer,” requires energy expenditure.
Is that too much effort? Yeah, it is. I see no reason to keep strife causers close to my heart or even within hug range. Periferal distance is fine.
Another troublesome tole, touted by many, but not entirely understood grows from Mark 12:28-31
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Surface simplicity backfires. We tend to pull this phrase out defensively, erroneously using it as a situational rebuttal and warning. It finds itself lumped in with another hastily thrown defense: ‘Do Unto Others as You would have them Do Unto You.’ We twist it to our advantage – justifying treating others as they have treated us.
The real problem is this: Loving our neighbors as ourselves requires loving ourselves!
We tend to treat others the way we treat ourselves. Who among us really loves themselves?
Who has never had a single “I wish I hadn’t done that,” or “I wish I hadn’t said that,” or “I wish I hadn’t wore that/eaten that/written that,” or other serious non-self-forgiving moment?
If we are to love ourselves as GOD love us; if we are to forgive ourselves as GOD has forgiven us, we could master unusual peace, replacing it with every day peace… and eliminating rage induced house-cleaning altogether.