Update

Yes, I haven’t posted in over a week. I’m still alive. Kind of. Flu. Maybe I’ll sit down tomorrow at some point and get together a summary of the past week. There’s certainly enough to write about…. Nothing overly dramatic, mind you, just a usual week’s worth of stuff.

‘Jesus Shaves’

This is the title of one of my favourite David Sedaris stories, in which he writes about his French class attempting to explain—in French—the concept of Easter to a Moroccan student. In it, David also learns that they don’t have the Easter Bunny in France, but a bell that flies in from Rome to distribute chocolates to children. He’s rather unimpressed with a bell and thinks it highly improbably: ‘I called for a time-out. “But how do the bell know where you live?”

“Well,” she said, “how does a rabbit?”

It was a decent point, but at least a rabbit has eyes. That’s a start…’

Here’s the conclusion to the story, which seemed appropriate to post as we head into Easter weekend.

Nothing we said was of any help to the Moroccan student. A dead man with long hair supposedly living with her father, a leg of lamb served with palm fronds and chocolate; equally confused and disgusted, she shrugged her massive shoulders and turned her attention back to the comic book she kept hidden beneath her binder.

I wondered then if, without the language barrier, my classmates and I could have done a better job making sense of Christianity, an idea that sounds pretty far-fetched to begin with.

In communicating any religious belief, the operative word is faith, a concept illustrated by our very presence in that classroom. Why bother struggling with the grammar lessons of a six-year-old if each of us didn’t believe that, against all reason, we might eventually improve? If I could hope to one day carry on a fluent conversation, it was a relatively short leap to believing that a rabbit might visit my home in the middle of the night, leaving behind a handful of chocolate kisses and a carton of menthol cigarettes. So why stop there? If I could believe in myself, why not give other improbabilities the benefit of the doubt? I told myself that despite her past behaviour, my teacher was a kind and loving person who only had my best interests at heart. I accepted the idea that an omniscient God had cast me in his own image and that he watched over me and guided me from one place to the next. The Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and the countless miracles—my heart expanded to encompass all the wonders and possibilities of the universe.

A bell, though—that’s fucked up.

Such horrible business/formal language…

…why can’t people write?

But….

…I am in receipt of your resume for the Program Assistant position at the Boston Foundation.

We are currently reviewing your background to determine if there is a match. If your background fits our needs, we will contact you.

Thank you for your interest in working at the Boston Foundation.

Sincerely,…

This is the first nibble I’ve gotten back from the resumes I’ve sent out thus far. I realise it’s just a form-letter response. But it’s something! 😀

Allergies and Emotion

They have returned. My allergies, that is. It’s a good sign since it means that Spring is here. And before any of you back in Montreal post any comments–I don’t care if you all got sick after I did, I still say that those were allergies and not a cold!

For the past two weeks or so, I’ve had these really low-level and annoying symptoms. Scratchy throat. Itchy nose. To top it all off, my wisdom teeth have been acting up again. Correction. One wisdom tooth. The lower left one. So I’ve not been sleeping great either.

The wisdom tooth seems to be calming down though, at least. It’s kind of odd, actually. They’ve been trying to come in for seven or eight years now. The dentist always tells me that I have plenty of room and that they’re not impacted. They’re just taking their sweet ass time. The two top ones are in. It’s the two bottom ones now. The really odd part about it, though, is that they always act up in the Spring. Except that for the past five years–when I was living in Montreal–they started acting up around May or so. They’re a month early. Which leads me to assume that my body is in tune with the actual temperature and weather in some weird way and that it’s not just connected to a 12-month cycle of my wisdom teeth giving it a go and then resting.

As for emotion. It’s something that I’m lacking. Not as regards the break-up but as regards church. It’s been about two months now that I’ve been going every Sunday. Well, I missed one week because I had to work Sunday morning. I don’t dislike it. I decided that I would go at least through Easter, which is this coming Sunday. I think I’ll keep going. I was thinking about it Sunday night at work and I realised that although I’ve very easily opened up to this intellectually, to listening attentively to the readings, to the sermons, thinking about what the prayers and call-and-responses actually mean and not just letting them be rote recitations, I’ve not yet, it seems, been able to open up to it emotionally.

When I was growing up, I always got excited about going to church. We never went on any regular basis though I wanted to. I was an altar boy by my own decision (not that I was discouraged) but my parents would always drive me to church when I had to serve a mass and then go home. They never actually went to the mass itself. During the summer–especially if I had an 8.15 mass to serve–it wasn’t out of the question for them to have me walk to church. It was only a 10-15 minute walk after all. And it was something I was happy to do, feeling kind of cool and kind of completely idiotic walking down the street carrying my altar boy robes. I think once I actually walked to church wearing them.

Before I became utterly disenchanted with the Catholic church, though, going to mass stirred so much in me. The music. The candles. The singing. The prayers. I connected with it on a fairly deep level. Part of me wonders if maybe it was because I was so young and that there was just so much mystery to all of it. I suspect that we’re much more open to mystery and wonder when we’re young. By the time we become adults, we’ve become too disenchanted with the lies of the world to readily open up to mystery again.

What made me really realise that I hadn’t yet really connected or opened up to the emotional aspect of going to church was during the procession of the palms this past Sunday, Palm Sunday. At the opening of the service, the entire congregation is supposed to process around the church, singing hymns, holding and/or waving palm fronds, as a re-enactment of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Of course, not the entire congregation did process. Most people just stayed in their pews, but there was a fair number of people. I was sitting alone, as usual, towards the end of a pew in the second to last row. As the procession passed me, one of the assistant ministers reached out to me and motioned for me to join the procession. I would have felt like an ass had I not joined.

So I did. And I kept singing. And holding my palm frond. And processing.

But it was all just motions.

There’s one part of the service, though, that stirs something. And it always has. From the time I was a kid, through the few times that I went to mass after I’d been confirmed, and every time that I’ve gone to church these past few months. At the very beginning of the celebration of the eucharist, the minister says, ‘The Lord be with you,’ to which the congregation responds, ‘And also with you.’ ‘Lift up your hearts.’ ‘We lift them up to the Lord.’ ‘Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.’ ‘It is right to give him thanks and praise.’

There’s something in those brief lines that stirs something in my heart. So, I have some kernel of emotion to work with, perhaps. Part of me wonders if I’ve just been so emotionally pre-occupied that I have little to spare for this new venture. But I suspect that much more likely is that I really will need to work at opening myself up again to this kind of experience, something that I had closed myself to for so long.

Wait, wait…

I’m listening to ‘Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me’ for the first time since the breakup.

It wasn’t a solid tradition, but often we’d wake up together on Saturday mornings and do our best to stay in bed to listen to ‘Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me’ together. I never listened to it before I dated him so it has a very strong connection in my mind to him.

I’m enjoying it and not at all depressed and morose about the fact that I’m not snuggling with him right now while listening to it.

As Martha would say, this is a good thing.

Zen?

I was reading through old blog entries last night. Really old. From before I was even here on blogger. Back in my blurty days.

I found one about running into a guy that I dated briefly back in Montreal. In a lot of ways, he was the French-Canadian version of the minister. The post was about running into him many months after we’d broken things off–though we weren’t together very long.

It was a different situation, obviously, but it was good to read about him and to remember him and to remember how I felt when that ended and how it felt to see him again. It made me realise–and hammered home the point to a certain extent–that things will get better. And that amazing people can and will come into my life again.

That’s unfair, in a way, because I’m surrounded by amazing people. All of my friends are amazing people. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be my friends.

I will meet someone as amazing, if not more so, at some point. It won’t be tomorrow. It might be. But not likely.

My heart needs time to mend, that much is for sure. But it will. And it’s started to already. I have a long way to go, no doubt. But it’ll get there. And, hopefully, I’ll still have him in my life as a friend when I get there.

In any event, I’ve yet another song to post. I know that seems to be all I’ve been posting recently but it’s part of my coping process. Deal. I certainly am.

‘For Good’ from Wicked

ELPHABA
I’m limited.
Just look at me – I’m limited
And just look at you –
You can do all I couldn’t do, Glinda
So now it’s up to you
For both of us
Now it’s up to you

GLINDA
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

ELPHABA
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend
Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you

GLINDA
Because I knew you

BOTH
I have been changed for good

ELPHABA
And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I’ve done you blame me for

GLINDA
But then, I guess we know
There’s blame to share

BOTH
And none of it seems to matter anymore

GLINDA (ELPHABA)
Like a comet pulled (Like a ship blown)
From orbit as it (Off it’s mooring)
Passes a sun, like (By a wind off the)
A stream that meets (Sea, like a seed)
A boulder, half-way (Dropped by a)
Through the wood (Bird in the wood)

BOTH
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
I do believe I have been changed for the better

GLINDA
And because I knew you

ELPHABA
Because I knew you

BOTH
Because I knew you
I have been changed for good.