Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is It Just What It Is?

I would like to say I reject stereotypes. I think most conscientious, free-thinking adults would say they do the same. But those same conscientious, free-thinking adults would also have to admit that sometimes it seems that stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason... which is a cliche, not a stereotype.

Gender roles are a particularly stereotype-laden field of play. Once you add partnership, family and God forbid(!) a sense of call to a vocation in this world things can get really confusing.

I always fought against these stereotypes. I always figured that as long as you had the right balance of qualities needed to make a partnership work, then it will work. For instance my ex, dead m-i-l could never wrap her judgmental, small mind around the division of labor in our household. One time I left her and tdx in the kitchen so that they could talk. I was in our new dining room hanging up a light in the ceiling. She came all the way out of the kitchen to find me up on a ladder, dust raining down on my head as I drilled into the ceiling to ask me where some sort of special cooking utensil was. When I told her I didn't know but tdx was right there in the kitchen and he would surely know she responded:
"A woman doesn't know where things are in her own kitchen?"
I had had enough at this point (there were a lot of these points in our history) and I said, "Don't you get it - I'm the guy, HE'S the girl!"

It seemed witty and smart-ass at the time but now my marriage is over and I can't help but wonder if maybe butting so hard against the stereotype didn't have something to do with it.

The majority of sitcoms portray men as the silly, goofy ones and the women as the hard-ass ones who keep the family running and make the decisions. They treat their husbands like another child. "Just for laughs," I would tell myself as I stopped watching Everybody Loves Raymond for that very reason. Today a sports radio talk show had the two hosts talking about how their wives make all of the decisions in their household - which they are happy for - further playing up the stereotype.

The husband as another child is a stereotype I rejected. The way I sometimes put it post-divorce is that I gave tdx enough rope to hang himself. He chose not to pursue certain career paths, he chose to stay in the home rather than venturing out, he chose to do other things that I disagreed with but those were his choices. I did not think it was my place to manipulate another human being into doing things the way I wanted to do them simply because society says it is up to me as woman to run the house and everyone in it.

Should I have addressed some things earlier that were impacting our partnership and family life? Absolutely. But I wanted him to be the one that made the decisions... and of course now we know he was/is incapable of that.

Each member of a partnership being equally responsible for decisions that impact the household; sounds good, right?

But stereotypes are that way for a reason.
And I just cannot buy in.

As I contemplate the potential for a future (VERY future), healthy relationship I'm just not sure where all of that leaves me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Portal to the Future

My 16 year old nephew is here. I know this because large quantities of food have gone missing and dvd's are being viewed at really random times. Those of you with teenages may be thinking, "tell me about it." We are having a good visit, don't get me wrong, but his girlfriend lives here (he lives in Florida) so I am really not the main attraction.

Once you have a child it seems like everyone who already has one HAS to tell you how fast it goes. And I've witnessed the rapid rate at which my infant has seemingly become a little man. He actually yelled up the stairs the other day, "Hey Ma! I'm going outside!"
I had to hold myself from responding, "Don't forget to take out the garbage!"

I am thankful for my nephew being here for a lot of reasons with one of them being for this brief portal into the future. So don't mind me if instead of doing all of the things on my never-ending 'to do' list I choose to sit on the couch as requested by my 3 and a half year old. There simply is no other choice when he says, "Mommy, I made a place for you next to me."

I wonder if this kind of window of time is part of what had Jesus so frustrated with the disciples and the crowds and the leaders of the day. Who cares about eating, arbitrary rules and yes even family, when the Son of God is only in the earthly kingdom for so short of an amount of time.

This week's lectionary text is Matthew's version of the feeding of the 5,000. Don't send the people away, feed them here. We have plenty. There is no time in this earthly kingdom to waste.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sign of the Times

My five second thought process when I saw this sign at the rollercoaster:
Wow... that's more than a little insulting, oh wait... I'm riding by myself, they don't care if I'm divorced (laugh at loud) that'll blog.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Catching Up

'Catching up' is my theme this week as I catch up with my sleep, nephew, and you.

a) Catching up on sleep...

Last Friday The Boy came home asleep in the car. There was no waking him up... until 2am when he woke up on his own, came into my room and said, "Mom! Mom! I want to be wake up!" There was no convincing him otherwise. He's three and 1/2 and he had 9 hours of sleep.

My Mom had stayed over since the original plan was that I would leave at 5:30am for the bike ride and in order to keep her rested we went downstairs where I grabbed what naps I could in between requests for a different movie, Cheerios, juice and "will you please play with cars, please."

5am I finally rouse my Mom because there is no way to get out the door without her presence and even though I was up at 2 I end up leaving late which means I end up finally getting on my bike an hour late which I know means I am going to pay for it on the other end in heat exhaustion.

52 miles on the bike, without pushing too hard due to tendinitis-y knees and a fear of not having enough left at the end, translates into five hours on the bike. You never go more than 10 miles without a rest stop so it really ends up being a nice ride but that last hour in the sun and humidity is something I am still paying for. So I am catching up on sleep and energy... still.

b) Catching up on nephew...

My nephew from Florida is staying with me for a couple of weeks. He is 16 so it took me THREE grocery store trips to catch up to his eating needs. It's fun to have him up here and I know it is good for him too as his family can be a little intense (in my opinion). His family was up here last year when I heard the news about TOW1 and in a very odd choice decided to STAY IN MY HOME as tdx and I walked big circles around each other and the life I knew crumbled apart. tdx and nephew's Dad are brothers so that explains the inherited trait of ignoring conflict.

Nephew's sister is the one who once asked me why I was wearing boy shoes.
I was wearing sneakers.

Anyway, nephew and I get along great and so far he has totally pitched in without being asked and is a joy to have around a both dog and boy have a playmate.

c) Catching up on you...
How ARE you? Thank you for continuing to check in here. I have been slowly making the mental transition to returning back to humorous musings and short essays on life as clergy and human being rather than a spew-fest of 'Why My Life Sucks Today'. Still, single-parenting, full-time working, and job searching has taken a bite out of my schedule and I fear blog surfing and posting has been one of the first things to be moved down the 'to do' list.

I miss you.

Some random happy thoughts:
- The weather today is GORGEOUS. Low 80's, no humidity. Thank you may I have another!
- Over $1300 raised for MS. WOW!!! You all are wonderful as I know your prayers were absolutely behind me. THANK YOU!
- I still love my tattoo. Love. It.
- The Boy - even at 2am - is awesome. I am hoping to get a pic soon of the two of us together since that is one thing that doesn't naturally happen anymore.

More soon....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Overheated Update

I am home and reasonably sound. The ride was 52 miles and I did a slow grind of it over 5 hours. The last hour especially was brutal. "Scorching" was the word I heard a lot.

My knees are sore and my face remains hot to the touch and I continue to drink water and yet still be thirsty. These are all things that will pass soon enough.

I will post a more detailed account later in the week but wanted to quickly say thanks!

will smama

Friday, July 18, 2008

You're Rubber, I'm Glue...

... what has stuck to me, bounced off you.

Or something like that. I put up the guilt post and now I feel guilty because it actually worked! What generosity you all have shown me and the friends I represent.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

The weather tomorrow promises to make the ride a bear, especially the last two hours of it. I will post about it when I physically can. One of the fun parts of this journey is my mind is free to roam and I usually come up with quite a few posts. This time I will bring a pencil and my BE moleskin notepad to jot things down so I can clear my mind for the next thing.

It will once again be interesting to note what a difference a year makes.

Thanks again all of you for your generosity. I am so touched. Wow.

Please pray for health and safety for all of the riders and a CURE FOR MS!

Peace friends,
will smama

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Guilt (Bike) Trip

Not to channel my Jewish grandmother or anything, but both tdx AND TOW1 have contributed to the ride. What are you waiting for?

Please help fight MS!!!"

Monday, July 14, 2008


Hi all (if anyone is left). Sorry about the time between posts.

Right now if you are lectionary preachers or lectionary listeners then you are in the midst of gardening/sowing/farming/weeding and soon, mustarding. They are good solid parables with plenty of room for discussion and pontifications and illustrations. Maybe too much room.

As a former Youth Director I have plenty of experience with seeds that don't grow until much - much - much later. Two of the youth who drove me the most crazy are now pursuing their calls in ministry, one as a certified Director of Christian Education and the other as an ordained Minister of the Word and Sacrament. If you had told me this then, I would have scoffed. Seriously.

As I try to be patient with the process of moving from here, the ripple-effect of choices made by others continues to impact the day-to-day ministry and even life that I lead here. I'm ok thanks to a strong support system (you included) but I am also seriously looking forward to serving in a congregation where I am not paying for the sins of others. Or at least not paying for the sins of one who was once my significant other.

Today I needed to hear a friendly voice and so I called a higher-up in my Support System and she reminded me of the parables that we have been working with this month. I have planted seeds here. I know I have, but right now I am not going to see the growth from those. Too many weeds.

Hopefully some day when someone is in the midst of the valley they will remember me and remember that during my own time of major trial I stood up and preached an Easter sermon. Because God is that good even when we don't feel it. Maybe one of the young women in our youth group will head to seminary or the mission field. Maybe someone will remember that God has a sense of humor too.

I know this place has planted seeds in me and I am looking forward to that growth as well.

I just could do without the growing pains.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Chip Off the Ol' Block

One of the challenges for me at these Christian music festivals are the speakers. They are good speakers and I know their overall audience is the younger set, not me but still... sometimes their messages just make me cringe. As a Youth Director I was always careful to follow up with my youth about making a decision to follow Christ not just with your emotions, but also with your head.

Simply put, if you are getting baptized every year at the festival, then it's time to rethink what a committment to Christ is.

I brought The Boy up to the stadium so we could eat dinner during the speaker with our group and be ready for the concerts to start. The speaker was hard to see, but there were huge screens on either side of the stage that kept showing close-ups of him. He was a heavy-set man and it was a hot and steamy day so as his message got more intense his face became more and more flushed and part of his hair was wild and crazy and the other part was matted down and he became more and more animated and was screaming his message into the microphone and right when he gave a dramatic pause my son (age 3) declared loud enough for a huge section of people to hear:

"Mommy, this guy is from Crazy Town!"

I couldn't be more proud.