Monday, January 26, 2009

What happened to the idealist?

Last year about this time, I was hopeful. I'd just left a roommate situation that made me want to spend more time out of the apartment than in. I moved close to work and the church plant I was involved in was just getting off the ground. And man, I was going to move mountains. Maybe that vision I'd had the year before, hallucinating on Percocet, where I was flying over the city, seeing everyone touched by God...maybe that would soon be coming true. (Note to reader: don't try to numb a broken heart with Percocet)

And then the shit hit the fan. I broke my toe, which brought out all my minor frustrations with the kids in my job. I had a performance review in which my supervisor basically told me that I was in danger of losing my job if I didn't shape up. The roommates I thought I would be living with spent nearly every night away from the house. I started looking for another job, and I found that the Bosco House, a Catholic Worker community with a mission to house single mothers and their children, needed a live-in staff person. Perfect! I thought. I could get away from my supervisor and actually make a difference in the world.

But it wasn't what I'd planned on. I knew that my social life would suffer somewhat, but I didn't count on having to spend everyday from 4:30-11 sitting on my butt waiting for residents to get home so they could come home and tell me about all the drama they'd gotten themselves into that day. I couldn't spend time with my aging grandparents or my new baby cousin. It turned out to be a former Catholic Worker house, one in which a former worker had damaged ties with the outside community of support. My coworker was negative about the residents and it rubbed off on me. My church continued to meet in a suburban living room instead of a downtown retail space that used to be a strip club. I got grumpy, cynical, bitter, everything I didn't ever want to be. I started to say to myself what I hoped just a year before I would never say, "There has to be more to life than this." I honestly felt, and still kind of feel like God ditched me.

So what really happened?
This Sunday, my church talked about when Jesus going out to the desert for 40 days. Wallowing in my funk, I just sat through it and listen because it didn't seem relevant to me at all. Who sits around talking theology when they're dying inside besides like, David? But one person said "Maybe Jesus didn't know that he'd only be there for 40 days. Maybe he went out there knowing that he had to experience trials, and never knew when or if it would end." That spoke to me. I don't know when I'll finally learn some skills to deal with times when I'm depressed. I don't know if I'll ever not feel lonely. I'm not really ok with that, but recognizing it somehow makes me feel better. I don't know what I believe about God and Jesus at this point. But I know I don't like feeling bitter about being good to people. It's hard to think of people as beloved creations of God when you feel like God has cursed you, but there's a crack in that, and it gives me at least a little ability to wish.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Feel good soundtrack

Sometimes I don't feel good. Sometimes music helps. Here is a list of some feel good songs that I've been into lately. You'll see that I don't really listen to music of my own generation. They don't get it. I was born about 30 years too late.

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
This song breaks my heart into a million tiny pieces every time I hear it. Sometimes I cry because it's so beautiful.

“Chelsea Hotel #2” by Leonard Cohen, sung by Rufus Wainwright
If in was physically mate with someone's voice, I'd pick Rufus. I think the voice is all I'd be able to get, if ya know what I'm sayin'.

“Kathy’s Song” by Simon and Garfunkel
I like this one because it makes Eugene rain seem not so bad.

“Shelter From the Storm” by Bob Dylan
This is just a nice song that perks me up.

“In Spite of Ourselves” by John Prine
A dirty little ditty that makes me giggle.

“Illegal Smile” by John Prine
I grew up listening to one John Prine album that my dad recorded on tape. In my adult years, I was visiting my parents home and went out to the garage, and my dad was listening to that tape and singing along. To a song about marijuana.

“Waltzing Matilda” by Banjo Paterson
I don't think this one needs explanation.

“No Rain” by Blind Melon
I want to dance like a bee girl to this.

“Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin
I can just feel all the soul and energy that Janis poured into this one and it reminds me how good it feels to empty all that emotion out until you've got nothing left to feel. Then you go to sleep.

“Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond
I heard this on one of the last Stargate Atlantis episodes sung by Johnny Cash, and it's been stuck in my head since then.

“And Your Bird Can Sing” by The Beatles
It can. But you don't get me.

“Paradise” by John Prine
Sometimes paradise gets hauled away and all you've got are memories of the way things were.

“Helpless” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

“The Man Who Sold the World” by David Bowie
Bowie wins at practically everything.

“Hold Me Now” by The Polyphonic Spree
If you ever need a pick me up on a grey day, this song delivers.

“April Come She Will” by Simon and Garfunkel
There's always next month.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Project 40: December


“The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century” edited by Harry Turtledove

It’s hard to write a review when the stories in a collection are so diverse. They really are the best of the 20th Century, at least (with the exception of the Connie Willis story…I’m not a fan) they were all really good. It was a good mix of traveling forward and traveling back in time. I think my favorite was the man from the early 20th Century who fell in with the clan of Vikings and they deemed him not even useful enough for “women’s work.” A-

“Promised the Moon” by Stephanie Nolan
In the early 60s, a group of twelve female pilots went through a series of test exactly like those endured by the Mercury 7 astronauts, with the impression that NASA would somehow recognize the tests and accept women into the astronaut-training program. They were wrong. This book is a dramatic history of the unknown women who never had a chance to go into space because of their sex. The book is good…the story itself is rather disappointing because even though I know they never made it, I wanted them to win! A

That's it! 41 books! I'm shooting for 50 this year, so recommend some good ones when you see me.