When I drove back from Chicago
I called my priest-friend
(crying) (bless him)
All, “How do I do this?”
And “this” meant life in general
And he agreed to pray for me
“For an hour, if you need it”
So we prayed.
He asked God to give me patience
And I thought that was kind of odd
But then I had these two weeks
And, actually it was just insightful.
Today I wanted to shake heaven a bit
Smack it around, you know?
(I don’t have the gentleness others would pin on me).
I want to yell,
“I JUST WANT TO DO YOUR STUFF!”
Can you give me a break, God? One simple break?
I get it, OK? I get the cross and the nails and the people spitting and all because I’ve been to church before, OK? I’ve looked at my fair share of crucifixes.
But can’t you give a sister a hand once in a while?
There was a man I met once
In line for confession.
And he reminded me of God’s goodness
He reminded me, inspired me,
And with him and others (thank you, others)
We brought theater and truth and light
Back in the summer of (what was it? ’12?).
He died this last week.
Of brain cancer.
There are some things that make you just want to shake your head.
Another is that I’ve just started
With another church-y thing.
And today (and the past few days) I was told (more or less)
That our priority isn’t the people.
If ministry isn’t about hearts,
What is it about?
I don’t want to hear about your stupid carpet
Your stupid paint-on-the-walls
Your stupid fixtures
TALK TO ME ABOUT THE SCREWED-UP PEOPLE, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE.
Because if we’re not here for them
Why are we here at all?
I can balance a budget and
I can make a mean Excel spreadsheet and
I can write words that touch people and
I can design a fancy, shiny brochures
BUT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT ELSE?
I can listen to the old lady who lives on my street
And when she asks me to read her a phone number
I can take a Sharpie and write it, dark and bold across a piece of envelope
So she can read it later.
And when the deaf man who walks by me in the morning
Calls out to me with unintelligible sounds,
I can turn to him and salute
Until the smile lines appear on the sides of his shining eyes
And these are the
Most important things I’ll do all day
If not the most important things I’ll ever, ever do.
The church tears at me sometimes.
It tears me to pieces.
I almost texted my sister today,
“Kill me now”
And prayed to God today,
“WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME?”
Because sometimes it’s just bloody, bloody hard.
WHY DID YOU TAKE ME OUT OF EGYPT, GOD?? AT LEAST MY CAPTORS WOULD GIVE ME ONIONS AND SHIZZ.
So then I came home and over-salted otherwise-good soup
And listened to spoken-word
And texted said priest-friend
And I made some postcards with quotes
From that recent and super good
(If you haven’t seen it yet–see it.
Friend #1: “I’ve seen in four times.”
Friend #2: “I’ve seen in three times. I’m due for another.”
Real conversations, yo).
And I almost shelled out a coupla dollars to see it again tonight.
Because there are only so many things that keep a woman going when it gets tough like this.
Mostly those things are good art and prayers…for patience.
So, here’s a choppy blog post, friends.
But with a Cinderella print-out for you. You can print it out on cardstock and cut it out and mail these as postcards to your friends.
Because maybe, tonight, someone else needs good art and prayers, too.