Tuesday, May 27, 2008

meme schmeme revisited

I've been tagged for two separate memes so i'll start with the more involved one. Tess tagged me a while ago with this little beauty:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

As most of you know by now, I'm a notorious rule-breaker, so here's the deal...I'll answer the questions, but I won't necessarily follow all the tagging rules. Gol Tess, you're not the boss of me! ;)

1. What were you doing five years ago?

Um, pretty much the same thing I'm doing right now.

2. What are five snacks you enjoy?

This is a tricky question with all of the digestive issues I've had lately...but here are my answers assuming I'm able to digest these things without repercussions:
  • almonds
  • ice cream
  • anything chocolate
  • kettle chips
  • milk duds
3. What are five things on your to-do list today?

I'm posting this at night, so here's my to-do list for tomorrow:
  • get out of bed
  • prepare for an information session for next year's counseling class
  • catch up on work that has been piling up since I got sick
  • show up for several counseling sessions
  • clean my livingroom/sick-room
4. What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?

I suspect that becoming a billionaire would destroy my life, but here's my best guesses at actions that might keep me out of hell:
  • give a lot of it away to several non-profits like this one
  • develop ministry-oriented communities like the one Danny is starting
  • develop and support green initiatives
  • live as simply as possible
  • read a lot
5. What are five of your bad habits?

Only five?
  • procrastinating
  • buying more books when I have stacks that I haven't read yet
  • withdrawing when I'm overwhelmed
  • eating things that have a good chance of making me miserable
  • spending way too much time on-line
6. What are five places where you have lived?
  • I've lived in Minnesota my whole life, but I've moved about eight million times. I've lived in the worst neighborhoods and some very respectable neighborhoods, and if you want to know the truth, I prefer diverse, edgier areas. That's where I grew up, and that's where I feel most at home.
7. What are five jobs you've had?
  • nurse
  • pastor/counselor
  • business forms designer (before computers did this)
  • nanny
  • program instructor for handicapped adults
8. What five people do you want to tag?

Oh, I think you know who you are. Actually, whoever feels moved by this meme can consider themselves tagged.

I was tagged for a second meme by several people. James, Tammy and Nate asked me to list six random things about myself. Here goes...

  • I started smoking in the first grade. My babysitter taught me how. Of course, when you're in the first grade, you only smoke other people's butts or cigarettes that you manage to steal here and there, so I guess I also started to steal in the first grade.
  • My uncle was a member of the hell's outcasts motorcycle gang, so periodically during my formative years, we had several motorcycle thugs living with us. They were the gentlest people I ever knew, and were always willing to share their cigarettes.
  • I had a color-blind art teacher in high school.
  • I have two cocker spaniels who sometimes make my life a misery and other times make me deliriously happy.
  • My husband's eighty-five year old mother lives with us. She still drives and has more of a social life than I do.
  • As a part of my role on the board of a small non-profit ministry, I have been to Haiti more times than I can count. On the first of these trips, the house I was staying in burned to the ground. It changed my life.
So there you go. How's that for random? And anyone reading this who is so inclined can consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

pain math

i'm seriously no good at math, but i couldn't prove that to you by showing you my transcripts. i aced every class i ever took. in fact, i took a statistics class in college back in the days when you had to do all those problems manually and it would take two pages to solve one problem (yes, that was an "i'm old" reference), and even though i was terrified going into it i ended up helping other students. it always struck me as miraculous that i would come up with the right answer after all of those mathematic gymnastics. the problem is that if you tested me a month after the class ended i would flunk the test i previously breezed through. numbers don't seem to stay in my head. even simple things like the multiplication tables can't seem to stay put. i've memorized them about eight million times and they just don't stick.

that's what i feel like when it comes to pain. i've been in a lot of pain recently, and i guess you could say that i've experienced a lot of pain my whole life. (no worries, i'm not seriously ill.) if it's true that pain teaches you things (and i believe that's true) then i should be a pain genius, but i'm not. the lessons slip away so quickly and very soon after the pain subsides i forget what i've learned. so here's my attempt at capturing what i've learned from this latest run-in with my old teacher...my latest pain exam. i'd better write it down before it pours out of me like water.
  1. i am finite. probably all of you learned that a long time ago, but i pretty much live my life as though this was negotiable. i have limits, and i ignore them at my own peril.
  2. i need other people. it's hard for me to ask for help, but then pain comes along and demands that i live my life in the context of closely woven relationships. weird. but very, very good.
  3. the world doesn't really need me. please don't argue with me on this one...it will only sustain my poisonous illusions. the world plugged along just fine while i was sick, and it would have plugged along just fine even if i didn't recover and could never again do any of the things i'm doing now.
  4. my value doesn't have anything to do with my activity. i can't explain how pain teaches me this...maybe it's just that it stops me long enough to realize that i am valued apart from my contributions. it's easy for me to forget about that.
  5. there is something more real than pain. when i am helplessly at the end of myself, i always bump up against something larger than me. it's very similar to what happens when i go on my silent retreats, only much less comfortable. somehow, God shows up.
so there it is, the algebra of my pain. i'm sure i'll slip into my normal amnesia soon enough. but the people around me will probably keep reminding me in that annoying way they do. and if they forget too, pain is always willing to lend a hand and bring me through my multiplication tables once again.

i just realized that i never updated you on how i'm doing...i was discharged from the hospital on tuesday and i'm feeling much better. i'll return to work on monday. thanks for the prayers and kind words. love to all of you...

Monday, May 12, 2008


well, i guess i'm going to be hanging out in hospital world for a little while longer. thanks everyone for the kind words. i'm getting really good care, and i'm feeling about a million times better than i have in a very long time. i still have a bit of a foggy brain, but i'll write something more coherent soon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

where i've been

i know i've been conspicuously missing lately so i thought i should check in and let you all know what's up. i'm writing this from a hospital bed, but before you freak out, i'm much better and probably will be discharged tomorrow if things continue to go well. i'd rather not go into all the gory details, but just know that i'll be fine, and i'll post more when my brain comes back on-line a little more. i just didn't want any of you to feel like i was ignoring you. hopefully, i'll be making my way to visit your blogs soon.