Thursday, April 26, 2007

Very belated Friday Five: Surprised by Joy

From RevGalBlogPals, which I, err, seem to have joined.
Jesus said to them, "Children, you have no fish, have you?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. (John 21:5-7)

Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5b)

This week I've been watching parents of the young people slain at Virgina Tech trying to make meaning out of the lives of their lost children, and each one seems to begin by focusing on something joyful about that child. It's a gift that most humans have brains wired to respond in that way. For some of us it can be harder to work our way out of dark places, but I believe joy remains the key. It is the spirit of resurrection.

Tell us about five people, places, or things that have brought surprising, healing joy into your life.

This is a particularly appropriate day for me to finally get round to this post. Half of yesterday and all of today I've been buried under a crushing 'cannot do anything' depression; I have the feeling that it's a crash from the up-and-down emotions of the weekend. Not surprising on reflection but I wish I'd realized it might happen.

I've been forcing myself into a semblance of usefulness anyway. I'm at work, and have done most of the things the boss wanted me to get done today (saving a bit of pricing, as I can't find the bloody pricing gun). I did a logo for my mom earlier, and a bit of jobhunting. So not a day entirely wasted, though at times it feels like I'm dragging myself through molasses to move; at times I have to remind myself to breathe.

So why joy, on a day which doesn't hold much joy for me? Because I need the reminder. It's good for me to think about what is good, at this moment when it feels like there is so very much that's not good. So herewith my five.

1) Shanti, who came into my life entirely unexpectedly. Back when I worked in Boulder, Tim and I were outside taking a smoke break (well, he was smoking, I wasn't) and saw, trotting across the field, a beautiful long-haired black cat. I made pss-pss-pss noises (I am rather a sucker when it comes to cats) and she ran over, crying, and began to rub furiously against my legs. I bent to pet her, and found that she was skinny, and her fur was terribly matted down her sides.

Needless to say, I now have a lovely, long-haired, spoiled, well-fed, frequently-brushed black cat. She walks between me and the monitor, and then lays down on my wrist rest so that I simply cannot type. She's nearly shredded her way through one of the two window screens in my bedroom. She's escaped upwards of fifteen times, never longer than ten minutes at a time since she usually runs a little way and then lays down. She's not a lap cat, won't lay down on top of me or on my pillow when I'm in bed, but consistently lays curled up next to my pillow. She goes for walks with me, on a leash, and if I'm not going to the apartment office anyway she'll drag me there so the apartment ladies pay attention to her. She poings. She zooms. She tries to chase birds, dragging me clumsy and loud along behind her, and I always scare them off. And then she'll come back to me and rub against my legs just to let me know she loves me anyway.

2) The people I've met, mostly here at blogspot and more generally through my blogs here. Hedwyg and her daily gratitude posts, reminding me that there's still joy to be had. Plain Foolish who brought me here in the first place and never fails to make me think. Wulfila for reminding me that you can be Christian and something else at the same time, and make it work. Brian and his inspiring, and fascinating, quest for equality and understanding. Mother Laura for constant encouragement and the occasional well-placed provocation. And so, so many others; check my blogroll, and I know I'm missing people who should be in that list, too.

3) Ray. I knew what I was going to get from Tim when I moved out here, more or less. We'd known each other for years, after all; talked online incessantly, met for brief, intense and all-too-rare flings a few times a year. Ray and I? Had met once, talked on the phone a few times. Only knew each other through Tim. I had very little idea what to expect and I don't think he did either. And we drive each other nuts, we've had our snippy moments, days of avoiding each other, total lacks of understanding. And we've also had moments of encouraging each other to keep moving, days when each dragged the other out of the house for a bike ride or to go work in the garden. Shared laughter and sometimes tears, worked on dinner together. Joined forces in jollying Tim out of a bad mood. Walked the dog, and chased Shanti across the parking lot. (Repeatedly; Ray no longer walks into my apartment without crouching down to catch the cat). It's been a lot of frustration, some heartache, but mostly? A lot of fun.

4) All the many, many things I can do on my own. Go grocery shopping and plan meals. Make a budget and stick to it (more or less). Make the money to pay the bills. Decorate an apartment, and keep it clean and livable, and change things around when I like, or when it makes sense to. Get to work on time and work until the work is done. Get car insurance, investigate health insurance, do my own taxes. Get my own apartment in my own name after discovering that my credit score was not only not craptastic, but actually really, really good. Keep that credit score good.

All really basic simple life stuff, right? And stuff I hadn't done on my own before, much of it stuff that scared me white at the thought of doing it by myself. Nobody else to do it for me, though, and so I'm doing it, pushing myself out of the house to get things done at times, but doing it and getting it done.

5) Faith. I'm still not entirely sure what I believe in, or at least all of what I believe in, but I've come to realize that yes, there are things I believe in, and that still comes as a total shock to me, miss skeptic, miss unbeliever, miss Created Without Faith. But I believe that both Ganesha and St. Michael are keeping an eye on me; I believe that there's a Something out there behind them, there's a light beyond the darkness. How it expresses itself in my life is still up for debate (a lot) but that? Is okay.

And the mental repetition of 'I only ever wanted to come inside' has been replaced by 'Domine, non sum dignus' with the occasional reply of 'neither's anyone else; your point?'. I keep wanting to look over my shoulder to see who They're talking to, but Tim rolled his eyes at me, so.


Mother Laura said...

Hey Kate,

Yeah, you're right--crashing is a perfectly normal (thought not inevitable) response to intense spiritual encounters sometimes. In fact, I'm noticing it in myself today in the middle of trying to finish a big post about the retreat (with the writing, and grading midterms, in the background of course--thanks for the prayers, btw).

I'm glad you could find some joyous things, especially in the strength you are discovering to do thing independently. Self care and rest are really good things too (preaching to myself here...).

Hang in there.

Hedwyg said...

Dear Kate, I'm sorry I missed this post last week. But many, many hugs and prayers are headed your way:
{{{{{{{{{{ Kate }}}}}}}}}}

Love and blessings and peace,

Jenne said...

Yay for your friday five!

I'm sorry you've been going through a crash; they suck. But one thing about powering through crashes I've found-- in retrospect, I feel more confident about my ability to handle things.

Mother Laura is so right. :)

seeking chivalry said...

Thanks to the lot of you! I'm pampering myself somewhat but trying to keep going to an extent, too -- if I stop too long it's insanely hard to get started again. I'm recovering apace, though; made dinner All By Myself tonight. :)