Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rewards

I’m listening to Bach.

I didn’t used to listen to classical music much. When others came within ear shot it felt I was being pretentious. If someone was near, I listened to Bonnie Raitt or Joni Mitchell.

I find myself alone more... or at least “in charge” and I can listen to whatever I like. Sometimes it’s The Beatles, sometimes it’s Pink Floyd or Blind Willie Johnson or The Moody Blues or Tom Petty or Mbuti pygmies.

I’m learning to do what I want, when I want. It is strange to me.

Of course, much of what I do is dictated by the needs of my home... laundry, vacuuming, dishes, cooking, parenting.

Though I can make choices about what I do, it is harder to choose what my heart feels.

Lately I have had bouts of depression. Nothing serious... just... sad.

I think my dreams trigger it. I still sleep six or less hours a night.

I dream.

Apparently it is unusual, but I remember my dreams. I remember them pretty much as I would any other experience. I don’t recall every moment of my waking life, and I don’t recall every moment of my sleeping life either... but what gets forgotten in either is about the same.

Except the memorable.

If I see a car accident... the details are sharp, clear. The memory remains.

It is the same when my mind imagines dark dramas while my body rests.

So... if Brenda is particularly cruel in a dream... I remember. If my children are threatened, I remember. If Brenda is raped in some dream... I remember.

It feels like a betrayal of my mind.

Why should my own mind conjure horrors? I’ve enough to deal with without carrying around memories of evil visions.

It feels like betrayal.

The topic Sunday night at the Al Anon meeting was “Loving Detachment.” The idea is we should love the alcoholic without permitting them too much control over our lives, over our hearts.

There is a part of me I have referred to as “the watcher.” It understands what I am feeling and why. Those remembered college courses in psychology provide explanations for my moods, my stages of emotional recovery, my emotional growth.

It isn’t detached, it is observant... it loves me... watches over me. It tends to be a little distant, flat affect, logical, but there is a sense of concern, of caring for myself.

I understand I have been through a lot this past year and a half. I understand such things will echo in my heart and mind for a while. I also understand my subconscious needs an opportunity to sort things out. That is a big part of what dreams are for.

I just I don’t need new visions of what is hurtful and ugly.

Putting a septic tank in order is a messy business.

I called my father this evening. He didn’t get his run in as he liked. There was a qualifying run. He let his engine builder run for him... but by afternoon the wind in the Mojave Desert was kicking up and it was clear the meet was going to be shut down. He left without twisting the throttle that releases 400 horses to gallop in unison across flat desert.

He told me his wife is ordering the tickets for me to go to Thailand this Summer, first class, round trip. I’ve never flown first class. (Portland to Atlanta, Atlanta to Dallas, Dallas to Paris, Paris to Bangkok...)

I’m sitting in the waiting room at my doctor’s (he’s a brother in Christ), listening to Bach, trying to understand I am free to make such plans.

I was raking the lawns yesterday. I drove a stake in the center of the backyard, put a tape measure on it, and raked the leaves into a circle with a radius of ten feet.

I don’t know what I will do with that circle... Some sort of garden. Perhaps flowers... perhaps a pattern... Maybe it will be a place to sit... a little bench amidst herbs and fragrant blooms. It might be the home of one of those giant pumpkins people enter in contests (a 500 pound homage to my living room.)

Three hundred and fourteen not-so-square feet.


Whatever it will be, it is another change I am making in my home. A place for something new.

I have talked with Isaac several times about this trip I am planning, and how I want him to know all he needs to know for a few weeks on his own while I am on the other side of the planet.

I’ve told him there will be a vegetable garden, and something else in the middle of one yard... and he is to keep an eye on them...

There was a Special Olympics Pizza party Sunday. The team of athletes I coach each got a trophy.

None of them seemed to mind that everyone else got the same trophy. For each of them their trophy signified they were special. It told them that they had done something worthy.

Jeremiah keeps talking about his trophy... about the beautiful “reward” he got. I keep correcting him it is an award, not a reward... he doesn’t get the distinction.


It was fun, watching those athletes hold up their trophies to each other, smile so broadly, hug and high five each other.




I think for many of us we want recognition when it is unique, something particularly special.

I read of a study that asked people if they would rather have an income that was more than they were getting, though less than others, or an income less than they currently get, but more than everyone else’s. The majority would rather get less as long as it was more than others.

Not these Special Olympics athletes. Each is pleased to get a trophy, it is no matter everyone got the same “reward” with the same praise and the same applause.

I wonder if sometimes folks think the same about salvation? I wonder if they think it isn’t so special because God is willing to accept everyone into His eternity. I wonder if sometimes folks think they aren’t special because, though Christ died for them, He also died for the rest of humanity?

I think they would lose that perspective if they really looked hard at that trophy, that "reward."

On Sunday morns I worship.

I consider the scope of creation, and as much of the Creator as I can grasp... and I am humbled, I am lifted up... I am insignificant and I am special. I am the smallest of things in a grand universe, and I am of great importance because He has His eye on me. My heart leaps and I find joy brushing away memories of dark dreams.

What does it matter He calls to all His sheep? That He calls each formerly mortal soul forward and embraces them with the power of the love that binds the universe together?

Each night Jeremiah mentions how much he misses his mom, how much he misses his dog.

I wish I could take that hurt away.

I get a little pissed at Brenda, thinking how little she appreciates who he is, how wonderful he is, how worthy he is for a “reward.”

He didn’t do anything special to get that trophy. He just showed up every Saturday to practice.

I didn’t do anything special to get eternal life. I just opened my heart and let love flow in, and flow out.

9 comments:

Aphra said...

i do the loving detachment thing with my husband (thought he is not an alcoholic, but a video game addict). I don't think it is HEALTHY though.

Amrita said...

You are a redeemed man Will. You made an eternal covenanr with your wife which she broke and you are suffering because of it.

Music and gardening is great. I love classical music.Jazz too.

Why don 't you make a pizza garden.
Cut up the circle and plant tomatoes, spring onions, peppers and whatever herbs you can put into pizzas.

Get the book Death by Love by Mark Driscoll, you will like it.

A friend sent it to me and I am learning a lot from it.

Judas Hate said...

Thanks for the special mention;-)

The end of the story is esentially this...
A few more days of inconvenience (and whiter teeth) with a price tag of just under $500. Ouch!

Also told that the modest 18' round pool Julie and I built years ago (the kids' favorite thing) must be moved.

Could have been worse though:-)

And YAY for Jeremiah!!

Judas Hate said...

Never claimed to be a great speller;-)

Anonymous said...

You're an amazing man Mr. Will!!!
I love the idea of a pizza garden.
I'm glad you're making some healthy choices for your new family life. Geez, you really do sound so much healthier amongst the sadness. That is normal.

wilsonian said...

I continue to be a little amazed when I visit here. It's not often you get to witness someone growing in such a public way. I thought you were great before... but dude, as you continue to become both "more yourself" and more Jesus-y... well, it's just pretty cool to see.

I remain grateful that Jeremiah and Isaac have such a great dad.

Aphra said...

I talked with a friend who had an alcoholic husband today and I mentioned this loving detachment and she explained that while it might not FEEL healthy to me, it IS healthy. Sometimes what is healthy doesn't feel right, I guess. Like bran:)

Marvin the Martian said...

It's funny how the human brain tends to work out the stress that it suffered, after that stress is suddenly removed. You will have weird dreams for a year at least. But they will stop.

Anonymous said...

Such amazing and insightful writings Will. I am encouraged myself when I read your words. You'll have fun with your new circle of life. It is symbolic of the new stake in your life; a large radius of change.
Thailand---how awesome!! First class---wow!!
RS