This little girl… yall I have been so horrible to her. I can’t even list all the ways. There’s just too many. Way too many, and they are way too ugly.
Yall ever see that video of the lone lamb stuck in the hole so far that all you can see of it is its hind legs, which the shepherd grasps and uses to haul the lamb back to the surface?
I have felt more terrified for my well-being than that lamb must have felt at being trapped in the hole.
Bad things have happened in the year… things I’m not quite ready to handle. Just a recap: both parents had heart surgery in September, and I live with them so in addition to witnessing their fear and anxiety and physical struggles… I have felt fear and anxiety and mental struggles. Because COVID (which my younger brother got, and thankfully recovered from, in December) and, more, the great sense of inadequacy and despair I’ve felt, I’ve spent most of my time at home upstairs, away from them. I want my own place, but I know I can’t have it because I can’t afford it and they need me there.
I can’t remember if I’ve told yall this before, and I don’t feel like going back and looking (sorry)… ALSO in September, a horrible cramp woke me up one night… it wasn’t in my foot or calf like normal. It was in my left knee. All the tiny muscles around it were freaking out and bending my leg in unnatural ways. This sort of thing had never happened before. I knew it would at some point. I just hadn’t figured it’d start in my forties. Granted I’m closing in on fifty a little too fast for my tastes, but… I’m not ready for the spasms and cramps to be crippling. I’m not ready for my parents to be dead; my father’s health seems to be better, but my mother’s appears to be much more tenuous. I’m not ready to have to cope with their loss all by myself. I’m not ready to tackle all the bullshit that comes with settling their estate and accounts… Yall, I’m strong. I’ve endured a LOT of crap. I’m a little pissed at my older brother because, order of operations, yall… he should be here to jack with all this. But you know, he bailed on life a LONG time ago.
My hours got cut at my job, which would’ve been an awesome thing–I could spend full days on Mondays and Fridays at the elementary school where I’ve volunteered for the past few years, as soon as they let volunteers on campus again.
I’ve relied too heavily on social interactions on Facebook and Twitter, so I’ve killed the latter and had, for a time deactivated the former. During those days of deactivation, someone hacked my account and posted something about how I would sure be glad when I could get back to sucking dick. As crude as I can be, I would NEVER say something like that. BUT I’m Facebook friends with a few mothers of children who attend that school, and one or some of them took screenshots of this post I supposedly wrote and sent it to the principal, who then called my friend onto the carpet. She got in trouble because of me. She and I spent a good hour in the alcove of her bedroom that night, both heartbroken, both worried and pissed, and me crying because that’s what I do when I’m shell-shocked. I love those babies as though they are my own. They have brought me such beautiful and vital joy in what certainly would have been bleak years. I have looked forward to resuming working with them–learning from them and being inspired by them and all the other good that comes with youth and curiosity.
But… I’m not called on the carpet… I’ve chosen to put as much distance between me and that school for my friend’s sake. I can’t have her role at that school jeopardized by my churlish self.
I’ve been drinking too much. I’ve discovered a fondness for Juggernaut’s Cabernet Sauvignon and WhiskeyCake’s Guava Gimlet Martini.
I’m a little too close to the edge for my liking.
I’ve been smelling ammonia, and there’s never any around me so something in my body’s not right (probably from all that wine I’ve been drinking). I googled it… smelling ammonia’s not good, yall. It’s NOT GOOD.
I’ve put myself back on Match and Bumble… and resumed humiliating myself in my desperation to find stupid love. I suck at this shit. I don’t give up well. I’ve tried five times now to get this one dude’s attention. I know. I KNOW. I know better. I. KNOW. BETTER. And yet… I can’t bring myself to give up.
But I called this post restoration, right? There must be something good.
Last Sunday, Restoration Church held a LifeGroup Leaders orientation after the last service. I attended because I want to lead a singles group. Before the meeting, I had confidence I could do it, but during the meeting, as I was reading from Timothy, which the executive pastor had suggested we look for the characteristics of small group leaders (yall… I don’t have a lot of those characteristics), my confidence began wavering. But I stayed, and when the orientation was done I went to the executive pastor and said I wanted to lead a single’s group.
Yall… me and this executive pastor got off to a bad start. I’ve not been involved in a life group since I started attending church here over a year ago. I’ve made effort to connect with one a half a dozen times to no avail. And the executive pastor sent me to a group in Panorama Village. It’s the second time I was suggested to join this group. I hadn’t wanted to do it the first time because it’s further away from my neighborhood than I’d like, but I figured being told the second time I probably go where the Lord was sending me. The leader shared his story and much of it, as well as the personalities of some of the others in that group, didn’t mesh well with me, and I went back to church the next morning and asked to be in a different one, not realizing that group’s leader was the executive pastor’s father. I’d told this man, “Those are not my people.” And when he pushed, I was a little too direct. That conversation did not go well. And I’ve been trying ever since to inspire him to see me in a different light.
The executive pastor says he’s got a couple of women who want to start a single’s group, too, and suggested I work with them until the group gets too big, then I can break off and form another one. Sounds like a great idea, so he introduces me to them and leaves us to chat.
They are beautiful. They are young. They are feminine. I am horribly, horribly intimidated by them. They suggest we talk to the pastor. That conversation didn’t go well, either. I felt so small, yall. So damned insignificant. So much like I was trying to hard to be better and would never manage to make that happen. So I said I felt they would be better suited and excused myself. Walked out, sobbing inside… and then actually sobbing when I got in my car.
I had a hell of a time getting myself moving this Sunday morning. I sat at my mother’s computer playing Seekers Notes (I can’t put it on my Mac for some reason, and I didn’t want to play it on my iPad). I was seeing bright spots and dark spots and smelling ammonia and feeling really weak. I needed a shower and took a little longer taking one than I should have. I normally go to the second service at Restoration Church–the one at a quarter until ten. I was too late for that one. I was almost too late for the last one. I came in just as they were wrapping their last song. I came in just as they sang their last repeat of “Here I am.” I can’t remember the song… it’s one they sing a lot but I can’t seem to find it. Yall, I almost started crying as I sang that. I’ve been doing a lot of crying lately. There’s been a long stretch this decade that I’ve not been able to cry, no matter how hard I try. I’m relieved to know I’m still capable of doing this.
There didn’t seem to be any seats left, but I silently prayed for one and moved to the other side of the sanctuary… and found one in the last row between two couples. The sermons have been on the book of Revelation lately. We’re on the sixth chapter. I’m scrawling all kinds of notes on the pages of my Bible, wherever I can find room.
We took communion and during the song afterward, I was reaching my hands as high in the air as I could. I felt my whole body stretching. I felt my whole spirit begging… I’ve been doing a lot of begging lately, and most of the time I don’t like that, but this time it felt so crucial. I couldn’t help myself.
I felt like that lamb stuck in the hole. I felt like my arms were the hind legs and my hands were the hooves and I as I sang, my spirit was begging Jesus to grab hold and yank me up out of my hell.
They did baptisms at the end of that service. I stayed to witness that. Baptism at Restoration’s a lot different than Baptism at a Catholic church. It’s full immersion–like in most other churches, I suspect–not a sprinkling of water on the forehead or whatever… I’m not even sure how it’s supposed to be done in a Catholic church because it’s been forty-seven years since I’ve been baptized. I’d witnessed baptisms at Restoration before. I like watching them. I’d never thought I needed to get baptized again because once should do the trick.
They finished the ones they’d scheduled for that service and then opened it up to the sanctuary for the impulsive. I think someone may have gone before me. I don’t remember. I do know that I said aloud, “I’ll go.” And I walked down that aisle and up the wooden steps splashed with water… and the lead pastor and the women’s ministry pastor (who normally goes to the second service but for some reason went to the third one this day) baptized me. Again. But before they immersed me, fully clothed, in that water… I said, “I just needed to be reminded that I am His.”
I have been so scared lately that the devil’s gonna get me after all. I can’t let that happen. I’ve fought against him for too long. I’m trying so hard to believe I can’t screw salvation up. I very much needed the symbolism that Sunday. I needed to immerse myself in it.