Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm not a Jesus Freak, but I am a moron.

Maybe you haven’t figured it by now, but I am not one of those wonderful freaks of nature that’s public about my faith. In person, that is. Ergo, the blog. There were a few Act One classmates of mine that were, and I admired how easily the phrase “How can we pray for you” tripped off their tongue as easy as “Do we have any beer left in the fridge” trips off mine. It never felt fake or false coming from them, it was so naturally ingrained into their character, because they’re such genuine people with beautiful souls, you believe that they WANT to pray for you, honestly, because they care.

None of that is in me, but I realize it’s SUPPOSED to be. I think. Sure, I care, but I’m not rushing to be all verbal about it. If I could find a way to do it where it can be uniquely me, bearing all the characteristics of my Grump personality. Can it be half me, half God? Would that make me a TerminAmy or something? Half chick. Half God. All disaster. Ha ha ha.

I gave blood last Monday, my unique way of helping others and being mean to myself in one fell swoop. Since I have no more job at the Movie Studio where I would give blood at their conveniently scheduled three month blood drives, I picked the closest spot to me, which was the Renaissance Hotel at the Hollywood & Highland complex.

I brought my Bible, since my new kick is to read the thing, as opposed to just the verses that my devotionals touch on. I’ve started in the New Testament, and now I’m somewhere in the beginning of Luke. And as I wait for my name to be called in the Community Room with the carpet that looks like they’ve slaughtered every animal in the African watering hole and stomped it into the fibers, I recognize that reading a Bible in public automatically classifies me as a Jesus freak. Great. Well, who cares really. Means I don’t have to make conversation with strangers, nobody will willingly talk to the chick who’s reading a Bible. Hey, that actually kinda rocks, since I don’t like talking to people much anyway (except you, Gentle Reader, always always except you.)

For a half second it looks like I’m gonna be bounced because my little drop of blood floats to the top of the testing container as opposed to sinking to the bottom like good iron-enriched blood drops do, but after they run it through “the machine.” (Go TerminAmy, Go! Go, TerminAmy, Go!) I get the all clear that yes indeedy, my O positive blood is acceptable, so let’s go see the Red Cross vampires! Yay!

My vampire today is a woman named Olive. I warn her that I don’t like needles. “Nobody does, but everyone gives anyway. Kinda funny.” She says as she tilts my chair back. My head instantly twists to the wall.
I’m holding my Quest Bible in a death grip, the kind of grip that Pentecostal preachers’ll use when they’re smacking the thing into someone’s forehead so they’ll literally be “struck” with the Spirit.

Olive assures me that everything will be fine, and interestingly enough, it’s the least painful needle insertion I’ve experienced since hopping on this Red Cross Fueled Masochistic Kick earlier this year. I try to breathe and turn the Bible Turned Stuffed Animal For Comfort to Luke’s chapter, and that’s when Olive says the most beautiful thing I’ve heard in weeks.

“Do you want me to get you a towel so you don’t have to look your arm?”

Oh, this is an angel. This is an angel sent from God Himself, she is. Thank you GOD, for Olive the Red Cross vampire angel wonderful person that she is.

It’s the least painful needle insertion ever, it’s the quickest blood draw ever, and the quickest needle extraction ever. “No bruises, see?” Olive shows me after it’s over. I can’t believe it. You have to understand, last time I gave blood, I got a lecture from the vampires because it was MY fault that my breathing got too shallow and too rapid and constricted the veins so that the needle hurt going in. MY fault. It’s THEIR needle, in THEIR hands, but it was MY fault.

But today is a glorious day. “It must be God.” I joke. “No, it’s ME.” She shoots back, grinning. “Of course, of course, it’s you, but I’m required to praise Him first.” I say. She smiles, and off I go to the cookie and juice table to get the blood sugar going.

And as I sit there with the Famous Amos cookies and Vienna Fingers, I get a thought in my head that I can’t shake.

You should go ask her how you can pray for her.

Wha-huh? I don’t do that. What’re you, nuts?

You have to. You have to do something for her, because she’s the reason your blood draw was the least painful yet.

Can’t I wash her car or something? Go get her lunch? Some other errand that doesn’t involve talking to her and risk me looking like a Jesus Freak Sunshiny Moron?

She already thinks you’re a Jesus freak, thanks to your Bible clutching and God praising. So go ask her, you twit. Do it now, loser.

This voice isn’t going away. If I walk out of the African Watering Hole Slaughter Room without doing it, the voice will only get louder, and the day will be ruined as I try to drown it out using pillows, music, and tequila. And I have to write.

So I wait until she’s between victims, and go up to her. “Olive, I kinda have to ask this, but I wanted to do something for you since you were so painless about the whole blood thing, but is there anything I can pray about for you?”

Olive’s confused, at first she’s thinking I’m upset about something, and need her to pray WITH me. Then I clarify, and she’s a little taken aback. As anybody would, in the face of a statement like that. She’s just trying to do her job sucking blood, there’s not a church in sight, what’s the Jesus Freak accosting her for?

If she could see the train o' thoughts running through my head. Look, trust me, I'm not thrilled about this either. I don't wanna be thought of as a Jesus Freak. And it's not that I don't like Jesus, because I do, He rocks, He's done everything for me, so when I say the phrase Jesus Freak, I'm not trying to slam Him, just the Freaks that accost people in public and make them feel uncomfortable like I'm really scared I'm doing to you right now.

No, Olive, I don't wanna do this, but I have to, because there's this voice in my head see. The voice is gonna get ugly if I don't, and I've got a rewrite to do today. The voice isn't supposed to be there in the first place, I'm supposed to love Jesus enough to WANT to do this kind of thing willingly with a smile on my face, and if I ever do get to that point, it'll mean I've swallowed the Kool-Aid, and turned into a Sunshiny Moron, but that's not your problem right now, I'm just trying to explain that, that, that, I'm NOT one of THEM, but I HAVE to do this ANYWAY. I'm not a Freak. You have to believe me.

But what Olive is doing is trying to remember what saint you’re supposed to pray to “to take care of things” (is there a saint for that kind of generic request?) She can't remember it, so she asks for prayer “just that I would be happy, and for happiness in my marriage.” Which is easy enough to do, and I tell her I’ll do it.

She gives me a hug, and I exit the African Watering Hole Slaughter Room and pray for her while going down the escalator. Maybe I was supposed to pray WITH her. But I can’t see how that’s a good idea. I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable, this is their workplace, basically. Hell, I’m feeling skeevy myself just taking the first step.

It’s like a Drive By Praying. “Quick! Tell-me-how-I-can-pray-for-you-thanks!-see-ya-later!” Yeah, that sounds exactly my style.


Peter said...

...gonna admit, i was feelin' the skeeve along with you...until she said "happiness in my marriage"...then, i thought, "wow, this was supposed to happen for olive today. she needed to be heard by someone," kudos to you and your brave action...or, you know, the action you took so as to not go insane with that voice in your head...

Alexa said...

" I don't wanna be thought of as a Jesus Freak. And it's not that I don't like Jesus, because I do, He rocks, He's done everything for me, so when I say the phrase Jesus Freak, I'm not trying to slam Him, just the Freaks that accost people in public and make them feel uncomfortable like I'm really scared I'm doing to you right now."

I have variations on those thoughts daily.

Danielle said...

I love your blog, Amy. I mean... really.

Lonnie said...

I got over the whole Jesus Freak thing a long time ago. It really had nothing to do with any possible associatiion with Sunshiny Morons. I just did an analytical study of my life, and I realized that I'm a FREAK with or without the Jesus part.

You're my hero, Amy. Someday I hope I can be as purely me as you are purely you.

kathy said...

not a moron at all...totally normal person-who-loves-Jesus-and-loves-other-people response!! you may think that it's easy for the rest of us, but i promise, it's not.

Carlen said...

STOP saying you're a moron! Because if you're a moron, I do NOT want to know what that makes ME. Oh GOD, no.

Yeah, we called my wedding roomie "young Johnny Cash" - I think we really just should've said "Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line", but yknow, Johnny Cash is cooler that Joaquin. (NOW who do we think is the moron. Hmm?) If you were sitting here, you would be saying, "Are you still talking?" or even more aptly, "Are you still writing?" OK - I should stop now.