Sunday, June 17, 2007

Validation from WHERE!?

I have a fabulous friend named Myrtle. And I don’t say fabulous lightly, as in “She’s fabulous because she knows cool people who throw killer parties.” Or “she’s fabulous because she’s an artist and lives in a loft downtown.” She’s not that pretentious type of fabulous.

Myrtle embodies every inch of the word fabulous because that’s the inner core of her being. She also embodies plenty of other words that end in “ous” like fabulous, bodacious, curvaceous, gorgeous, boisterous, ferocious, gracious, humorous, luscious, precious, raucous, scrumptious, sumptuous, and looking at that list now makes me think all those words are misspelled. HA!

Myrtle is an actress, a very good one, and the kind of fabulous whose personal style harkens back to those chic flapper styles of the 30s and 40s. The type of fabulous that has one of those cast iron beds with iron curlicues on the posts, and billowy curtains all the way around, and a tinkly wind chime in the middle, and a one eyed cat that sleeps at the foot of the bed. The type of fabulous that can wear a boho chic style, do cheese and champagne (champagne, darling, it has to be champagne) picnics in the park, talk her way to the front of a club so we can dance our asses off, pack up her life and move to Paris because the city is calling to her.

Myrtle is also very spiritual (maybe that makes her pious) and her spirituality is all encompassing in a way that would make traditional Christians frown. Because not only does she make jewelry that she charges with earth energy, not only has she described to me in great detail the kind of face that the moon is making right now, not only does she believe in God and Jesus too, but she does readings using dice, tarot, and numerology. She’s offered to do readings for me in the past, and I finally decided to take her up on it.

The traditional Christian would say I’m taking the express elevator to hell. That dice, tarot, numerology, hell, maybe even the one eyed cat are instruments of the DEVIL, they are. The secular person would say eh, who knows, but you can’t put any stock in readings, it’s like deliberately reading the wrong astrology sign to your buddy and getting the whole, “Ohmigosh that’s EXACTLY how my day’s been like” thing.

(Incidentally, there’s an occasional visitor to my Small Group who swears by praying over her Bible, standing it up on its side, and whatever page it flops opens to is the page God wanted her to read.)

It’s about what you put your faith in. Traditional Christianity says PUT YO’ FAITH IN GOD, DAMMIT! PUT YO’ FAITH IN GOD, CAST YOUR CARES ON HIM, AND WAIT ON GOD! NO, I AINT GONNA TELL YOU WHAT THAT MEANS! IF YOU’S GOT THE FAITH, YOU’S NOT GONNA QUESTION IT! IF YOU’S GOT THE FAITH, YOU’S GONNA GET THE ANSWERS LICKITY SPLIT, YOU’S WILL! IF YOU DON’T GET ‘EM, IT’S ‘CAUSE YOU DON’T GOT THE FAITH, YOU DON’T!

But I was curious to have Myrtle do a reading for me, so I could compare and contrast. Because I’ve been waiting and waiting on God, and all I get is the whirling tornado of self doubt, despair, and anger, with no still small voice to halt it in its tracks.

And because I absolutely believe that God can use whatever He wants to reach me. A burning bush, a prescient song on the radio, a timely phone call from a friend, or the fabulous divining soul of Myrtle. It’s not like I’m checking God at the door to Myrtle’s house. It’s not like I’m giving up on waiting on God, turning my back and bowing down to the DEVIL. I’m bringing God in with me, to sit beside me on Myrtle’s fabulous bed as we split a bottle of red wine and eat pistachios and cashews, and to see what her dice, her stones, her books, will say. I probably wouldn’t have done it if Myrtle didn’t believe in God. But I know she does, we’ve had extensive discussions on it before. And fi on anyone who says she doesn’t believe in the right God, or if she does believe in the right one, she wouldn’t engage in the rest of it. It’s GOD. There is no right or wrong God, and no right or wrong way to reach or talk to Him. Kissing the floor with your forehead isn’t more authentic than praying over a flopping Bible, or meditating over a pair of dice on a cast iron bed with a one eyed cat zoned out on catnip. My two cents.

Incidentally, Myrtle started with a prayer to God, asking Him to be with us during the reading, to grant us wisdom and discernment, to work through her during the reading. And I slapped on the God lens for the rest of the evening, carefully examining every statement the book said as we threw the dice, added the numbers, turned the pages.

None of it was surprising, save the part where it looked like the book was recommending that I enter a period of solitude when we were asking about my current job situation (not sure how I can pay the bills without the socialization that comes with a dayjob.)

But everything else, all the questions I’ve been wrestling with in the slimy mud pit of WHERE’S MY ANSWERS DAMMIT, all the answers that I think are the answers but have had no discernable confirmation from above, below, outward or inwardly, there they are in the pages of a book, the roll of a dice, the gentle words of Myrtle who’s known me for years and urges me over and over, “Let people love you, Amy. You don’t let people love you.”

And while I still don’t know what that means (nothing new, I’ve never understood that let people love you concept, most likely due to my lack of grace for myself, I’m working on it, I’m working on it), the rest of it was beautiful in its validation. I absolutely believe God was speaking to me by it. God loves to surprise people, and there’s no better way He could have done it even if He had decided to speak to me through the rose bushes in the backyard, or the dirty socks in the laundry basket, or the dust bunnies under my bed (though that would’ve been interesting to see Him try.)

A lot of the anxiety I had been trying to slough off for a couple of weeks is gone now. Not a POOF kind of gone, but more of a receding, like watching low tide go out on the beach. I think that’s how it is a lot of the time. We look for the POOF of an instant solution, an instant positive emotion to overtake us and make us feel Insta-Better. When it’s more of a receding, leaving the sand behind to dry and solidify underneath our feet. Which then becomes the landscape for one of those hokey Footprint In The Sand inspirational posters.

No, don’t do it.

No, really, don’t.

I…I…I..

I CAN’T HELP IT!!!!!!!






















Ha ha ha ha.

But honestly, we have to, because that’s just as authentic as say, THIS. So there.

4 comments:

Midlife Virgin said...

You put it so beautifully. I find the moments when I know - absolutely KNOW - that God is driving my life are in those unexpected, quiet things that sneak up on you. I found God this week at the Keith Urban concert because I realized I occasionally forget that there is unadultered joy out there and we just have to embrace it. I guess that means that God is sneaky but those are the moments when I feel Him the most - when He sneaks up on me. Glad you're seeing that!

Allison said...

Pretty sure God surprised the woman from Endor when she saw Samuel... but then, of course, Saul was rebuked.

Wha ha ha!

Kelly said...

This is BEAUTIFUL - and not just because I know "Myrtle"! I couldn't agree more with you about God and the ways he/she/it/the Universe speaks to us. And I have been spoken to many times through the dice! It is a wonderful gift. I appreciate your beautifully written homage very much!

Danielle said...

oh, I have missed reading your words, Amy. just lovely. perhaps you have inspired me to post again... perhaps. :)