Wednesday, August 19, 2009

two dollars - I want my two dollars!

Man, did I hit the wall yesterday or what? I have not faced that level of sheer depression for a long while.

A friend of ours told us about this church in California where the pastor challenged everyone to get rid of all but 100 things (not including furniture & necessities) in order to live more simply and have more time to do the things God is calling them to do. I don't think I could pare things down that far...
All night the other night I kept waking up hearing, "100 things, 100 things." It was eerily reminiscent of the newspaper boy on the movie Better Off Dead: "Two dollars, I want my two dollars!" as he stalked John Cusak's character on his bmx bike chanting the refrain over and over.

"I can't do it! Leave me alone! Leave me alone! I'm trying to sleep!"
No wonder I felt like crap the next day.

Because we are now having to show the house ("Hi! Welcome to the bat cave!") we kind of need to clear out a lot of this crap. I've been going through Peter Walsh's book & workbook, It's All Too Much! in order to keep myself on track. He's the guy who has been on the show Clean Sweep and he's also been on Oprah helping some of those hardcore hoarders clean out their homes. Walsh says:
My clients say things like, "I was buried under all that stuff," "I was drowning," "I feel like I'm suffocating." We use those metaphors because clutter robs us of life. It robs us socially, when we're too embarrassed to have people over. It robs us spiritually, because we can't be at peace in a cluttered home. And it robs us psychologically, by stealing our ability to feel motivated in our space.

I couldn't agree more- after awhile it starts to take psychic bites our of your soul. I read the book, The Alchemist, a couple weeks ago and when I sat down to journal about it a few days later I realized that I had "lost myself" so to speak, and couldn't even remember what my dreams were. It might sound weird but I have literally gotten lost in all of the excessive clutter in my home. I don't work well in a messy environment. Even when I cook, I usually do all the dishes first and straighten up my workspace.

Not only do we need to show the house but I also want to get all this done before the baby is born because I know it's not gonna happen then. I guess it just started to feel completely overwhelming. Being the firstborn perfectionist that I am, it's even worse.

The only thing I wrote for a journal entry yesterday was:
"How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time."

Now I need to go get rid of 100 things and peg that newspaper boy with a BB gun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

+ -

"It was the best of times and the worst of times."

I cannot improve upon the eloquence of Charles Dickens. He has summed up my life in that one sentence.

I feel like I am standing on the edge of a cliff and I can't go backwards- I can only go forwards and I don't want to. Normally, when someone stands on the edge of the Grand Canyon they oooh and ahhh over it's majestic beauty and sheer size. I have been walking along the edge for days now and have reached the conclusion that the only way to get across is to climb down one side and up the other. I am absolutely filled with trepidation and despair at the thought of such a huge undertaking. I don't have a mule; I'm 7 months pregnant; and it's dang hot out there. It's me and my 1 liter Camelback.

Life itself is OK. Or maybe I'm in denial.

-The girls are healthy and so am I.
-I have health insurance and a good doctor/midwife.
-We have food and shelter.
-The community garden is huge and we can go pick things from it every day.
-We have supportive family and friends.

And then the parts I am trying to ignore:
-We are beginning the process of short-selling our house.
-We need to reduce the volume of stuff we own by at least half and it is in a giant jumble in our room and in the garage.
-My dear husband is facing medical problems with no stinking health insurance.
-We don't have enough income to cover everything and haven't for months.
-When we move out of this house we might be living in an RV.
-Oh yeah, and the Jeep's transmission konked out.

I don't even want to get out of bed in the mornings. And no, I don't want to hear about how much tougher some orphan in Rwanda has it; or the fact that thousands of others in our country are facing similar things. That trick isn't working right now.
I'm not gonna lie to you - the past couple years have been rough and I am tired. The towers of doom stacked in my garage are sucking the life out of me and I want them gone. It's like a vampire cave out there.

Hope your year is going better than mine.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Doctrine of Heebie-Jeebies

I was talking to someone about a church "denomination" recently and they expressed the hope that it was "fundamental holiness" in doctrine. This is the doctrine that I grew up with and still that of the person I was conversing with. I had never referred to it as such so it took me a few minutes to compute the meaning of those words.

Those two words: fundamental and holiness make my skin crawl.

Lord knows I've tripped over enough fundamentals to last me a lifetime. As for holiness, well that's just another way of saying that the doctrine is "works-driven". As in, "work out your salvation in fear and trembling." While I agree with the Apostle James that, "faith without works is dead," I tend to view that sentiment as another way of saying that actions speak louder than words when it comes to claiming faith. What I remember from my childhood church years is not so much actions based on faith but rather judging of others based on principles of faith. If there is one thing that I have utter contempt for among humans it is when principles are valued over people.

The phrase "they should know better" seemed to come up a lot in conversation when I was growing up. Even today I judge myself when I make mistakes based on the fact that I "should know better." It is a graceless existence and, no doubt, has fueled the depression that I often struggle with. Worse is when I extend this graceless viewpoint to others because "they should know better" too. Then I really feel miserable. How the heck do I know if they should know better or not? Maybe they sincerely do not know know better!

As holocaust survivor and Christ-follower, Corrie ten Boom once said, "If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. but if you look at Christ, you'll be at rest!" Why? Because Jesus offers grace and forgiveness not a pile of guilt and shame. "Holiness" doctrine or not we simply cannot EVER measure up to be on God's level. No one can. Not even Billy Graham. God offers the hope that, in spite of our struggles and failures He can and He will make it right in our lives and best of all, He does not need our help in order to do so, just our permission and admittance as to where we went wrong. Sure, sometimes we have to actually do something more than just saying we are sorry - we have to make reparations to others because it shows that we love and respect them and that has everything to do with faith and love.

I'm sure someone can point out to me where I am wrong and should know better about the "fundamental holiness" movement - I'm just calling it like I've seen it. Moreover, I have no desire to join back up with that particular movement after the dozens of self-help books I've invested in and read trying to get that particular thorn out of my side.


So much for saving my soul by becoming vegan. I'm sure that some manage to be vegan while pregnant but I am just too dang hungry to make it happen. Being vegan requires a lot of practice and discipline - it's a total life change. I will go back to it I'm sure but not right now.
Guess I'll have to hold off on wearing that plantasaur t-shirt, aye?