Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back — in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.
The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.
-- Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC (Harper, 1993)
When I imported my entries from LJ to DW, it added each post TWICE. ARGH!
Oh well. I've got a doubly good backup of my LJ now, I guess. Now if only I could get MORE ICONS!
My friend Kris sent this to me, after reading it to me on the phone this morning. I haven't laughed so hard in AGES! :)
We make fun of Methodists for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed, and also for their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese.
But nobody sings like them. If you were to ask an audience in New York City, a relatively Methodist-less place, to sing along on the chorus of "Michael Row the Boat Ashore", they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their underwear. But if you do this among Methodists, they'd smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach!....And then down the road!
Many Methodists are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony, a talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head against that person's rib cage.
It's natural for Methodists to sing in harmony. We are too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison. When you're singing in the key of C and you slide into the A 7th and D 7th chords, all two hundred of you, it's an emotionally fulfilling moment. By our joining in harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each other.
I do believe this:
People, these Methodists, who love to sing in four-part harmony are the sort of people you can call up when you're in deep distress.
* If you're dying, they will comfort you.
* If you are lonely, they'll talk to you.
* And if you are hungry, they'll give you tuna salad.
* Methodists believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray out loud.
* Methodists like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn or a hymn with more than four stanzas.
* Methodists believe their pastors will visit them in the hospital, even if they don't notify them that they are there.
* Methodists usually follow the official liturgy and will feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.
* Methodists believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.
* Methodists think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle while passing the peace.
* Methodists drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.
* Methodists feel guilty for not staying to cleanup after their own wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.
* Methodists are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at the church.
* Methodists still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the season and think that peas in a tuna casserole add too much color.
* Methodists believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and never take themselves too seriously.
All this means that, if you are to be counted among their numbers, you will know you are a Methodist when:
* It's 100 degrees, with 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the service.
* You hear something funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as you can.
* Donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee.
* When you watch a Star Wars movie and they say, "May the Force be with you," and you respond, "and also with you."
And lastly, you'll know you've been in the presence of a Methodist, if it takes ten minutes to say good-bye!
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19
Today I was talking to Kris on the phone and once again, God used her to get a message to me.
When I was 14 or 15 years old, on one of my many runaway episodes, my friend Linda Tyson and I hitchhiked from Boston to Scranton Pennsylvania, where our backpacks and everything we had were stolen. A man who had picked us up and given us a fifty mile lift into Scranton had told us that if we ever needed help along the way, call a local Baptist church and they would help.
So we did. The pastor came and picked us up, brought us to the parsonage where his wife had a hot meal for us, then housed us with a young couple with two small children.
Linda and I were both smokers, and spent a lot of time on the back porch, puffing away.
Part of staying in this family's home included going to Wednesday night prayer meeting and Sunday services with them. That Wednesday night was the first time I ever had a heart to heart with Jesus. I backslid quite a lot over the years, but that was the first time.
I don't remember the names of the couple, I wish I did. They were so kind and generous to us.
But I remember the wife giving me her testimony about quitting smoking. She had been a three pack a day smoker when she was convicted that her body was a temple for God and she quit cold turkey. She said that what pulled her through it was a LOT of prayer.
Today, Kris and I were talking, and she said something that put me RIGHT back in that lady's kitchen thirty years ago. I don't remember Kris's exact words, but they were right in line with that "my body is God's temple" thing. And I felt like God was whapping me upside the head and reminding me that I'm messing up His creation in a big way.
Then I get back online this afternoon, and Tori has sent me a little FB app. No big deal, right?
Except that I do not believe in coincidences. They just don't happen in my life.
The app was a message which reads:
Yes, today. Keep your eyes open for a message. It might come in a shape of a bird flying overhead, or a graffiti on a wall, or a phrase said by a passerby, or... Whatever shape it has, this message has been trying to reach you for years, and today is finally the day. Keep your senses open.
Hello, Jenn, this is God speaking. Time to quit.
Q day starts when I wake up tomorrow morning. And it will never end until I beat this addiction once and for all. If Sam could quit drugs, I can quit nicotine.. and I have something he didn't have when he went clean. I have God to lean on and help me through this.
My strategy is simple. When I want to smoke, I'll pray until the craving goes away.
I foresee a RICH prayer life over the next few weeks, between quitting smoking and forgiving.
Please pray with me on this! I need ALL the help I can get!
Lately I've been hurting one of my oldest and dearest friends very deeply, and I've been too wrapped up in myself and my own crap to pay attention to what I was doing.
This friend, we'll just call her Dolly, as she likes her net privacy, has seen me through some incredibly hard times in my life. I honestly think she knows me better than any of my other friends in any part of my life. I trust her implicitly and have no secrets from her. When I started my affair with my second husband, she was the first person I told. When I asked my first husband for the divorce, she knew before anybody else except Koji and I.
When by a miracle I found my way back to God, it was very much through her efforts and prayers and those of another friend online and a third friend whom I was not in touch with at the time. But the elephant's share of the credit goes to her for simply showing me, by her own life, where I wanted to be. No preaching, no proseletysing. Just being a solid Christian woman and a rock solid example of Christian love.
When she let me know how much I've been hurting her, I started to cry. So damn selfish of me to not notice what my lack of communication was doing to her. And she NEEDS her friends now. Her job and her husband's job are in major flux, her health is troubling her, and I was too caught up in my own bullshit, and talking about my newer friends to notice her sitting there hoping I would start talking to her. Even when she was reaching out to me.
We made it up tonight, but I can't undo the hurt that I've caused her. She gave me a wakeup call I sorely needed.
Please, if I've been marginalizing you, reading this, in any way, let me know. It's not intentional, and I need to know when I'm screwing up, because otherwise I can't make it right.
And now I realize I have another person I need to learn to forgive.
I love you, Dolly. Thank you for waking me up.