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Posts Tagged ‘Entropy’

It has not escaped my attention that my recent transition from seeming emotional stability to my new status as a wreck is happening at the age of 40.  It seems almost too classic to be coincidental, right?  Midlife crisis, meet RevMommy.  She’s ripe for the picking.

So I find myself faced with both the opportunity to do something new, go into uncharted water–a good thing.  And a bout of severe depression that often prevents me from doing anything at all beyond rolling over and going back to sleep–this is not so good.  Part of me wants to face the second half of life with enthusiasm and excitement.  I like to think this is the real me.  Another part of me is feeling at sea because for the first time in my life, I’m not defined by my job.  This is my scared part.  Really, really scared.

We live in a culture in which we are defined by what we do for a living.  When you meet someone for the first time, most people ask “What do you do?”  They don’t mean knitting, or collecting comics, they want to know where you work.  Flash has faced this disability for many years as a Stay-At-Home-Dad.  Only in the last few years has SAHD even become a thing, one that you can admit to. (An aside about Flash:   He’s an awesome dad, as shown by the way he spent his afternoon coaxing our terrified and resistant son into having his blood drawn.   Flash not only spent 45 minutes trying to calm a hysterical child with Asperger’s, but even had them draw his own blood just to show it was safe.  He so rocks.)   I love to shake up personal introductions by asking questions like “What is your favorite book?” or “Where did you grow up?”, if not “What is your first memory of being in a kitchen?”  That’s a great one.

In my case, I’ve been in a pastoral role my entire adult life.  I went to seminary right out of college at the age of 21, worked as a youth director, was a missionary, and was ordained and in a church at 25.  I remember one elderly lady in the first church I served asking my age, then replying, “Honey, I’ve got shoes older than you.”  So while I may not have grown up in the church, I have certainly become the woman I am in the church.   Being a pastor never stops.  People I don’t know often want to tell me how horrible religion is, or contrariwise they suddenly stop saying fuck and act as if I’m going to slap them with a ruler.  Or they just close down and move out of the conversation.  On the other hand, there are the folks that jump right in to theology, or the story of their personal crisis, or ask me to pray.  Once the words, “I’m a pastor” are out of my mouth, I become a stand-in for their entire personal relationship with God, however bad or good that has been.  And after a while, I started to see myself that way as well.  Who I was was what I did. 

Tonight I met with an old friend (old, in the sense that now she’s an adult woman in her late 20s and I remember her at age 13 in church youth group) to talk about my exploring the possibility of my becoming a doula.  A doula, if you are not a parent or became a parent before they became popular, is a childbirth attendant.  A woman who professionally supports the woman in labor, as opposed to a midwife whose focus is on the baby.  

We met in a totally cool coffeehouse, so cool that it is definitely not near where I live.  Funky couches, art, nothing matching or blah–we sat on a bright green Victorian style couch.  The customers were all young, hip, and busily working on their laptops.   I want to live there.

Anyhow, my friend is not only a doula, she’s currently expecting her first baby.  I’m a total childbirth geek, I loved being pregnant and being in labor, and using a doula was a big part of that.  I have oodles of experience in hospitals, and it would be nice to be there to celebrate the beginning of life rather than my usual role.  Don’t get all excited, I’m honestly just trying it on for size.   I don’t really know which way God is calling me right now, but it feels odd to even think about taking off my virtual “I’m A Pastor–Tell Me Your Problems” button.  In a way it could be so refreshing.

So the “Rev” part of “RevMommy” has suddenly become nebulous.  However, as Mothers’ Day reminded me, the “Mommy” part is still right on target.  If I define myself by anything, it is being a Mom.  One thing I know I want is to continue to have the family oriented and centered lifestyle that we do.  I want to spend as much time as possible, do as much as possible, with my children before they move up and out.  I’m not satisfied with a couple of hours a day of interaction with my biological offspring.  I want to be part of raising them.  Not a helicopter mom, hovering overhead; not a Tiger mom, demanding perfection: I want to be a cheetah mom, protecting them when they are helpless, teaching them to hunt by my side as they grow, then letting them go knowing I gave them myself 100%.   Hence homeschooling.  Scheduling my work life so that I can do as much as I can during their sleeping hours.  Spending my free time playing board games and going on family field trips and watching family movies.  Living a child-centered life in a culture that really rejects that sort of thinking.  Being a mom is my rock right now.  

Belated happy Mothers’ Day to all you moms out there.   It really is the best part of my life.  And while I’m still trying to decide what I want to do when I grow up, for now I’m happy just being a mom.

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that sometimes you just need to hit things with swords.  Big sharp swords.  Since I’m a sedentary middle-aged woman, I do it virtually.  After my bout of movie-induced-melancholy last night, the chaos of boxes and packing and housekeeping were overwhelming me, and an email offering a free week of World of Warcraft just happened to appear in my inbox.  Darn you, Blizzard marketing department.  You’ve been spying on me.   

Smashing things feels incredibly soothing right now.  It’s like antidepressants, with sound effects and treasure.  Of course  WoW is a money pit.  After buying the program, you have to subscribe for $15 a month, which means $30 because if I subscribe, Flash will too.   I’m still on my free week, so we’ll see.  I don’t have the latest upgrades and they want to sell me those.  We have so many moving related expenses and I don’t have a regular income yet… but gaming is still way cheaper than therapy.  Not that I’m giving up therapy any time soon.

The last time I played Warcraft regularly was a couple of years ago.  At that time the boys were younger, and didn’t really notice if mom and dad locked their bedroom door at night so we could sneak in some roleplaying.   In the game.  Get your minds out of the gutter.  Now, however, launching the game attracts Kinesis and Entropy like magnets.  “What are you doing?  Why don’t you kill that?  Go climb that tower and jump off!”  The fact that they have their own games to play during quiet time, their own DSs, access to a computer with subscriptions of their own to ClubPenguin and Lego Universe, and in our living room sit an XBox, a Playstation 3 and a Wii does not distract them from hanging over my shoulder and kibbitzing about Cuteypie, my new troll character.  This has led to the development of new geek parenting phrases, such as “Go play your own MMOG! Now!”

There have been some changes in the game in the past two years.  The graphics are better, and I find the gameplay smoother.  Yet it still is a world populated by adolescent males and those who act like them.  Sometimes I just have to turn off the universal chat function.  I prefer to avoid guilds and PVP and just play solo quests, or group up just with Flash, doing lots of crafting along the way.  You know, the girly stuff.  And being in the same room on side-by-side laptops saves a lot of time on chat. 

Of course, computer gaming is a time sink.  I probably could have packed the kitchen cabinets I had my eye on today, but instead I got up and logged on for a while… and then the while grew… and grew.  I’m going to have to set some strict limits if this is going to continue.   The whole time we were watching Dr. Who (and more about that tomorrow) I was preoccupied with wondering where Flash and I would find some level 10+ quests in the Ogrimmar region.  When you can’t focus on the Tardis, you are officially hooked. 

Anyhow, that’s all for tonight.  Gotta go fight some bristleback quillboars.  You know.  Mom stuff.

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I wanted to change the world.
But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. 
–Aldous Huxley
 
I’ve always been the stable one.  The level-headed, reliable, succesful doer.  I kept on going despite the odds, despite grief, despite tragedy, despite a full-time job and two needy kids and a career that demands perfection while paying lip service to forgiveness.  And this past February it all came crashing down on me.  All it took were a few emotional kicks from some angry people, and I dropped to my knees and broke.  Suddenly I couldn’t face the responsibilities of life that I’d been plugging through for the past 20 years.  My shell cracked and inside I found an overwhelming sadness that almost led me to take my life.
 
But I didn’t.  I reached out to my wonderful husband (we’ll call him Flash), and I was quickly in a treatment program, sitting in a room with people who had life stories that were far beyond my experience.  But I listened, and I learned, and it soon became clear that most of my problem was centered in the barrel of “should”s I carried around each day.  I should own a house by now.  I should spend more time with my family; no, more time on my career; no, family! 
 
Three months later, I’m on a new road.  Or soon will be.  I’ve taken a leave of absence from my job, and Flash and I and our two young sons–we’ll call them Entropy and Kinesis–are selling out or packing up everything in our four bedroom house to drive cross-country and focus on relationship with each other and reconnecting with grandparents and others.  And so I chose my blog title:  Ad Meliora.  To better things.  That’s where I hope I’m headed.
 
I’m RevMommy.  After almost 2o years as a pastor I’m changing direction.  It may bring me right back where I started.  But I suspect the journey is going to be interesting.
 

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