Sunday, May 13, 2012

Who knows?

I have been thinking about my oldest friend all day. And the impetus for all this reflection were a pair of wildly divergent TV shows: Joel Osteen's ministry and Mad Men.

I was too lazy to get to church today so I watched Joel Osteen's televised service. I like his sunny Christianity. I believe in it. You can have all the hell, fire and brimstone you can handle. I know my Lord loves me, that's why he sacrificed His son for me. He wants me to be happy. As Joel says, "God desires for me to experience joy where He placed me." So I'm fine praying with Osteen on Sunday.

And today his sermon could not have been more spot on for my oldest friend and me. For she's still troubled, still fragile, still surrounded by her troubled kids and the uninvolved cousin she moved 2000 miles to be near. First my shrink told me I'll be happier, and our relationship would be more peaceful, if I quit trying to run my oldest friend's life. But it's a trap I keep falling into.

So this morning's sermon approached it from the spiritual side. "It’s easy to focus on others’ faults and what we would like to change about them. But, God is the one that put the talents, creativity and strengths into each person.  Isaiah 64:8 says, 'We’re the clay and you’re our potter: all of us are what you made us.' Our job isn’t to change people. Learn to accept that God is the one directing their steps, making them and molding them into who He wants them to be. If you’ll learn to love, honor and accept people for who they are right now, your relationships will go to a whole new level." The Lord is the sculptor, not me. She is as God made her. Any change will be between the two of them. It's my job to accept her as she is right now. Must remember that!

Then I watched Mad Men. Betty, Don's ex, now married to a New York state politician. She's struggling with her weight, with her kids, with her new marriage. And she hates how happy Don is with his new wife, Megan. Betty's willing to put their daughter in the middle of her warfare with the ex-husband who has soooo moved on. All this is very much like my oldest friend and her ex. He used to be verbally abusive, but those days are over. I don't know if he's outgrown that sort of thing, or if she's broken him of it because she refuses to engage. I don't care. I love my friend and I'm glad he's knocked it off.

But she still makes digs at him, puts him down in front of the kids. She refuses to co-parent, even though her daughter spends holidays with him. How awful it must be for that girl, to bounce from his ZERO TOLERANCE when it comes to boys and drugs to her mother's more passive "let's choose our battles" approach! But, like Betty on Mad Men, my oldest friend is unable to stop herself, no matter how much she loves her kids. Like Betty, she resents the bond her daughter feels with dad's second wife.

I wonder: as she watches Mad Men, does she see herself in Betty? Do any of us see ourselves that clearly? And I'm not going to ask her if she saw Mad Men tonight, and certainly not if she saw herself in it.

It's my job to love her, not to change her. God is the sculptor, not me. She's not a clump of clay on my potter's wheel, she's a person who deserves my support, not my nagging. Starting tomorrow, I will try harder.


You know all those things I was gonna get done today? Like working out and scrubbing the tub and washing the floors? I didn't get any of it done. This place is a messy mess-mess-mess and I'm not at all pleased with myself. All I did all weekend was ... well ... kinda what I'm doing now. It's amazing that I don't have carpal tunnel from all the farting around I've done online this weekend. Oh well, at least I'm relaxed. Isn't that what days off are for?

Sunday Stealing: The Get Out of Jail Free Meme, Part Two

21. Has there ever been anyone that now you regret meeting? Yes. I have a toxic ex in my past and nothing but bad came of that relationship. It was decades ago, and I'd be able to say it was behind me if he didn't insist on reaching out to me periodically, as if there's anything he can say to make up for what he did.  
22. What's the last film you saw? Would you recommend it? Titanic in 3D. I have always loved Jack and Rose, so yes, everyone should see it. Not that the 3D adds much. I just like the movie.
23. Would you rather have roommates or live alone? ALONE!
24. Do you like any of your friends a little more than just a friend? There's a line from Will and Grace describing the main characters: "More than friends, can't ever be lovers." I think that sums us up.
25. We loved the results yesterday on Saturday 9. Post a rather current song that you'd like us to hear. Sigh. The Boss has still "got it."

27. If you found out that you were going to be a parent, what would you do? If you are one, tell us what the best parent of being a parent is. At this point in my life, if I found out I was going to be a mother, I'd contact JAMA because I know they'd want to cover it

28. Do you give money to homeless people when they ask? If I have change in my pocket, I do. I have a rather strict rule against taking my wallet out on the street.
29. A weekend in Las Vegas or Miami? Why? Vegas. Because it's Vegas. There's always something to do within walking distance.

30. What was your reaction to the president supporting gay marriage? Yawn. I thought it was too timid. For the son of an interracial marriage in 1960 to call this a state's issue is both naive and sad. If civil rights were left to the states in the 1960s, African Americans would still be riding in the back of the bus. And for him to say that, at age 50, he was still evolving on this issue indicates he believes we're all naive. Oh, and there's no way this costs him votes because fanatical evangelicals are skeptical of the Mormon candidate and homophobes weren't going to vote for him anyway. So I'm a little dispirited by the weak tea he served us.
31. You are totally alone on a Saturday. What do you do? Read. Nap. Luxuriate in the alone time.
32. You have 3 months left to live, what is your bucket list? I don't have a bucket list. I resist it because I find the idea more than a little depressing.
33. You're having a bad day, what one thing can make your day better? I've found a lunchtime workout and a middle-of-the-day shower improves my perspective.
34. Ever use a tanning bed? I have. I got fidgety and bored.

35. Is there anything you would change about your body if you could? My waist. I miss it.
36. You wake up in an unfamiliar place, what is your first reaction?  "What the fu..."
37. Is there anything that you should be doing right now? There usually is when I'm farting around on the internet.

38. At what age do you think that sex becomes less important? Why? I don't accept that it ever does.

39. What is your favorite breakfast food? Eggs
40. Your phone rings at 4am, who do you expect it to be? My sister saying that my mom is back in the hospital


I've got to stop doing this

Yesterday, my mom and I celebrated Mother's Day. I took Saturday because my kid sister refuses to commit to a time to celebrate on Sunday as she is a mother, too, and the day should be about her, too (as opposed to every other day of the year). My mom and I agreed that we'd talk on Saturday at 11:00, after my trip to the vet with Joey and her time in the stands for my nephew's morning soccer game. When I called, she didn't answer.

Where was she? Bathroom (it's a 4BR ranch house) and it's hard to get to the phone in 5 rings before the machine picks up (she still has a machine). Yard? The garbage has to go out. Still with my sister? That would piss me off, if my sister decided to run errands with my mom in the car, making her unable to honor her commitment to me.

The hospital. I was sure she was back in the hospital.

So I got angry at my sister so I called back and left a snotty message on my mom's machine because angry is easier for me to handle than terror.

Turns out she was with my sister's family. Instead of 11:00, she was home by 12:30. She was fine. She liked her gifts (giftcards so she can spoil my niece and nephew and a little plush toy, a gardener, because she misses working in her own garden -- hard on her knees). We had a nice visit. Her health is on the mend.

I just have to stop worrying like this. Every time she doesn't answer, my mom isn't dying.