Nobody Lonesome for Me

Last night we went to the American Heartland Theatre, where we’ve had season tickets for a couple of years. We had debated about what to do this year–you can purchase either a 4- or 6-show option. But we thought 5 of the shows sounded interesting! We decided we could probably tolerate the 6th show, so we went ahead and bought a full season pass.

The show we weren’t sure about was this first one–Nobody Lonesome for Me. It takes place in a filling station on December 31, 1952–and is a one-man show…Hank Williams, Sr., on the night before he dies.

Neither one of us are particular country music fans, and we didn’t have any idea of what to expect. But rather than it being mostly a concert of his music (although there were a number of his songs…some of which we didn’t know he wrote), it ended up being much more his story–and we found ourselves getting caught up in the pain and hurt that so significantly impacted him and helped lead to his death of a heart attack at age 29.

It was Hank on stage–with a side-man playing incredible steel guitar or acoustic guitar on the songs…and an incredible fiddler playing as well. But the actor playing Hank was the show.

What a tragedy…both in Hank’s personal life and his relationships–and how those issues of alcoholism and drug addiction have impacted at least three generations of the family (his father, him, and his son).

“Nobody lonesome for me”…I can’t think of a sadder epitaph for anyone. Everybody needs someone to be lonesome for them…needs to be connected in a healthy way with someone else. When that doesn’t happen, there is a hole in the soul…a hole that one can try to fill with all kinds of other “stuff”…but the pain never leaves.

The Missing 10%

On this Spirit Day (a day to take a stand against bullying and support LGBT equality by wearing purple), I thought it would be a good time to post this.

The best guesstimate I hear is that about 10% of the population is LGBT. We may not be aware of that 10% because many of them hide who they are–even from themselves. Why? To protect themselves–physically, emotionally, and–unfortunately–spiritually as well.

When we hide our true selves, the whole world loses, because not only is the truth about one’s sexuality hidden; often the gifts and talents of individuals become hidden as well.

And when, as is far too often the case, an individual decides they simply cannot live that way and choose to end life rather than constantly fight to be who society says they should be…or when other individuals choose to end the life of an LGBT person because they see them as an abomination…then any chance for their giftedness and talents to be shared is gone forever.

What happens when we lose 10%? Maybe the simplest way is to think about what happens to a simple nursery song when we lose 10% of the notes. Sing “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”…which has 42 notes in it. Then take out 4 notes (make one of them the last note), and see what happens when you sing it. Something important is missing…

And the same is true when we push aside 10% of our friends and loved ones.

God’s grandkids?

I don’t believe God has grandkids.

What do I mean by that?

Well….Perhaps I should start off by saying what I don’t mean by that. I don’t believe that God cuts people off–that there are some God chooses not to accept as part of God’s family. I believe that God reaches out to embrace everyone.

What I do believe is that while some may be members of God’s religious family because of their family heritage (i.e., parents were members of a specific denomination)–and thus, they may be “grandkids” in the sense that we refer to grandkids–until and unless they have their own personal relationship with the Divine, the relationship is really much more of an abstract one.

Yesterday we shared in the funeral of a 93-year-old family member (and yes, this relates to this idea). He and his wife were active members in our faith tradition. They had six children–but as the children have grown, with limited exceptions they have not developed their own relationship with God. One is active religiously, one is sort of active, and the rest are not. Many of the grandkids are not active religiously either–and do not have a relationship with God.

It’s not because they didn’t learn about God from their parents/grandparents. They did. For whatever reason, though, it didn’t “take”…they didn’t see a reason to “own” that relationship. And so they live life on their own, sometimes wondering why their lives have been so difficult–and not really having a solid foundation to build on and a relationship to be their support when they have had tragedies.

Sometimes the relationship seems to develop quickly…sometimes we parents may wonder if our kids are ever going to “get it.” I’m glad God is more patient than I am…

I believe that God wants all of us to be God’s children–to have that intimate, personal connection that allows us to truly feel loved…and to be challenged to be the best we can be.

Dealing with stress

Today may not be the best day to write this, since I’m more than slightly stressed–but I’m trying to figure out how to de-stress.

I look at the stacks of “stuff” on my desk–most of them representing projects that need to be finished…or the remains of projects that need to be filed. And sometimes I’m just not sure where to even start. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way!

So how do I deal with it? Sometimes better than others.

Here are some of my ideas. I’ve tried putting down the ones that are more healthy ways of dealing with it–the others just really end up adding to the stress. Others are welcome to chime in! Maybe between us we’ll come up with some things that will meet each of our needs. Then the big challenge will be deciding that it’s important enough to actually do one of these things to destress!

  • Take a nice warm bath while reading a magazine or a good book. This is my favorite–but its disadvantage is that it’s hard to do this one at work!
  • Escaping into a good book
  • Lighting a candle and watching its flame for a while
  • Taking a walk
  • Pausing for a time for meditation
  • Massage
  • Poking my head in another office to visit (briefly) with a coworker
  • Drinking a cup of chai
  • Deciding to ignore everything else and clear the clutter away
  • Playing on the piano or organ
  • Listening to some music on Pandora
  • Playing a quick game
  • Writing in my journal
  • Writing a quick note to a friend
  • Making a list of the things I’m grateful for
  • Exercising

Scared…

My dog (a 17-lb schnoodle–that’s a schnauzer/poodle mix) is terrified of flies. If he sees one at the door, he won’t come in. If he hears one buzzing in the house, he’ll find a place under the desk to cower…or he’ll wrap himself around our legs, hoping that we’ll protect him.

Wasps or bees? That’s another story. He’ll attack them…kill them…eat them.

I don’t know if one stung him sometime, and so now any buzzing signifies “pain”…but that doesn’t quite make sense either, because he’ll still go after wasps.

I find in that an interesting question to ponder for my own life. Are the things that I’m afraid of in the fly category? or the wasp and bee? If I’m willing to tackle the wasps and bees, why do I let flies annoy me? After all, all they can do is buzz–they won’t hurt me.

I don’t know that Rascal will ever get over his fear of flies…but I’m sure going to work on it for me!