July 29, 2013

I Forgot My Socks

While on the subway to yesterday's soccer game, I realized something distressing; I had forgotten my socks. Socks that would fit over shinpads and into cleats. All socks. Any socks.

You cannot play soccer barefoot when others are wearing cleats. Even casual games of barefoot soccer run the risk of broken toes. I cannot wear shinpads and cleats without socks: blister city!!

What to do?
I was running late.
My team does not have extraneous women.
Going home would essentially mean missing the game...

The bus stop I get off at is across the street from Marshall's. So I bought a pair of men's socks at Marshall's.

Striped socks that pulled up over my shin pads although they weren't made for this type of wear. Socks whose purple heels sat above my heel, at the back of my ankle.

Unethical socks, most likely. I feel sad about this, as I've been enjoying the challenge to put my money where my mouth is and only purchase ethically made or used clothing. I don't feel that I've failed or that this particular challenge is "over" (I hope it will never be), but I do want to make note of my choice, for my own sake and also to let y'all know how it's going.

Relatedly, I need new shoes, and am about to order a pair (possibly two) online from an ethical producer in the States. I'm mostly afraid that they won't be quite the right size and I'll be stuck with ethical but ill-fitting shoes, which will be frustrating.

I'll keep you posted on how that plays out. And in the meantime, time to start triple-checking my sock situation before leaving the house!

July 27, 2013

Saturday Self-Talk

Sometimes on a Saturday morning, my to-do list looks like this:
  • edit photos for S&J
  • send photos to Sally
  • blog: books, photos
  • email: Ryan, Lisa, Jay
  • fix: dresser, necklace
  • craigslist: camera accessories, glassware
  • buy: GROCERIES, shoes
And my schedule looks like this:
  • noon - Ruth's w/ bikes
  • 3pm - Erika for coffee
  • 7pm - Claire & (other) Ruth?

I am trying to sort out how to make it all fit, when I realize I don't want to do any of those things at this precise moment. So I boil water and grab some Earl Grey and the last of the raspberries I picked from our overgrown bush this morning, and I take up the book I put down last night when my eyes couldn't stay open, and I curl up on the couch, and trust that I will do the needful eventually, and that this little time of quiet is valuable and necessary and allowed.

July 22, 2013

Questioning My Faith: Email Excerpts

Earlier this summer, a new friend asked me in an email if/when I first started questioning my faith. This is my response, edited slightly for clarity. I wanted to share it because it is honest but risky, and I want to be honest. I also want to ask you all the same question I ask her at the end... What about you? What's your story?

I think my questioning started in high school, when I was 14 or 15. I had a lot of self-loathing; most of it came from the gap between how others perceived me (the good Christian girl) and who I felt I was (someone who didn't understand if or how my faith worked outside of church walls...)

I didn't admit most of my questions and fears for years, and at the time I definitely accepted teachings that I don't anymore. The more I've seen and interacted with real life, picked up pieces of philosophy, and come to understand the methodology behind historical criticism, the more I've re-examined my beliefs. Having a friend who loves Jesus and is bi, or knowing someone who stops calling themselves a Christian because they are gay and are told they can't be both is very different than theorizing about the issue away from anyone who is personally affected by the conversation, you know? Also, a few years ago, a number of my friends' "Christian" marriages hit crises one right after each other. This caused me to become aware of and question the assumptions I held about the "rewards" for "purity" and why our sexual choices matter. These thoughts, and my experiences in full-time ministry also led to a whole slew of questions about how women are valued and given their identity in the church circles I was a part of.

My approach to all these questions has been shaped by two main tenets:

1. While in university, I was introduced to a perspective on the creation story that rocked my world view in two ways: it pointed out that the Bible is a collection of books from very different genres, and in the same way that I read a book of poems differently than a memoir or critical essay, portions of the Bible belong to different genres and require varying interpretive approaches. (as an English Lit major, this made SO MUCH SENSE.) Along with this, I understood for the first time that embracing evolution didn't have to threaten my belief that Jesus was a real person who lived, etc. The idea that I could examine what I had considered a "threatening" belief and find a compassionate/compatible stance with my central beliefs is one that has shifted how I approach almost everything (theologically speaking)

2. At least every year since the high school crisis, I face the question, "Do I really believe there is a god?" So far, the answer always comes up Yes. And of the options I'm aware of, the one I am most drawn to and trust is the Christian God. This isn't always an easy re-acceptance though. There are many times I've wished I weren't convinced of it all... One of my atheist friends and I were discussing the idea of conversion, and how it isn't as simple as it's often painted; she at one time WANTED to believe, but wasn't able to maintain it, despite her best attempts. I told her I understand because my story is the inverse; despite the mornings I've woken up thinking, "I wish I weren't a "Christian" anymore," I can't escape the internal conviction that there is something to it all. ("It all" being the belief that Jesus was a real person who lived and died and lived again, and that somehow, this makes a difference to how I'm able to interact with a God who actually loves me.)

In the last year, my heart has come to be more at rest with the questions - not that they aren't there, but the sense of distress they once caused me is mostly gone. I think it is in part because of the two things I just mentioned, and partially because I've found a community of friends with whom it is safe to ask pretty much anything.

Ok, this is getting long! Not sure if it answers your questions or not. I hope it does, or at least gives us more to discuss. And of course, I'm quite aware that my position/perspective may shift anytime...

What's your story? What events/conversations switched on the questions, so to speak?

July 11, 2013

An Earlier Morning

Thoughts on the subway to my new summer job:
  • I wonder if the office environment will be half as good as I've heard. And if the work will be twice as boring (or maybe only half).
  • There is a gelato place nearby. I may become a regular.
  • Maybe I will bike to work. I could totally bike to work. Next week. If it doesn't rain.
  • What do I do with an hour long lunch break? Other than visit the gelato place, of course.
  • Should I have left earlier?
  • Maybe data entry will be how I finally get into podcasts. Or techno music.
  • I like that tattoo.

July 9, 2013

Summer Stanzas from Emily Dickinson

Inebriate of Air - am I -
And Debauchee of Dew -
Reeling - thro endless summer days -
From inns of Molten Blue


Oh Sacrament of summer days,
Oh Last Communion in the Haze -
Permit a child to join.
Thy sacred emblems to partake -
Thy consecrated bread to take
And thine immortal wine!

July 4, 2013

Esse - Czeslaw Milosz

I'm on a bit of a poetry binge this week, and Monday afternoon found me lying on the luxurious shag rug of a friend's tiny apartment, re-reading some of my favourite poets (ee cummings, William Carlos Williams, Czeslaw Milosz). It is an adventure to re-open a collection and wonder what will pop out, knowing something you've read before will strike you afresh, or you will be reminded of a particularly moving line that you had somehow forgotten. Like this piece from Milosz, which floors me.

Every. damn.* time.

The first time I read it, I lay in a park with a friend (this same friend who offered me her rug as my reading burrow) and demanded that I share it with her. I spoke it carefully, and then, into the post-reading silence, I slammed the book shut, and dropped it as loudly as I could onto the grass.

"I'm never reading anything again," I declared, "What else is there to say?"


I looked at that face, dumbfounded. The lights of m├ętro stations flew by; I didn't notice them. What can be done, if our sight lacks absolute power to devour objects ecstatically, in an instant, leaving nothing more than the void of an idea form, a sign like a hieroglyph simplified from the drawing of an animal or bird? A slightly snub nose, a high brow with sleekly brushed-back hair, the line of the chin - but why isn't the power of sight absolute? -- and in a whiteness tinged with pink two sculpted holes, containing a dark, lustrous lava. To absorb that face but to have it simultaneously against the background of all spring boughs, walls, waves, in its weeping, its laughter, moving it back fifteen years, or ahead thirty. To have. It is not even a desire. Like a butterfly, a fish, the stem of a plant, only  more mysterious. And so it befell me that after so many attempts at naming the world, I am able only to repeat, harping on one string, the highest, the unique avowal beyond which no power can attain: I am, she is. Shout, blow the trumpets, make thousands-strong marches, leap, rend your clothing, repeating only: is!

She got out at Raspail. I was left behind with the immensity of existing things. A sponge, suffering because it cannot saturate itself; a river, suffering because reflections of clouds and trees are not clouds and trees.

(Brie-Comte-Robert, 1954)

*I kind of apologize for the profanity, except that this evokes such a strong response in me that it is the only language emphatic enough to to capture how I feel. That or a guttural ARGH.