Saturday, November 15, 2014

Gifts from Protestants: Hymnody

One of my tropes on this blog has been to rag on my evangelical background, and there's a lot of good material there. However, I have neglected to mention the good things. One of the best things that Protestant churches have to offer is their music.

To be clear, I'm not talking about this:

I'm thinking more about this:

Or this:

Or this:

If Catholics are looking for music to add to their repoirtoire, they could do worse than composers such as Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, and the many anonymous authors of Negro Spirituals. Of course some lyrics may have to be tweaked for doctrinal reasons, but there is a wealth of musical and lyrical talent buried in the typical Protestant hymnal.

On another day I'll tell you why Protestants have such a rich history of music.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cleaning up My Own Crap

This evening I had a mind-changing conversation with my husband over health insurance. (Stick with me here). As we both cried, as I tried to apologize for forgetting to mail a check almost a month ago, as he tried to express his feelings of hopelessness, the Holy Spirit hit me in the head with a two-by-four, because apparently that's what it takes.

In a flash, I remembered my wedding vows, and it occured to me that those weren't only for my husband. I too had promised things in that ceremony. I know, it's shocking.

You see, in the course of my legitimate health problems and depression, I forgot about responsibility. I believed, with the fervency of a True Believer, that depression was a valid excuse for neglecting my health, my marriage, my friendships, my work, and any other duty or relationship in my life. And if a small voice ventured to disagree, I shot it down with woe is me histrionics that ended in suicidal fantasies, pulling my hair out by the roots, and other constructive behaviors. In addition, I had convinced myself that my husband's job was to put up with it all, because after all he had taken those vows didn't he?

There is more than one way to leave your spouse. There's the one we see in divorce courts, but there's the one I grew up watching my parents model for me. They are still married in a technical sense, and they still live in the same house. But anyone who knows them at all knows it's a farce. The lack of mutual respect is palpable.

I thought that because I'd married "better" (that is, we're more compatible than my parents, though total opposites in many ways), that we'd weather the storm. However, I asked him to do all the weathering. And now he's starting to crack under the pressure.

What's so humbling is that the things he asks of me seem so small. To take care of myself; to get up at a reasonable hour; to make friends locally so that I'm not so dependent on him for social interaction; to get exercise and fresh air; to put in the hours at my job that I need in order to finish my work. You know, to act like an adult.

It's true, part of my problem is depression. Depression/ anxiety/ PTSD make those "simple" tasks seem monumental. However, I threw in the towel before the depression had a chance to attack. My self-respect shriveled so low that I drifted through life, emerging occasionally to decry injustices on the internet rather than face my own problems.

What does God ask of me? The simple and boring, the acts of love that they don't talk about in women's magazines, the daily duties that require perseverance rather than sprints.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Daybook - For the Sake of Blogging Something, Anything

Life has been topsy-turvy, and my husband's job situation is in flux, and my sleep routine is so screwy that I find myself up at 4 a.m. and asleep at 11. No, I don't have a baby. 

OK, that's all my excuses out of the way. Really, the reasons I don't have a sparkling clean apartment or a committed prayer life or an updated blog or a full work schedule or a dedicated volunteer routine boil down to two things, laziness and depression, and damned if I can tell where one problem starts and the other begins. 

Thankfully, I also adhere to the following principle: if something's worth doing it's worth doing badly. Onward! 

Patron saint of internet quoting out of context

What I'm listening to....  Road Trip Hip Hop station on Pandora. (If you incorrectly thought this post would be spiritually edifying, now is your queue to flee). Especially anything by OutKast. This station has the highest success rate of motivating my butt than anything else at this time. What can I say, Nelly makes me shake my tail feather, just more in a "let's clean the kitchen" sense than a twerking one.

What I'm reading....  The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It's fascinating and hard to put down. I don't know enough about Biblical-era Near Eastern culture to verify its historicity, but as fiction it's damn riveting. 

What I'm pondering....  Whether or not to sublet our second bedroom/ bath in our apartment for financial reasons. 

What I'm taking to my next confession....  The sin of envy, as in why are others able to have full-time jobs/ children/ happy sparkling Pinterest-worthy houses, the perverse will for others to be miserable because I am. If you've never struggled with this particular sin, I envy you. 

What I'm agonizing about....  Churches. As in, should I go to the church where my husband works even though there's a grand total of two other people our age, or should I nose around? How much/ how little can I trust others who may have some say in my husband's job and ministry prospects? How can I keep from wistfully wishing I could still attend my old parish in DC, understanding that God wants me here, not there? 

What I'm thankful for....  Seeing a baby flying squirrel at my last venture to a Savannah bar with friends. He was either someone's pet or soon to become one and submitted happily to being held. I wouldn't touch it because I have a well-developed fear of rabies, but the critter was too darn cute for words. 

He wasn't this plump, but just as darling

What I enjoyed about Halloween.... Everything. Halloween is an amazing holiday, and now that I don't attend a Southern Baptist school or Calvinist church I can celebrate it with gusto. My husband, who has never done anything half-way, dressed up as Awesome-O from South Park for a costume party. I went as Medusa. His costume was completely homemade from cardboard boxes, pipe cleaners, and speakers connected to an iPOD (he actually got it to play The Final Countdown). Mine consisted of a foam green Medusa hat from Target with snakes going everywhere, but it was a sweet hat. 

His was better than this, but close enough

What I'm doing tonight.... A meeting with my boss, in which we'll go over the content I'm producing for a website selling IT products. That sounded more exciting in my mind. 

Have a happy November and a lovely fall!