Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Moment of Silence


Most people, myself included, do not come to God because out of joy, but rather the butt of a gun. The gun for me wasn't some horrible illness or financial crisis -- it was middle school gym class. I wasn't a total outcast in school -- I had a small group of friends who at lunch together, found places to roost to hide from everyone else while we downed Munchos and Dr. Pepper. But in gym class I was on my own. The sadistic ritual of having beautiful athletic children pick teams still prevailed, and I competed for last spot every time with a very large girl named Toni who smoked by the sixth grade, was pregnant with her uncle's child by the eighth. So I doubt Toni gave a rat's ass about being the last one out of the bleachers, but I did. We'd sit while the team leaders debated about how not to get stuck with losers, meaning me, Toni, or the boy on crutches suffering from muscular dystrophy.

I continued to hate gym, but I started to pray that I could accept whatever happened, whatever taunts and bullshit came my way. It amazes me that I knew enough not to pray for a change in the situation but a change in me -- it was a lesson I would have to relearn for years and years, but I had it down at that moment. During this time there was much debate about prayer in the schools -- during my high school years, we had a moment of silence as a nod to the separation of church and state. You could do anything with your moment. By high school I had come into my own and hold much of the same opinions I do today which includes a very firm separation of church and state. But I used my moment to thank God that I had survived middle school (Robert E. Lee Middle School no less!) and that I didn't have to take gym now. There was a lot to be thankful for if you looked.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Suffering is God's bullhorn to a deaf world." C.S. Lewis

Cocktail Hour

Drinking movie suggestion: Breaking the Waves (if you want to be really, really depressed)

Benedictions and Maledictions

Hangover Cure

He didn’t die fast enough, she said,
when I asked her why she left her
HIV-positive husband. She’d grown
thin and beautiful, no longer the chubby
girl who’d married Kevin even
though he wasn’t expected to live much
longer. Nights, he worked at Waffle House,
serving drunks who’d come to the only
open place in town, hoping to waste
time before sleep, ordering much more than they
ever ate, trying to sober up before morning.

10 comments:

Special ed said...

I loved gym class and felt bad we didn't have it junior and senior years in high school. But I made up for this lack of physical education in college and am proud to say that I became a junior high gym teacher at Eastland Junior High School in Roseville, Michigan. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. And, please, leave all box cutters and guns in your lockers during gym class. Much obliged in advance.

Pete Persona said...

Jeez, Michelle, I don't know about that "Hangover Cure" poem. When I was hitting the bottle hard I always cleaned my plates before crashing, and anything my drinking buddies overlooked.

Bad to the bone said...

That's a really cute t-shirt, Michelle. An assault rifle with lots of pink and red hearts. Killer.

History buffeted said...

Robert E. Lee school. Now that is an interesting name. When I think of that loser I recall that the North turned his estate into Arlington National Cemetery. Good move.

JLCGULL said...

Go Tigers! Beat Oakland! Fly high with the American League Pennant. Have no fear, JLCGULL is with you! Fly high with the Pennant, mighty Tigers!!! Screeeeawaaaaaaaaaaay!!!

paul said...

Cajun Queen you rock with that luv and AK-47 thats the rockin spirit poem is little bummer spirit but Go Tigers World Series come this way R2 C2!

bonnie said...

Honey, you look kind of sad there. Poor thing, bless your heart. I'm sire the boys are happy about the Tigers. Good for Detroit which can always use the help.
kiss kiss Bon

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,
our Tigers DID IT, yes! Another lovely post and view and poem as always, champagne kisses and glory and Bravos! World Series Here We Come! Bravo Tigers! Bravo Detroit! Good to be alive!

r's musings said...

Middle School Gym class brings up all kinds of bad memories -- from changing in the locker room with girls who were a lot more developed to not being athletic enough. I was one of those picked last, too! How embarrassing it was!

Jamie said...

Michelle - Sure you were praying for that change in yourself, but I seriously doubt that the change came from any invisible, omnipotent being who wanted to help you adjust to middle school gym. You wanted to change and found the strength to do so inside yourself. Prayer is just another method of finding focus, like meditation, and bringing out your inner strengths. Why do people want to put a supernatural label on it?