Once upon a time I sat crying in a church doorway on a crowded city street. A group of Amish men passed by, a parade of Amish, and they snuck furtive glances at my semi-hysterical, sobbing self. Some were old, some in the prime of their lives, some young boys, and I comforted myself with the stories they might tell each other about why I had obviously broken down in a public place without the good sense to find a bathroom in which to cry. I thought of myself as a cautionary tale -- See what happens in a secular lifestyle! The big city will leave you cold and strung out like garbage on the side of the street! To my credit, I managed with heroic effort to pull myself together before I made more of a jerk out of myself in front of a myriad of people on bikes, trying to win some race. Not one of my finer stoic moments, that's for sure. I thought of all the self-help slogans I'd heard lately, but one in particular mocked me -- And you are somebody! Yes, I thought, somebody who is a real dumbass.
One of my favorite pulp novels details the adventures of a priest who does a street ministry for beautiful women junkies, having had his heartstrings tugged by one who got out of prison and begged for his help, only to overdose but had the presence of mind to leave a note safety-pinned to her bra that said, Only you, Father John, can stop this from happening to others. What's not to love -- heroin, New York City, Bellevue, a burned out priest on the edge of losing his faith, damsels in distress? What can I say? This formula works for me. While I read it, I thought about that day on the street. I wasn't trying to win a race, wasn't living all that plain and simple as the Amish pride themselves. I was living complicated and strung out, like so many people on the edges of something, trying like anything to regain my composure and failing, my faith, slipping in and out of the distance like a radio station I couldn't quite pick up for the time being even though I knew it was there and always would be, even if I couldn't hear it at that moment.
Michelle's Spell of the Day"Progress means eliminating one thing and accepting another." B. R. Sridhar
Drinking movie suggestion: Conversations With Other Women
Benedictions and Maledictions