The End of an Era… And a Beginning: An Affirmation of Call for Don Draper

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AMC/Mad Men

*Warning: This post contains spoilers*

So that’s how it ends… with a smirk and a Coke ad.

Immediately, dedicated fans went to a cynical place… Mad Men‘s Don Draper sold out… He was just in this for the advertising…

I disagree.

I do not believe Don’s resulting peace from the search for his identity wasn’t short lived.  Quite the opposite.  He found peace in being Don Draper.  He found serenity in the slivers of his identity which remained Dick Whitman.  And through his search, he discovered that in his soul, he was Don.

He was an ad man with a creative spirit at his core.

Much like Romans 14:14 “I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean…” there is nothing sinful or wrong about advertising in itself.  People like to think that Don returning to his passion meant that he abandoned all spiritual growth.  Rather, I believe Don’s future indicated that ads can be used to send positive energies into the world – not just to objectify people and sell products.  Think about the ads on television.  Which ones bring positive memories?  Which ones would you rather never see again?

I remember the Coke ad portrayed in the final scene from the early years of my childhood.  Even though Coca Cola was trying to sell a product, they wanted to capture something positive at the same time, and spread that positive ethos into the world.  The ad left harmonious feelings within me – probably for the remainder of my life.

In a past life, I was in marketing and public relations.  I wrote press releases, created events that would attract people, and found ways to showcase our brand to the world.  This work was thrilling.  Being able to create and promote brought new challenges, unpredictability and the joy of art.

I still do some of this today.  But now that I’m promoting God instead of products, it’s called evangelism.  Like I said – advertising and promotion can be for good.

We like to think  that some professions are the “good” or “clean” professions and others are “bad” or “unclean.”  (Think about Jesus’ time.  Tax collectors were the ultimate unclean job – besides taking care of pigs.)

Clergy, police, military, doctors and teachers are often considered the “clean” professions while advertising agents, lawyers or a plethora of other professions are “unclean.”  Yet clergy and teachers are found in sexual misconduct.  Occasionally, police and military will abuse their power.  Of course, most people in these professions are noble and kind-hearted.  But a profession should never dictate whether or not someone is a decent person.

Likewise, a profession shouldn’t indicate that someone is cynical or selfish.  Lawyers defend innocent people and stand for noble causes all of the time.  And artistic folks invigorated in the thrill of birthing an idea to build a brand use their creative juices to paint a picture and invoke emotions.

That was Don.  But in the evolution of Don Draper, we see a soul continue to struggle and grow.  Even though this growth happened, it doesn’t mean he must give up advertising.  Instead, he uses advertising as a medium to bring the happiness he now has experienced into the world.

Don’s passion for advertising transcended much in his life.  No matter what his personal life entailed, he still had a knack for the creative.  When he felt his creativity became suffocated (in the antepenultimate episode), Don immediately left the meeting with the Miller rep and a room full of fellow ad men.  The last passion he held onto, creativity in advertising, was drifting away from him, deepening his identity crisis.  He needed to wander.

For three episodes, Don searched for who he was.  Was he Don?  Was he Dick?  Was he an ad man, a fraud, a cheat?  What has he done with his life?  Did he give honor to the real Don Draper?

There is admiration in Don’s journey.  He didn’t abandon the retreat when exposing his fallacies, suffering a panic attack and possibly contemplating suicide.  He continued the tough work that was needed to find his true identity and discover whatever peace he needed to be his best self.   While Don always professed “moving forward,” he had to work through some demons before he could truly move forward with his life.

He finally found peace.  And then he found clarity.  And then his creativity came back – in greater and positive ways.

So what if he went back into advertising?  That’s Don at his best.  Being at his healthiest and happiest, he will only produce quality ads – ones that take us to a place of bliss.

And that’s why we always will want to buy the world a Coke and live in harmony.

 

Just tonight, I discovered this article in which Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner explained the conclusion.  While most of this was written before discovering the article, I am excited to see that my conclusion wasn’t far of from Weiner’s thoughts.

There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (and She’s Human!)

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pulpit

I remember the weekend of my ordination in March 2011.  My best friend from seminary and I were in Florida for the ceremony, and we decided to head to a local dance club close to the hotel.

I love to dance.  In my mid twenties, I used to go dancing every single weekend – and at this particular establishment.  By the time I was called into ministry and definitely before I was 30, I had tired of frequenting dance clubs.  Maybe once or twice a year I would still like to slip into a dance club or other music venture and dance away.  But now, I was becoming a Reverend, someone holy.

And I questioned how this holy girl should act…

Should I be at a club dancing?  Should I have a drink with my closest friends?  What will people think when I get up to sing Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” during karaoke?  When I date – what will it be like to tell my date that I’m an ordained pastor?  Who will I be now that I’m the Reverend Michelle Torigian?

In the process in accepting a sense of call, I believe there is a part of us that changes, but the core of who we are remains the same.  My goal was to discern which parts of myself were core to who I was.  And that included living as healthy and honestly as possible.

Since becoming a pastor, I’ve been able to speak and write frankly about my challenges with endometriosis and anxiety – – not to mention being single.  Through this level of transparency, I’m living a life that will hopefully give others encouragement as they live in the shadow-filled days of their lives.  I thank my dear clergy friends for their support in encouraging me to be my truest self.

For a bout a year now, I’ve been part of the RevGalBlogPals webring.  Each of us bring own our experiences of joys and struggles in the pulpit and other parts of our lives.  Because of this group of clergy who shares struggles and joys of our personal lives and ministry, we are able to gain the strength we need to be healthy pastors.  I appreciate what my colleague Rev. Julia Seymour says in her There’s a Woman in the Pulpit essay entitled “Of Facebook and Angels”:

The Internet, Facebook, blogs, Twitter – they are not monoliths of anonymous power.  They are potential bridges of hope, healing, and hospitality.

There’s a Woman in the Pulpit encompasses this spirit of clergy community in RevGalBlogPals and explores the themes on which female clergy… sometimes all clergy… focus our attention.  It’s a vocation like no other, and being able to share our deepest thoughts publicly will hopefully help other clergy from feeling alone.  Being that we are female clergy, there tend to be fewer of us, and many of us are still trying to understand our own identities as women in a predominantly male-dominant calling.

I feel extremely blessed to have been part of There’s a Woman in the Pulpit.  Maybe through my essay “Always a Pastor, Never a Bride” (on being a single female clergy performing weddings) as well as my other writings on various subjects, I’ll join other writers to build bridges helping clergy who abide on lonely islands feel less alone.

More posts on the RevGalBlogPals blog tour.

For more information on or to order the book, see Skylight Paths Publishing or Amazon‘s pages.  

 

The Plans We Make

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By Kim Navarre from Brooklyn, NY (Aleks’ beautiful corsage Uploaded by France3470) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Last night I saw a gaggle of teens dressed in formal wear walking to and from the restaurant.

It was prom.

Thinking about it, I realized that I attended my first and second proms 25 and 24 years ago, respectively.  Styles have changed notably.  I’m pretty sure hair is not quite as big but heels on shoes are higher.

Twenty-five years ago… TWENTY-FIVE years…

Then, a little math goes on in my head.  If I had a child when I had first planned, I would have been 25 years ago.  Seventeen years have passed since I was 25, which would make my fictitious child old enough to attend her or his junior prom this year.

There is no way I’m old enough to have a child who would be attending prom…

But life never worked out the way I had originally planned.  I made lots of plans over the years, and one-by-one, so many have fallen through.  Some I stopped wishing for years ago.  Others, I still have pangs of sadness because they never materialized.

So on this Mother’s Day, I think about the 17 year old I could have had – and maybe a 14 year old too.  I think about formal dress shopping that won’t happen, the first days of kindergarten into which I’ll never walk my child and the pre-birth quickening I will never feel.

Three hundred and sixty days of the year, I never think about these things.  I’m fine with the life I have and appreciate my present circumstances.  But today I set aside time to grieve a bit for the plans that never happened, mostly because that a little piece of who I hoped to be vaporized into the past.  Some dreams of yesterday just won’t happen.

And that makes me just a little sad.

I will wrestle with God.  We’re not cool this day, God.  At least not in this moment.  But we will be fine.  We’ll be fine tomorrow when this day reminding me of unanswered prayers and silent homes and empty wombs and plans that have been buried is over.

And I’ll go back to the blissful life that plans B, C and D have afforded me.

 

 

The Pastoral is Political – On Being an Outsider at the OB/GYN and in the Sanctuary

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Here is my latest at the RevGalBlogPals page:

The Pastoral is Political – On Being an Outsider at the OB/GYN and in the Sanctuary

via The Pastoral is Political – On Being an Outsider at the OB/GYN and in the Sanctuary.

Eternal Resilience: A Prayer Remembering the Armenian Genocide of 1915

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Soothing Spirit,
Whose gentle winds hovered over the Euphrates,
Surround our souls with support in these days of remembrance.

Strengthen our resolve to never let anyone forget
The atrocities of April 24 and beyond –
The genocide of the Armenian People.

They wanted to kill all of the aunts and uncles and grandparents
And place the very last one in a museum to show their sordid victory.

But they did not win.
Hate was not victorious.

We remember the spirits of our ancestors,
Of our sisters and brothers in Christ,
Marching through the mayhem
Of death, confusion, loss.
We remember their steps on the march to Deir-Zor
Their empty stomachs and heavy hearts.
Their lives chipped away
As they lost their mom, or baby, or brother,
and endured violations of body, mind and soul.

In gratitude, we remember those who defied their people,
The Turkish and Kurdish souls who rebelled against the powers-that-be
Saving the lives of kin.
We are grateful for those who stand against the powers today
And refuse to call these events anything but a genocide.

Heal our hearts as the deniers’ speeches become
Louder and louder.
Their words will melt into the pool of justice one day.

We give voice to the trauma that lingered in survivors’ hearts
From the days they left their homes in the ‘Old Country’
To the moment when they saw the face of God.

Help all who carry the stories of the past into the future
So that we will not forget,
And we will not stand by,
As more of God’s children are massacred.

We pray for the survivors of all genocides that burned our earth
And stole our siblings-
Armenia, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, Darfur, and then some…
And then some more…
Knowing that God will give them resurrection from the ashes of the yesterday,
rising into the winds of tomorrow.

 


Armenian Genocide Centennial Forget-Me-Not
http://armeniangenocide100.org/

 

Azad’s Story: A Child’s Experience of the Armenian Genocide

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I wrote the following essay in 1993 after interviewing my grandfather Azad “Fred” Torigian.  This essay was included in my 1995 undergraduate synthesis “Authentication of History: The Armenian Genocide of 1915.”  

Azad Torigian passed away on November 8, 1996.

Azad

A certificate hangs on the wall in a small, two-bedroom apartment in Belleville, Illinois, reminding the immigrant of his experience on Ellis Island.  The certificate states that he entered America by way of the island.  His name is engraved on a wall in this gateway to America.  He was an immigrant from a country called Armenia.

Black and white photos of the little boy are scattered all over the dwelling.  The boy is about eight years old in the pictures which were taken in Russia.

Experiences in America have not always been the best for him.  He never received the chance to attend college, but he always told his children and grandchildren “Get a good education, honey.”  In fact, his son became a history teacher who chanted George Santayana’s quote “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Embracing this reference as a family motto was quite fitting, considering what the teacher’s father experienced.

Every day, the immigrant remembers the ordeal of the past.  He remembers mothers tossing their babies into a river.  He remembers corpses swelling under the sun.  This is not the past to him.  This genocide is the present.  It is the future.

*****

azad cropped“My name is Azad Torigian,” states an eighty-three year old man.  Torigian sits on the end of a couch, hands folded on his lap.  As we prepare to talk, he clears his throat.  With pain in his eyes, Torigian proceeds to tell his history.

“I was born in a little town known as Darman in Turkish Armenia in the state of Ezermun in 1909, November 25.”  Torigian then explains a little about his family: “Mother had seven children.”  All seven children, Arman, Rose, Elizabeth, Bill, Azad, Vincent and Sammy were born in Turkish Armenia.  “One of them took ill and died.  I wasn’t born yet,” commented Torigian.  “And one of my sisters was burned,” Torigian said referring to an older sister, Elizabeth.  “She had beautiful long hair.  She played with fire.”  In a matter of moments, her hair caught on fire and scalded her body.  She died as a result.

Torigian recalls the sights of Darman: “In the front of our house was a pond.”  Water from a nearby fountain ran into this pond.  “People would bring their cattle for watering.”  Torigian remembers Sundays in Darman.  “We used to go to church and watch the buffalo fights and rooster fights, and my father’s mother used to take us to the field to get greens.”

Torigian narrates vivid childhood memories.  His face lightens.  “During the mealtime, the mothers, wives, would prepare the meal for their husbands and the elders in the house, and then they would sit at the table and then the wives… would serve.”  He continued, “The ladies would sit down separate from the men.”  What did Torigian think of this practice?  “That’s their custom!”  He replied.  “Naturally, I was born over there.  I was supposed to like it.  I had no other choice.”

“And they always had the visitors come… people to spend their evenings with.”  According to Torigian, the people would “play cards and eat and the youngest ones would sing.  That was the custom there.”

It was the calm before the storm.

Torigian sits on the end of the couch, somewhat restless.  He continues with his story…

“Daddy was over here before the war – before 1914,” states Torigian, referring to World War I.  “He came to the United States with my uncle Pete to work, earn some money, and go back to the ‘Old Country’ again.  They didn’t have the chance to go back because the war had started.

“Mommy had Rose, Bill, Vincent and Sammy.  I was taken by my aunt.”  He explained, “She came over… and told my mother that she liked to have Azad.  If those three boys were massacred, at least she’d have one.”  Torigian mentioned that his aunt said “’We’ll carry the Torigian name in the future if I can save it.’”

When the Turks were deporting the Armenians, Torigian’s mother, brothers and sister were forced to march to Deir-Zor, a desert in southern Turkish Armenian, with the people of Darman.  “They moved us town by town, village by village.”  While Torigian’s mother and siblings were asleep one night, Turks stole Vincent and Sammy.  “During the night, the Turks would come into the caravan, and they took the youngest ones for their babies.  They took them away and they raised them as their children,” claimed Torigian.

His mother, brother, Bill, and sister, Rose, were fortunate to find a way out.  “A Kurdish family came and took my mother and brother and sister because my grandpa had done a favor for them, keeping their boy until he got well.”  The three worked in the Kurdish family’s orchard until the war was over.

Azad was on an entirely separate journey.  He points out to me that “my Aunt Hanoon that saved me is my great-aunt, and Lucy was grandpa’s sister.”  He continues, “When they moved Aunt Hanoon’s village’s people, I was one of them… She came over before moving and took me back to her village, so I hadn’t been with my mother and brother and sister until I met them in the United States.”  Torigian was not to see these members of the family until 1922.

“As I said, they moved my aunt’s village separate from my folks’ town.  Every town they moved two or three days apart from each other so they didn’t get mixed up together.”

A tension rises in Torigian.  “What I really remember… we were going over the bridge over the Euphrates River.  They were taking us to the desert and they were going to leave us in that desert so we would die.  Now, as we were going over that bridge, many of the mothers – they couldn’t take care of their babies anymore and they hate to see the Turks take their babies, so they threw the babies over into the river.  And some mothers took the babies into their arms and then they threw themselves into the river with their babies, jumping in with them…”

Torigian focuses for a moment.  “I was with my aunt and then babies were screaming, screaming, screaming.  And I was also screaming with them.  Babies were screaming over the river.  I was also screaming with them.  My aunt took me under her skirt and covered me, almost sitting on me, so the Turks wouldn’t see me to take me away.  And once a while, she would lift her dress up a little bit so I could get some fresh air.  As I hear the screaming noises, I start screaming with them.  Then she would push me under her dress again, cover me and she said ‘Don’t cry baby!  Don’t cry honey!  I won’t let anybody take you away.’”  He claims, “That screaming voice is in me as long as I am alive.

“Then we went over the river.  They were taking us to Deir-Zor, desert.  They were going to leave us over there so we would perish for good.”

“Nothing to eat,” he says.  “On our way to that desert we would see the corpses laying on the ground… swelling under the sun.  I remember very well.”

An escape route was in sight.  “One day we noticed gypsies were traveling from town to town, and my aunt saw one of the gypsies and said ‘If you can take us back to our town, we have cans full of gold we buried.  We can give it to you.’  So the gypsies kidnapped us, my great-aunt, my aunt Lucy and myself with them.  They took us back to our town.  As we came to our town and a few days after, the Russian army came in.  The gypsies ran away.  We were there all by ourselves – three of us in our town.”  Torigian mentions that most of the soldiers in the Russian army were Russian Armenians.

He continues, “So Russia Armenians took us back with them.  Not a very long time later, the Russian Revolution came on.  Everybody was going wherever they wanted to go.  Some of those Russian Armenian soldiers went back to their country and took us with them.”

Torigian then describes what seems to be a state of purgatory.  “We went to Russia for a while, from town to town we went again.  And not very long, the Russian Revolution came on.  Then we have to run from town to town to save our lives.”

While fleeing from forces that wanted to take their lives, Torigian remembers that he was “hungry – very hungry.  Nothing to eat.  And then I remember those things and then later on we settled close to a little village town close to the city of Ani, that used to be the old Armenian capital.  I remember one little incident.  There was almost nothing to eat in that little town; there was hardly anybody just immigrants over there.  I didn’t see bread for pretty close to a year.  We lived on greens.  We used to go to fields and get a certain kind of green.”

Torigian’s face communicated his past experiences of true hunger.

Through darkness and death, Torigian tells a happier tale.  Once, the three found a mill on a little river.  When the mill stopped grinding and the wheel ceased to move, Torigian recalls collecting a fish on the wheel.  As it wobbled in his hands, “I screamed, scared.  Finally I got it.  I threw it on my shoulder and carried it to the house.”

To make money, Torigian used to “go to the market and get us some kind of fruit, like tangerines, peaches – stuff like that, and I used to go from door to door and sell it.”

At that time, Russia did not have a stable government and still used the Czar’s money.  Torigian fretfully recalls “one morning we got up and the money was no good… I started crying.”  Aunt Hanoon comforted Azad during this crisis.  “My Aunt Hanoon says ‘Don’t cray baby, don’t cry.  We’ll get… some different money… make it good.’”

Torigian then describes the next step of their journey: “From there we came over the Black Sea to Constantinople… The water was so black, just like coal.”  Unfortunately for him, the waters were rough.  “I got sick on it.”

Torigian stayed in Constantinople for almost a year.  “They had an Armenian school there.”  Torigian’s aunt “sent me to Armenian school for about six months.”  He recalls barely learning his alphabet while attending school in Constantinople.

Finally, life turned around for Torigian.  “One of those Armenians from the United States came over to Constantinople to find a wife for him.  My uncle told him to see if he can bring me with him when he comes back to the United States.”  Since his uncle was the only family member who was actually a United States citizen at the time, he had adoption papers made.

Both of Torigian’s aunts stayed in Constantinople.  “We came over on a Greek ship,” claims Torigian.  He continues, “we came back the Aegean sea into the Atlantic Sea.  We have to pass by the Greek Aegean Sea… so we went to Athens… and saw the buildings.”  As Torigian mentions “we went there as tourists.”

Torigian remembers the rest of his trip to the United States.  “From Athens, we came on the Atlantic Ocean and we passed by Mt. Vesuvius in Italy – smokes all year round.  The minute we hit the Atlantic Ocean, I got seasick – until we came to New York.

“From there we came to Ellis Island as we reached New York.  I believed we stayed two or three days until my uncle… made the special papers and sent it to Ellis Island, and I came from Ellis Island to East St. Louis.:

*****

After passing through Elllis Island, Torigian never returned the ‘Old Country.’  He crossed the Atlantic for the only time in his life as a child and lived decade after decade in North America.  In his new country, he has seen weddings and babies being born.  But to Torigian, the past coexists with his present and future.  “Those things like going over the river, and those piles of dead bodies in Russia… burning up, and those corpses I saw lying all over – dead corpses and the incidents in the Russia Revolution” are events Torigian still lives through every day.  He experiences these events in his mind.

“I always bend down, close my eyes until I get to the other side of the river,” says Torigian, referring to crossing the Mississippi River only miles from his home.  “Babies on the surface (of the Euphrates) will always stay with me to this day when I sit down…

“I imagine those things all the time.”

 

 

Not My Mom’s 42

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imageNow that I am about to be 42 in the next couple of hours, I think about where my mom was at the same age.

Mom had been married for nearly 20 years.  She lived 700+ miles from her parents, and had two children around the ages of 16 and 13.  She taught elementary school and chauffeured us around to the multitude of activities in which we were involved.

I’ve never been married and do not have children.  I have never owned my own home and have lived in multiple cities in the past 20 years, including a city 1000 miles away and some towns much closer.

I always saw Mom as an adult, and she always seemed mature for her age.  I’m pretty sure that Mom has always seen me as a 16 year old, and I probably have a mild version of the Peter Pan complex.

Part of me wished I had the life of my mom at the age of 42.  She had a supportive marriage and two children.  Things seemed “normal” and “ordinary.”  She followed a path taken by most people and it brought her much joy.

But my life didn’t work out that way.  And that’s just fine.

I have a phenomenal life of love, friendships and purpose.  I birth sentences and paragraphs, sit with people as they begin to transition to  the other side of heaven, and embrace adventures.  Predictability is not the life for which I enrolled, and in the chaotic moments on this path less travelled, I have seen the presence of God quite frequently along the way.

My mom’s adult life path and mine diverged at some point – maybe around our early 20’s.  But our paths are equally valuable and sacred, whether we spent our days mothering our own children or the children of the world.

Thanks, Mom, for all that work you did for me 42 years ago… And since then.

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Jesus in Hell

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From The Garden of Earthly Delights – Hell Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For a few years now, I haven’t really believed that Jesus descended to hell in those 40 hours between his death and resurrection.

I don’t believe he was a ransom for souls or was victor over some evil force.

But what if the Divine in Christ was the Divine which follows us into the depth of shadows, to Sheol like what was mentioned in Psalm 139:

7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night’,
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

I like to believe Jesus didn’t go to Hades in some afterlife escapade like it mentions in the creeds but, rather, experienced hell as he walked the earth.  He went to the depths of Sheol every time he touched the unclean, ate with people who had little dignity, and healed the expendables.

So Jesus went to hell… and Jesus brought heaven… each day in his ministry.

A Note from a Pastor to Loved Ones During Holy Week

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imageDear people who I care for the most,

As you definitely know by now, it is Holy Week.  For those of us in the clergy/ministry business, we are attempting to accomplish in one week what we usually accomplish in about three or four ordinary time weeks.

In this process, our ideal selves are not shining this week.

I will want to stare at stupid reality shows, binge watch Netflix, play 60 consecutive games of Bejeweled Blitz, and surf the computer for hours in the evening.

I may eat one too many brownies or have an extra glass of wine this week.

I will want to pamper myself somehow… maybe a massage, a haircut and color or a mani/pedi.

I will either not sleep enough or I will sleep too well.

I will be Rev. Crankypants until Sunday morning is over.

I will be Super Crankypants if I am approached about taking care of something that can obviously be completed well after Easter Day.

There will be tears. Guaranteed.

There will also be an impromptu dance party at least once per day.  And I will be breaking out in song – most likely something from my college days and reminding me of a much simpler Holy Week.

The house will have extra clothes on the floor, the dishes will sit in the sink a little too long, and I will not have vaccuumed as I usually do.

I will remind people of things over and over again because I’m truly hoping not to drop one of my many balls in the air.

If you can not find me I will be at one of the following places: (1) church, (2) Michael’s, (3) the ice cream store, or (4) curled up in a corner somewhere as I wail and gnash my teeth.

My throat will start feeling scratchy by Thursday which brings on the added stress of extra needed sleep, gargling with salt water, and remembering to take any and every kind of vitamin that could possibly work.  Otherwise, I have to carve into my day a good hour and a half for a trip to the clinic.

Easter morning will be full of caffeine, adrenaline, and pure Holy Spirit joy.  And then once noon hits on Easter, I am a complete zombie.  Not normal Sunday afternoon zombie but full zombie-apocalypse walker.

I am so exhausted that I might as well post a “Do not disturb until the Thursday after Easter” sign on my door.

Holy Week Michelle is not typically who I am.  Well, sometimes it is – especially in the two weeks preceding Christmas.  And I will apologize over and over and over again as I try to keep everything moving forward.

All I ask is a bit of grace, a bunch of prayers, and maybe, a pint of double chocolate ice cream.  Thank you for loving me through the valley of the shadow of Lent and every other day of the year.

A Parkinson’s Prayer

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parkinsons walkAs some reading this may know, my dad has Parkinson’s disease.  For the past few years, he’s been struggling with this neurological and movement disorder.  From what I’ve seen and know, Parkinson’s is an illness that progresses with time, and it has increasingly gotten worse in the past two years for my dad.

And that is why I pray for those struggling with Parkinson’s.

God of each movement and moment of our days,
In times of stiffness and shakes
And as bodies grow slower and slower,
enliven the souls of those struggling with Parkinson’s Disease.

Their tremors won’t end
And bodies resist movement.

As they wait for medicine to kick-in,
Walking becomes a privilege.
As muscles and nerves rebel against the norm,
Voices become soft and shaky.

Nothing is the same.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken the bodies of those we love?
Or did those bodies forsake themselves?
Why has Parkinson’s taken root in small fingers
And caused legs to be as rigid as two tree trunks.

Creative Creator –
On the days our loved ones feels like giving up
Lead them to a new path
And a innovative ways to live.

As their autonomic nervous systems swirl in the sea of chaos
And their minds become a little less clear,
We ask for you to guide them in their movements forward.

Steady their feet when they are about to fall.
Smooth the emotional roller coaster that’s whirling in their heads
And lift what little spirit that remains within them.

In their corners remain loved ones-
Wives and husbands.
Children.  Grandchildren.  Friends.
God, infuse them with the energy they need
To nurse and walk alongside of those they love.

Spirit of Healing and Health,
Spirit of New Starts and Future Graces,
Open doors that have slammed shut
And give them the resurrection they desire.

May their dry bones and muscles and nerves
Dance among us once again.

 

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