Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Big Talk Time

Me think me should bring peace pipe.

Tonight we will sit down with someone, and talk about our story. It may turn out to be an important discussion for us. Bev and I, and then later Jeff and Diane (we're the troop which sat before the District Council last year - actually tomorrow it will be exactly one year) will discuss our story.

Hopefully this will be like sending a smoke signal, rather than us just blowing a lot of smoke. I'd prefer to communicate to people at a far distance, rather than sit and spew the remnants of our confusion. So a peace pipe might be in order.

The gentle communication of reconciliation had been our method throughout, and we expected other Christians Leaders to do the same. Apparently not all Christian Leaders act like Christians. Truth has been our goal, and apparently that too is a commodity of rare value in some Christian Leadership circles.

Well perhaps our goal will be realized soon, and truth will puff across the skies like the smoke signal on a distant hill.

A couple weeks ago four of us sat in my office, and considered tonight's discussion. The opinions differed on what to do until our buddy Jeff Gentry from Sinners and Saints made the comment, "The church has nothing to lose from the truth."

Me break out peace pipe and puff big tonight.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Today is My Anniversary!

I was married to Bev, April 2nd, 1983. So that's not the day I'm talking about. My birthday isn't for another month. So, that's not the day either.

Some dates are impressed upon one's brain indelibly. Those dates are either wonderful, or terrible. Sometimes we may need to refer to that date in documents so frequently, that it becomes etched upon the gray matter. October 12th was both terrible, and in need of being referred to in documents for months following.

This blog had its inception because of the events of October 12th, 2005.

Today I mentioned to someone that this was the anniversary day of the letter I received calling me to a hearing which eventually removed me from fellowship in a denomination over false, and exaggerated charges. The letter was a surprise, and was not sent to me alone, but to many others simultaneously, and without warning, or prior questioning. So, this day lives in personal infamy.

She said, "Oh Wow, the Anniversary. My sympathies."

I responded, "Sympathies or congratulations - we are still trying to decide which."

I'm not sure if that response was funny, or sad, or both. I wonder if there is something wrong with not knowing if something is funny, or sad? Is that some sign of arrested emotional development?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I Know This isn't Eustress

I read Hans Selye's classic book "The Stress of Life" some years ago, and was caught by the term "eustress" - no rocket science needed to define the term. Good-stress could be harmful in high doses Hans submitted, just as bad stress can.

Halloween has been a season of eustress for me each year. It is filled with tension, and surprises. It has more work involved with it than I should handle. This is true not only for myself, but the poor people who are a part of our church. They follow me faithfully into the night just beyond the Autumnal equinox.

We will run the 10th annual Halloween Children's Day. We will host about 50 people who come from far away to minister on the streets of Salem. We will sponsor about 40 hours of live outdoor music, and give away 8,000 cups of hot cocoa. People will be fed, dreams will be interpreted, movies will be shown, people will be blessed, and we will be over-worked.

These events have been a great joy, and a beautiful experience over the last 7 years.

This year I am not sure that I am feeling the eu- part of the stress. Somewhere in the last year the joy of serving was temporarily robbed, and is returning only slowly.

Is it possible that I am feeling what a person who seems to hate every moment of existence feels? Am I feeling the sensations of a permanent state of dissatisfaction? I have observed people who have acted this way, but I have not experienced permanent antagonism toward life myself - at least not until this year.

Even the things which I typically find joyous have been difficult to accomplish. They come with a sense of dread, weariness, or disinterest. Every now and then, the old joys surface, and with them come the excitement of the need for flexibility, and spontanaiety which is part of Halloween in Salem, MA. Although I am sure this season will deliver me from the doldrums, I am still struggling with loss of the eu- on this season's stress.

In two days it will be anniversary of the greatest treachery I have experienced from the hand of any leader in church life. I think to myself, "Get over it Wyman." This silly event shouldn't bother you so much, and yet I feel in my belly, and discover in my head that I carry the dissatisfaction with life which I have seen in others who somehow have been stricken with a similar affliction.

My affliction is light, but I write about it to chronicle a sickness which may well be spread through oppression, lies, and hypocrisy in people holding leadership in religious circles.

Oppressors steal eu- from seasons of stress, and perhaps from life itself.

So I wonder - whatever happened to Jesus' promise? You know, "My yoke is easy, my burden is light." Shouldn't that be the experience of serving God? It sounds as though He knew how to keep the eu- in His stress, and has a few lessons to teach me still.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Of Fingernails, Postage, and Short Tasks Made Long

Today I folded some letters, put them into their #10 envelopes, addressed the envelopes which I had believed would take far too long to find the addresses for, placed the 39¢ stamp in the top right-hand corner, and nervously scraped my fingernails with my thumbnail.

The letters had been written for quite some time. I had to hold on to them, because I was told it was wise to wait until a proper time. It is near, or at the proper time now.

Placing the postage on the letter was the strangest of moments in this activity. The postage made the act feel irretrievable. Of course, I could waste the handful of 39¢ little stickies, but that would not sit well with me. Consequently I scraped my fingernails with my thumbnail. It's an action I nervously perform. I take the thumbnail of one hand, and scrape the underneath side of the fingernails on the opposite hand as if I was cleaning them. Sometimes I guess I really am, but often I am just habitually acting, and often nervously so. The latter is what occured today.

I was writing to people who had been my source of struggle for almost a year, and doing so in a manner our church council had decided was good some months back. Yet I needed to wait until a certain time. That time is near, maybe now. So, the letters (except for just a few) are ready to pony up, and head west.

It took me far more time thinking of this action, than performing it. I dreaded hunting down addresses, and envisioned searching for days. It actually took about an hour.

What strange mental disease creates such distortion in my time anticipator? and why do postage stamps make me revert to a bad habit of fingernail scraping?

The tension of communicating with people who had been my source of stress for almost a year was the reason for this twisted emotional moment of time warp, and quirky habits.

...meanwhile my home team is choking in the Playoffs, but still you gotta love them Pads.

Monday, October 02, 2006

What Emotions Do I Still Have Left?

Darn. Four bad things happened today. Not disasters. Disasters happened some time ago. These were just small items.

The first was a simple mention by a friend that I looked drained, and without motivation. I was trying to figure out what he was talking about, and I wasn't quite sure if I became drained feeling because the suggestion magically overcame me, or if I just suddenly realized that I was drained feeling.

The second thing was that I went shopping after a day of working, but not feeling as though I actually accomplished anything. I did not shop for me, but I shopped with my "goode wife." (One must use such words in Salem during October.) We shopped for some needed items to make a few changes in our house - our house which has ever increasing numbers of people living in it. Currently five, soon to be six - and we have but one son, and he was moved out on his own until this last weekend. We are happy to have he and his "goode wife" in the house with us, but the dynamics are a changing around me. So our shopping was centered on making a few house changes. Now it wasn't the people in the house, but the fact that Linen's 'n' Things was followed up by Target that nearly killed me. I could have melted into the linoleum floors of Target by the time we were finished.

Then the hot water feed to the upstairs bathroom sink was leaking. Good thing my son found it leaking, and shut off the valves. Good thing again that my "goode wife" found that the valve was not quite turned tight enough, and it was leaking more. Bad thing that it happened, and that it had gone on for a good amount of the day. I am frustrated to think that we have a few old house problems - a new roof on the back room which leaks worse than before it was fixed, a recently fixed leak in the upstairs bathroom which may actually be unfixed, and now this leak today which I hope has not ruined the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom.

So problem #4 - me. I was really upset when questioned about how things are going in preparation for Children's Day, and other the Halloween stuff. I am way too far behind this year, for way too many reasons, but I just don't need to be reminded, and so it makes me upset, unless someone has a solution for me.

Was I so upset because I am already having so many things going wrong? or was I upset because this whole year has been filled with enough treachery to leave me tense, edgy and feeling beat down? Maybe it was because I feel so pressed on every side by the needs which are mounting around me. Actually I wonder if I was upset because I really don't have too many other emotions left in my system after two years of having my emotions jerked around so violently.

I am tired of writing about these feelings, but this blog is an experimental concept of monitoring how my emotions, and thoughts have been effected by the abusive treatment of church leadership. I suppose like the person walking through the grief cycle I must complete the task of journaling, and thinking through this. Could it be that many emotions which have been a part of my life previously are currently deadened, or at least numbed, and that anger is the only quick emotion to rise to the surface?

When other people contract colds or flues, I usually hold them off for a long period. Unfortunately, when I do succumb to the sickness, I often keep its symptoms longer than other people who contracted it earlier. Am I doing the same with my emotions as well? Will this last longer than it should, because I held it off for so long?

Darn. I hope not. Four bad things happened today, and they were really rather little things. Will four little things happen every day which will upset me like today? It's quite possible, but I know that if I can find some emotions other than anger, those four things won't seem so large.