Monday, October 3, 2016

Breakfast in the Castro: Got it covered

Me: Mibes! So good to see you!

Mibes: I agree. Good to be seen and to see you, too. 

Me: You can't know how much I've missed you. 

Mibes: Of course I can. I can tell by how much you write. Not all that much, or you'd write more. I'd see more blog entries. 

Me: Ouch! That's not fair. That's kind mean. But funny, too. 

Mibes: I don't mean to jab you. I know you're still a bit sensitive to criticism.

Me: Me, sensitive? And how do you know this?

Mibes: I can tell by how much you write. When you're cowering you're less likely to write, let alone push the publish button. 

Me: Zing! Wow you pull no punches. Cowering. Hmm. Worth a look up. It seems a bit strong, a bit much. But let's see. Define: Cower. To crouch down in fear. Synonyms: cringe, shrink, flinch. You've got a point. 

Mibes: You didn't really need to look it up. You knew. You know. 

Me: True, but it got my eyes out of your eyes for a moment. 

Mibes: You don't want to linger? More evidence that you're wounded. It's OK. You'll heal. And you'll be stronger. You've been through worse. 

Me: We all get beat up in life, don't we?

Mibes: How about looking at it this way. Every day has darkness and light. Every year has seasons of warmth and winter. It's not about any given day or season, it's about your reaction to it. Sometimes it's gonna be cold and dark, but you don't have to be. You're not the day. You're not the season.

Me: Yes. It's a wintery time. But, your right, I'm not the weather. And I've got resources. Options. Ability to carry my own weather at least in terms of wearing a jacket or intentionally thinking a sunny thought on a dreary day.

Mibes: Yes. And especially if you're you. Now don't get me wrong. I love you. I'm one of your advocates, but sometimes you give into the negativity. You get knocked down and you're slow to get back on your feet.

Me: True. I'm sometimes kind of lazy in my resilience. Nice to hear those words: I love you. And by the way, I love you, too.

Mibes: You only think you do. It's just my charm. My eyes. My scruff. All those surface details that don't really matter. 

Me: Yeah, it's not you, it your whiskers. Sure. That's it. And you're yes. Just whiskers and eyes. You shave and put on a pair of dark glasses and it's all over. 

Mibes: And my humility, of course, and my vulnerability. 

Me: Wait a minute, I'm the one who's playing the vulnerability card.

Mibes: Anyone can. I think I can play it at least, if not better, than you. 

Me: So speaking of you, how have you been? How you doing with the human game?

Mibes: Doin OK. Playing the keys that work. But I'll tell you this, I'm hearing some notes I haven't heard in a while and they sound good.

Me: Really. What's your news? What's the source of your optimism?

Mibes: Gratitude. For example I'm grateful to be with you again.

Me: I'm glad to see you, too. Like I said, I've missed you.

Mibes: Eh, you have and you haven't. Listen I'm going to level with you. I think of you all the time. I wonder how you're doing. What you're thinking. So yes, when I see you I am genuinely glad, grateful to see you, to be with you. 

Me: But the long gaps. They take their toll, don't they. 

Mibes: Yeah, they kind of do.

Me: So what would you like? What would be the ideal?

Mibes: I'll just settle for the real of right now. And if there's a tomorrow, then that's a bonus.

Me: This moment is, well...

Mibes: go ahead

Me: Auspicious, bold, beautiful, calm, maybe even defining.

Mibes: electrical, free and fitting, grounded, gleeful

Me: honorable, humorous, healthy, human, holy

Mibes: holy smokes!

Me: smokey hokes!

Mibes: baloney holy smokes and smokey hokes and hokey jokes

Me: Exchanged over breakfast by smokey, hokey, jokey, blokes.

Mibes: So you're feeling something now, aren't you?

Me: Yeah, the connection is stronger. And lighter. 

Mibes: Yes. But it's not just any old connection. It's a connection with you, here and now. There are seven...

Me: Seven point four

Mibes: 7.4 billion 

Me: 7.4 billion people on the planet and here we are, two of the many, but still we count

Mibes: No other you and no other me.

Me: Ah Mibes,

Mibes: You gotta buy today, by the way.

Me: Sure. But why?

Mibes: Forgot my wallet.

Me: What? You never forget your wallet.

Mibes: I did today.

Me: No worries, I got it covered.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Two New Blogs on the Revapolicy

Two bloggers I know and respect, Duck and Chris, are commenting on the revapolicy. Thanks to both of you for sharing your perspectives. I feel less alone. I feel more support. Again my thanks and please keep writing.

What's a revapolicy? 

Calm take: a portmanteau of revelation and policy
Irreverent take: a fake word for a fake process

What's your take?

- - -

How am I doing? I've made modest progress in dealing with this. (Progress from a raw wound to a dull but persistent ache.) Here's what I wrote in early December and early February. Both were in response to articles requesting comments in the Salt Lake Tribune:

How has this policy affected you personally?

My longstanding depression and anxiety levels are up. The several medicines I take don't seem as effective, nor does exercise. The God I pray to still loves and guides me, but I'm not sure that my Mormon leaders pray to the same God. I'm glad I can afford a competent therapist who doesn't work for the church. He helps me find some hope. 

I'm not suicidal, as I once was, but I feel the betrayal. I feel like I'm in an abusive relationship with the institutional church where someone in power whom I'm trying to get along with is shouting, "Get back in that closet, if you know what's good for you. If you show your face again, you'll regret it even more than you do now. Shut up and keep that door closed. Maybe I'll be bring you some food later, if you remain silent." 

I'm praying that our leaders will understand the abuse and pain this policy causes to those they're hearing from and to those who are invisible like me. 

It doesn't have to be this way. The only mention of same-sex love in the Book of Mormon is positive in Alma 53 where two leader/warriors are beloved of each other, rejoice in each other's safety, and are also beloved by all their people. 

What a refreshing change that would be, but today's policy feels like a return to the pre-1978 racist church of my youth. I survived that, but I am not a racial minority. This anti-family, anti-children policy strikes much closer to home.

February 6, 2016

  • Are you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
  • Have you experienced (or are you experiencing) a faith crisis?
    Yes. I'm once again at the brink, where I've been several times in my life.
  • What was the "trigger" for your doubts?
    The church's anti-family, anti-child policy and subsequent claim that it was revelation.
  • What did you do when you began having doubts — discuss it with family or friends, go online, pray, talk to a chuch leader?
    I read "No Man Knows My History" at age 16 in 1970. I was not active in the church again until my early twenties. 
  • If you've resolved your faith crisis, how did you?
    The church's 1978 revelation on the priesthood for black helped strengthen my faith that the church could progress, but underlying doubts remained. Like many church goers, I put them "on the shelf."
  • Anything we should know about this topic?
    Young people are killing themselves, but people of all ages are impacted. For some of us the policy makes it more difficult to remain believers. I was suicidal a decade ago. Fortunately I'm getting good counseling (not from the church) and am vigilant in my attempts to remain in good mental, physical and spiritual health. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Breakfast in the Castro: For oh I don't know how long

Me: Happy New Year, Mibes!

Mibes: Happy New Year to you! So glad to see you again. Especially on this auspicious occasion.

Me: Good to see you, too. But I’m not sure I remember the definition of auspicious. Something about the potential to be great?

Mibes: Close. Promising is one of the synonyms, but it can be here-and-now favorable, encouraging.

Me: All that? All that based on a day like any other that just happens to fall on the first of the month on the first day of the calendar year?

Mibes: Sure, there’s no denying that, but there’s also the element of you. You. You’re here. That would make any breakfast auspicious regardless of the date.

Me: You’re kind. But also kind of full of it.

Mibes: As are you, but the point is that we are at the New Year, celebration at breakfast or not, and we are here. Or by some other means these words purporting to be ours are spoken.

Me: But Mibes, what if they’re not really spoken?

Mibes: If so my life is so much easier.

Me: Your life is complicated? I thought you had almost everything in order. Not that you’re perfect but that you had a good handle on your life in the here-and-now. Isn't that one of the reasons you're so relentlessly optimistic?

Mibes: Or could it be that complicated lives, yours and mine, are more livable because they’re somewhat orderly? 

Me: But maintaining the order adds to the complication.

Mibes: Yes, it can, but there's also this: You see me as optimistic because I am unfailingly happy to see you. But it's less about today or any other day and more about you. The you I know and love and think about.

Me: Thank you! (laughing, a bit embarrassed) I love you too. But really what do you think when I’m not around?

Mibes: The truth?

Me: Please.

Mibes: How much I just miss you. I miss you horribly.

Me: Aw. Hey buddy, I miss you, too.

Mibes: It’s OK. I know you don’t really. Not as much. You can go days without thinking about me. It’s OK.

Me: (silent sigh)

Mibes: But with me, I don’t get very far at all without thinking about you.

Me: I’m really not that much to think about.

Mibes: To me you are. I wonder how you’re doing. What you’re doing. What you’re thinking. How you’re feeling. And there’s just nothing like being with you to get a sense of all that.

Me: OK. So what is your sense of all that?

Mibes: That I’ve done way too much of the talking. That to know those things, yes, I can look into your eyes and see your facial expressions, listen to the tone of your voice, read your body language. But that it's also about your words, our conversion. The interaction. The whole picture. What's said and what's not. Senses and scent and silence. What I see or want to see in those eyes. What I hear or want to hear in your voice.

Me: Wow. Are you on something this morning? Or is it something from last night, still in your blood?

Mibes: Like I said, it's really good to see you, but I’m talking way too much. How are you really doing? How were your holidays? How was New Year’s Eve? Are you looking forward to going back to work? I want a full rundown. Details. Now. Speak.

Me: I’m a not dog.

Mibes: But you are a puppy sometimes.

Me: Oh stop.

Mibes: So really how are you?

Me: Reasonably OK. Pretty good, I suppose. I’ve got a bit of a cough, but that’s often the case this time of year. Holidays have been pretty good. Not perfect. It didn't expect that. It’s all about enjoying the mix. Finding the cashews. Ignoring the walnuts. Some wonderful times. Good memories made. Warmth, love, humor, food, treats, surprises. The contrasts. Snow outside. Hearth inside.

Mibes: I like walnuts.

Me: Great. I’ve got a whole stash of them for you. Hand sorted.

Mibes: So you’re good?

Me: Yeah. Somewhat.

Mibes: Good stuff. Nice response. Believable detail. Nice imagery. Now tell me the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Me: (I look down, losing eye contact.) Yes, Mr. Mason.

Mibes: Oh, that really dates you. Better take than one out of the transcript.

Me: No I'm leaving it in. I'm definitely leaving it in since you mentioned it.

Mibes: Now the to truth. Like it or not. Come on, you’ll feel better.

Me: I don’t know. If I even say the word c-o-u-g-h I’ll start again.

Mibes: That’s a start. What else?

Me: (coughing)

Mibes: OK, OK, I’ll temporarily postpone the cross examination. Here's something that will help.

Me: A hug, I suppose. (I'm now thinking of all the holiday hugs and shoulder claps, I've received. Some very nice moments. Mostly forgettable, but appreciated nonetheless. Especially when I've been reluctant because of the cough, not wanting to infect loved ones.)

Mibes: Yes, a hug. One of my hugs. Not your run of the mill, holiday hug. The quick minimal hugs you’ve been giving and getting. (We've been sitting at bar stools but now Mibes is standing up next to me.) 

Me: (coughing, I reluctantly stand up, facing him.) I don’t want to cough all over you.

Mibes: (pulls me in close, both arms around me, in a big bear hug)

Me: (still coughing)

Mibes: Just get it all out. (He starts this percussive cupping sort of thumping on my mid-back below the ribcage. He's now some blend of massage therapist, respiratory therapist and lifelong friend.)

Me: (coughing continues but quickly morphs into sobs)

Mibes: (he stops the percussive treatment but the hug continues and now he's chuckling a bit.) There you go. Coughing. Crying. Doesn’t matter to me.

Me: (My crying gives way to laughter. The burning in my chest is gone. There's no urge to cough. My lungs are clear. I've dropped from alpine skiing in thin, frigid air to sunshine on the beach at sea level.)

Mibes: (joins in louder laughter) I told you you’d feel better.

Me: (laughter) Yes you did and no I didn’t believe you.

Mibes: Believe.

Me: OK. I believe.

Mikes: And just in the nick of time. (waiter brings our plates to the bar and we sit back down)

Me: Just in the nick of time.