Tag Archives: religion

Three Wise Women: Gifts From My Personal Magi

102320091313-WDW-DAK-Expedition-Everest-Single-Rider[pullquote]My friends have entered into an unwitting conspiracy on my behalf – a conspiracy designed to help me see that this is not a time of bell, book and candle…[/pullquote]

“Clock, keys and Light…. clock, keys and Light….”

These words represent ordinary objects routinely encountered in everyday life. But last night, as the ritual annual viewing of “Love Actually” provided a flickering yet sufficient glow for the addressing of Christmas cards, “clock, keys and light” morphed into something akin to one of those pesky “ear worm” songs (Like this one. You’re welcome). Virulently pestilent, “clock, keys and light” repeated itself over and over in my mind with a cadence similar to that of “bell, book and candle”, a phrase used long ago to describe a once-popular method for the excommunication of sinners from the Catholic Church. When used in an excommunication ritual, the “bell” represents a death knell for the sinner’s soul, the “book” is shut to represent cutting the sinner off from the teachings of the Church and the candle is extinguished, leaving the sinner in the darkness of damnation.

(“Bell, Book and Candle” is also the title of a film, a romantic comedy starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novack. I recommend it, if only for the delight of hearing the actors utter one of the great cat names of all time – “Pyewacket”. Go on and say it now. “Pyewacket. Pyewacket. PYEWACKET!” See how delightful that is?)

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You might say that I’ve suffered something of an excommunication recently. Early in September, the bell tolled for the death of my 19 year career at Too Big To Fail. After having handed in my badge, the door slammed behind me and I no longer had access; I was shut out of that institution forever. Darkness descended, sort of a radio silence. I no longer know anything about the day-to-day doings there, or of the people with whom I’d enjoyed daily contact for so very many years.

Whereas “bell, book and candle” are punishments, “clock, keys and light” are gifts. They came to me from some of the intended recipients of the cards I was addressing last night, which is what prompted the chanting inside my head. Oddly – or perhaps not – all three items arrived in the mail within the last month, and all three were sent to me by people I met online. One woman hails from Colorado, another from the Midwest and the third right here in Florida. Ironically, the Floridian is the only one of the three I haven’t actually met – this, despite the fact that until last year, we were at most 30 minutes apart by car.

111220102241-Tinkerbell-tiny-clock“Spotty” is from Colorado. I met her on an internet forum in connection with our mutual love of all things Disney. We’ve attended a few meets together at Walt Disney World, most recently during the inaugural Princess Half Marathon, which she finished despite a very painful knee. Spotty is the one amongst these three online friends with whom I’ve spent the most face-time. The fact that a good chunk of this face-time occurred in a tequila bar should not, in any way, be construed as a commentary on the quality of our interactions. It was fabulously fun face-TIME and therefore, Spotty is naturally the giver of the clock. The clock arrived on November 12th. It’s a tiny, shiny, perfect little gifty-treat, a memento from some anniversary celebrated by Disneyland in California. The face of the clock bears a portrait of my favorite Disney character, Tinkerbell. I did not save the SMS text exchange that preceded its arrival in my mailbox, but I have a vague recollection that Spotty was performing a purge of possessions when she found the clock, and since I am known elsewhere on the internet as “Tink *~*~*”, it made her think of me. I was touched at her thoughtfulness in asking to send it to me.

121120102945-Tinker-Keys“GPC” is a blogger who hails from the Midwest; you can find her at Shedding The Wolf. I originally met her online as “Sandpail Gail” on a forum dedicated to discussion about Sanibel and Captiva, the magical sub-tropical islands which lured me to relocate to Southwest Florida from Da Loverly Isle Of Long. It’s an unfortunate hallmark of the times in which we live; GPC has also been recently “excommunicated” from her career, so we can definitely relate to one another’s current respective plights. In the surprise package from GPC were two key blanks that can be cut to fit the lock of my choice. They are pretty much the same size as my current house keys. These gifts arrived on December 11th and like the clock, they also bear the visage of Tinkerbell.

121420102967-Let-There-Be-LightLast but certainly not least is “Maidenshade”, my fellow Floridian and kindred spirit – so kindred, I’ve actually friended her on Facebook, which is something usually reserved for people I’ve met and spent time with. “Maidenshade” is the name of her business, where she hand-crafts beautiful lampshades and night lights. One day last summer, I was accosted in the aisle of a local home goods warehouse by a massive framed piece of art. It’s a bold and stunningly modern departure for the woman whose home is filled with ornately carved antiques. However, I was inexplicably drawn to it. I knew the moment I clapped eyes on it that the large expanse of bare, white wall over the garden tub in The Palace (my master bath) would henceforth be barren no more. I posted a photo of it to Facebook and now Jen has cleverly gone and made me a beautiful night light to match. I took delivery of it on December 14th and immediately installed it in The Palace, marveling at how impeccably made it is.

121920102989.jpgWhy am I writing about these gifts? Well, it’s like this. I saved the return addresses on all three packages so that I could record them in my contacts list on my phone and send “thank you” notes in the form of Christmas cards. Last night, I assembled all the essential implements of Christmas carding and laid them out on the blue suede damnsofa – the requisite smelly candle (it’s called Yankee Candle “Sparkling Snow”), the seasonal entertainment (the aforementioned DVD of Love Actually – although, Christmas music can also be used), the cards with scenes like Santa posed inappropriately beneath a palm tree, the pens, stamps, return address labels, phone with the contacts list and a cup of Tazo decaf chai.

The first three cards I wrote were for the recipients listed on the return addresses I’d ripped from the packages containing the clock, the keys and the light. And as I was writing, the phrase began to sing in my head – “clock, keys, light…” – which eventually transformed itself into “Time! Answers! Illumination!”

Implements of Christmas cardingMy friends have entered into an unwitting conspiracy on my behalf – a conspiracy designed to help me see that this is not a time of bell, book and candle, not a time of death, imprisonment and darkness. It is, rather, a period in my life rich with gifts. Time, unfettered by work-a-day obligations, is a gift. Time permits me to explore, to discover answers that have lain locked behind obligation and practicality, to open the doors to my secret (so secret, it’s hidden even from me!) calling and illuminate what lies inside.

How did you all know just what I needed, and in just such a combination that would capture and keep my attention and fire my imagination? I think you are all remarkable, but I bet you didn’t – know, that is. There’s another explanation, however – episodic Memos From The Universe. That’s what this is. And I thank you all for answering whatever call from the Universe it was that you heard, which has led me to relax, if just a little, and believe, if only for a day, that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be at this time, doing pretty much what I’m supposed to be doing.

Love and joy to you all, my personal magi 🙂

September 29th is Michaelmas

It’s the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. Here he is on my sideboard, busily smiting Lucifer. Hero overcoming evil? Or just a boy rough-housing with his brother?

Would God really want someone fighting His battles for Him? Or did She cover up Her indulgent smile with a fakey-stern, “Boys, play nice. DON’T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE!”

We get to decide, each for ourselves. Ain’t it cool? 🙂

Sent from my Nokia N97

National Day of Prayer UNTRUTHS and How Google Can Be Your Friend

President Obama, VP Biden And Their Families Attend National Prayer ServiceAttention: Anyone who is claiming that Obama has “canceled the National Day of Prayer” on May 7th.

Obama didn’t cancel anything. His predecessor, George W Bush, chose to hold a ceremony for the National Day of Prayer at the White House every year he was in office. Obama has not chosen to hold a ceremony in the White House. Many of Bush’s predecessors, both Democrat and Republican, and including his own father, have done the same as Obama. They have signed presidential proclamations to observe the day, as Obama has done, but they have not held a ceremony at the White House each year of their administration. There is nothing historically out of the ordinary going on here.

No one, not even the mighty and apparently much-feared Obama, can cancel your right to pray.

As far as I can tell from the research I’ve done, President Obama will observe the 2010 National Day of Prayer via Presidential proclamation as he did in 2009. Observed does not equal canceled. Nothing is stopping anyone from praying on May 7th. Nothing is commanding them to pray, either.

PLEASE STOP BEING SHEEP. Learn to read FOR YOURSELF, beyond those incendiary email forwards you’ve been blindly re-distributing. I understand that you want to spread the word about what a bad man he is, but when you spread the falsehoods, you degrade your own credibility. How will anyone ever take you seriously ever again if you continue to propagate that which cannot be substantiated?

INVESTIGATE FIRST. You have the absolute right to criticize someone if they do something you don’t agree with. BUT FIRST, make sure he actually did it. Don’t take anyone’s word for it. Don’t put your own credibility in the hands of anyone else but yourself.

GOOGLE IS YOUR FRIEND. Search. Explore. Investigate. Criticize for what he DID do, if you don’t like it, but don’t spread untruths. It only makes YOU look bad.

The POTUS picks up poop?!?!?

I’ve been doing some studying each night, so didn’t catch this Brian Williams Inside The Obama White House news special when it aired on NBC. However, I went to MSNBC.com today and found a bunch of video segments from the show, which was actually a good way to get this watched – in chunks and at my leisure.

MUSIC – I love the fact that they chose modern music to go with our modern President and his young staff. A few of my faves – Bittersweet Symphony “the most popular song Jagger and Richards never wrote”, and Everclear’s Wonderful make prominent appearances. They used Mika’s Lollipop for Sasha and Malia, which was totally charming.

BO, THE DOG – I cannot believe the POTUS picks up poop! Clearly, Brian Willaims is a sucker for dogs. He’s got that lovey-dovey I-am-a-sucker-for-dogs voice on when he speaks to the pooch. I’m really sort of in love with that dog, which is unusual for me… I’ve been SO set on leading a hairless existence and not being tied down by pets when I travel or go out. However, I now believe that there MIGHT be a puppy in my future! OK, maybe not… I have to think long and hard about this.

THE VEGETABLE GARDEN – What a great idea this was. Cost effective and charitable – they use the veggies at the White House and also donate some of them locally. When the First Lady visited the school kids who helped her plant it, I liked the fact that she dressed in yellow, which is apparently their school color (all the kids had on matching yellow t-shirts). When she did the sit-down with Brian Williams in that outfit, there were yellow roses in a bowl on the table behind her, which was a nice, coordinating touch.

SACRIFICES – And now we know why Bittersweet Symphony may have been selected. Working in the White House, no matter whose White House it happens to be at the time, is a huge honor, a once-in-a-lifetime, rare opportunity to directly impact the direction of our country and its people. But it is also a sacrifice for one’s country, second only to serving in the military. These people are not spending a lot of time with their families, although clearly the administration wants them to be able to. Some left their families behind in a different city when they joined the administration. When you have this kind of job, this is what you do 24×7. It’s what you breathe, it’s the REASON you breathe. This is what it means to go into public SERVICE, to SERVE your country in government. I know something similar to this kind of life, remember it well. Wouldn’t want to go back to it. No wonder they’re all so damned young; it’s a lot easier to take the grueling pace when you’re still young.

RAHM EMANUEL – Speaking of sacrifice, this is someone to admire and respect. I know this personally, from years and years of mergers, acquisitions and re-organizations at the firm. Sometimes you fall into a spot that you’re not thrilled with, but you do it anyway because you are called to it. It takes HUGE self-discipline to do something you don’t necessarily want to do but are called to do, and to do it REALLY well – actually kick ass at it. Hats off to Rahm, he’s earning it.

THE OPPOSITION – the nation is less safe because people who work in the White House now take off their suit jackets? One wonders how they reacted to the M&Ms, the darts and the basketball… what is this, Microsoft? ROTFLMAO! How do they come up with crap like this? Can’t they find something REAL over which they can act scandalized?

As to the Supreme Court appointment, I like that our President can be a bad-ass, be firm with the nonsense, without straying into the land of also being a butt-head about things. He pushes back against and has little patience for the ridiculous. I’m wondering…. since when is it wise to completely ignore one’s hard-won experiential knowledge and not leverage it when making decisions? That’s called LEARNING, when you use past experience to be successful in a current situation. Since when would the experiential knowledge of a white male be the same as that of a Latina female? Not saying one is better than the other in general, but under certain circumstances, each has experiential knowledge that could certainly inform their actions and decisions better than the other. No need to act scandalized – this is only logic.

Finally, he’s got a good sense of where news reporting ends and entertainment begins. I like that he doesn’t watch the pundits because he understands them to be entertainment. “It feels like WWF wrestling – everybody’s got their roles to play…” Wise of him to recognize that!

WHEN THE GIRLS REACH DATING AGE – loved Brian Williams’ advice about greeting their dates at the door with a shovel! 😀

AMERICA’S RELATIONS WITH THE WORLD’S MUSLIM POPULATION – Are there really people who feel that ALL Muslims are America’s enemies? I don’t know what to say to them to relieve them of the burden of such ignorance. I pray that God – anyone’s God, everyone’s God – opens their eyes and their hearts.

“A ROCK STAR” – love, love, love the reactions at the Five Guys burger joint. I would have flipped out, too, had I been there. That’s one way to treat your staff to lunch! He cracked me up later on with the remark, “I never thought I’d have a bobble-head…” LOL! 🙂

“OUR” GENERATION – “The hand that we were dealt – this is a challenge for our generation.” This president is barely a year younger than I am. Because we are part of the same age cohort, he is a leader with whom I can identify. We grew up listening to the same songs on the radio, watching the same sitcoms, learning about the same world events on the news. He was shaped by the things that shaped me, too. I really feel that he “gets” the challenges facing people of our age – the fact that our mortgages are upside down and our retirement is in the toilet and that the most important thing he can do for us is fight to lower the cost of health care, because at our age, we’re going to be needing that very soon.

FINAL THOUGHTS – I appreciate that Obama is smart, personable and articulate; he represents the best our country, our generation has to offer. I don’t approve of EVERYTHING he does or will do, but I’m overall very satisfied with him so far. I think he was handed a sack of shit, and he’s doing his best to turn it into something useful that can be brought forward into the future. May he be successful, for ALL of our sakes.

In response to the Pope, I declare NEW SINS!

1. Anthropomorphizing God IS A SIN

Do not assign human traits to God. God is not tall, benevolent, bearded, mighty, angry, fat, lean or male. God is God, and is beyond our minuscule comprehension. Therefore we should not assign human traits to God; it probably pisses Her off.

2. Excluding people from God’s table IS A SIN

Any Christian should be able to receive communion in any church. The Catholic Church has no business denying anyone a seat at Jesus’ table, and must immediately retract their posture that communion is only for the Catholics. For Pete’s (literally) sake, Jesus had JEWS (le gasp!) at the very first communion mass!

3. Forcing yourself between me and my God IS A SIN

God and I can hear and understand each other just fine. I don’t need anyone to relay my sins to God for me, and I don’t need anyone to put words into my mouth for God to hear. We’re doing just fine together, just me and God. But thanks for the offer. We’ll be sure to let you know if either one of us ever becomes unable to communicate for ourselves.

4. Deifying humans IS A SIN

Just as assigning human traits to God is a sin, it is also a sin to assign God’s qualities to a mere human, Jesus excepted. NO ONE is “infallible” except for God, so cut that shit out already.

5. Subjugating, devaluing and subsequently alienating fully 50% of the faithful IS A SIN

Bitch, please. It’s the 21st century, and lame excuses like “because Jesus was male” and “because Jesus wasn’t married” just aren’t cutting it any more. Just get over yourselves, start admitting women into the priesthood, and start allowing priests of either gender to marry and pro-create. With each other, even. If you do this, in 10 year’s time you’ll be thanking me for the idea.