Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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When I was guided through learning my personality type in the Eneagram, I discovered one of the worst things that could happen to me emotionally was to be excluded from something. I could give you several stories from my life where that happened. I get crushed when I find out I’ve been left out. Knowing it’s a personality thing helps soften the blow a little, but overall I still get bummed.

Last week I had to go to a funeral on Tim’s (my husband) side. It was a Catholic service, true to family tradition. I asked about whether it was appropriate to take communion and I was told that the priest will announce whether you need to be Catholic or not. If there is nothing said, it is ok, even if you are Protestant. The announcement came so I didn’t partake.

This week I had to go to a funeral on Tim’s (current partner) side. It was a Catholic service as well. I waited and sure enough the announcement came. There was also a lengthy explanation about Polish Catholic vs. Irish Catholic ritual and how to appropriately walk with your hands for the Eucharist depending on your background. I abstained again. Tim wasn’t really listening (lucky) so he went up anyway. His heart was in the right place.

I remember when I was in college at a fundamental Christian college, studying to be a missionary. When I came home on break and went to church with my family, I wasn’t allowed to take communion there either. They said if I was currently attending a Lutheran church, I couldn’t take it, even though I was baptized and confirmed there. Sigh.

I struggle with the whole thing. I feel like it is a good and polite thing to respect traditions. My heart isn’t interested in offending anyone, especially in a place where love is taught. Men don’t sing in the Buffalo Women’s Gateway Chorus. That’s exclusive to women, right?

I have to admit though, it feels a tinge different. For me, church is a place where God (and often Christ) is preached and the basis is love. Love with a capital “L” and in bright shining lights. Why would anyone want to discourage another human from participating in a ritual that brings our souls closer to God?

I remember in my years with more fundamental churches and being afraid sometimes to take communion. It was between God and the person, but the pressure was even worse. There was emphasis on the Bible verses that talk about how “some have gotten sick and even died because they took communion in a manner than was unworthy”. Holy cow (pun intended)! That’s enough pressure to keep the most saintly person from participating. I could get cancer or even fall over dead if I didn’t participate the RIGHT way.

Yikes.

I guess for now, in my 50’s, I feel like I’m on a good track. God is about inclusion and love to me. Come and share in the bounty. For those that believe differently, I will respect their wishes. But next time I think I will choose Tim’s path. If I don’t hear the restriction, I can take the bread and wine in good faith (pun intended) and enjoy the ritual that has meant so much throughout my lifetime. Alas, ignorance really is bliss sometimes.


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Girl Crush

I love karaoke. But almost every time you go to karaoke, someone sings the song, “Girl Crush.” Even though it might be well-performed, it is still like, “Again?” But that is not what this blog is about.

I love my girlfriends. My sisters, my adopted sisters, etc.. Girls rock and they are dependable. I recently had the opportunity to participate with the Buffalo Gateway Chorus, and man, what a powerhouse of women. (Isn’t it funny to say man in that sentence?)

There are normally 90 women in that sucker. At Christmas time the number is down to 75 because of all the snowbirds. If I didn’t have to make a weekly commitment, I would so join them in a heartbeat. It is all upbeat energy and positive stuff. (Now, women are women. I’m realistic. Is there some bitchiness here and there? Well, of course!) What they do at Christmastime is allow guests to come in. You only have to go to two rehearsals, and then you can join their holiday show. What a total blast.

One of the rehearsals, a guest came in to thank the group for their generosity. They had caught wind of a female teacher in a more poverty-stricken area. She had a terrible problem with attendance because the girls often didn’t have shampoo or deodorant. The embarrassment only triples when they have their period and don’t have feminine products. So in walks one of the members with several enormous bags of supplies. Girls helping girls. Love that stuff.

I saw them perform in September and my jaw remained on the floor the entire show. They are all a capella music, and compete internationally. I could see why they always place well. They are incredibly talented, with women of all ages in the group. The director totally stood out to me. (I told my friend who is a member that she needs to party poolside with us next summer so the invitation has already been extended!) I have since found out she is 64 years old, is quite attractive and charismatic. I didn’t take my eyes off of her very often. And every once in a while she turns around during the song and sings to the audience as well. She just blends in with the group. Just not an ego in sight.

After working with the group, I realized she is definitely a powerhouse. I wouldn’t want to piss her off because I’m sure she could take me out if necessary. Her directing talent was astounding. I’ve been a musician since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. She was teaching us things I had never heard before and I was amazed by it. And a super great sense of humor too.

As the 12 hour day went on for the performance day, I came to a realization that came out in my out-loud voice. Oh my God! I have a girl crush! It was the only way I could explain it. I find her to have a terribly attractive personality and I just wanted to be around her. There were a couple of times we exchanged conversation and I was so excited that she acknowledged me. Later, she popped up on Facebook and I got brave and friend requested her. To my delight, she accepted. As a musician, she also gave me a compliment that I was deeply grateful for. She said she could tell that I “get it”- meaning the concept of the importance of excellence and the pride that comes with it.

I was telling my friends Nina and Mike about the weekend at separate times and they both laughed at me. They said I sounded like a school girl and I was like, “I know, right?” Anyhow, my humble thanks to Diane and the Buffalo Gateway Chorus for a very special experience.

I am ending this was a photo of several of us. One of the requirements was to wear bright red lipstick. We called it the stripper lips. So we gave our best stripper pucker for this photo. Merry Christmas to everyone!
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