Feelings …
July 29th, 2008 by Sonja

You may have noticed I haven’t been around much lately.  There’s been a bunch going on off-line and so I haven’t been on my computer as much recently.  Some of you may remember a quilting class I took almost two years ago?  Well … yesterday I finally finished the quilt top.  Almost.  I still have to put borders on it.  I have to find that fabric which is somewhere in the house.  But I finished the hard part.  The tedious part.  The part that was making me slightly nutty.

I’d learned what I needed to learn and could have moved on.  I really did not need to finish the quilt.  But I had a picture in my head that needed completion.  Of course, it was not small.  It’s never small.  These pictures are always big.  Bigger than life.  This quilt will be big enough for a queen size bed … almost.  I could have learned what I needed to learn in a wall hanging.  But that picture was not enough.  So I did an enormous quilt … it will be almost 9 feet square when I’m done.  It’s an old habit of mine …

My grandfather (on my father’s side) used to look at my plate at the end of a meal and say, “Hmmm … it looks to me as though your eyes were bigger than your stomach again.”  And left me to puzzle it out.  He was forever saying mysterious things like that.  He couldn’t just say, “Shut the door, please.”  He’d say, “Put the wood in the hole.”  Then us kids would sit there in a puzzlement while he grinned like the Cheshire Cat.  He’d hand out hints like lollipops, slowly and one at a time, until we figured it out.

All of that is to say, I’ve been taking on things that are perhaps too big and too much all my life.  My eyes are bigger than my stomach.  I don’t know when to quit.  I’m learning though the lessons have been hard, hard won and slow.  So I’ve been sewing a lot lately.  And a lot of the sewing has been of the tedious nature.  Repetitive.  There are parts of quilt-making that I love and other parts I endure.  The sewing tiny bits part, I endure because of the end result … which can be spectacular.  There is a zen to it, to be sure, but sometimes it’s just boring.  So I have the television on for distraction.

Now, if I’m going to have the television on … it has to be certain shows.  Basically, it has to be a show that I’m really not terribly interested in, so that I can just listen along but not get too distracted.  Otherwise, I’ll stop sewing and pay attention to what’s on the television.  TNT is a good network for me to have on … they have on shows that I can listen to, but not actively watch (mostly).  Especially on weekday afternoons.  Two hours of Law & Order, then two hours of Charmed, then dinner mixed in with more Law & Order in the evening and I get a lot of sewing in.

Charmed (if you’ve never seen it) was a show on WB (which is now defunct),  … about three witches who were good witches and fought demons.  They were sisters.  There was a whole mythology surrounding them.  Alyssa Milano played one of them (Phoebe, the other two were named Piper and Paige[sometimes] and Prue [in the beginning]).  Now if you find anything concerning magic offensive, you won’t like this show.  I find it a great way to have spiritual conversations with my kids.

A couple of days ago one of the episodes was quite interesting.  The sisters had grown very weary of fighting demons (it’s the last year of the series) and want to have a “normal” life.  I find this desire interesting since they were born to fight demons, so for them they have a normal life.  But that’s another blog post.  In any case, events have transpired so that they have tipped the balance of power in the world almost entirely to good with the help of some beings called “avatars.”   However, there are still a very few people who still have some latent anger that they can’t cope with and those people are simply “disappeared” by the avatars.  Here’s the interesting thing.  When that happens, those who love the people who “disappear” don’t grieve, they just go about their business a little bit blue and say things like, “Well, it’s for the best, you know s/he is in a better place after all.”

Two of the three sisters lost someone they loved; one of them lost her husband who has been a fixture on the show for the entire series.  He planned it as part of the way to tip the scales back.  Because by now he and the third sister have realized that having everything good has unleashed a set consequences that they knew nothing about (the “avatars” are not good and all, you see).   Now the third sister, Phoebe, has to get Piper and Paige to realize that they are not feeling anything. She has to make them understand that feelings are important.  She eventually does this and casts a spell to give them their feelings back.  The scene that followed as they embraced grief was astonishing and well done.

The whole episode made me think about our church and our culture.  How much do we value feelings?  How much do we value showing an even temper in the worst of times?  How many times have you heard someone say “after all s/he is in a better place” in the face of the death of a loved one?  with a brave, wavery chin?  We try so hard to find a silver lining in all of our clouds that we don’t feel the rain on our faces.   How can we feel and embrace those feelings?  How can we love each other in the midst of life’s rollercoaster which can often put us at odds with one another?  This makes it all terribly difficult … but then … we were never told that the way would be easy.  Just narrow.

Take a minute, and feel the rain on your face.  Be unafraid and unashamed, for the God of all comfort will be with you even unto the end of the age.


2 Responses  
  • Becca Clark writes:
    July 29th, 20082:36 pmat

    I loved Charmed, too, for its exploration of faith, mythology, family systems, abusive relationships (*cough*Cole*cough*), forgiveness/redemption, and the triumphing power of love. That was a particularly good episode, and a great way to start a conversation about grieving. I’ve wondered for a long time how I might use such things in conversation or worship, but haven’t yet been able to find the place.

  • Jarred writes:
    July 30th, 20088:45 amat

    I love the questions in your last paragraph, Sonja. I think we as a society tend to avoid the “negative” feelings too much. Truth be told, there’s a certain beauty in them. Especially when it comes to matters of grieving. In fact, my philosophy is that the depth of our grief for a love one is a testament to the love we shared with that person.

    As for Charmed, I always had mixed feelings about it. It was a great show for entertainment purposes. But I also had to deal with some people who couldn’t appreciate the difference between entertainment and reality.

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