Praying for the Enemy

I spent a good part of dinner talking about a person who irritated me, who set my teeth on edge, a person whose head I wanted to smack upside until it bounced like a bobble. I was completely justified in my irritation, but that didn’t make me any more fun to be around. I was annoying myself—I can only imagine how annoying I was to everyone else who doesn’t love me as much as I love me.

Someone said, “Have you tried praying for them?”

I thought: No. Really? Maybe. Really?

I thought about praying this person got the life I thought they deserved because I was, at that moment (honestly, there have probably been way too many of these moments) auditioning for the parts of both judge and jury of the whole wide world (which is different than the World Wide Web in several ways, the most important of which is the capitalization*). I’d already elected myself the Diva of the DMV, (Too slow to merge? Afraid of changing lanes? Not signaling when you turn? Not turning your signal off after you do? No driver’s license for you! Doomed to a life of public transportation.) so judge and jury of the known universe was not exactly a stretch

I thought a little bit more. I wanted this person to know how much they irritated me and why. So, I tried it. I prayed for their life to be filled with compassion, kindness, and awareness of their effect on others. I’ve done it for a few days in a row now.

I don’t know if they’ve changed at all. I don’t know if prayer works that way— changing other people or events or things at all. What I do know is that the chip on my shoulder slipped off somewhere along the line.

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*There will be grammar. There will be Oxford commas. I cannot guarantee there will not be pop quizzes.

god’s graffiti

jodi sh doff  : onlythejodi : gods graffiti : BQE traffic
Saturday morning on the BQE. 8am. 9am. 10am.~jshd2010

Sometimes, when I’m stuck in a never ending line of traffic.
When even though I’m pointed in the right direction, nothing seems to be moving,
— or at least not fast enough.
When the heat gets turned up just a little too high.
When it seems like I’m never going to get where I’m going.
When I start thinking about ditching it all.

I just need to look around.
XXXXXSee where I’m really at
XXXXXXXXXXRead the writing on the wall
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXAnd simply follow directions.

jodi sh doff  : onlythejodi : gods graffiti : BQE billboard
the burning bush ~jshd2010

lost, then found

I hear dead people. I heard them call my name when no one was there. Then I stopped drinking. The dead don’t talk so much these days. Score one for auditory alcoholic hallucinations.

But I can look in a baby’s eyes and know if this is his/her first time around or s/he’s been here before. Score one for “something out there that’s bigger than me.”

They say there are no coincidences, it’s just God’s way of staying anonymous.  Believing in signs is just silly if you don’t believe in a God that has a specific detailed plan for your life. I know what God wants for me – Joy. I get that. But I don’t think s/he has a specific detailed plan. I’m cynical, a by-product of growing up with Fred. Oddly, I’m also superstitious. I believe in signs.

This morning I forgot my travel mug, so I stopped in Dunkin Donuts – the one near work where the snotty girl has to be told what I want a dozen times, especially if it’s complicated, like a bagel and a coffee, because she “can’t remember everything.” The one where every couple of weeks I take the manager’s name and ruminate about calling and telling her what shitty employees she has. That Dunkin Donuts.

There’s a new girl was behind the counter who doesn’t need things repeated. I buy a travel mug, bagel & a tea. Sadly, the new travel mug was not designed to travel, at least not in the cup holder of my car.  Luckily, new girl gave me a receipt (my first, despite the sign that says “If you don’t receive a receipt, please let the manager know”, adding fuel to my ruminating fire) so I can march in there all huffy and indignant on the way home and exchange it.

jodi sh doff  : onlythejodi : lost then found : walletI pull into the parking lot after work and start rooting around for my wallet where I’d stashed the receipt. No wallet.

I empty my bag. Big bag. Lots o’stuff. No wallet. I put everything back in the bag, take it out again & still, no wallet. I remember putting it down this morning to add Splenda to my tea. I remember thinking don’t forget to take your wallet. Apparently, even I don’t pay attention to myself.

The Snotty Girl I dream about reporting was behind the counter, always stuck on the late afternoon shift. She’s the reason I stopped my evening donut-to-drive-home routine. Thank you, Snotty Girl in Dunkin Donuts. Thank you for saving me from myself.

She has my wallet. 8 hours after I left it on someone else’s shift, intact. I dwell in irate for a second that no one had gone through it and tried to call me, then I realized, no one had gone through my wallet. My cash was there, my credit cards and the receipt.

I exchange the mug, leave a $3 tip for a $1 donut and think, phew, I skated on that. Thanks again, Snotty Girl. Or maybe thanks Morning Counter Girl. Maybe just Thanks.

jodi sh doff  : onlythejodi : lost then found : lostkeysHalf a block from my house I start rooting around for my house keys and the remote for the garage. No keys. I empty my bag. Still a big bag. Still lots o’stuff. No keys. I put everything back in the bag, take it out again & still no keys. (Why do I do that? Do I think they will manifest if I take things out in the right order? Maybe. Yes. Maybe that’s exactly what I think…).

How can I misplace two essential things in one day? I pull over, clear out the front seat, throw everything, one by one into the back. Down vest, sweater, sweatshirt (It was almost 90 today, but I like to be prepared), scarf. Nothing. I check the floor boards, under the layer of Trident Bubblegum wrappers. No keys. For no good reason I open the back door. My house keys are laying on the floor of the back seat. I have no idea. I don’t care. Maybe the dead people who don’t talk to me since I stopped drinking put them there. I don’t care.

Something is telling me something. I don’t know what. It’s like a message in a fortune cookie but it’s in Chinese. I know the message is for me, but I have no idea what it is…

I misplaced two things today. Then, like that, they were returned. No damage done. Maybe I need to pay more attention, stay more present, be aware where my feet are. Maybe I need to remember to look past the snottiness of strangers.

taking pictures of god

There’s a Sufi poet, Hafiz (the best translations are the ones by Daniel Ladinsky).  Hafiz writes love poems to God. This is one of my favorites.

Every child has known God

Every child has known God,
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does Anything weird,
But the God who knows only four words.
And keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come Dance with Me , come dance.”

Everyone wonders what God looks like. People want to have some concrete vision of their higher power, some small box to put God in, some physical container or body. Museums are filled with paintings and sculptures of Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Egyptian, Greek, Roman gods.

I think if you want to know what God looks like, you just have to open your eyes a little bit. your heart a little bit. your ears a little bit. and then, get out of your own way and listen…

with your heart.

I took this picture of God for you, while I was driving:

jodi sh doff  : onlythejodi : pictures of god : feather

I know, I shouldn’t have. But the law only requires a handsfree phone, no one’s said about a handsfree camera. We were stuck in traffic. It was 50 degrees out, my sunroof was open, my windows rolled down, the music was playing, the sun was shining.

I keep this feather in my visor. It’s from one of the  guinea fowl at the farm. In case wings and flight aren’t big enough convincers, if you look, you can see God in the polka dots.

I can’t even get the books on my bookshelves to line up evenly, but look at that. Polka dots. Home grown polka dots. How simple. How orderly. How impossible.

I did not take this picture of god:

jodi sh doff  : onlythejodi : pictures of god : hubble

This was taken by the Hubble Telescope (not to be confused with this Hubble, also at one point in history, sometimes confused with God). Amazing, no? Total chaos. Totally beautiful. The origins of the word, awesome. These are candid snapshots of the universe, dancing. The origin of the phrase “Dance like no one is watching,” no doubt.(Click here for a slideshow of more photos)

Another bit by Hafiz before I go. I carry this one with me.

Manic Screaming

We should make all spiritual talk simple today
God is trying sell you something but you don’t want to buy

That is what your suffering is:
your fantastic haggling
your manic screaming
over
price.

But I get it, I really do. That need to put a face to the concept of God. A long time ago I heard a woman say that when she thought of God, she thought of tag team wrestling. And that way, when life got too hard, she could just tag God, and God would take the rest of that round until the bell rang. And she could rest a bit. That way, there was always someone in her corner.

I can wrap my brain around that… and so, my dashboard Jesus looks like this, because God comes in a million colors, and so do luchadores.

jodi sh doff  : onlythejodi : pictures of god : luchadore