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.

Me, Nick Flynn, and Vicodin.

 

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 11.35.59 AM
Nick Flynn – from The Rumpus, February 8, 2014.

Me, on Vicodin (inspired by Nick Flynn)

I hate Vicodin. Ten years ago, at ten years sober and a day or two after some major dental work, I found myself with not one, but two full vials of Vicodin, and no memory of getting the second, of convincing a pharmacist that I’d already gone through the first in a single day when the truth was I hadn’t taken but one single pill.

That second vial? That was just in case. Just in case there was so much pain I needed to take two full vials of Vicodin before morning to stop it. Yeah, well, that was the pain from first 30 years of my life, wasn’t it?

While on the phone with a friend, I dumped both vials in the toilet. It wasn’t will power, it was willingness and surrender and I don’t know why sometimes that’s easier for one person than another. Or why sometimes it’s easier today than it was yesterday. And sometimes it’s harder today than it was yesterday.

Maid in 2012

Note to self, dated May 2012. During the two years of “under-employment.”

The cleaning lady 2009_full

A year ago I considered getting a cleaning lady.

Today, while on my knees Windexing the water spots on someone else’s marble bathroom floor, I thought to myself, “Who the fuck do they think I am? The cleaning lady?”

Exactly. That’s exactly who I was at that moment. Someone’s cleaning lady.

Moral of the story: Be careful what you wish for. The universe gives you what you ask for, but it rarely looks the way you’d expect.

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

the bridal bouqet

It was a lovely wedding in a neighborhood church that welcomes all possibilities of love.

I’m not usually a big fan of weddings or anniversary parties or christenings or anything that reeks of well adjusted people having picture book walk happily ever after in the sunset family lives. But, the gospel choir sang “Kisses Sweeter than Wine”  and I cried, or rather, my eyes leaked.

They were two people, utterly in love.

I want to believe; in a small dark corner inside me lives the hope that true love is more than an illusion.  But it’s a struggle to believe my eyes and not the little voices in my head.

I think love is sex and wet your pants with laughter silly and comfortable silences and wanting to protect the other person and wanting to do that over and over and over again.

I’ve never had that, but I’ve seen it.
I’ve never been to the moon either, but I’ve seen that too.

Time came to toss the bouquet, I excused myself and went to get a cup of tea. I didn’t want to catch it or be pushed into the crowd of singletons. I don’t want to be in love, I say, it hurts too much. I’m afraid to be in love is the truth.

There was no tea to be had and when I get back to my seat, the bouquet is sitting on the table. It had landed on my empty chair.

I’ve been in love, twice. Once with someone who loved me back. And I believe, even if I excuse myself to get tea rather than risk staying and saying I want to be loved again, the universe will find a way to get it to me. If I live in a church that believes in all possibilities of love, Love will land on my empty chair and wait patiently for me to come back. I believe this because even though I’ve never touched the man the moon, I know he’s out there.