Save Me, San Francisco.

18 Apr

Erm.

Hello.

Do you hear that sound?

That’s the sound of me begging your forgiveness.

When I last left you, I was moving back to Texas. Well…I moved!

….to California.

…which was equal parts the worst decision I’ve ever made (think, reasons I can’t even legally talk about on my blog) and one of the better decisions I’ve ever made (think, northern California is one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen in the world).

I’ve been tormented and have wanted to flee back to you, dear readers, for weeks. The catalyst came this afternoon while I’m walking the streets of San Francisco (because oh yeah, I’m basically homeless and living out of a carryon suitcase and price lined hotel rooms) slipped into a coffee shop and sat on the patio enjoying the sunshine. I overheard the following statement from a guy hanging out with some friends.
They were clearly hipster theology majors.
The unwashed hair, tattered copy of “A History of Christianity” and stench of old marijuana gave them away.
(I still love y’all, theology majors.)
“I can’t wait until the very first married priest says ‘F*** you’ to the Vatican in his homily.”
The friends solemnly nodded their agreement. And I just couldn’t take it anymore. “Considering the Eastern rites have had married priests for centuries and the Roman rite didn’t disallow married priests until the middle ages, that ship has sailed. Not to mention the married Protestant pastors that convert to Catholicism and can receive dispensations to become ordained.” I know there are more nuances to it than that, but really, the amount of Catholic hating that occurs on the West Coast is even more intense than the Midwest, and I’m feeling particularly volatile right now.
The budding Hauerwas glared at me and countered, “Who the f*** do you think you are? A secret Vatican spy?
Well.
Since you mention it.
This post is for you, sir.
Please wash your hair.

I really wish I could tell you everything that has happened, but I can’t. Maybe I can have coffee with each and every one of you some day and then we can swap stories. Or we can meet over a few beers and swap even better stories!

In the meantime:

I remain yours. Faithful in spirit if not in deed.

Which, ironically, has been the sentiment held by more than one ex. Whatev.

-Kassie

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Screaming, then silence: what hat-wearing llamas taught me about forgiveness.

16 Dec

As I once again reduce the entire meaning of my existence to a handful of cardboard boxes, I’ve thought about the last few years of my life in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I’ve fallen in love.

I’ve fallen in lust.

I’ve just fallen face-planted.

I’ve been wronged.

I.guess.i.can.grudgingly.admit.that.i’ve.wronged.others

And “I’m a big girl,” I like to say, with my tongue pressed firmly to cheek. “I’ve moved on. I can handle this. I have forgiven.”

But that’s a lie. As my two favorite llamas demonstrated to me in the following video:

 

I see engagement announcements from my ex-fiance, when I’m still receiving “Tell Us About Your First Year Of Marriage And Win A Second Honeymoon!” promotional emails, and I want to scream. Not because of any residual feelings left for him (because I assure you they do not exist) – but sheer anger and frustration at stealing my happy ending, and leaving me in the lurch back in Tulsa picking up pieces and scrambling to find a new normal, by myself, hundreds of miles from home.

And every now and then, the ghosts of arguments past will sneak up behind me and jab me in the heart with their hurtful words I can’t ever un-hear. Some of the refrains have come up more than once.

“You can’t be what I need.”

“I just want to be friends.”

“This was a mistake.”

Variations on the age-old theme of You Aren’t Enough. 

And these words don’t send me spiraling into a cloud of morose emo groveling – because Pride and I are well acquainted – they make me angry. Oh so very angry.

I cringe when I remember things I said to people while flying off my hot-tempered handle, things that are probably hurting them to this day, and that I so desperately want to crawl to and beg, beg, beg forgiveness. But I can’t.

And I thought I had forgiven them, and forgiven myself. I did.

I was defining forgiveness as “Gee, I no longer want to commit homicide when his name is mentioned.” Which is, you know, a radical improvement on some counts.

But when I was kneeling in the confessional last week, crying and pouring my broken, wounded heart out to the priest, and facing the consequences of some decisions I have no one to blame for but myself, and other decisions that I had no say in whatsoever. . .I heard a quiet voice in my heart.

That is what forgiveness sounds like.

Screaming, then silence.

All through mass, it’s the only thing I could think about. And when I went forward to receive communion, I heard it again.

That is what forgiveness sounds like.

Screaming, then silence.

I knelt down in the aisle, and cried again. We’re talking, two sobs away from ugly cry.

Because I wanted to forgive not just the new and the recent and the fresh, but to chase down the ugly tangled leftover roots of unforgiveness left behind, and destroy them, too.

I wanted them to drown.

And for the first time, I could do that. Because the beauty of the Sacrament is that the Eucharist, if you let it, is like a form of divine regeneration. It restores the broken and the tarnished and the scared and the bitter and transforms you into something new, something beautiful, something Christlike. Something very much you at your core with all your memories, and your hopes and your dreams – but very much different. Something holy.

And in that moment, I found silence.

 

 

Pure and Undefiled

9 Dec

Two dear friends of mine, Timothy and Kristin Putnam, recently miscarried a precious daughter. Kristin’s godmother sponsored Baby “Lydia” through Love Without Boundaries in memory of the Putnam’s own baby Lydia, praying for us all with Jesus right now.

My heart aches for Timothy and Kristin and their beautiful family. Their friendship has been special for me in many ways, and their heart for life and the Church is beautiful. They’re new converts like me, and their faithfulness in the face of trials and tribulations is humbling. If you’re looking for an Advent project this year, please consider taking baby Lydia in China as a special intention in mass – or donating to her surgery fund.

I can’t say enough good things about LWB – without their organization’s intervention in the orphanage that my two youngest siblings spent their first years in, Trent and Aeren would, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be dead right now.

And if you do pray for Lydia and the Putnam’s or donate to the surgery – even if it’s a dollar or a single Hail Mary –  I would greatly appreciate you either leaving a comment, or sending me an email that I can pass on to Timothy and Kristin. They need the love of their Church family to surround them right now. Your prayers and support have meant the world to me throughout the last year, and I want to share that with them.

Changes. . .

5 Dec

Well. Nanowrimo, also known as National Month Of Writing Failure, went about as well as can be expected when you sincerely believe you are going to write 50,000 words on an iPhone. Yes. On an iPhone. Because I’m not being cute when I say I’m crazy. I’m really basically crazy. I’ve been computer-less for a while and have been writing papers, emails – pretty much every thing – on my phone. I’m sitting in front of a friend’s computer screen right now, and my eyes are all “What the what is all this space we have to roam??”

Go ahead, little eyeballs. Roam away.

Speaking of roaming, and space – I’m moving to Texas. 

In 17 days.

For real this time.

One of the children I nanny is starting a new school program soon, and there really wasn’t a full-time nanny job available for me in the Tulsa area. And I need to eat. And pay bills. And finish school. So it’s back to Texas with me. I have a handful of nanny interviews in the DFW area, so HELLO to any of my readers in Dallas. 

I’m actually going to miss Tulsa. I’m leaving a lot of wonderful people behind, and it’ll be hard to say goodbye. I got teary-eyed today picking the kids up from school, as I realized I’m only going to do that a handful of times before I leave. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to my emotional instability as of late, my current off-the-charts estrogen production, or me falling off the deep end – because pick-up is a pain.

I keep spanning the spectrum between crying into my pillow over leaving Tulsa and everyone in it and being giddily excited at only having a few weeks left before I’m back in Texas, and that’s usually occurring while I’m supposed to be packing and purging (clothes, not food. I’m not that much of a ballerina). 

What are your plans for Advent and Christmas?

 

 

First signs of insanity?

25 Oct

Sometimes I have conversations with myself.

Okay, all the time I have conversations with myself.

Sometimes these conversations are audible.

“Kassie,” says I, “That decision, love, was patently stupid. No. That decision was nigh unto irresponsibly immature and thou must needs return thine Grown Up card to the powers that be, post-haste.” My subconscious has lexicon related identity issues.

Typically these conversations transpire after events which usually involve me saying exactly what I’m thinking to whom I’m thinking about. Or, with a frequency even more alarming, at times when I convince myself that staying up/sleeping in just a few more minutes won’t matter to anyone except my hair. But this time, dear readers.

This time.

This time that conversation was preemptive, as I made the official decision to dive into Nanowrimo yet-a-frickin-gain. And I’m recording that conversation here, so that three weeks from now when I’m griping and moaning and complaining and tearfully chugging copious amounts of. . . . . coffee. . . . ., my subconscious can snap me out of it with: “Get over it, you whining moron. You knew this was a completely insane time to try and churn out 50,000 more words, so suck it up and write, damn it.”

In a rare moment of realism I had the good sense to agree to modify the challenge to “Write 50,000 words in whatever medium you can”, which is far less impressive than being able to shrug and off-handedly comment about the status of my latest novel. But it’s already been established that me and chic don’t exactly get along.

I have too much hair for that.

But here’s to you, fellow nanowrimoers. Enjoy your last few days of sanity before. . .you know, The End.

Just breathe.

23 Oct

This song has been stuck in my head all weekend. To be perfectly honest, I can’t even tell you why.

[So I’m going to spend the next thirty minutes agonizing over telling you why, anyway.]

It’s a particularly chaotic time in my life with inordinate amounts of Unknown, but it isn’t unhappy. Still, every time I’ve heard the chorus of this song recently I break down and cry, wherever I’m at, which isn’t typically my modus operandi.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Life doesn’t always make sense, and as painful as it is for my hyper-analytical mind to accept, sometimes that’s okay.

Sometimes that’s what I need.

Sometimes I just have to accept the unknown, accept the pain and the growth and the joy and the blindsides and the No and the Yes all right along with each other, and I have to know that whatever happens, I will be alright.

And if pressing pause on the world for five minutes and crawling under my blankets to breathe is what it takes to get there, then so be it.

Friends and Family

23 Oct

I feel like I should rename this blog, “Kassie’s Desperate Pleas For Prayer From Cyber Catholic Friends”.

It isn’t as pithy, so I won’t.

But we lost my great-grandmother this week somewhat unexpectedly, and I’m back in Texas for the funeral. Anytime you get a family as large as my extended family in one place, there is going to be some chaos. My Mimi was one of the most loving, fiercely loyal, beautifully strong women it has ever been my pleasure to come across, and she will be dearly, dearly missed.

The weekend hasn’t been all sad, however – I stopped in Dallas yesterday on my way home and spent the night with Calah and her wonderful family. There was wine, and Doctor Who, and babies, and a whole menu full of Pioneer Woman recipes. I even got to indoctrinate the budding ballerina Sienna with Giselle video clips on youtube. It makes me tear up a little bit to think about how God brings people into our lives in the most bizarre, unsuspected ways at exactly the right time.

Also not sad: my godmother is blogging again! I was so excited to check my email and have a digest from her lovely blog My Thoughts Along The Way. Go give her some love and beg her not to leave us again.