Browsing Archives for November 2010

One of my best friends from college became an Episcopal priest.  I blame myself for this.  I was such a Christian whack job in college (hosting bible studies in my dorm room, heavily involved in multiple campus ministries, going on mission trips during every Spring break and working at Christian camps every summer) that I easily influenced a few close friends that weren’t particularly religious when they came to college.  One friend lived across the hall from me my Freshman year.  We shared a lot of things in common including an oddball sense of humor and the ability to laugh until our spleens shot out of our mouths and hit each other in the face.   This friend introduced me to Monty Python and The Young Ones.  She was stuck with a roommate who loved to undress in front of their dorm room window while talking to KU football players on the phone so she frequently sought refuge in my room.  My friend was an Episcopalian, which seemed to mean that she went to church and sang in the choir,  but didn’t actually believe in much of anything.  I have a vague memory of her telling me that she believed the stories in the Old Testament were largely symbolic and that Noah’s flood didn’t really happen.  I prayed pretty hard for her after I heard that heresy coming out of her mouth and eventually my religious zeal seemed to infect her as well.  I am positive that if I had just been a normal freak instead of a ‘Jesus freak’, my friend would now be teaching French or Japanese on a gorgeous university campus in some trendy little town instead of preaching sermons to a bunch of Episcopalians who just go to church to talk about the gallery openings/wine tastings they attended on Saturday night.  So even though being an Episcopalian priest is probably about as close as a Christian can get to atheism without actually renouncing faith entirely, I still feel kind of weirdly responsible about the whole thing.

When I first became an atheist, I emailed her and told her that I didn’t believe in God anymore.  She responded with perfect equanimity saying basically, “that’s no big deal Rechelle -  for Chrissake I’m an Episcopalian!”

But the next time I got an e-mail from her, I simply could not open it.  I e-mailed her back saying, “I’m sorry.  I just can’t read your e-mails right now.  Religious people are just freaking me out.  Even if there religion is only Episcopalian.  I am so so so so sorry.”

Of course, that was almost a year ago when all the Christian homeschoolers were attacking my website in angry hordes and I was in the midst of one extra large, heavy duty, anxiety attack.  Eventually I had to take anti-depressants to get a grip on my emotions and then I stopped taking them because I felt like I had guard rails on my brain and then I had another break down and started taking them again but in a much smaller dose and then I stopped taking them again because I felt like my brain was in a sling.  So far – I am doing okay without them.  I feel pretty good and relatively in control of myself, but I still can’t open my priest friend’s e-mails unless they are clearly marked ‘kids in Halloween costumes’ or ‘daughter’s second birthday party’.

I never mentioned to her that I blamed myself for her becoming a priest because that makes me sound like a psychotic nutter.  Even if I was a religious freakazoid and one of her closest friends, she was a smart, sophisticated girl.  But I still kind of blame myself.  I have an email sitting in my inbox right now from her and I can’t make myself open it.

This friend’s mother always hated me.  From the very moment she laid eyes on me she hated me.  She hated everything about me.  Except for a toothless, alcoholic boyfriend on welfare with seven children from three incarcerated ex-wives, I was this mother’s worst nightmare for her daughter.  I lacked pedigree.  I was not in a sorority.  My parent’s were blue collar.  I did not attend a private high-school, but worst of all, I was the opposite of a proper Episcopalian.  I was one of those Christians – a bible beater.   And my friend’s mom could smell it on me from miles away through her highly trained stuck-up nose.

Remember a few months back when I wrote about my first and last abortion march where the congressman’s wife laid hands on the VCR and tried to cast a demon out of it? Well, my friend’s mom was visiting that weekend and I told her about participating in the march.  She just looked at me and said, “But why would you do that?”  That was when I realized that Episcopalians were basically atheists and I had a lot of things to teach my friend and hopefully together we could save my friend’s mom.  I think my friend’s mom detested me from that moment on and now I totally understand why.  Sorry best college friend’s mom.  I thought I was saving your daughter, but it turns out I was simply inviting her into my personal delusion.

I do have to say that I was not the only religious freak in my friend’s life.  She had a close relative who founded a very conservative church in Lawrence, Kansas because I guess every other church in Lawrence wasn’t quite holy enough for him and his family.  So maybe I am not the only whacked out religious influence in my friend’s life.  Plus – on the opposite side of me and her church founding kin, she did have a different kind of relative.

This dude.

Remember him?

He was my friend’s so totally not a bible beater relative.

So my friend’s mom knew that her daughter had the genetics to go places.

And her daughter did go a lot of places.

She studied and worked all over the world and eventually held a position at one of the embassies in Washington D.C.

But then she decided to enter the priesthood.

And sometimes I think that if she hadn’t met me…

She might have chosen an entirely different career.

The Oracle’s Boring Pants

November 10th, 2010

My sister-in-law was simply modeling her very interesting new pants for me, when suddenly the Oracle Known as Steve barged into the shot.  ‘Tis okay though, as his very boring pants only made my sister-in-law’s very interesting pants even more interesting.

Seed Stabbing… and Collecting

November 10th, 2010

I decided to try to collect some of my own seeds this year.

As I ran my thumb over the massive seed heads to loosen the seeds from the plant, the prickly ends stabbed my fingers over and over again.

With raggedy, shredded fingers, I filled several envelopes with different kinds of sunflower seeds.

And then limping, bleeding and alone, I staggered over to get some seeds from my Zinnias and my Mexican Sunflowers.

The seed heads on these flowers are just as stabby as the sunflowers are.

Plus!  They have the added bonus of not having easily identifiable seeds.

So I just put the entire seed head into an envelope.  I’ll figure out the whole seed part next Spring.

I also left plenty of seed heads behind for the birds.

Because I’ve decided that collecting seeds from my prickly headed flowers is for the birds anyway!