Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Menopausal Death Crone; "Jesus went off and had a few beers and then went bowling"

From "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith" by  Anne Lamott:

The day after Sam turned thirteen, we were going through our usual hormonal transformations together, which is to say, sometimes the house gets crowded. There was Sam at thirteen-usually mellow, funny, slightly nuts. But when the plates of the earth shifted, there was the Visitor, the Other. I called him Phil. Phil was tense. Also sullen and contemptuous. There was me at forty-eight-usually mellow, funny, and slightly nuts-and there was the Menopausal Death Crone.
Some days were great, because Sam and I at these ages were wild and hilarious and utterly full of our best stuff; but other days, when Phil and the Death Crone dropped by, were awful. We sniggered impatiently, and sighed and gripped our foreheads, and we fought. We fought mostly about homework and church, neither of which works for Sam-but then again, neither does flossing. It's hard for him to sit still for school and church when he'd rather be hanging out with friends or playing at the computer, and I hate to make him sit still, because I want him to be happy and to find an authentic spirituality, and because his resistance pollutes my home and my worship.

The usual things helped: some distance, prayer, chocolate. Talking to the parents of older kids was helpful for me, since parents of kids the same age as yours won't admit how horrible their children are. There's a great book on adolescence that I can turn to, Get out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall? by Anthony Wolf. I taped things to the wall that give me some light to see by. One pink card says, "Breathe, Pray, Be kind, Stop grabbing." Another card says something I heard recently, that you can either practice being right or practice being kind. Screaming in the car helped.

But what helped most of all was walking. I had been going up on Mount Tamalpais to walk and be quiet and pray nearly every morning for years. I started to do this because I had heard that Jesus did so, although my friend Father Tom recently clarified this. He said that we are not sure whether Jesus actually did this; people had to explain Jesus' absence by saying he was going up to the mountain to pray, but for all we know, he went off and had a few beers. Then he may have gone bowling, slinging the ball bitterly down the alley until he felt better.  link

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