Lucie’s Version of Faith (as a 6 yr. old and now)

A number of months ago, a member of our church’s worship committee approached me and asked if I would write something on “faith” and read it during the Sunday service in November.

 

The following is an excerpt from what I wrote:

 

I was baptized and confirmed a Roman Catholic and from the “get go” tried very hard to be faithful to my religion and Italian heritage.

 

However, like the true Unitarian that I am now (and unknowingly was then), I never could quite grasp the Catholic version of perpetual guilt, sin, and not eating hotdogs (meat) on Fridays.

 

I constantly questioned my Mom on why I had to wear a frilly lookin’ hat to church every Sunday that inevitable either choked me or squashed my brains (depending on whether or not it was one of those under-the-chin “tie hats” or one of those lovely tie-less “spring action sweet hearts” that was meant to stay on your head by means of some spring loaded do-hicky that supposedly put “gentle pressure” on your left and right temples!)

 

Her perfunctory and all-wise response to my pleas for mercy: “Lucie, you don’t have to wear either one of these hats” and she nimbly placed a snot rag on my head with one of her chewed-up bobby pins that she always seemed to have on her that just magically appeared out of nowhere from that bottom-less pit of a pocket book that she dragged around with her.

 

“And,” she continued while adeptly arranging the tissue on my head and raising that dam left eyebrow of hers while eyeballing me, “Eat all the hot dogs you want on Fridays. I’ll miss seeing you in heaven.”

 

And if that wasn’t enough guilt for an impressionable, trusting 6 year old, my oldest brother, Anthony, convinced me that I was going straight to hell because I had eaten the body and blood of Jesus Christ and now had to be punished!

 

Punished.

 

Yep.

 

A 6 year old who didn’t want to stay back in her church pew, innocently follows her big brother up to the alter to get something to eat and drink like everyone else and I’m going to hell because: (a.) I went up to the alter before my first communion and (b.) I chewed the wafer (a.k.a. the body and blood of JC, himself)!

 

Yes-siree-Bob!

 

That’s me: wafer-chewing Lucie. Going straight to hell in a hand basket. Ate baby Jesus before I even had my first communion and now at the ripe old age of six was “going straight to hell!”

 

Anthony (who was all of 9, at the time) told me this, so it must be true.

 

After church that Sunday, I ran sobbing all the way to Nonie’s house, totally guilt-ridden and ashamed.

 

(Forget about passing “Go”and collecting my two hundred dollars! About the only reward I was going to get out of this whole deal was a one-way ticket to the fiery gates of hell! And I had my own sorry six-year-old ass to thank for it!)

 

I stumbled up her front porch steps, threw open the door and cried, “Nonie! Nonie! I ate baby Jesus and I’m going to hell.”

 

“Anthony told me to wait in the pew and I didn’t. I went up to the alter and ate baby Jesus and now I’m going to hell.”

 

Now my Nonie (who was never quick to react to anything), grabbed ahold of me, hugged me into her safe, warm bosoms and quietly assured me, “Lucie, non jah you worry. Your Nonie keepa you safe.”

 

“Here,” she continued, stabbing one of the meatballs simmering in her sauce. “Eatta meatball and stoppa you crying. I gonna talka to your brother and we gonna talk about who’s a going to hell, first!”

 

Nonie was great.

 

So you see, People, from the moment I had that Kleenex put on my head with a bobby pin to the moment I ran to my Nonie’s house screaming, “I ate Baby Jesus”,  to the time I declared to my Mother (as a 16 year old) that I thought Catholicism was hypocritical, and I wasn’t going to step foot into another Catholic church again, to the moment I signed the membership book at my local church – I’ve been questioning my definition of “faith”.

 

And I continue to grapple with the definition because “faith,” like me, is ever changing and ever illusive; and just when I think I know what it is, I read something, hear something or see something that changes my perspective, changes my definition.

 

Rest assured, People. Of this I am certain: I have faith in me; faith that I will get up every day and put one foot in front of the other and with God’s help (and a little help from my friends) will get through the day, no matter what he or she or the universe has in store for me.

 

I wish you well, People. I wish you peace. And above all, I wish you an understanding of “life” standing in someone else’s shoes.

 

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Life in my Shoes as a Gay (Older) Woman

Forgive me.

I’m having a hard time being “funny” this week.

My heart is very heavy today, and I can’t break through that heaviness without expression and letting go of this otherwise yucky feeling that I have deep inside of my heart.

For those few of you who don’t know me and/or who have not read my blog’s “about page,” I need to make you aware of the fact that I am a gay woman living in Northern CA with my wonderful partner and two wacky cats.

My being “gay” does not define the sum total of who I am and does not in any way make me an “expert” about what it’s like “being gay,” but I feel I need to state it, so that you may appreciate my “little sensitivity” to what it’s like some days living life in “my shoes” as a gay (older) woman.

I, like Ellen DeGeneres, have no hidden agenda and am not in any way, shape or form, trying to promote my “gayness.”

My only “agenda” with my blog is to share a moment or two of happiness and silliness and to try to make your day a little more “bearable.”

So if my being a very loving, compassionate, kind (sometimes silly) woman, who happens to be in a relationship with a woman of the same attributes offends you in any way, please feel free not to read my blog any more, and by all means “unfollow me.”

I will not be offended.

On the other hand, if you care to try to understand how it feels to be “in my shoes” some days, please feel free to read on:

Contrary to what many people believe, I did not choose to be gay.

Why would I, an intelligent, conservative, former Roman Catholic brought up in a conservative, Roman Catholic household from a small, rural area in upstate NY, ever CHOOSE a life style that is misunderstood by many, judged by the religious multitudes, and ultimately hated by countless individuals? Why would I ever CHOOSE a life style that makes my life difficult on a regular basis?

I am silly, People; Not crazy. (At least not verifiable, anyway!)

My partner got stuck in her company’s elevator a few nights ago for a good amount of time.

This is not earth-shattering news in and of itself, and for many of you (myself included) it might even have a humorous bent to it, in light of the fact that she ended up playing quite a few games of Angry Bird while waiting to be rescued, but for me it ended up breaking my heart.

When the Princess texted me that she was “f-ing stuck in the f-ing elevator” and she “couldn’t get ahold of anyone at her company,” I decided to take matters into my own hands and contact her Manager.

I called him and left a very polite message, identifying myself (as the Princess’ partner), and informed him that she was stuck in their company’s elevator. I also said that should I not hear back from him in a half an hour’s time, I would contact the local fire department to get her out.

I texted my partner what I did, and she was mortified, totally upset, and “wigged out” because I “outted her” at her place of business…where she (an older contract worker) was praying they hire her for a full-time, permanent position when her contract position expires in March.

She couldn’t believe that I identified myself as “her partner.”

How could I commit such a thoughtless act?

Hun…maybe I was thinking that my highly asthmatic, hard-working, over-achiever partner (of 16 years), who I love to the moon and back, was stuck on this previously problematic elevator and that she needed to get out and get home, and I didn’t care what the hell her Manager “thought of me or her.” I simply left a message for the man to apprise him of the situation, and that either he needed to address the matter in an expeditious manner or I would, period.

I wasn’t rude. I wasn’t “wordy.” I just politely stated the facts and informed him of the situation.

If he was any kind of a Manager, he’d be concerned and a tad upset, and would help me get her the hell off the blasted elevator! That’s all I was thinking when I called him.

And, to the man’s credit, that’s exactly how he responded.

But the Princess feels he’s been avoiding her all week, because now he “knows she’s gay,” and she wonders if that’s going to negatively impact her chances of permanent employment in March.

I don’t know.

Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t.

I just know I can’t live my life in a “bubble of lies,” and I won’t.

She, on the other hand, has had a couple of restless nights worrying about the fact that maybe now “he won’t like her any more because she’s gay…”

And that really breaks my heart.

I am a loving, caring, church-going, tax-paying woman who is somebody’s daughter, sister, Aunt, cousin, friend, and neighbor.

And I just happen to be gay.

My being “gay” neither defines me nor explains me, but to some people it limits my humanness, and to those people I say, “Shame on you. Shame on you and your holier-than-thou feelings of superiority and judgmental statements of righteousness. You are not my God. And you are not my redemption.”

I don’t know if the Princess will get hired permanently for this job come March.

I certainly hope so.

I know that up until this time, they WERE going to hire her because they value her work ethics and competencies, and I pray the fact that she’s “gay” is no more of an “issue” than the fact that she happens to be a “redhead,” too.

But that, dear People, only time will reveal.

I can only live my life day to day and try to be the best person that I can be, one day and one adventure at a time.

And I sincerely hope for her sake (and ALL our sakes) that at the end of the day, we get judged not on our sexual identity or religious or political affiliations, but on how much we’re valued as human beings and how much we value others.

Until next week, be kind to one another, People. You never know what life is like in someone else’s shoes.

Lucie’s New Relaxation Techniques – Part 2

Being a tad sleep deprived lately, I decide last night to cuddle up with the Princess thinking, “maybe, a little body warmth and snuglin’ will do the trick!”

 

Yeah, right!

 

I’m not even into the first 5 minutes of REM sleep, when the Princess starts coughing and hacking, jarring my sleepless self out of what I thought was a nice cozy dream.

 

“Oh swell”, I mumble to her in my state of sleepiness, “you ate something with dairy in it last night, didn’t you, hun?” I ask her with a bit of an attitude.

 

“Yes,” she groggily answers.

 

“Remember”, she asks, “We had those milkshakes at McDonald’s?”

“You better sleep in your own bed tonight,” she continues, “You’ve got a bad case of “Jimmy Legs” and you’re keeping me awake.”

 

I’ve got Jimmy Legs and I’m keeping her awake?

It’s a dam miracle I’m not walking around with permanent body tics, for Chriminy sakes! But what do I know?

 

“No problem, Hun”, I brusquely mumble back to her, “I’ll just go sleep in the garage next to the cat’s litter box.”

 

I’m stumbling back to my bedroom and thinking to myself, “For Pete’s sakes, I’ve got a friend who thinks I need to learn how to breathe better, an endocrinologist who suspects I’m bi-polar, a rheumatologist who seriously believes I have some “sleep issues” and a bunch of friends and relatives who have concluded that I’m a ‘tad oversensitive’ because I cry at the drop of a hat.”

 

Over-sensitive? Yah think I’m a smidgen over-sensitive, People?

 

For Chriminy sakes! It’s a miracle there’s not a little white van waiting to whisk me away to some funny farm where I can frolic and play with other sensitive individuals with breathing issues!

 

I could be wrong, but I think I need a new endocrinologist, a cat that doesn’t whine, a quieter neighborhood and a FULL night’s sleep!

 

But what the hell do I know?

 

I’m not breathing too good these days and probably not getting enough oxygen to my brain to think too clearly, as well!

 

Have a good one, People!

 

And remember: Be kind to one another. We’re all frolicking on the same funny farm of life and just a van away from being picked up ourselves.

 

 

Lucie’s New Relaxation Techniques – Part 1

O.K.

 

So, I get a call from one of my buds in my Ladies Tea Group yesterday afternoon.

 

She’s worried about my health, don’t ‘cha know, and wants to come over and have me sit quietly while she massages my shoulders and helps me find my “Zen state of relaxation”; a thoughtful, sweet gesture of friendship coming from a woman who absolutely loves me to pieces and has only my best interest at heart.

 

But I’m sitting here at 3:30 a.m. the next day thinking to myself, “WTS?”

 

I’ve got a wacky, Siamese cat, who wakes me up EVERY morning howling (Have you ever heard a Siamese cat cry? Well, let me tell you, it goes right through your nervous system!), and a new endocrinologist who’s seen me for a total of 2 times and mistakenly thinks I’m “bi-polar” because my heart’s been racing and I feel like I’m on cocaine since he prescribed the new thyroid medication.

 

(No, people! I’ve never done recreational drugs! Although, lately I’m thinkin’ it might be a viable alternative.)

 

I’m subjected to daily garbage trucks jamming down the road, whiney leaf blowers that start early Tuesday morning and don’t stop until Saturday afternoon, an early morning gas delivery truck with a driver that throws tantrums with the metal gas lines every other night and a neighbor’s highly sensitive car alarm that goes off most mornings if someone so much as breathes on the dam thing!

 

My new rheumatologist strongly suggests that my GP order a sleep study test be done on me.

 

(I’m thinking that I’d actually get a full night’s sleep hooked up to all those wires. Couldn’t be any worse, could it?)

The rheumatologist could be right – a sleep study test just may be the way to go.

 

The Princess has complained that on top of “Jimmy Legs” (a.k.a. restless leg syndrome) that she’s noticing some weird body tics with me, lately.

 

(I think it’s a miracle that I haven’t developed some serious anxiety disorders, myself, but what the hell do I know?)

 

My friend thinks maybe a few minutes of deep breathing and mindful relaxation is going to be just the thing for me. I don’t have the heart to tell the sweetheart that I need a little more in my life right now than some shoulder massages and a technique for breathing.

 

Remember Miss Betsy of “ Gentle Yoga, Miss Betsy”?

 

Been there! Done that! Don’t think it’s gonna work, but I could be wrong, People!

 

Anyway, I’ll chat with you next week with Part 2 of this adventure.

 

In the meantime, go out and have a laugh or two with a buddy and don’t sweat the small stuff.  It’ll all work out in the end.

 

(And if it “ain’t worked out, yet, it AIN’T the end“!) 🙂