Friday, September 28, 2012
I can remember the first time I ever heard the song Landslide by Fleetwood Mac. I was so mesmerized by it that I simply HAD to own a copy of the The Dance. I was in high school at the time and you could find the music club inserts in magazines. I got my hands on one that allowed me to select 15 CDs for a penny. Remember those? I was elated to find that The Dance was one of my options. I filled out the form as quickly as possible and dropped it in the mailbox. For three weeks I waited. Every day I'd pull into the driveway after school and check to see if Stevie Nicks had arrived at my house. The day she arrived I literally ran down our VERY long driveway, up the stairs, into my room, locked the doors, put the CD in my stereo and turned the volume knob to peak capacity. As Stevie's voice poured out of my speakers like soft smokey residue from an extinguished flame, it entered by soul and lit a fire. It was there that I began to see just a glimmer of the woman I was created to be.
I have long felt a deep spiritual connection with Stevie's lyrics. Not just in Landslide. Maybe its more that I feel some kind of kindred connection with Stevie herself...an understanding, an appreciation, an admiration...it's hard to articulate. Her music has always been soul music to me; as if her lyrics were penned with the words straight from the depth of my own heart. It seemed so natural then, that when my life, the one I designed and created, the one I had orchestrated, began to unravel at my very finger tips, that I would turn to Stevie for release. The more I let myself, the self I had fabricated, go, the more I was able to embrace that long lost girl within me. My innate draw to music called to me and I knew I had to do something to stop the bleeding.
Stevie inspired me. In the midst of my breakdown at 30, in the fog of the impending doom of my marriage, I sought to do the only thing I knew how, find my way back to me. I'm still far from that home and center, but closer now than I have been in the last 20 years of my life. I was once the girl who let music live inside of me. I played the piano and the tenor saxophone. I'd always wanted to learn to play the guitar, but never had the instrument or the time to do so. Eventually, I lost the desire. Until the unraveling came. I stumbled across that CD from high school, turned up Stevie and lost my senses on the floor of my study. The pain of having lost my self was unbearable. And yet, the words of Landslide...brought me down. Down into the pit of despair where I can bawl on the floor, figure out what I'd lost in who I'd become, and decide once and for all, it was time to change...regardless of my fears.
A couple years prior to this break, my dad had bought me a guitar. It had lived trapped in its case, propped against my wall. That day, I decided it was time to release...release myself from the cage I'd built around me and release the guitar from the case the kept it from me. I took the guitar out and cried all over it. It's a wonder the pour thing isn't warped. In the months that have followed, I've attempted to learn, at times half-heatedly, to play it. Most of the time, I just want to hold it. To feel it against my chest. To play an e and feel the music on my heart as the strings vibrate against my fingers. Today, I woke up with the lyrics to Landslide in my head. I held my guitar and wept. "I've been afraid of changing 'cause I built my life around you..." I thought of the picture of my mom that I cherish, the one where she's sitting on a rock surrounded by water holding a guitar. I thought of my family and how musical we've always been. I thought of my grandpa Owen who had a pension for naming everything. And then, as I held my guitar, it was as if I could hear him say to me, "Josephine, you need to name that guitar." He's right. I need to name it. I need to name the change in my life, I need to name my pain. I need to name who I am. I need to name WHOSE I am. I need to name my dreams, my soul, my joys. I need to name this guitar!!!! And so I did.
That's when I realized that discovering myself wasn't something for 12 months ago. It's something that is very much for today and there is no one who can do that for me. So today I hold my guitar and I know the best is yet to come. And today I let Stevie remind my soul to be in harmony with God and God alone. Today I make the lackluster yet courageous attempt to learn how to play Landslide on "Stevie".
Posted by Freddae' at 12:50 PM
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Don't forget to follow Coffee, God and Me on Facebook
Posted by Freddae' at 3:14 PM
On Monday, the Daily Beast published an article titled Why Women Should Stop Trying to be Perfect by Debora Spar. Below is the direct link to that article. Regardless of daily activities and career, YOU are, given your a woman, a modern woman. So as a modern woman in today's scrambled world of expectations, I'm interested in hearing your take on the article. I'm interested in both general comments and spiritual comments. What's your initial gut response to the content of the article and how does God fit into your vision for what a "perfect" you would look like?
Posted by Freddae' at 2:48 PM
It was my fourth year of college when I discovered Elizabeth A. Johnson's ground breaking book She Who Is. Johnson's book explored the convergence between some rather historically polar concepts. For example, she discusses feminist theology, specifically, feminist language and imagery for God and how it is shaped through women's experiences. And yet...it was still ravishingly orthodox in theological nuances. As I began to write my senior thesis on Christianity and Feminism, I found Johnson's work to be inextricably vital to not only the essence of my thesis, but also the work of my own spiritual journey.
At present day, my life is in a state of shape-shifting. According to Wikipedia shape-shifting is a little like this:
Shapeshifting is a common theme in mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. It is also found in epic poems, science fiction literature, fantasy literature, children's literature, Shakespearean comedy, ballet, film, television, comics, and video games. In its broadest sense, shapeshifting occurs when a being (usually human) either (1) has the ability to change its shape or being into that of another person, creature, species, or other entity or (2) finds its shape involuntarily changed by someone else. If the shape change is voluntary, its cause may be an act of will, a magic word or magic words, a potion, or a magic object. If the change is involuntary, its cause may be a curse or spell, a wizard's or magician's or fairy's help, a deity's will, a temporal change such as a full moon or nightfall, love, or death. The transformation may or may not be purposeful.
My life, a bit like a mythological character on certain days, is changing in both voluntary and involuntary ways. As I ponder and shift through this season of my life, I think often about Johnson's imagery and language of God. I think about how God can be painted and represented in a million different ways, like multi-colored fractals of light through a prism in the hand of an imaginative child. With each twist of the hand or slightest movement of a finger, God is seen more vibrantly or with at least a different hue than before. It is this way with my life. With each change, with each subtle tap of the chisel, my experience of God is heightened and becomes more tangibly real.
The last sentence of Wikipedia's definition states that "the transformation may or may not be purposeful." I believe that as the spirit of God moves in and around and through us, it is our response to that spirit that determines whether or not the transformation that God is offering to us, will be purposeful. I believe God intends it to be so, but our free will may limit it as something else. What God intends for good, we may discard as worthless chaos because we simply cannot define it within the parameters of the shapes that we know; we are unable to imagine the shapes yet unseen. To be brave and courageous enough to believe that God can shape and transform us in ways we have not the ability to fathom, is to embrace a sense of surrender and freedom. To define the she or the he who IS you, there must be a letting go so that the artist can maneuver the subject and the subject can embrace the IS.
Your life, like mine, may be in such a state of shape-shifting. Do not attempt to define it, but instead, invite it. Invite the transformation, welcome the spirit of God, and allow your experiences to dance with your knowledge of God and be changed in a purposeful way. This is how I know that the I who is I, is indeed the she who IS...for God is the IS.
Posted by Freddae' at 12:22 PM