samedi, février 17, 2007

Grass not neccessarily greener

Here's a philosophical question for ya-why do we human beings seem to crave newness so much? Why do we let our yearning eyes slide toward the bigger house in the development on the way home from work, or the job in our friend's company with the slightly higher salary and better dental insurance, or that bootylicious blonde at our gym? Why is it so hard to sustain the home we already have, the work already on our plates, or the marriage of 20 years standing? Let me say straight up that, having left a 12 year marriage, I am not an innocent in that regard. On the other hand, it took years of hard slogging, conversation and mourning to end my marriage-and I certainly haven't jumped into some other relationship, illusions intact. Yuck, I say to that-fie on tacky Hallmark Card sentimentality. Love is a decision as much as it is a feeling.

Men, as I have observed, seem slightly more prone to this craving for novelty. Yet they become less dependent on guys for security, increasingly women also are falling prey to the thought that someone or thing can heal their spiritual and psychological wounds... without any substantive work on their part.

I remain baffled as to why we humans, are so much more intrigued with the job or the home or the person we don't know than the equally complex and perhaps more rewarding reality right in front of them. So before you go and make an idol of anyone, or anything today, take another look at your lovely backyard with the old trees, or the boss who allows you to come in late when you have a sick kid, or the spouse with the laugh lines around his or her mouth that you helped put there-and try to be faithful to that day at a time.

jeudi, février 15, 2007

Should you stumble across my post...

I tell people I'm over you-the people who knew you existed to begin with-only one or two, who I know can keep a confidence, even know your name. I only confided in a few friends, and they had no idea who you were, how famous, how wealthy-they didn't give a hoot. Neither did I, you know. Sweetheart, I am so over you-why would I want to leave myself open to someone who had the capacity to cause me such pain? Other men show interest, and I struggle with a cynicism which you helped to instill in me. But sometimes, on nights like these, I miss you in ways that still sting. The way you'd pop up on my computer screen as I was putting the children to bed, and I'd hurry a little, eager to catch up on the news of the day. The way you'd try to shock me with tales of your scandalous past. The way you could laugh at yourself-and make light of the quirks of the suburban matrons with their implants and spa visits and of the executives with their corporate jets and call girls. I miss the daily gossip about what we did that day and the endearingly practical conversation about our children's behavior. Your children older, you would say to me "Just you wait, my dear." There is a lot I don't miss, P. I never could have joined you in your bacchanals, and I am increasingly sure that you would have wanted me to. The people who know and love me are glad you are gone-but there are times, fewer as the days turn to weeks, to be sure, when I long to turn on my computer and start a conversation that would go on until the late hours of the night and end with a-"goodbye, sweetheart. Look for me...tomorrow."

mercredi, février 14, 2007

Article from Today's Inquirer

Posted on Wed, Feb. 14, 2007
A woman of faith deals with online dating
By Elizabeth
I'd certainly never thought of myself as a pin-up girl. In fact, to the best of my recollection, I spent three years studying to be a minister without getting asked out on one date. It wasn't until much later when I started dating as a single mom that I realized some guys really had a thing for women in uniforms.
The 10 years after graduation were basically a relationship wasteland. Looking back, the reasons are probably not hard to identify; running a senior citizens transportation service or acting as the vicar of a Philadelphia blue-collar parish on life support were not the best ways to meet eligible men.
By the time I married in my mid-30s, I was convinced that being an ordained female was as incompatible with sex appeal as Windows was with Netscape. Twelve years later, older but perhaps not wiser, I began to ponder the possibility of posting an online dating profile. Since I am currently earning my keep as a writer, it was easy to avoid alluding to my preaching years.
Aware that I would need to explain my vocation to every man I met, I feared shock and revulsion. But when I got around to breaking the news, I found that reactions ran an unexpected gamut.
When I confessed my most un-lurid past to my first date, a writer, his eyes gleamed. Pronouncing himself intrigued, he moved closer to me on the couch.
Another date was amazed that I would make such a big deal out of disclosing a vocation for which he had the greatest respect. Having dated an aspiring rabbi when he was young, he couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.
Over tea and pastries one morning, I commiserated with a charming, smart and sensitive minister who was serving in a congregation. He had, at least temporarily, shelved his online profile, as convinced as I had been that as revealing his profession was as harmful to his cause as being a Steelers fan at an Eagles game.
In one extended online correspondence with a local actor, I teasingly wrote that my career had required me to "look good in black." A screenwriter, he entered into the spirit of the guessing game, hypothesizing that I had been either a nun who "couldn't find the depth of utter faith it takes to devote oneself to the concept of marrying the mythic Christ" or, more hilariously, a disillusioned ex-CIA agent on the run.
But my most unsettling encounter to date has been with a TV producer with a past that he said included involvement in what we sometimes delicately call "alternative lifestyle" activities. In those circles, apparently, dating a priest would have been like hanging a prize pair of deer antlers on the den wall.
Didn't I realize, he asked me, that when I was conducting services at the altar many of the men in the congregation were fantasizing about me? I assured him that such a thought had happily never crossed my mind. (And here I was thinking that they were wondering what time the football game began that afternoon!)
I have to admit that for the space of a few weeks, lured by his creativity, intelligence and disarming sense of humor, I yielded to the fantasy that a "priest and pagan" or "holy woman and hedonist" could build a friendship, if not a long-term relationship.
But when we finally met over lunch, the man who had been so exceedingly frank in the virtual world seemed strangely reticent in the real one. After revealing that he was not ready to abandon his "alternative lifestyle" - activities I thought he had given up long ago - my friend vanished.
Priest. Ex-CIA agent on the run. Sex goddess. Sex goddess? So many roles, so little time.
I could be overwhelmed by the plethora of facades available to me. But for now, I think I'll keep holding out for the guy who sees me just as I am: feisty, introspective, and hopeful, a woman of faith in an online world in which the genuine articles just barely seem to outnumber the charlatans. If he can handle the woman behind the collar, a touch of black and white isn't going to faze him one whit.

© 2007 Philadelphia Inquirer and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

mardi, février 13, 2007

Back to Avatars

Found this little tidbit in Sunday's Modern Love column by Daniel Jones. Writing just before Valentine's Day, he shared some insights from past columns. He neatly reinforces my previous posting on Second Life and Avatar luuuv (well, there's another, less family friendly word for it, but its almost V Day, so let's disguise it).

I'm a very carnal girl. If I'm going to have a fight with a fellow, I'd rather do it face to face-as Jackson Browne once wrote in a song, I love the thunder and the rain. And if I'm going to be enraptured and swept away with passion, I'm darn well going to want to look into someone's eyes and share the experience with him.

Online communities like SecondLife allow members to create animated versions of themselves called avatars that can go on dates, fly, carouse, even engage in prostitution. Theodora Stites wrote vividly in this space about how she conducts much of her romantic life this way and confessed to enlarging her avatar’s chest and perfecting its features to attract suitable male avatars.
You might assume that on SecondLife you are protected from the emotional upheaval of real relationships because the animated couplings tend to be, well, fake. But here’s the catch: They’re not fake. It’s still you behind the screen and you who is being accepted or rejected, with all the attendant joy and pain. As Theodora explained, “I’ve found that I act much as I do in real life, and my SecondLife relationships tend to fail the same way my real-life relationships do.”

lundi, février 12, 2007

Program note

There will probably be days when I don't post anything because of my dad's failing health. We don't get to have a choice about how we end our lives-and unfortunately, it seems as though both of my parents are experiencing/experienced the end of theirs in ways that are frightening and hard on those who love them. We are all dealing with it in our own ways-and it is important, as someone reminded me today when telling me about their own family, not to judge how other people grieve. Her words were a comfort to me. I pray that my father, who is not an observant Jew, will know the peace of Christ in ways that are meaningful to him. Dad isn't observant, but I do know he is being observed.

Which brings us to the mystery of an antique silver pin. When my mother was very ill, she bought a pin in a jewelry store and gave it to me. Probably of Victorian vintage, it says "Mizpa." Now in Hebrew, the word Mizpah means "watch-tower"...or look-out. That's what the ancients called that place where Jacob and Laban met. So Mizpa, or Mizpah can be defined as "He watches over you." Mom wasn't in the least bit observant, although her creed of tolerance certainly allowed for faith-but one of her last concrete gifts to me was the assurance that someone or Someone was watching over me in her absence.

It doesn't make the absence hurt any less. But it does reassure that she, too, is part of a web of relationships greater that is more than earthly. As is my father. As are you, too.

Please pray for him as you work, or eat or play with your children or sit stuck on a highway somewhere. In praying for my dad, you are praying for yourself, for your own family, for all people and for a life much bigger than anything we can imagine in the midst of our anxiety. God, give us the grace of wonder as we traverse our days, knowing that you are watching over us. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.