Archive for October, 2006

heady, hearty, handy

at some point in college – i think it started in discipleship class and followed through to ‘teaching for character transformation’ we talked about the ‘heady, hearty, handy’ model. where belief and faith and who we are and what we do come from a vital interconnection between our heads (thoughts, beliefs, rationalizations), our hearts (feelings, emotions, desires, wills) and our hands (actions).

I think I’m disconnected.

what I know in my head doesn’t fit with what I feel in my heart or what I’m doing with my hands.

and I’m not sure where the disconnect is or how to fix it.

I’m in pieces.

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Quite a few times I feel as though I don’t “finish what I start.” I have two “books” and a few stories in various stages of “incomplete.” I haven’t worked on scrapbooking in like 4 years, including finishing my PRIME scrapbook that I already started. I have stuff left on my mime site left undone, books left unread, mime pieces in my head left unchoreographed. I started Mimeistry’s MAP program but haven’t even completed the first level yet. The list goes on…

So today I finished something. I finished Jenny’s story.

Jenny is my “alter ego” character that I created for the X-Men universe. She’s Jean Grey’s little sister (same dad, different moms). She falls in love with Pyro. She’s mute. A mime. And a mutant. She is the most realistic, most complex character I have ever created.

It began in college. My friend Mary decided to draw me into the X-Men world as “MimeGirl.” Eventually I came up with the character name, background and story. It was in my head for years. I started writing it after X2 came out, Jenny’s story starting where the movie left off. Last fall, with the final X-Men movie impending like doomsday (I figured it would make my story obsolete), I began working on completing Jenny’s story. Hoped to finish in November, then by January, then by May 26th. I finished today. It took longer than expected. It is 105 pages (MS Word, Bell 12pt, single-spaced) and over 65,000 words.

I’ve never written a story that long.

But I completed it.

If your interest has been piqued at all, you can read her story on her very own myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/jennygrey. It is in 40 segments, reversed chronologically so if you want to start at the beginning you have to go into the archives. I am working on reformatting it to include the pictures I’ve done of her and putting it into a read-only MS Word doc that I can e-mail to people at request (request to jennylynngrey@mac.com).

I finished something!

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So in the “Being Sick Well” that I was reading last night one of the strategies mentioned was “avoiding disaster” – namely the disasters of being financially draining on someone, being unable to help yourself and being a burden to others. Yeah, I hate being a burden. But as he was writing on avoiding those he stressed “being independent” and remarked on how there is a big movement in America for independence (particularly by those labeled “disabled.”) Of course there is.

We here in America worship independence just as we worship leadership. Have you noticed all the books, campaigns, promotions, conferences, workshops, and advertisements that center on those two themes?

The problem is (at least as I see it) that independence is not good. Not healthy, not theologically sound. Our focus is too often on ourselves and making it on our own and never needing help from anybody else. But as humans we were not created to go it alone, to be “lone rangers.” We were neither created for independence nor dependence (in relation to one another, that is. Dependence on God is a whole different matter…). The first time something in creation was “not good” was when God remarked “it is not good for man to be alone.” We were created for interdependence (a word I learned in college, thank you Covey!)!!

And because we too often focus on independence we lose something. We lose the ability to ask for help when it is needed. We lose the ability to gracefully help others and be a part of their lives. We, like Peter refusing to let Jesus wash his feet, don’t know how to be served, accept gifts, shut up and swallow our pride.

Is it good for people to learn to do things on their own and for people with disabilities to find ways to live anyhow? Of course it is, but not at the expense of an integral part of our humanity. We are meant to be interdependent, helping others and being helped by them. Unfortunately we tend to go to one extreme or the other…

I see a similar problem with our emphasis on leadership. Especially in the church. There is so much emphasis on being a good leader or becoming a leader that no one seems to realize (A) that if we are all leaders, who will follow?, (B) that leadership is not the Holy Grail and (C) there is nothing wrong with being a follower. Aren’t we called to be followers of Christ? I think part of the problem is that no one shows or teaches us how to be good followers. Not naive, blind followers. But strong, thoughtful followers.

But that’s my six cents…

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it is just me

for years i’ve been terrified that all my problems are merely in my head. that it is somehow “just me.” and though i know that the fibro is real and many of the struggles are real, it occured to me this morning that for the most part, the darkness and depression and hopelessness i’m currently facing are ‘just me’.

“Isn’t it amazing how pain and pressure and problems can so totally preoccupy our attention that they make even the best of us completely self-centered? If someone suggested to you that you help another person in need, would you respond harshly with a scowling face, ‘I couldn’t possibly. You have no idea what i’m going through myself.’ Like me, you may need reminding that serving Jesus by serving others when it’s not convenient to do so is one secert to overcoming the pain and perssures and problems in our own lives.” (Anne Graham Lotz in “My Heart’s Cry.”)

well, that was a swift kick in the pants by the Holy Spirit….

Father, help me to see beyond myself to You and to others. Lord, have mercy.

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so it occured to me that if i suddenly got better, i wouldn’t really know how to handle it.

if i can’t handle being sick well, how could i ever handle being well well?

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don’t let me focus on my illness and my symptoms and my problems.

if i’m having a rough day, hear me out. listen to how i am feeling. affirm me. but then say to me “so what are you going to do about it?” or “now name some blessings in your life” or “what is your focus right now?”

i have a need to be heard, to be understood and to be affirmed.

but i also need some help not always dwelling on my issues.

so you have my permissoin to get in my face about it.

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being sick well…

i bought this book last year and attempted to read it, only to have my time sapped by finishing grad school and other excuses…

so i picked it up again tonight and decided i’d read a chapter each night before bed. the first chapter covered three (of 20) strategies to help people deal with chronic illness. and as i read i found myself almost immediately kicking against the goads. finding excuses. fighting fears.

1. Cultivate your social network. what social network? i’m an introvert. it takes me ages to connect to others. not to mention how difficult it is to build relationships when the pain and fatigue keep me from going out and doing things like normal people do. and folks rarely come to visit me… even trying to connect with others through the internet isn’t working. is anybody out there?

2. Keep your priorities straight. he mostly talked about something – a dream or goal or passion – that keep us going. mine is mime, right? but isn’t that what i fear is in contradiction with my illness? how does that work?

3. Don’t dwell on your illness. ah. that’s a hard one. my illness is all i can seem to see lately. and as he gave examples of people who never let on that they were sick and never talked about it, i began to squirm. but then how does anyone know? part of the fibro has always been that people don’t understand it and many don’t believe it even exists. so i think often i find myself wanting people to hear and know and sense the reality of what i deal with. what is this need within me to be understood, to be affirmed?

and as much as i find myself kicking against the goads (and merely bruising my feet), i realize that he is in many ways right. not only are those good strategies, they are necessary. and though i want to pass off his words as simplistic, overly-optimistic and akin to that whole “positive thinking is all you need” train of thought that i abhor, i sense the truth in it. and i want to find a way to accomplish those three things in my life.

Lord, have mercy.

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