Monday, July 12, 2010

Yelling At God

I don't want to write one of those "and then, and then, and then" blogs that tells you all about every little minute of my day. Who cares! Yuck. I sure don't. So I'll just quickly say that I had a great birthday, and a great visit with Rick's family over the weekend. I'll talk about "aging" another time. I'm 53 and I have a few things to say about it, and, I don't care if you know how old I am. Right now I want to talk about yelling at God. That's what's on my mind today. I know it's treacherous territory, so before I start, I'll ask you to please try not to be offended, and don't bother scolding me. I'm not opening up a religious debate here. How absurd would that be? I'm just talking from my side of the cheese, which is whole other story, and some of you long-timers have read it. So here we go...

It's a goal of mine to make this a mostly-positive blog, but I'd be a liar of I led you to believe there are no bumps along this road to home. This morning was a particularly frustrating one. Mondays tend to be hectic and messy, and today we're short handed in the park, so I thought I was going to have to jump in and volunteer - again - for a job that the summer helpers are getting paid for... when they show up. Ranger Rick let me off the hook though, probably because I looked like I was going to cry, and was blathering on, hands flapping like a worried killdeer, about all the things I have to do that get in the way of doing the things I want to do, and how I'm not getting paid to do any of them right now. You know those days. Everything is swimming along just as sweet as a school of guppies, and then blam-o, someone drops a big old cranky catfish in the pond and everything goes straight to Chaosville.  I've been a happy guppy for weeks, but not today.

My problem is this: Most of the important things I need to do in a day have to happen before lunch, and Rick takes lunch at 11:30, meaning I have to stop what I'm doing at 11:00 to be the Food Maker. So my mornings go something like roll out of bed, slam some breakfast, walk the dogs, clean up the breakfast mess, check email, wake up the studio, and make beads for a couple of hours. Ideally I'd also write in the mornings because I'm wittier then, but it's more important to get the torch work done before it gets too hot. Once the sun moves around to the back side of the tent at about noon, it's all over. So it's beads before blog. Sigh...

Rick pushed his lunch to 12:30 to help me out, and went off to work, no doubt glad to not have to hang out with me. Relieved but still flapping, I went out to fire up the studio. It wasn't even 9:00 yet, but it was already hot outside, and hotter in the tent. I opened up the front and back walls, knowing the wind would be an issue, but I'd worry about that later. Next I had to find the heavy duty electrical cord that feeds juice to the studio, as it had wandered off to recharge the golf cart's batteries. I reclaimed my cord and got everything plugged back in the way I need it for work, but when I turned the kiln on, I got the dreaded "Err2" message on the controller. This was very bad news. It meant I was going to have to reprogram the controller, which takes some time and brain power, and I had already lost a lot of time (and brain power too I suppose) flapping and re-plugging. By now I was stomping too, and starting to sob a little bit, as I dug through the storage box looking for the paperwork that tells me how to fix the controller. I found the stack of pages, and flipped to the part I needed, and looking at all the "do this, then this, then this" instructions, and it was all too much. As the meltdown began, I wadded up the papers like I was planning to swat flies, but instead I starting hitting the studio walls and stomping and flapping ever more furiously. And this was where the yelling at God part happened. I felt like everything in my life was discouraging me from making beads. And what's a girl to do when the thing she's been doing for so long no longer feels like the Right Thing? Just stop and walk away? Maybe, but that felt too scary, so I yelled instead.

I yelled, as quietly and still forcefully as I could, so as not to disturb the campers, If you don't want me to make beads anymore, then find me something else to do for a living! It wasn't the volume so much as the intensity that qualified this as yelling. One blast, followed by a few minutes of sobbing like a big baby, and I began to calm down. I realized that tent walls don't care very much if you hit them, and that God probably doesn't care very much if you yell. I fixed the kiln, fired it up, and sat down to make some beads, which is usually a good time for thinking. The wind was bad. The heat was bad. And lizards like to wander through for a spot of shade, which makes me wonder if snakes might do the same. Interestingly, it turns out that a tent makes a better winter studio than a summer one...



So I sat there thinking about writing all this, and how I was going to explain just why I think it's OK to yell at God, and hoping to not start a big nasty ruckus in the process. I've done that a couple of times, and it really wasn't fun. The human brain, when it gets to thinking, tends to like to define and explain things, and put them in pretty frames and hang them on the wall, or even just in a drawer where they can be found later. My own personal brain's thinking - in a molten tent with dragon-breath wind and creepy little visitors - brought it to the following, which I will own as I write it, but reserve the right to re-define whenever it seems right... Things change so fast these days. Surely you've noticed...

I think God is a He/She/It that's too big and incomprehensible for just one name, or gender, or religion. And I think God is also too big for one form of communication. Some people pray softly and sweetly. Some cry and plead. Some recite ancient prayers. Some make it up as they go. Some chat matter-of-factly to Whoever Does The Listening. Praying is talking to God, and we all have our own styles, or no style at all, which is yet another option in this Free Will setup we have. When I was a kid, sitting through Catholic mass after Catholic mass with my Mom, I used to listen to the old ladies whispering their prayers as they fingered their rosaries. Pss, pss, pss, pss, pss. I had beads too, of course, and would kneel there with the smell of face powder and ancient paper and wood and bad breath, fiddling with my own little rosary, and whispering pss, pss, pss, pss, pss, right along with them. And I meant it with all my heart. Those little wordless prayers came from a place of innocence and sincerity, and I'm sure they were heard exactly how I meant them. 

My habit of yelling at God started some years back when I just didn't feel that I was getting through. There's so much competition to be heard these days. Talking to God felt like talking to my kids, or my dogs, or even Rick, who reminded me at lunch today that he, like the kids and dogs, sometimes doesn't really hear me unless I yell at him. I don't know why that is, but it is. It's like I'm invisible, or at least inaudible, until I say, Hey! Listen up, buster! I got somethin' to say!

Deep breath... 

I feel better now. I think I was heard. I think God is taking me more seriously now. I'm perfectly willing to be the hands and eyes and ears and everything-else that helps our Creator to experience Creation in this physical world, but I can't see any reason to cause myself struggle and frustration in the process. I keep hitting wall after wall with the bead thing, and after almost 14 years of doing this particular job, I'm really rather tired. I'm beginning to think I'm being sent a Divine Message - Time for something new, Kim. Are you ready? 

Maybe I'm slow to get the messages that are sent to me. Maybe God feels the need to yell at me, in the form of slow sales, and wind, and heat, and a general feeling of banging my head against the wall. Maybe I'm the one who's not listening... And maybe we're speaking the same language now, God and me. Maybe I can go back to a simple pss, pss, pss, and know I'll be heard. But just in case, my answer to that last question is, YES! I'M READY! JUST TELL ME WHAT TO DO NEXT! 

10 comments:

Levonne said...

Whew! The steam is evaporating a little. I can almost see again. You know Kim, sometimes you just have to surrender and it sounds like that is what you are up to. Maybe for a few seconds you were there today as you yelled. Or after you yelled actually. I feel for you. I know what you're going through. I've been feeling some of that myself of late. It may be a cliche but - trust the journey.

So you do have kids. I wondered about that. I did not have biological kids. Two adult stepsons. Just remember. Life is good even if we get a little lost sometimes. You'll find your way again. Watch out! Another great adventure ahead.

Marsha Neal Studio said...

I think that indeed, yelling at God is sometimes the only way to communicate with God. And sometimes a new path is needed, breaks are needed, brainless jobs are wonderful (the kind that you can "leave work at work"). I loved waiting tables & bar tending just because of meeting new people all the time, having regulars, and the pace of it...

Trust your heart... As an artist - your work is a reflection of how you are feeling. And having to depend on income from something you love and that comes from the heart (and talent of course) makes that thing "work" and the kind of "work" you just can't leave. And slow or no sales adds rejection and frustration to it. I know because I am right there with you...

So take another deep breath. Look around you and try to find something that may take your mind off "beads for work" for a bit. Then come back to it and see if the flow returns...

All the best to you! Keep your head up!!!

Anonymous said...

So if you can't yell at those whom you love, who can you yell at? :-) Norine

Diosa Del Desierto Corazon said...

I yell at God all the time and funny thing: He hasn't stopped loving me yet lol. Maybe you should yell at the maker of the kiln and his little "Err2" message. That seems to be where your frustration is :).

Yell away!!!

\IiiI

Kim Miles ~ said...

I love you guys!

Zoe Nelson said...

I'm with you, Kim. These seem to be frustrating times for many artists and we're in a place of waiting for new inspiration. A year or so ago, when the economy was at the bottom of the tank, I was doing a lot of yelling at God myself. By now, I wonder how much longer I'll have to wait for an answer. I'm not a very patient person.

Hang in there. Remember that screech owl who represents transformation. It's coming.

Anonymous said...

I think God doesn't mind being raged at, so long as you're not taking anyone else out nearby. ;)

If it's of interest, July 11-12 was a solar eclipse in the sign of Cancer, and seems to have been a real wallop. A time of ending and beginning; a total overhaul.

Cash and productivity are both important but sometimes too, it is important just TO BE. Just for a little while.

I just asked God to send you more sales, screech owls, and renters!

Kim Miles ~ said...

Sales, owls, and renters... not ranters! :o) Phew!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kim, I don't feel quite so alone ;-)
Melissa

Kathy said...

That was quite a post and I empathize with all that's going on. My life is quite steady right now, but hasn't always been. I long a bit for more adventure and you've definitely had a full year of it. Thanks for including me. Sounds like God is opening doors for some more in your life! I know you will make the best of it. Try not to be so distracted by not wanting to go back that you miss the opportunities, people and things that come your way that might be life changing. You've got amazing talent in glass, writing, knitting and I'm sure there's more. You have yet to do more great things and I hope to follow you down those roads as you were my first great mentor in glass bead making.
Prayers go up for peace and serenity for you and Rick.