Disappointment…

The other night, one of my best friends and I went to Sky Zone.  It’s a trampoline park in the Twin Cities, and we had a great time (except for when my old, fat butt had to rest, then just Kristen jumped and had a great time).

I was disheartened, however, by what I saw in the teenage display laid before me.  Yes, since this was 10 pm on a Saturday night, we were surrounded by a group of teenagers – even the workers.  Oldest manager must not have been more than 20.  It’s weird to feel this old!  The age thing wasn’t what bothered me though.

What bothered me was watching the young woman who was working there, monitoring the courts.  There were a bunch of young men acting like idiots (they were 16, it happens) and when they’d break the rules, she’d holler  and rather than stopping it, they’d make a silly comment, or tell her to “make them stop.”  It was borderline harassment  and she just shrugged her shoulders and kept looking at others.

At one point, on one of my many rest breaks, she caught on that I was frustrated.  I said to her, “There’s no way they’d still be here, acting like that if I were working.”  She smiled and said to me in a really saccharine-laced voice, “Yeah, they are pretty annoying, huh.”  “Not as annoying as you letting it continue,” I thought.

This was all par for the course – as a youth worker, I’m used to those who take the, ‘sigh and move on’ approach when a young person ignores your yelling at them.  I’m not one of those people, which might explain why my voice is often hoarse and my groups fear a red face.

The thing that disturbed me was that when a coworker, a young man, came up to watch the trampolines, and one of these jerks did something against the rules, if he yelled, they stopped, with little to no sass.  I was pissed.

First of all, this coworker saw those guys acting that way and didn’t back his coworker up – he wouldn’t have had to take over, but encourage her to enforce those rules.  Secondly, I realized that as a young woman, she felt she had no authority to actually get them to stop.  I’m not talking physically, but taking them off the trampolines and giving them a warning, and following through if she had to.  She did none of that, and when stuff got really ugly, she turned her back on it.  It was more important to smile, and be having a good time, and look cute, I suppose.

I also saw that several girls, rather than show off their very capable flips (I saw it before guys showed up) kept falling and giggling and asking for help.  Even now, as a woman, showing ability and strength isn’t valued?  

What is wrong with this world that we live in – women of the generations past marched with signs, burned their bras and gave up their time to get equal rights, and here we are, so many laws protecting us, and we use it how?  By feeling that as a girl we don’t have the authority to stop someone when we are supposed to be keeping order and safety in a public place?   Frustrating.

Women have the ability to do anything with their lives – including marrying and bearing children – but are men so threatened by a strong women that we feel we must act demure in order to secure a mate?  I remember doing it myself.  Those relationships always ended – and badly.  Now that I’m my, “I can lift those heavy objects myself, and hammer a nail, change my oil, etc. thank you very much” self, I have a husband whom I love, I enjoy spending time with, and he knows me in and out, and loves my toughness.

I won’t ask if I’m lucky, because I consider myself very lucky to have a partner who is actually mad when people assume he should be listed first when we purchase things, or if I’m listed as, “Mrs. Your Husband” on anything.  But am I so very unique to have a husband that loved me for myself – the qualities that may not have been seen as “lady-like” and those that were?

I know it isn’t as easy as this, and that there do exist people that are themselves, but I wonder, what can we do to encourage women to stand up for themselves in situations like I saw at Sky Zone – and how can we encourage young men to embrace the idea that even if a girl can kick your butt in a sport, or carry heavy items instead of you, she might be worth spending time with?

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Today I “graduated” from my first unit of CPE.  CPE, or Clinical Pastoral Education, is a program in which persons are educated in pastoral care, usually at a hospital or medical setting, and joined by a group of peers and a supervisor to process their feelings and what motivates them when they do ministry.

Now there are those that elect to do a unit of CPE, and there are those (ahem, me) who are required as part of their degree to do a unit.  While in seminary, I have watched many of my peers go through CPE, and seen mostly the same reaction – I learned a lot, but boy it was tough.

I went through CPE having just found out I was not able to do my degree in the normal process due to some grade issues caused by taking classes when I had Arthur.  I was also dealing with postpartum depression for a time.  To say it was tough would be an understatement.

I learned so much about myself, about others, and about God.  I was surprised to find how at home I feel as a pastor at the time of death, and gained a real sense of what it is I’m doing at seminary.

One more chapter on the path to a Master’s of Divinity has been knocked out, and soon I will be back in class.  When people ask how CPE was, I’ll try not to sound like a broken record, when I report that it was tough, but I learned a lot.

Peace…

When your body’s broken

& if you can’t speak

I will still be with you.

I’ll try not to 

let my plans get in the way.

God is here

God loves you; he forgives you.

Peace, please feel his peace.

If you weren’t able

to use your body

as it was meant

know God is there and loves you.

Peace, please feel his peace.

You face unknown

& it might feel scary

but all will be well

God is here.

God loves you – he forgives you.

Peace, please feel his peace.

When you look back,

I hope you don’t feel regrets

even the faithless and hopeless

have God.

God is here

God forgives you – and loves you.

Peace, please feel his peace.

When that time comes

& You close your eyes

Please do not worry

if I start to cry.

God is here, 

God loves us – he forgives us.

Peace.  Feel his heavenly peace.

My Little Boy

My little boy…
            A sweet blonde reminder that God is good.
            A beautiful smile to show me love
            An excellent hugger, a comedian at two.

My little boy…

            Inquisitive, intelligent, spelling his name

            Will put away his dishes if mom does the same

            More stubborn than a mule, and his momma, too!

My little boy…

            A tornado of energy leaving mess in its wake

            A dramatic sensibility, with tears at the ready

            A wanna be nudest who takes off clothing in public

My little boy…

            Anxious to make all around him smile

            Ready to get the laundry out of the neat pile

            Patient with others until he can’t do it anymore

My little boy…

            Great eater, great sleeper, tall and beautiful

            Won’t yet use the potty but wants to flush

            All his favorite findings from all over the house

My little boy…

            Crazy, silly laugh, delighted with life

            Will jump on his brother whenever he likes

            Runs circles round anything when it’s time for bed at night.

My little boy…

            Can be so naughty, mom wants to scream

            And still be so sweat, he’s his momma’s dream

           

My little boy…

            In all his ups and downs

            Is still his momma’s little boy.

           

            And I love him so.

Image

Right after baby brother came home, caretaking instincts started to show.