Saturday, April 09, 2011

Hello, Angela? This is God Calling.

Have I ever told you the first thing God said to me? I was in Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the mid-to-late 90s. I should note that the 90s corresponded quite nicely with my 20s and my 20s were a pretty painful time for me. Sex was the closest I could come to love and on that particular day I had just fucked some fairly random guy so I was feeling good but I was also running late for a hair appointment.

It was the day I was supposed to get my "skunk stripe" (the streak of hair in the front of my head that's a different color - now it's purple but at the time I first got it was blonde). Anyway, I was running late so I stopped at a pay phone (No cell phones then, I know, I'm old.) to call and say I'd be late for my appointment.

"Sorry, we won't be able to see you if you aren't on time."

I thought they were kidding! What? I'm 10 minutes late and my appointment is canceled? After all, I called. That was the right thing to do. People were late all the time, why was I different? I wished I hadn't called and was sure if I had just shown up they would have fit me in. I shared this with the girl at the shop to no avail.

I was pissed at the shop and even more so, at myself. I'd left the cozy bed of whats-his-name and it would be too weird to go back and I couldn't even get my damn skunk stripe. What was I supposed to do?!

At the time I was new to A Course in Miracles and a crazy idea popped in my head.... pray. And so I did. For a couple hours I walked the streets of Scotland decrying the base-injustice of a canceled hair appointment. Poisonous thoughts filled my head, but I cracked a teeny tiny window of my heart open.

Dear God, I release the woman who canceled my appointment and I love her. I am willing to see it another way.

And there is was... the voice of God. In my right ear. As clear as a bell.


Yep, those were the very first words God ever said to me. "It's not always about you." I laughed at the snarkiness of it all. A calm came over me. Somehow, in that moment, I knew it was true.

Susan Hyatt's recent talk about text messages from God reminded me of that story this week. I am pretty sure if I had a cell phone back then, God would have texted this to me that day. Through the years since, that small phrase has been the source of so much comfort for me.

Today, I had another one of those "It's not always about you" moments. Years ago I shared a kiss with a ridiculously handsome man. The man was 15 years my senior and he was not exactly my boss, but let's just say he was in a position of authority in relation to me. (Why yes, I did have Daddy issues, why do you ask?)

At least how I remember it now, he invited me to dinner at his house one night and that's when the "kiss" occurred. After the kiss, he asked me to stay over, but I had another plan. I desperately wanted to spend the night, but I calculated if I played hard to get and went home, he'd for sure want to see me again.

As desperate as I was to stay and enjoy the night. I was even more desperate for control. It was all games, manipulation, and bullshit. That particular prison is how spent most of my 20s actually – EXHAUSTING!

But my plan didn't work. Despite my working "The Rules," he blew me off. I was sad and mad about this primarily for 2 reasons… 1) because I genuinely loved our friendship and missed him; and 2) because my game didn’t work and I wished I had played it differently.

Okay, let me be really honest. After weeks of torturing myself over how I played the game and over the loss of a friend, I boiled it all down to this: I clearly just wasn’t pretty, funny, or cool enough for him to waste his time with.

Since that night back in 1994, we haven't spoken, until a couple weeks ago (I LOVE YOU MARK ZUCKERBERG) and today we met for breakfast.

This time I brought God with me. It was great to see him. We always had so much to talk about. This guy is just one of the most inspiring people I've ever met. Before the breakfast was over he got serious.

"There is something I want to clear up," he started. "I guess it's my guilt/shame admission... That night when we were at my little bungalow. I've been carrying around a lot of guilt for how I handled that. You were so young and considering my position, I knew it wasn't right. Then when you reached out to me after, I didn't respond because I was so ashamed and of course ignoring you only made it worse. I handled that all wrong. I wish I had been more mature. I'm sorry."

Oh the pain of this particular loss had long since subsided, but it was so sweet to hear this apology/explanation. For years I had made it all about me and never bothered to look at it from his perspective. I was so sure it was about me, that I never considered the age or power differential or anything going on in his life as a possible reason for the end of whatever it was we had.

Of course, I accepted the apology, thanked him for his honesty, and was overwhelmed with gratitude.

As I drove home, the tears started flowing. How many times had I abused myself physically, verbally and emotionally for things that literally had nothing to do with me? How many times have I jumped into a cess pool of someone else's business insisting it was my own? How many times have I rejected myself in my search for someone else's love or approval.

The message is the same as it was that summer-day in Scotland: