Confession: I rarely read the Old Testament.
I stick to the stories of Peter, Paul and Mary. No, not these guys. I mean Peter the fisherman, Paul “the-artist-formerly-known-as-Saul” and Mary, J.C.’s Mama.
Every once in a while, I’ll go back to Genesis to retrace Eve’s steps in the Garden of Eden. I ask myself if I would’ve eaten the apple. Who am I kidding? Heck! I’d even send Adam off on a quest to find ice cream for the lattice-crusted apple pie we’d share with the cherubs later. You can’t eat apple pie without ice cream!
The Bible is a scary read. Spoiler alert: It’s not about a sandal-wearing hippie named Jesus (hay-soos) who said “dude” a lot and sang “Heal the World.” It’s a complex story with so many layers. The OT, especially, is full of graphic tales about crazy kings, crazy violence and crazy siblings. The Kardashians have nothing on these guys.
I can’t believe God hasn’t hit the red button by his bedside labelled “Blow Up Earth.” He must love us, or something.
Tuesday was a weird day.
For some odd reason, I found myself reading through a story in the OT on my morning commute. True to form, it was a tangled story about incest, rape and murder.
I’m a visual person, so I thought I’d try something a little different this week. This is my novice attempt at an infographic that outlines the story (according to me). I’m not a theologian, so please, let’s not fight. In the words of Michael Jackson, “I’m a lover not a fighter.” (Read the full story in 2 Samuel 13-18.)
Anyway, here goes:
As the story continues, Absalom declares war on his father’s kingdom and ends up getting killed in battle. When David hears the news of his son’s death, he is grief-stricken:
“O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!
Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
For some reason, this story moved me to tears. Yes, tears. At 7:45 am. On the skytrain. On my way to work. Tears about this ancient text that seemingly has nothing to do with my life. And yet, it reads like a father-son version of Romeo and Juliet to me.
They loved each other. They were both hurt. They couldn’t work it out.
Or like Sir Elton John sings, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word …”
I was so distraught by the story, that I sent a private message on Facebook to my gfs Idelette and Kelley, the moment I got to work.
The story got me.
Right in the left ventricle.
Emo Tuesday, Part Deux
After a relatively uneventful day at work, I headed back on the skytrain to start my long commute home. It was in the brief silence between two songs on my playlist when I heard a sentence that made me stop dead-in-my-tracks. The guy sitting next to me was talking with a girl next to him:
“I just wanna f***, you know? I don’t want to deal with the f***ing tears.”
I paused my music.
The girl sitting next to him was unfazed. She added, “Tell me about it. I’ve dated some guys in the last couple of months and they keeping dropping the L-bomb. I mean, what the eff? It’s just sex.” (FYI, the “L-bomb” is saying “I love you.”)
I was flabbergasted.
Here are my notes after listening to their conversation:
As I listened to the whole story, I picked up on the fact that this was just two brokenhearted people afraid of being hurt again. Their sarcasm-laced apathy screamed: “I’m scared of being hurt again!”
Similarly, David and Absalom went through life numbly, without resolving their issues. They both felt justified in their anger and grief and couldn’t get to the place of mending their relationship.
Both stories, ancient and modern, don’t get to experience the “overlap.” These two illustrations are indicative of a much larger problem, we, as in the royal “we,” cop-out and settle for the counterfeit.
It’s only when we are willing to look our human fragility in the eye and say, “I’m going in!”–like firemen who run into a burning building, that we truly experience the bliss and delight of being in authentic relationship with one another.
I think going through life with a fake sense of bravado leaves a big gaping hole in our chest. An emptiness. A deep ache. A groan for something real.
I’m sick of surface conversations about the weather, the stock market and traffic.
I want the tears, the L-bombs, the ugly cries, the fighting, the growing, the stretching, the humbling, the learning and the standing-the-test-of-time.
I want to experience the overlap: love, affection, intimacy and connectedness in all my relationships. Even at the risk of getting hurt.
I want the real deal.
I’m going in.
Here are 5 things that made me smile this week:
Swagger Wagon + The Art of Cleanup + Yugoslavian Architecture + Painting With Thread + B.J. the Chicago Kid= TGIF!
1. My friend Michelle posted this video on her Facebook wall earlier this week and I died laughing. I think I watched the video 10 times. Plus, we actually own a “Swagger Wagon!” Download the catchy tune here. Where my mother fathers at?
2. Dear Monica (from F.R.I.E.N.D.S) meet your competition, Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli. I’m tickled by The Art of Clean Up: Sorting and Stacking Everyday Objects. How cute are the little alphabets in the soup neatly lined up! Extreme OCD = Art?
3. Old Yugoslavia has some crazy futuristic architecture y’all. Hello 2032! See more pictures here.
5. When a musician you respect recommends an artist, you listen. That is exactly how I discovered B.J. the Chicago Kid. Miss Jill Scott posted this on her Facebook wall on Friday.
Listen to his version of the Sam Cooke classic, “A Change Is Gonna Come.” So beautiful.
So my SheLoves peeps:
Is there a relationship in the your life that you need to mend? A relationship that you need to take ownership of? It could be one of your parents, husband or a girlfriend. I dare you to say, “I’m going in…”
– Perhaps, there is a new relationship on the horizon that you need to nurture. It could be getting to really know one of your colleagues at work, or a new neighbour or perhaps a love interest?
I’m smiling to myself as I type this because one of my gfs just started dating someone officially this week and I’m SO proud of her for giving love a second chance! You know who you are.
Love you more than Vietnamese summer rolls filled with rice noodles, avocado, carrots and cucumber, (<- Recipe)
To read more TGIFs from Tina: Click here.