Friday, March 12, 2010


When I was in the 7th grade, I had my first opportunity to deliver the Sunrise Sermon at our Church on Easter Sunday. This was one of the few occasions that I went to mom before I started writing the thing, and asked for ideas on how to do it. She suggested an outline, which I followed, and the whole thing turned out quite nicely. The following year when they asked my Sunday School Class for volunteers, once again, no one volunteered, so I said that I would do it. I was feeling fairly confident this time around being "seasoned" and all.

Everything changed in between the time I volunteered and Easter Sunday. No one could have anticipated it. I read the book THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton and it blew my mind. It took up all of the mental space I had. I couldn't think about anything else. If I wasn't doing something specifically for school, my mind was on THE OUTSIDERS. I was supposed to be writing my sermon for the Sunrise Service and all I had in me was THE OUTSIDERS. I know you're thinking that there surely was something in THE BIBLE that I could have used to commemorate this auspicious occasion. Duh. Unfortunately, THE BIBLE wasn't speaking to me right then. Had I been a BIBLE scholar, I might have been able to find the passages that addressed all of the teen stuff I was going through.

THE OUTSIDERS was the first thing I had ever read IN MY LIFE that hit me where I lived. That was powerful stuff. For all of you who haven't read it, I googled it in wikipedia and it had this short blurb: "Hinton was 15 when she began writing the novel,and 16 when it was published. It is based on one of her friend's experiences. The book follows two rival groups, the Greasers and the Socs (pronounced by the author as "so-shez", short for Socials), who are divided by their socioeconomic status." That was where I lived. There were the kids on the hill and then there was everyone else and we were separated by our socioeconomic status. And there was one person, in particular, making my life miserable. In THE OUTSIDERS things got violent, like with knives and stuff. I just mentally prepared for war daily.

I didn't know how that fit with the theme of Easter, but I didn't know how to get it out of my head, either. And, somehow, very creatively, I'm sure, I managed to write the Sunrise Sermon more or less based on THE OUTSIDERS. I really didn't want to. I wrote and rewrote it over and over again. I tried to write it and keep THE OUTSIDERS out and it just kept creeping back in. I suppose if anyone had been paying attention they would have known I was trying to tell them something about my life. As it was, they just never asked me to give the Sunrise Service ever again.

Yesterday, I wrote this blog that was way too long on LOST. I tried to make it shorter. I read it ten times trying to shorten the background on Ben Linus. I couldn't. My bigger problem was that I had been writing my novel all day long and that was what was in my head. It was 9:00pm and I had not even thought about my daily blog. Not once. I had practically typed my fingerprints off they'd flown so long and hard on the keyboard, and I had NOTHING TO GIVE. Usually when I write my daily blog I am content to sit and stare at the screen for as long as it takes for inspiration to strike. My brain was FULL. My DVR was full. The only things I am still watching on TV in "real time" are 24, LOST, and, up until last night, GREY'S ANATOMY and PRIVATE PRACTICE. They just got relegated to the DVR. I was busy typing my blog, and not thinking about my book, so that maybe I could sleep for the first night in three days.

I told you my Sunrise Service/OUTSIDERS story to help you understand me a little bit better. I am this drippy, emotional, wreck of a person. A story doesn't have to be true for me to wail and cry and throw myself on the bed sobbing. It just has to ring true. If it hits me where I live ~ egads ~ then it's a train wreck. THE OUTSIDERS was the first book that hit me where I lived. It wasn't the last. It was the only book that I wrote a church sermon around, however. And it was the last church sermon I ever delivered; I do believe those two things walked hand in hand. When I wrote the blog on Michael Emerson's scene in LOST yesterday, it was the only thing, other than my book, packing an emotional punch for me at that moment in time. I tried writing just that scene without any background, and it failed to deliver unless you watched the show. I thought to myself, "He is good enough to carry it without all my explanation," so I looked for it on youtube, but it wasn't there yet. So, I wrote the background, thinking, "Keep it concise." As it got longer, I thought, "Go back and delete later." I couldn't figure out what to delete.

I know that I should have brought the whole story around yesterday as to why it was all important, but it was already SO DAMN LONG. I can relate to Ben. Ben devoted his life to an island that wasn't really his, and he didn't really understand, and he was playing by someone else's rules. I didn't devote my life, but I devoted the most recent year's of my life, to someone else's kids, and played by someone else's rules, and he did things that I didn't really understand. Hell, I did things I didn't really understand. Ben's daughter was shot and killed when he didn't do what someone else wanted. My former stepchildren weren't shot and killed, but I pretty much lost them, even though I gave up my health to save them. Ben was banished by his own choice to save the island. I left the state of Georgia by my own choice to save my health. Ben came back to the island. I moved back to Georgia. Ben physically confronted a higher power that he felt betrayed him. I just prayed really hard to get better and ended up sleeping on a moldy mattress/box spring that were in my storage unit and got really sick, setting my recovery back years. Ben was angry and killed Jacob. I was angry and had a few choice words for God. Ben killed Jacob. I just stopped talking to God. We were on the outs. Ben realized he had been tricked by the man in black. I started listening to meditational CDs. Ben got outed as Jacob's killer. I've questioned my own inability to heal due to my lack of faith. No one else has to point the finger. Ben is forced to dig his own grave. I think suicidal thoughts. The man in black offers a way out, but it could mean harming someone else, but you could be king of your island. Well, I don't have one for this. I only think about taking an entire bottle of pills, which doesn't harm anyone but me and doesn't make me queen of anything, except the crazy people. Ben runs, grabs the gun, thinks for a split second about shooting it, puts it down, tells his horrible story, and then is resigned to his fate. He is a broken man in every way that a person can be broken. I know what that feels like because that was me in my doctor's office minus the weapons a week ago. And she didn't want to kill me; she wanted to help. But, I knew the FEELING. Then his captor put down her gun and spared his life. But Ben is still broken. It is only when she asks him where he is going and he says "to them" and she says "why?" that we get right down to it. The meat. "Because they're the only ones that'll have me." I am bawling my eyes out ~ again ~ just writing this because this is a forgiveness story. It's not a you stepped on my toe forgiveness story. It's a "you murdered the most important person in the world to me" forgiveness story. They both know how deep the sin and the pain is here. Ben thinks it's unforgivable. And then she says, "We'll have you."

Forgiveness is this huge thing for me, and I am actually surprised that I have not blogged about it at least three or four times already. Nothing will set me off into a bout of crying like a good old-fashioned forgiveness story. I don't think there is anything as powerful as forgiveness. I don't think there is anything more difficult than forgiving. Forgiving others is hard. Forgiving yourself is even harder.

1 comment:

  1. I forgive easily...I just don't forget.

    So do you think that if you stopped watching LOST and focused a bit on those lame American sitcoms you may feel less lost...or will it just dumb you down too much?


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