Friday, September 07, 2007

Wishful Thinking

Sometime before I went to the treatment centre Heidi tagged me for a meme. Somewhere in my pile of papers scattered hither and yon I have the meme answered already. A lot of good that's doing me right now! Last night as dearest one and I walked he pulled this fat little notebook from his pocket and offered it to me - for those notes you're always making - he said. He said it would be better than me tearing bits of paper off a page and writing God knows what on them. I told him all those bits made sense to me. He shook his head at that point while I reached out and took the notebook.

Anyway, here are the rules of the meme:

- the person has to either be a) dead, or b) alive, but no way you'll ever have a chance to have dinner with them.
- real people only. no fictional characters.
- it's not 6 individual dinners. it's a dinner party with 6 people (plus you). think of the mix.
- assume no language barriers. in other words, it doesn't matter if they speak or spoke another language than you and your other guests. you have magic instant translation technology.
- Jesus doesn't count. it's a dinner party. therefore, 2 or more are gathered. therefore, Jesus is already there.

Consider yourself tagged if you'd like to do this meme.

First of all I wanted to plan the menu just as much as who will be there. But I won't.

1. Rich Mullins. The photo of Rich on the back of An Arrow Pointing To Heaven haunts me. [click on the back cover link on the left side of the linked page to see] His eyes feel like they are trying to tell me everything that's truly important in this life. While in the treatment centre I listened to his Songs CD as I went to sleep every night. My family groans, I'm sure, with the thought of me fixating on a CD of any kind. I have this habit of listening to a song or group of songs daily for a very long time. Rich Mullins' music is one of those fixations. I want to pick this man's brain. Well, really, his heart.

2. Brennan Manning I can't think of Rich without thinking of Brennan. I have had dessert with Brennan. I regret that I was in a pissy head space at the time. [long story] My friend had told him I was a writer and Brennan asked me if I was writing anything....just know I let that opportunity to share that part of myself with him blow right by me. I will always remember Brennan's interaction with our waiter. He drew that young man right in with his questions about his life away from the restaurant. He was not making polite small talk. Brennan was genuinely interested. I saved for a long time the chocolate Brennan gave me. The one his hotel staff had placed on his pillow after they cleaned his room. So dinner with Brennan would have to include chocolate even though I am allergic to it and eating it makes me itch. I really would like a second chance to get a glimpse of this man's heart. Absorbing Brennan's teaching in his workshop was, well, life changing. I had this sense that God was working something out in me, in such a deep place that I couldn't access it. It was several years later that that working out bore some fruit and a lightbulb went on in me. While I was in treatment one day someone new in detox came into the lunch room and his resemblance to Brennan was strong. Similar facial features and the same build, same white shock of hair, but younger.

3. Anne Lamott Anne Lamott gave me hope that I could be comfortable being my authentic self and a Christian. That I could laugh at the ribbald jokes that I still found funny while embracing my faith. It's as if my face relaxed when I read her words. She gave me hope that I could stop playing the game and start being real. I admire the way she can zing me with her wisdom when I'm least expecting it. More gentle than a slap up the side of the head, but every bit as effective at getting my attention.

4. Okay, I was reduced to trying to find the elusive piece of paper with my list on it. No luck. So I looked above my computer to see whose quotes are the most plentifully plastered on the wall. Thomas Merton it is. I have a little pocket book of his that I carry with me to read in waiting rooms and such. One gem after another. I've read several of his books and am reading quotes of his on other's blogs regularly. My favourite right now is this one:
"If I, as a Christian, believe that my first duty is to love and respect my fellow in his personal frailty and perplexity, in his own unique hazard and need for trust, then I think that the refusal to let him alone, to entrust him to God and his conscience, and the insistence on rejecting them as persons until they agree with me, is simply a sign that my own faith is inadequate."
~From "Apologies to an Unbeliever" by Thomas Merton

5. Flannery O'Connor I haven't read much of her work but her Habit Of Being book was one I could hardly put down. I have two favourite kinds of books. Those thin ones that cut through the crap and contain so much worth savouring. And the ones that are thick which you wish were never ending, with tidbits of jewels scattered throughout. The Habit of Being was of the second kind. In having Flannery to dinner my wish would be to absorb through osmosis her way of interpreting life and human beings.

6. There was a point in reading her The Shaping of A Life memoir that I stopped and simply let what she wrote sink into me. Into my bones. In Phyllis Tickle I felt I had found a kindred spirit.

All the people I've chosen have shown me their humanity in one way or another through their music or writing. I want to eat with people who can laugh at themselves one minute and in the next show me their heart. People I can be myself with. One day I hope I can be like that with anyone, but I'm so not there yet. And while I wrote about people who could be considered famous in some circles I thought of many of you as I typed. Some of you are linked in my mind with some of these people I have chosen. Sometimes because I know you admire them as I do and sometimes because your lives have had just as much impact on my life as theirs.
Bon appetit.


Anonymous said...

If you need someone to serve the dinner I would be more than happy to help :-) So proud of you and honored to read of your journey..
Love ya

daisymarie said...

What a fascinating group. I still wanna hear the menu!

Heidi Renee said...

Okay, I'm getting in my car right now - so schedule the dinner cuz I'm crashing it!

I think we need to do this meme with bloggers we love and have not ever met - you're at the top of my list dear friend!