Monday, September 7, 2009

Finding my way back to my own street

Well, that blog thing didn't last a real long time. I poured out a few things that were huge in my life at the time, but it wasn't something I just "do". You know? Most of the blogging I've done the last three months has been at a workout related site where I post my routines. I've got a friend who will mention, once in a while over coffee, "if you had read my blog, you would know that ..." some important thing I'm not aware of. I cringe every time I hear the word "blogosphere". So totally made-up and narcissistic. Might as well be the turdoplex or the tweetodrome. I get the same feeling looking at my 60 ICQ contacts who are never online and haven't spoken to me in 8 years or the 100 facebook friends I've never said more than "hi" to. Let me get back to that.


A
lot happened immediately after that MRSA infection lit up my knee last June. That changed my life, even in the short-term perspective of me being laid up with my femur in pieces. I had two long IV drips a day, breakfast and dinner, through a port in my arm. They nicked a nerve putting the port in, and I never felt anything like that before, having my arm just take off on its own before I was even aware of it moving. It's documented that most things we call "reflexes" happen in spinal ganglia before the signal ever reaches the brain. That's part of why we can't restrain a knee-tap reflex; it's processed and responded to before we even feel it. Well, I was strapped to a table in an O.R. with a Valium and some lidocaine, and my arm went off on its own before I ever felt the electricity that went through it. I guess Valium works on the brain instead of the spinal ganglia. I got to carry that little port around under the fringe of my shirt sleeve for six weeks, one more thing to scrub with alcohol and wrap in plastic when I bathed. I had this urge to shout "Praise the Lord and pass the Vancomycin!"


Some other stuff happened between a few of my friends over the summer, of a personal nature. I had to wait for my arm twitching to subside and see what my brain and heart felt about it. I watched friends of mine crash to the floor in bitty shards and supported them as best I could while their own twitching subsided. It revealed an uncomfortable truth, that I had maybe four close friends in my church with whom I maintained contact outside the four walls. I mean real friends, people you could eat with and talk with and rant with when you were upset without getting it held against you on Sunday. Nothing against all those other sweet people, but I live at the opposite end of what looks like one of those Army Ant migrations on Discovery Channel. Twice a day, the drive between me and them change from 20min to 1hr 20min. I was suddenly lonely, and I felt like a visitor after being there for two years.


I remember a home church I visited a few times in Nashville where we were each asked what was important to us in a church. I wanted a sense of community. I had learned one of my neighbors was an elder in his church, and another was a Christian and bandmate of a musician I played with in my church. I didn't even know the other four neighbors that surrounded my lot. I had never once even had a cup of coffee with those people. Never offered to watch their kids or pray with them or share an Easter breakfast. I had driven 45 min to that meeting to be with a few friends from the other side of town, and it had begun to curdle in the back of my mouth like bedtime milk that I would drive across town to match the last few church details on a checklist but not even know the believers on my own street.


We started going to a church barely five minutes from home earlier this summer. Little building down the street from work that I've walked by for two years now. At lunch one day we ran into a few of them at the Taco Stand and were invited to join them. Three of them lived in a condo property a few blocks away and made jokes about messaging each other through facebook when they could see each other out their windows. This coming weekend, this church is spreading around the city to serve some charities and schools and mission centers. They love God, and they love their city. I told the pastor once over lunch that there were a few things I would add if I could, but nothing that I felt needed to be removed. Honestly, that's not a bad place to be, to feel that your new church family hasn't strayed into anything creepy, to feel that there may still be something for you to contribute that would benefit the whole. A very good place to be.


I had lunch with a friend from my previous church a few days ago. He's a great guy, and I love him dearly. I also play music once a month with one of those people who was rebuilt from their own pieces, and I look forward to the 90min drive to get there every time. There are a few other people I keep in touch with and a few I want to reach out to again soon, but the rest have been spectator relationships. Other than that, I'm ironically finally settling into my own neighborhood after three years at the address.