Nope

I went to church this weekend with the intention of “getting back to church.” And I left the service thinking, “Nope.”

Again. 

Nope has been my involuntary reaction toward church since July of 2015. Of the 220ish Sundays that’ve passed since I was last a church employee, I’ve attended maybe a dozen services. Each of those Sundays, I’ve gotten out of my car; taken a big, cleansing, courage-gathering breath; and tried. I pushed my cynicism aside. I put a muzzle on my critic. I read the “Welcome to…” message in the bulletin, and I smiled and shook hands at the “meet and greet” time. I assumed the people on stage were offering a sincere response, not a performance. I gave the pastor the benefit of the doubt.

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Let’s Play Dress-Up with Tarantulas

Raise your hand if you go all doe-eyed and goose-bumpy thinking about ideas like intentionality and mindfulness. 

OK, now raise your hand if your reality looks more like accidental and distracted and, well, Netflix.

Yeah, me too.

I just don’t do quiet and still and present and focused terribly well. I’m relatively organized—a plan-aheader—but that’s not the same as doing things on purpose. Also? Planning to do something is way different from doing it. 

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Day Plus 914

Many weeks ago, it occurred to me that—as far as my blog was concerned—my dad was still alive.

I rather liked it that way, so I’ve resisted sharing any updates. But it’s been nearly a year since he died (on Day Plus 597), and while I don’t buy any bullshit stories about grief having a time limit, I’ve decided it’s past time to start writing again.

I’m a bit out of practice, so in the interest of self-care (and actually hitting publish on something for a change), I’ll be taking the easy route with a list of randomness. Join me, will you?

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Day Plus 317

So, it’s been a minute since I last updated you about my dad. As the saying goes, no news is good news. Welp? Today, I have news. It’s good news (she said with crossed fingers), but I’ll admit the past six weeks have been tough.

For those of you just joining us, let me do a quick recap. Two years ago, Dad was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) which progressed to Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML). We were informed that disease would, sooner or later, progress to Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). No good. So, the brilliant doctors at The Center for Advanced Medicine interrupted that progression with a stem cell transplant on May 4, 2017.  In stem cell transplant land, the day you receive your transplant is called Day Zero. That makes today Day +317.

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Saying Yes

So, I’m making a documentary.

Yes, really. I mean, I’m not doing it by myself, and I’m certainly not doing the camera bits, but I’m writing and directing it. Honestly, it feels a little ridiculous to say any of that out loud. I have friends who are legit filmmakers who are probably all, “Whut?” at me right now.

I mean, I don’t have the education. I don’t have the training. I don’t have the experience. But you know what I do have? The opportunity.

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Oh, Christmas Tree

The following is a slightly fictionalized account of a conversation I had this week.

Mom: “Is that your Christmas tree?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mom: “That one there? The one on your front porch?”

Me: “Yes.”

(pause)

Mom: “Are there ornaments on it?”

Me: “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s outside. Of course there aren’t ornaments on it.”

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Kneeling at the Side of a Stingray Pool

I have a bit of a complicated relationship with God these days. And by “these days,” I suppose I actually mean “my entire adult life.” My pendulum swings widely, and unpredictably, between hook-line-and-sinker-for-Jesus and not-at-all-sure-I-buy-any-of-this-like-at-all.

Interestingly enough, I tend to have my most spiritual (I guess that’s the right word) experiences when I’m in full-on skeptic mode. Take, for instance, my recent trip to the St. Louis Zoo.

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On Belonging

Estes Epic

Okay, look: I’m not the most athletic person in the world, okay? But last year, my favorite friend did this unbelievably difficult kayak race called the MR340, which inspired me to put myself through some sort of physical challenge. (Besides eating too many donuts, which would be a more typical Launa-inspired physical challenge.) (I’m not wrong, am I, Launa?)

ANYWAY.

I can’t run (joints), I don’t enjoy biking (butt), and I didn’t want to kayak (dark water scares me). So, I registered myself for this 12-hour walk in Minneapolis, set a goal to do 36 miles in 12 hours, and started training. That goal sounded bonkers to me at first, but sooner than expected I was doing 20-mile walks in a little more than 5 hours. I was confident I’d do well.

But then my dad’s stem cell transplant interrupted my training schedule and preempted my trip to Minnesota. (Which is fine, because I’d choose a life-saving medical procedure over a stupid race any day of the week.) So, I set out to find an alternate Hard Thing. And I found The Estes Epic.

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Day Plus 33

So, in general, I’m trying not to eat junk*, but after Dad’s appointment with the oncologist today, I decided a celebration was in order and I picked up a dozen sugar bombs from the best donut shop on the planet: Donut Drive-In. (If you’re from St. Louis and you’re about to argue with me about World’s Fair, that means you probably haven’t actually tried Donut Drive-In, so shhhhhh.)

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