I caught the 6:05 train this morning because my day is accordianed into what seems like only two hours. The long commute to work cuts into the actual work part and I figured I'd find more time in my day if I lost some sleep and went to work earlier today. This scares me shitless because someone came up with this brilliant plan to get a holistic nutritionist's degree and who knows where that will be crammed in. But losing more sleep until I only have a couple hours left STILL seems better than the Indefinite Douche Bag Broker Plan.
I like the dark, intimate hours of the morning. It seems like a secret time; a sweet pocket of productivity. It was too dark to see the river from the train though, which was a shame, but I did see a sunrise over industrial areas and the contrast was stunning. I do like contrast.
When I arrived at my OC station it was 7:15 and I decided to walk the two and a half miles to work carrying ten pounds of purse and lunch and books and school papers to be looked over and signed. I haven't been exercising as much as I'd like either so the walk seemed a good combo'ed use of my time. I'm a really good Time Combo'er.
Being a pedestrian feels empowering in Santa Monica, but as I walked to work past the long agricultural blocks and business parks, I could see the looks on drivers’ faces: I wonder what's wrong. Why is she walking? It was an odd vibe on the street and made the walk less enjoyable. But as I crossed an overpass, columns of sunlight busted through steely clouds and the rays fanned out majestic-like. I am a sucker for a scene like this. I always think, "Oh, there's God" just like the old-school church goers want me to believe. Blonde, laminated Jesus is always erectly talking to those Rays of Light. So, there was God on the Irvine overpass and I plotted along, ignoring stares and reminisced about God for the rest of the walk.
On my 18th birthday, I was baptized by full submersion as a Seventh Day Adventist at an all-black church in a rough area east of Inglewood, south of Leimert Park. I found myself at this particular church because I ditched much of my senior year in high school to play basketball with a regular group of guys including a cute, 19 year old devout Seventh Day Adventist, and he invited me to a Saturday service. I accepted.
At this age, 17, I was sinking. I was tired of being the responsible Wise Child; I was sick of Baby Old-Soul Piety because at 17 I felt it all meant absolutely nothing. I was completely alone and becoming trapped by hopelessness. An internal hurricane was whirling. I could feel myself starting to crave destruction; I was reaching a point of utter uncare. School was the first to fall of my priority list because I couldn't afford to give up my jobs. Basketball and reading brought me limited relief. But I felt myself slipping. I was down and vulnerable enough to go to church.
I stuck out sorely at this large congregation. It was like I had a force field around me. “Oh, I know Chris did not bring her here,” I could hear as I was scoured with looks. Chris crumbled under the pressure and he sat with his friends. I sat alone in a back pew and leafed through the hymnal. I had convinced myself that I was supposed to be there anyway. The choir opened up the service. I couldn’t see them because they were tucked away in an alcove at the front of the church, but the first few notes of harmony clobbered me with emotional intimacy. I slouched down on the wooden bench and squished myself against the end lip of the pew. I felt tiny under the towering arched ceilings with wood beams. I was nothing next to the big hats and big voices and wigs and good church clothes. The song was called God Is and I wanted to believe in every word though they made no sense to me. Savior? Surrender? Let go? In someone else’s hands? The words had absolutely no rational meaning to me. But the choir voices went deeper than anything I understood and I put the open hymnal over my face and cried my eyes out.
Had I had more wits about me, I probably would not have chosen a ridged Christian fundamentalist route where the patrons of the church mainly ignored and rejected me. But I kept my ass in that pew because I knew I could save my life by listening to choir music. It seemed like the perfect alternative to letting my hurricane fester and explode and destroy. I was going to let someone else be the Wise One. God took that pressure off me. The girls of the church talked shit on me, Chris waffled in and out of interest and the old people shook their heads though a good few finally did extend their welcome and friendship, but nobody could’ve gotten me out of that church once I heard God Is. And no one did for two years until God restored faith in myself and my wits.
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