Tuesday, July 10, 2007

unrelated notes

This weekend I'll be officiating another wedding. A few years ago - a few? A couple? Whatever - 2 or 3 years ago, my friend Stacy was having trouble securing someone to marry she and her fiance. I joked that she probably wouldn't be able to find anyone crazy enough to marry the two of them and would have to resort to picking someone off the street to get ordained online and do the hitching.

She called back ten minutes later and asked that I do it.

Since then, I married my ex-boss's daughter, their friends, Kim & Mike and this weekend I'll be marrying two more friends of mine.

I really wish people would stop asking me to do this.

It's not that it's not an honor. I mean, it is. And it's not hard to do. And I'm not even all that afraid of public speaking. It's just...I don't want to do it anymore.

I'd rather be a simple wedding guest. Bring my present, watch from the pews or fold out chairs and then move along with the rest of the guests to the reception. Instead I'll be in my black suit, in front of all the guests saying, once again, "by the power vested in me by the state of Michigan..."

The bar better have some good gin.

I'm not complaining about this because I'm callous. Actually I'm complaining because I'm anxious. Normally I would not have a hard time stepping into an event for a friend... But I've not been in the best state of mind for the past few weeks - and I am not ready to have to be "involved" in anything.

On an unrelated note...

Yesterday I went to a local church with Rachel's parents. I'd been curious about it for a while, after it had made the local paper on several occasions. I'd never been to a church service before. I wasn't sure what to expect. When we pulled in, I marveled at the church's size. "Wow. This isn't a church. It's a compound." I said.

"Yeah, well," joked Rachel's mother. "Just don't drink the Kool-aid if they start passing it around again."

Inside, the church was huge. There's plenty to describe - but I don't feel like describing it all right now. Inside, there was a stage, TV screens, a band... It looked like one of those churches on television on Sunday mornings - only a little hipper decor. At first, I was impressed. It wreaked of a unique vision. Some guy saw what he wanted in a church and made it come to life. I'd only known the rigid, traditional insides of my old synagogue. The women on one side, men on the other, separated by partitions strewn with ivy. A rabbi at the front whose body moved with the Torah.

This "preacher" made jokes. He had a band that played live and loud. And like I said, at first I was impressed. But as volunteers walked up and down the aisles - almost like security - I couldn't help but think: it's a fine line between faith and ferocity. I was reminded of the Christianne Amanpour interview I'd watched earlier on CNN where religious Muslim figures were fiercely debating Muslim extremists on their "skewed" view of the Koran. Everyone at the church seemed nice and genuinely faithful in their faith. Luckily. Just a flip of the switch, I thought, looking around while the rest of the congregants held their heads down and prayed - and there could be Kool-aid afoot.

Long after my visit to church, a visit to my grandmother and some errand running, I went home. I've said before that Sundays are always full of anxiety. The stuff I haven't done, the week ahead. This time, it went into full blown panic. Sometimes, when on various levels you don't feel like you're connecting with anything or anyone - it can make you feel like you're in a hole. It does me - anyway. Convinced there was something wrong with me, I forced myself to sleep - much earlier than usual. I woke at 4 a.m. in a full blown panic attack. 2 hours later, I fell back asleep.

All of these are unrelated notes - but there you have it. Recounting my little episode to my mother earlier today - I described it as if half of my brain is focused, ambitious and on point. But the other half simply won't cooperate. It panics, stalls and does nothing. There's no balance.

Maybe balance too, rests on a fine line.

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