We’re on a week buried in temptations. Exactly as every repetitive seven days in existence in perpetuity. Only our current days in America are likely an exaggerated invitation version if you’ve gathered with family, lovers, friends, or even gone camping to supposed stillness in the deep woods thinking you’re going to get away from all the feasting and celebration of thanks happening in some places. Such times can be bait for snaring sinful actions to rival Adam and Eve’s original consequences. Whenever we unite or ignore, especially with our flesh and blood or those chosen to be ‘ours’, the fireworks can soar with awe or crash and burn with awesome displays of (lack of) character.
Too many of us are super savvy at making a fuss if provoked with the least bit of stoking. We deceptively take things out of context. We assume, change, judge, strain, think, flip, and totally flop our way from profit to loss faster than a stock may make you a fortune or a pauper. This mania is frenzied mind-boggling, compared to any motivating kind. Head spinning was created entirely by, but is never good for, the people. Our nonsense is a mortal mess lacking humanity. We’re our own or others worst enemies, where we could simply all strive to understand more, get along, not pick sides, forgo differences, forgive, repair, apologize, share, and go out on that limb to be the better human.
I dialed the same ten digit number I’ve called countless times. It’s tempting to think a cheery phone call will always end well. The decoy had been placed as loving banter about upcoming delicious eats we would have and birthdays, but then the trap snapped. Out of left field, the urge to follow an ancient temptation’s lead took control. My darling callee had oddly woven a wildly old addiction story of pining about lost love onto our modern day talking ‘table’. On and on the person insisted pouring over their insecurities about why they couldn’t handle their old flame seeing them in a certain light. All the while, this former lover isn’t even in their current life in any connectedly recognizable way.
An entire meltdown drenched in fabricated drama of “what if’s” ensued. Bent entirely out of shape, I was suddenly listening to a beloved one unhinged screaming at me and then hanging up the phone. Then calling back to repeat and do the same thing again, thinking they were trying to repair things in the second round. Sleeping on it overnight didn’t entirely help. We repeated the pattern the next morning. I woke to a voicemail of disjointed perspective shooting out, followed by a jolt of temporary happiness. I called back with high hopes to move on, but the insults weren’t hiding so far away and the anguish gushed all over again with the same familiar ‘click’ followed by the flatlining dial tone. Four times was the charm when a little later this second day we exchanged an extremely short call with: “Sorry. I love you.” one to the other.
I’ve been tempted to debate to the point of argument with many people. I’m easily triggered at times, as well a target during other occasions I aim to maintain a calm voice and poise. I understand the feelings of needing your point of view to matter, to be heard, for whatever is inside you to exist outside of you despite irrationally. It’s when the season of rationality as to why you’re picking a fight over something that is not even real and has never happened barely or way too late crosses your mind. When we’re guilty, hurt, angst-ridden, full of old or new torment, yet not given a useful outlet to unleash our apologies on those we’ve wronged it can linger inside us like a festering wound.
I sat back after these crazy calls, musing over how everything got so lost in translation so fast and where I lost myself. The seduction of our stance pushes our ego to flaunt itself. Ego has its place, but when only ego is operating it shows its arse in gross, boring, and even violent ways. Refection is a best friend that tells it like it is, jacks your happiest spots, and grounds you when goings get tough. Contemplation is always a significant source of support. Recently reigniting my daily meditation practice through a thirty-day challenge from a soul brother bestie prompted me to bring in the calm when stormy distress enters my atmosphere. Remembering not to engage with others worries, nor too much my own, and stick to making the most of being and do well for me is the key.
Though the caller didn’t have the wherewithal to say it, all that had been needed was a listener in me. They merely needed to vent aloud. I knew I wasn’t a therapist. I knew they wanted an unconditional friend. I got swept up in the facts and details. My opinion mattered as much as their own. I knew how to be a good listener. I knew how to set boundaries if the listening wasn’t best for me. I did a dab of both, yet landed myself in a verbal tug of war the moment I stepped back into the mire of their story. I didn’t want to be there and ought to have drawn a finite line to protect myself and the relationship at the get-go. In my core, I was reminded of how thankful I was for the bajillion times a friend entrusted me with honorable attention.
Craving takes on tons of shapes and forms. That trip halfway around the world (to the place that likely isn’t falling off the map anytime soon) whose budget doesn’t come anywhere close to the best use of my bank account at the current time. The guy who caught my eye across the airport, but I’ve not met in person since. Those unruly food items that pretend to be nourishment. Financial attractions that can be well-earned or greedy. Too many material wants to list. The appeal of anything desirable warrants both virtuous and abhorrent behaviors. Benevolent beings may act out contortions of their typically best nature. These are ‘glories’ we can call temptation by another name.
Therefore, in honor of all you dears — masculine, feminine, combo, unsure, not caring to associate with labels or molds, religious, faithful, spiritual, deeply none of this, or else — I offer you the following parody redux:
Lords, Ladies, and All Prayer
Our addictions, who art insensible and x-rated,
hallowed be thy transformation,
thy w̸reckoning days come,
thy will be undone,
on earth as we can only hope it is in heaven.
Give us every day our daily opportunities.
And forgive us our demons,
as we f̶o̶r̶give those
who battle against us.
And lead us to healthy boundaries,
encouraging our strength.
For thine are shallow,
but we are the champions, and have the power,
whenever our heads are out of our bums. Amen.
I got a kick out of that fact I started processing my personal problems by looping The Lord’s Prayer inside my head. The original version is the only church-going text my brain memorized in my youth that has stuck without fail. Along with the Serenity Prayer, these two jewels usually give me enough pause to put the brakes on a total breakdown. When reciting the well-known words a voice began laughingly inserting the playful revival above. It hit home as deliberately as the true form:
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Life is full of times to be thankful. Yet, thankfulness is often far from simple. I’ve got a computer for the speed and ease of collecting and transmuting information quickly. One step backward, I know I’ve got my faculties, along with nifty things like my fingers, to make the most of said technology or to pen my way into your hearts. But, such as writing this piece, meddling Mercury Retrograde made wonkiness all over the place. All too easily, what began as a plain communication reroutes itself to pain or a pain in the you-know-what. Nevermind the history of Thanksgiving so many of us were taught incorrectly in grade school and rehashed with levels of authenticity since I’ll leave that for your further painful exploration as you like. Instead, please accept my little list of plain and simple thanks. No big frills. No emphatic agony. Just a pile of plenty worth a few cartwheels to proclaim my thanks for quite another year and this lifetime:
I am thankful for…
family who share,
people to hug who love to hug me back,
using my voice,
godmothers and godmothering,
falling in love,
planes, trains, and automobiles,
animals that snuggle with you,
sunshine and sunblock,
more than one season,
people who read my stories,
shaking the wisdom tree,
and sweet dreaming.
Strip yourselves of unwanted pains to bring forth ease of thankfulness gains.