Tuesday, September 27, 2005

When xanax is not enough

I dreampt I walked into the Episcopalian Church I attended as a kid, and a group of workers were gutting it. My first concern was what they were going to do with the enormous bronze wall hanging of Jesus that rose above the altar, which had already been removed. "It's on the way," a woman said, "to another church who needs it more."

I loved that thing when I was younger. I spent many a sermon running my eyes up and down the intricate folds of the robes and memorizing every angle in the face. It was a very modern depiction of Christ, of a similar sensibility to Charles Umlauf. He had no beard, and was a studied extreme in Anglican features---square jawed, chisled features, closely cropped, curly hair. His face and posture radiated solemn serenity, rather than suffering. I adored him. As recent as four years ago, when I assisted my crippled mother to a service, I found my appreciation for the design of the sculpture had broadened rather than diminished. Despite its Caucasian-ness, it still managed to press deeply into that tender spot that wants Daddy to take care of me.I was distressed, in my dream, that the sculpture was gone, and that yet another image of my childhood had been dismantled. I was angry that "some other church needed it more" when it was mine, goddammit, and no one had asked me if I could spare it.

It is too easy, lately, how images of massive destruction evoke those of personal loss. It has left me dreaming of stolen icons and riddled my day with reminders of my own mother's slow, cruel battle with ALS. Grief is a long-lived bitch that never leaves you, but sometimes sleeps. You can tiptoe around her, try not to make noise, but inevitably some loud event jars her awake. Then you're in for a whole new round of anxieties, images, reminders, that hit you in the face from every angle. I have had to realize that my usual list of comforts, including rich red wine, dark chocolate cake, and xanax, won't stay the onslaught for long.

The solution: write and volunteer.

Goddammit, I knew I was gonna say that.

At least, I didn't say "yoga and abstinence". Cause that would have been rediculous.



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