Monday, January 23, 2006

I'm Awake

At 5 a.m. for no apparent reason. In fact, I've been awake since 2:15 a.m. for no apparent reason. Sigh.

So, my last post...Yeah. I had an allergic reaction to both the antibiotic I was taking for the staff infection, and the adhesive on the new dressing my manager tried using since I had so much drainage. I had hives from my scalp down to my thighs. I still have the last vestiges of them. Miserable only begins to cover it. But at least I don't itch or look like a leper any more. Hopefully, the patches on my face will fade before I go to Atlanta next week so that I can wear make up.

Did I mention that I was stuck...I mean honored to go to Atlanta next week? Apparently everyone in the company whose original hire date falls in first quarter has to go renew our company spirit. I would much rather stay home and work for the company than waste my time with this, but oh well.

Today's the day I go to get my lymph nodes evaluated. I'm nervous, but I know it's something I don't have any control over, and there is no use obsessing about it. That's a change for me. Don't know if it's the medication or the therapy, or a combination, but it's a good thing.

Oh, medication. Before I started taking the steroid to get rid of the hives, my doctor re-checked my blood for the thyroid hormones. The steroid apparently interferes with the test, and since I was due to get them checked this week anyway, she went ahead and did it that day. Well, the levels have actually gotten worse instead of better. She wasn't expecting that. She was expecting that she'd have to increase the dosage of the medication, but she was expecting to see some improvement or at least stabilization. She's not sure what the deal is, but if it happens when she checks it again in 6 weeks, I'll have to see an endocrinologist. Joy.

So how 'bout those Stillers? I'm not particularly a football fan, but I think that there is something imprinted in your genetic material that makes you a Steelers fan when you are born in Western PA. I'll actually be going to a Super Bowl party as a result. I'm very excited to wear the black and gold. Now if only I could find my Terrible Towl. I think it got left behind at St. Al's Church and Country Club.

Boy, I haven't written about that place in a long time. I've kind of put it to the back of my mind, even though I get frustrated whenever I read their bulletin. I don't know why I don't just ask them to take me off their roles, especially in light of what I'm about to write about.

[Deep Breath] Well, I've made the decision to go through the inquirer's class at the church I've been attending in preparation for becoming Lutheran. Yes, I've decided to take that plunge. I know that this will come as a surprise to a few of you who "knew me when," but I think that it is the right choice for me. I feel more welcomed in that little church than I ever have in any Catholic parish I have ever belonged to, even the chapel community at Gannon. I feel like less of a hypocrite theologically speaking as well.

For as long as I can remember, I was basically a devout cafeteria Catholic. I don't think I could have used that terminology, but I first realized it in 4th grade when I got punished for saying that I didn't see any reason why girls couldn't serve at the altar, since they did in my mom's church (she was an ELCA Lutheran). I learned at that point to just quietly accept what I could accept and reject what I couldn't. Everyone was happy as long as I could parrot back the company line on demand when I was in school, and teach the "correct" theology when I taught religion.

But I wasn't happy. It became increasingly difficult to hear God's still, small voice inside me. My own doubts and frustrations were drowning out that quiet whisper. I was angry that my church didn't value my contribution as a single, lay woman as much as it valued a married person, priest, or religious, or in some places even a single, lay man. It pained me to watch the youth ministry in a Church that claimed to value all life intentionally ignore the needs of the quietest in their midst, the ones who didn't quite fit in. And I hated, hated, hated the fact that in the parish where I worked, as well as many, many other parishes I was familiar with, status, money, and connections had more to do with determining your worth than the simple fact that you are a child of God.

Now, I'm not naive enough to not realize that there is some of that in every organization, religious or secular, and that it is an inherant part of the culture of the old South. But that doesn't make it right. I've seen less of that in the small congregation where I've been attending church for hte past year and a half, though. I suppose part of that is because it is such a small congregation (only about 300 members, as opposed to almost 8000), but from everything I've read and experienced, it seems to be a part of the Lutheran culture. There is also far less judgment than I ever experienced in the Catholic church. I have a theory as to why that is, but I'm not going to share it until I'm further into these classes and know more about what I'm talking about.

I suppose I won't know until I die if this is the right choice to make. But I'm pretty well at peace about it. God and I are talking on a regular basis again. I'm remembering how much I've always loved Scripture, and I'm getting back into Bible study. And I feel like even my dad would approve. Fear of disappointing him was what kept me in the Catholic church for so long. But I believe that he would want me to be wherever it is I can find God.

Wow. After a rambling, unfocused start, I eneded up getting pretty deep for having only three and a half hours sleep. I can catch another hour if I fall asleep right now. So until later...

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