Blind Faith

peaceWhat exactly does that mean, blind faith? Is it stupid trust? Is it unknowing confidence? Is it naive hope? What does it mean to have blind faith in something you don’t believe in? Such are the questions. Where are the answers? I am too headstrong for reasoning.

You accused me of something so blind, so stupid, so unknowing and naive. Where was the faith? The trust? The confidence? The hope that I would never steer you wrong. To do you wrong is to do an army of people wrong. Don’t get me wrong, but an army of people more precious than what I mean to you. That might not be saying much, but that’s what I mean without saying too much.

I have given up trying to be meaner than how angry I really am. It’s like too sweet frosting on a cake made without sugar. The compensation just doesn’t cut it. Proportionally, it doesn’t make sense. At the end of the day I find myself not really caring. That’s not mean, just real. Why get fired up over something I have no fire for? It’s like the person who hates without knowing. Hating just because it seems like the right easy thing to do. In the end, when it’s all said and done, was that hate worth anything to the hater? Not really sure. Wasted energy some would say. For a life too short, I would add.

What exactly am I trying to say? I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll never know. This is what came to mind when I thought about you. This is what popped out when I opened my mind to think. So, in the spirit of blind faith I say have faith no more. “Open up your eyes. See me for what I am. Cast in iron I won’t break and I won’t bend.” ~ Headstrong, 10,000 Maniacs.  Words by Natalie Merchant.

Had To

Someone pointed out to me that I’m a sucker. She got in my face and said “a deal’s a deal.” Said I went soft on a bargain. She’s right. It’s not that I went back on my word. It’s more like I jumped the gun. False start. Penalty for pushing it. I made a promise before the ink was dry. Signing my life away before reading the fine print. Making promises I can’t keep.

I really admire people who are true to their word. Say something and mean it. Say something and follow through with it. Know what I mean? I think I admire them so much because I have trouble with that “just do it” attitude from time to time. I’ll buy gifts for people and then forget to give them. I’ll write letters to people and then forget to mail them. I’ll buy expensive goat cheese and forget to cook with it. I’d like to think I have good intentions, but if I don’t follow through it’s just as bad as not intending at all. At least that’s the way I see it.

I’d like to get back to that Just Had To – as in “Just had to send you this gift because it had you written all over it,” “just had to call you because…” “just had to say hi because I missed you.” Find that good intention and make good on it. Seriously. 

So back to that jumping the gun thing: See, so I admire those people who say what they mean and mean what they say. I really do. Those industrious, get-it-done people. I made a deal with someone, they fell short. Should I sucker up my end of the bargain because they didn’t mean it in the first place? What does it mean when a deal’s a deal yet there’s no deal in the end? Maybe they should find that Had To attitude, too.

Just had to ask. Just had to.

Guilty of Anything


There are some people in my life who think that my rants are about them. They take my words and somehow see themselves. Yet, while they see words that might work, they dismiss full sentences because they don’t add up. It’s almost like they want the whole thing to be their private Carly Simon moment… but it doesn’t quite fit. Take Dear Mr. Liar, just for hahas. I gender bendered on that one. It’s about a GIRL. Well, sorta. There’s a guy component and he knows his part. Don’t worry. That deletion will happen a n y day. Nothing more to tell. End of that story. So, back to the chick component. I hate fake. When I was finally clued in just how fake this fake really was I decided to lash out a la language style. Words and words upon words. I don’t know. It made me feel better. Now, if I could just delete her from my blogroll…

Then, there’s The Bottle has Been. People have questioned the consumption before. If you knew what bottles I tilt in the air you wouldn’t worry so much. And no, I didn’t write it about You either- not your past, your present nor your future. Not You. I know someone who knows someone who knows someone who drinks too much. We (this different someone and I) got into a discussion about “too much” and, more importantly, who are we to say what much is too?
I have a favorite scene in The Fly. Geena Davis is trying to deal with an exboyfriend who simply won’t go away. Or, more importantly, she decides she hasn’t dealt with the ex in the most proper of ways. In the middle of an epiphany she storms off to do what she should have a long time ago.
That’s me. I’m dealing with things I should have addressed eons ago.

So, here’s what I want to say to you. You are not guilty of anything if not everything. Don’t let it (or me) go to your head.

Lock & Key or Not Your Puppet


There is only so much you can do to protect your heart. I think of you and wonder how far you are willing to go. How much blame you are willing to balance? Take as your own, distribute to others. How fair will you be if you don’t have the facts?
A few weeks ago someone heard me wrong. Well, heard one side of a conversation and filled in the blanks with slightly off-kilter information. What’s worse is that the misconception went uncorrected for all that time because it wasn’t questioned. I would have hated to be in that head space with all that wrongness swirling around. It’s just not right.
Here’s why I say all this. I need you to talk to me. I need you to tell me what is wrong when it’s wrong and not three weeks later. I am really good at identifying my heart when I’m faced with feeling it at that moment. Not three weeks later when me, my heart, and moi have moved on. Or forgotten (which is worse).
But, it’s not all you. I’m walking away from some relationships and nudging closer to others. It’s something that I’ve been meaning to do for some time now. Certain people deserve more while others have overstayed their welcome. I am not a dullard strung on a wire, waiting for someone to play me. I am no Happy Puppet, waiting for your command. Occasionally, I need to change the locks and get a new key. Let’s just say it’s long overdue.
So, back to you. I’m glad Jessica Simpson isn’t joining us for dinner. Sorry I set a place for her. Thank you for speaking up and not lashing out. My only request is do it sooner, while the conversation is still breathing and has life. No one wants to rehash DOA unless they really have to.

Break Down

“post traumatic stress disorder”
“post traumatic stress syndrome”
“post trauma break”
“psychotic break”

My psych friend came back to visit me today, and after my latest rant, threw these words back at me. Dropped them in my lap and dared me to deal with them.
“Break down.” She added and smiled with sympathy (or was that empathy?).
“You need to clear the clutter.”
Is that anything like deleting friends?…Because that was my first impulse. I could just dump these words in the garbage and move on. It’s what I do.
She laughed. “Only if you want to. No, it just means stepping back from the psycho mess and surrounding yourself with something less superficial.”
Ahhh… like calling MI back. Scheduling that lunch date with AB. Meeting SB at the gym. Sharing a glass of wine with RB. Picking a good time to talktalktalk to Germany. Celebrating AS’s birthday. Finding time to go shopping (or something) with RT. Finally watching that 3 hour movie with my husband…
My psych friend leans forward eagerly and says “Do more!” like some overzealous cheerleader hopped up on too much coffee. She was looking way too thrilled with me. Way too happy. You mean like run five miles-bake some bread-sleep in child’s pose-finish five books-knit a sweater-feed the hungry-adopt a dog-world peace kind of thing? Was this a test on how well I could treat myself and moi? Inner peace and all that good stuff? Nope. Now my psych friend was looking smug. She could finally teach me something.
“Clear your calendar. Wave bye-bye to obligations and promises.” Of course. Of course! It’s spring and its arrival has made me think about the studio. How to get back in it. How to create a better masterpiece. Suddenly, I realized I didn’t have to. It wasn’t for me so why should I? All those conversations about when vanished and became Not now. Never. I could look at every promise like that and break them all.

When my psych friend got up to leave my office she paused at the door. “You know, breaking down isn’t a bad thing…just as long as you can build back up. Go call Germany.” And with a wink she was gone.

For Ruth

Blueberry Yum

Ruth Etta Ives, 59

PEMAQUID — Ruth Etta Ives, 59, of Pemaquid, passed away on Nov. 13, 2006, from a malignant brain tumor. Ruth was born on Jan. 17, 1947, the daughter of Charles and Velma Drake and stepfather Robert Sutter of Wiscasset. Ruth is a 1965 graduate of Wiscasset High School and 1969 graduate of the University of Maine at Orono.

From 1971 to 1972, Ruth studied theology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland where she met her husband, the Rev. Robert Ives. They married in 1973, and moved to Monhegan Island, where for two years they taught together in the one-room school house while Robert was the island minister. They moved to Loud’s Island in Muscongus Bay for two years (1975-77) where they served as the island ministers in the summers and in Sheepscott in the winters. After serving the New Harbor and Round Pond United Methodist Churches from 1977-1979, Ruth and Robert founded the Carpenter’s Boat Shop in Pemaquid. For 27 years, they have welcomed apprentices into their home to learn the craft of wooden boat building and to discern direction for their lives. Ruth always welcomed any person, offering a cup of tea and a blueberry muffin. She corresponded with thousands of friends and former apprentices, and wrote over 50,000 letters while at the Boat Shop.

Ruth also helped found the Community Housing Improvement Project (C.H.I.P.) in 1984, and for nearly 15 years helped coordinate the annual ecumenical CROP Walk to benefit world hunger relief. Ruth was an active member of the Second Congregational Church, U.C.C. of Newcastle.

Ruth leaves behind her husband of 33 years, the Rev. Robert Ives of Pemaquid; children Hilda Ives Wiley and her husband Peter of Cambridge, Mass., Jonathan Ives and Hannah Ives of Pemaquid; and her brothers Bob and Bill Sutter of Wiscasset, and Scott Sutter of Boothbay.

The memorial service will be held at St. Patrick’s Church in Newcastle on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. A family burial will be held at the Harrington Meetinghouse Cemetery in Pemaquid.

In lieu of flowers, the Ives family requests that gifts be given to: C.H.I.P (Community Housing Improvement Project) P.O. Box 6 New Harbor, Maine 04554 or any organization that is working to promote justice, love, and peace within your local community. Ruth always tried to think globally and act locally. Ruth Etta Ives

Portland Press Herald November 15, 2006