"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day



For some reason that not even I can put my finger on, I have been thinking alot lately about regret. We seem so reluctant to admit that we have any regrets in life, saying things about lessons learned and the movement caused by those actions leading us to better things. And I am one to use these statements, but still I can't say that I have no regrets. As I don't intend to make this a therapy session, I won't get into all of that, but I can see regretting things, and still being able to appreciate the movement that has come from them. I went to see Norman Mailer speak last night at my friendly Union Square Barnes&Noble. In response to a question someone asked him, that I can't remember, he said something along the lines of failures sometimes being more important than successes. In success we often become so euphoric that we miss the importance of things around us, but in failure we absorb alot trying to find a means to move on.

I tend to dwell on things. I'm a ruminator. This makes me good at my job, and at discerning the meaning of world events, and probably alot of other things that require deep and lengthy thought. But it also makes me do silly things like remember fights with friends that occurred nigh on ten years ago, and regret so many things that maybe are not worth regretting. My friend Brian and I have a system referred to as "Cross 'em Off" in which we delete people from our lives. When we retire from our careers, we're going to make millions off the system. Generally the people involved are people with whom we have toxic relationships or with whom a friendship has begun to wane, and cannot be easily resurrected. It includes first deleting this person from phones and address books, then doing away with all correspondence, thus making it impossible for you to attempt to revive the relationship in a moment of weakness. That last step is for me, because, though I am one of the originators of the system, I am slow to complete it. It generally takes me years, people being quickly deleted from my phone, but their e-mails remaining for many years. I was reading another blog today and the writer talks of finding and deleting a particularly difficult set of e-mails and responses, and feeling free of the conflict at last. I long to do this. Most of the people I have had painful e-fights with are still in my life, and are my dearest friends. These conflicts were part of creating these lasting friendships, and this is why I have kept them, to remember what we've been through to get to where we are. But really, do I need to relive it to know that it existed and was important?


An Addendum.

After I got a call from a far away friend last night asking if I was alive, I decided I should write an addendum to my last blog. So yes, I am still alive. I wrote that about 30 minutes after the being yelled at on the street happened and after two very unsatisfying conversations with my supervisors about how it was that they were going to ensure my safety. I'm not usually one to blog angry, aside from all the times I have after watching the news, but everyone on my-call-when-I-am-mad list was either at work or sleeping, so I had no where else to go with my rage. The situation has just served to spur on my new job search. And I had a fairly promising week with that last week, so I'm hoping to be out sooner than later.

So enough of that. Now something fun to start out the week. The Llama Song.



So I have recently experienced something frightening (something that has really been the last straw with my current employer), and it has made me ponder my reaction to things like this. Let me explain. I work with people who have severe and persistent mental illnesses, or SPMI as we call it in the biz. One of these people has been off their medication for, oh, about 2 months, and one day came into my office and proceeded to call me a bunch of insulting names and then threaten to blow up the building with me in it. He then apparently left for a month-long vacation. The way I work is that I don't get frightened right away. I continue to do whatever task I might have been doing at the time, trying to minimize the damage. I block the problem out, and deal with the situation at hand to the best of my ability. And then when I have resolved all that I can, I freak out. It's my defensive mechanism of choice. My version of fight or flight, I think. I have been in situations before when my life was in danger, be it grave illness, car accident, or violent angry patient, and this is always my solution. Sometimes it's really slow, such as with my illness, and it has been very quick, like with my car accident, when I mangaed to not be really scared until my car came to rest on its roof. When the aforementioned incident happened with my patient, I was criticized by my bosses for not acting quick enough on the threat, though I still believe I did the right thing at that moment in time.

So today the patient has come back. He came back last night, and was let into the building though they were supposed to have called the police due to the threats he made. This morning I was told he had been there, but left at about 7:45am. So I went upstairs to my office in the attic (picture the tower princesses are locked up in in faery tales), and locked myself in. I went about my day, did all my work there, and then decided to go to my other, more populated office. On the way, I see the patient on the street. I'm polite, but terrified. I say hello and walk quickly on, calling my bosses as I go. Then I go into a store. I come out 5 minutes later to find my patient with his significant other walking down the street. The S.O. is friendly with me, and tries to get my patient to apologize to me. Instead he proceeds to yell at me in the middle of the street. I scan the street looking for some sort of law enforcement officer. They're never there when you need them. I then cross the street away from where he is and walk a ways out of my way, hoping to avoid another run-in...and also a bloody, painful death. I get to my other office and tell my co-workers that I'm here and will be locking myself in the office until the end of the day, at which time they will have to walk me to the train and possibly ride it with me back to Brooklyn. They laugh, but I am serious. This is me really freaked out. I call my boss to let him know of the run-in on the street and he says "Oh, don't worry. We won't leave you alone up there. Oh...by the way, I'll be out of my office most every day next week for meetings, so you'll have to hold down the fort. Do you feel any better?"

Even now, as I read over what I just wrote, it is quippy and jokey, making light of a potentially dangerous situation, going right along with my M.O., and I see that this is not something that I should be subjected to. And I want to know, how it is that I am going to work tomorrow and the next day without fear? And I want to know, what it is that will be done to assure that I am actually safe? And I want to know, why it is that I am the only one who seems to be taking this seriously, and at what point do I say, and how do I know, that the threat is gone? I might just give this to them as my resignation letter. I am sooo over this. You might have just witnessed me quitting. I'll let you know.



A few years ago, I went with a friend to see the Montel Williams Show. At the beginning of the show, Montel comes out and takes questions from the audience. Not "So, what company do you use for all the paternity tests?" but "what do you think of these current events?" This was right after the capture of Saddam Hussein, and someone (who was apparently a regular at the show) asked him what he thought about Saddam's capture. He said that if he had been the person to find Saddam in his bunker he would have just shot him in the back of the head before he even had a chance to turn around. Montel then went on to say that he believed that since the U.S. had paid for the liberation, we should get all of the profits from the oil. Needless to say, I did not comply with the smile-and-applaud-everything-Montel-says rule, and they moved me back about five rows so the TV audience could not see my disapproving scowl. My friend and I were hoping for psychics, but what we got instead was imperialism and dog attacks.

Last week I learned of Saddam Hussein's execution through a forward exalting the executioners. And I felt just so uneasy, but kept it to myself, as I was sure I was the only person to be troubled by the death of this man who had done so many terrible things. But as time has passed friends and newspapers have expressed the same distress that I was feeling. The taunting guards and selling of photographs, the swiftness from trial to execution, all make this seem hasty and vengeful, broadening the divide between factions in this country. Even the U.S. government has expressed dissatisfaction with the way the execution was carried out. Apparently capital punishment is only acceptable if it requires 20 years of appeals to complete.

I cannot say what I would have done differently. I don't believe that the death penalty is right under any circumstances, and it only serves to stoke the anger of victims and the families of victims, or in this case the already embattled factions of a country. And the fact that this occurred in a country that is occupied by the U.S. makes the U.S. look ever more incompetent, and ever more barbaric thus further alienating the U.S from the world community.



So one of my resolutions for the coming year was to be on time to/with stuff, and I planned to having a very nice reflective post on January 1st, but just got too busy and couldn't do it. It's only day one, people. My other resolution is to bring sexy back in 2007. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but know I will certainly be successful.

So for what's it's worth, today January 2nd, I wanted to wish each of you a Happy New Year. And I leave you with something I wrote for the New Year's Eve service at CCfB. I wish for each of you a wonderful 2007, filled with great peace and infinite joy.

On my recent flight to Texas, I was reading Barack Obama’s first book. I got to a section about a visit he took to a church in inner-city Chicago. He speaks of a sermon heard there called “The Audacity of Hope”, which is also the title of his second book. He speaks of a painting titled “Hope” showing a woman on a mountaintop playing the harp. On first glance it is a beautiful painting, the joy on the woman’s face making apparent her connection to God. But if you look closer, the woman is batter and bruised. Her harp has only one string left, but still she plays. In the valley below lays the world as it stands now, torn apart by war and famine and disease. But still she plays. Sending music of praise to the Lord. Knowing that tomorrow may be the same, but having hope that tomorrow may bring joy and peace. Knowing that hope is not na├»ve but brave. Audacious.

And so we look to the beginning of this year with hope. Hope that the joys we experience now will not compare with those to come. Hope for good health, fulfilling work, growth in our community. Hope that peace will reign.