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All Dried Up

12 May

My last post was written in an attempt to convey the fact that I feel as if I am running on borrowed time.  Not the type of “borrowed time” that means short on life, but more the type of situation where there are so many things happening, nay converging, that when I get a moment I feel as if it’s borrowed from a future still pending.  In my own estimation, I fell short of success in conveying that concept…not only did I not take the proper initiative to dissect where I was coming from, but the thought itself is an abstract and abstracts are hard for me to process.  Hence the lazy output of my previous writing.  To be plain, my last post is downright boring.  A cop out at best.  I thank you for reading through it, and I especially thank those of you who, with loving hearts, were able to decipher through my blasé code and find the real Rivka in the mix.  You are my kindred spirits!

So I have some catching up to do…

First, the excitement of the day:  My husband, my daughter, and I are heading to France in June.  Brian (hubby) has been asked to play music at a festival in Biarritz, FR called, “Wheels and Waves.”  He is also being recruited to that country to have an art show at a gallery in the same town, galerie 13 avril de biarritz.  When he was asked to participate he said, “yes, but my wife must come along too.”  So Brian and I are having an all expenses paid trip to France, and we decided we needed our daughter to be party to the endeavor as she is fluent in the language and we are not.  Well simultaneous to the french connection came an offer from Japan.  Again, my beloved said, “I will go but not without my wife.”  So we return from France only to turn around and three days later take off for Japan.  Only this time, Esther will not be with us as she only knows how to eat Japanese, not speak it!

Which brings me to the second item of ‘new and exciting’ in the Bent (but not broken) world of Rivka B.  Upon our return from Japan, two days after our return to be exact, I will be starting a new job.  A full time job.  And though I am not quite yet at liberty to discuss the details of the position, or the employer, I am very much looking forward to this new opportunity, challenge, endeavor, direction.  I assure you, more to come on this subject later…like mid-summer, later!

Third, but not last, as result of many, many (would it be too redundant to include about a thousand more “many’s?”), circumstances and prayers (“prayers” should be in caps for emphasis!), our Bent family is graduating from the ministry we were called to thirteen years ago.  Yep, 13 years ago my husband and I knew without a doubt we were called to start an outreach ministry called, the Hotrod Church for Sinners (hotrodchurch.com).  It has been, what I like to call, a catalyst ministry–a first step, if you will, toward a life of faith (we have also  been blessed with several people who utilize it for their additional steps of faith as well).  We have met in the same pizza/bar restaurant since its inception–free of charge.  And have reached out to the people in society who feel, for whatever reason, unrecognized by the traditional church.  The ministry has become so much more than that.  It has been an extension of our family.  It is funny, I was briefly looking through the photos taken at the hospital while my son was in ICU (from the brain tumor surgery) and I thought to myself, “what a diverse and colorful bunch of people we had supporting us, what a beautiful ‘family of friends’ we have been given–many as result of the Hotrod Church.”  Now I like to joke (often), that the sinner part of the title is held by ‘yours truly’, though that part of the name came about more as a nod to the fact that we all know we are sinners and therefore don’t need to be told.  At any rate, our last service in our little pizza restaurant will be Sunday, May 26.  We are secure in the ending of this chapter, and we are excited for the next set of adventures our Lord in Heaven has for us…watch out homelessness, Brian’s got you on his radar! 🙂

Lastly (for now), is the present condition of my (our) son Cole.  The good news, he is successfully living on his own.  In fact, I will be surprised if he ever decides to come back home.  This, in and of itself, is very positive, and I have to keep reminding myself of this truth.  You see it is very difficult for my maternal eye to not fixate upon the things that aren’t so great–because it is in my nature to want to “fix” these things.  Cole’s dependency upon narcotics and the cocktail of medications he receives, greatly disturbs my soul.  Every day, I wait with anticipation to hear from him…when I do, I am thankful to have another day of assurance that he is alive.  I have come to realize that this is my lot, the lot of being the mother.  I will never have the ability to see my son through any other eyes than the maternal vision which was handed me at the time of his birth.  I will always want the closest thing to perfection when evaluating his health and welfare.  I will always utilize my critical eye with his circumstance because I am hoping for the best, most fulfilling life for my son.  But what I have realized is that my maternal eye, and all that the concept encompasses, is not necessarily what he considers as “best.”  And to that epiphany, I am learning to yield.  So I am reminded, moment by moment, that he is making it…his way.  And for today, that is a good and healthy place for him to be.  It is his process, and I will take part as I am allowed, the challenge being not to take over! 😉

Well I will close within this theme.  After all, it is Mother’s Day in the U.S.A.  And though I had hoped to be given a quiver of 10, I have been blessed with my two natural born, who just by themselves make the quiver seem quite full!  Yet in addition to the two, I have been blessed with many nieces and nephews (some of them technically cousins), young ladies who consider me a parental role model, children of longtime friends who humor me with their approval, and a  few stragglers still grasping for any loving handout that comes their way…all of which bless my soul to play a part in their lives.  Moreover, who make me realize that if my quiver of ten had in fact been given me, I would lack the capacity of mind for the dozens more I have been given in their stead.

P.s. I am sharing a piece of Hotrod Church history with the following video clip, including the fact our son is playing the drums while he was on leave from his military assignment…obviously pre-surgery.

…peace out and peace be with you…

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Films and Devotion-Part II

28 Mar

Yes, when I originally wrote the title of my last post, Nature, Films, and Devotion, I had intended to separate the three words into their own posting.  However, I have mulled the idea of each over in my own head long enough that now the original intent I find to be quite boring.  And so I will fulfill my self imposed duty by combing the last of the two–Films and Devotion.

The two films I will write about actually have devotion as an underlying theme, which is how I came upon my introspection in that direction previously.  The first film is simply titled, “Emperor.”  It is a movie that is currently playing in the theater (more than likely the independent theater, though it does have some big names in its cast).  The basis of the storyline centers around the time of Japan’s surrender during World War II, and General (Supreme Leader) MacArthur’s mission to rebuild the war torn country.  Though I do not recommend utilizing a film to educate one to facts, this story does present interesting factual occurrences which, upon further research, prove to be quite enlightening.

I was particularly moved by the idea of devotion that was talked about between characters throughout the movie.  An American General, under MacArthur, was given the mission to either exonerate or convict the Emperor Hirohito for being party to the strike on Pearl Harbor.  During his mission we, the viewers, are given privy information into his love of Japan through flashbacks from his college days and his love affair with a Japanese foreign exchange student.  Through these varying vignettes we learn of the idea of devotion which the Japanese people have embedded in their culture.  According to the film, the Americans cannot understand this type of commitment to a leader, much less a cause.  And we, the viewer, are further solidified in this notion when toward the end of the film Hirohito meets with MacArthur to accept full responsibility for any and all war crimes.  Now to keep this post more on the shorter end than the longer, I must leave the details of all that occurred to you to look up on your own.  For it is not a ‘black and white’ case and there is much to learn concerning the Emperor, his position, the people, and the significance of his meeting with MacArthur.  What I was left with, from the film, was the idea of devotion–and the question, “To what am I devoted?”

The other film which struck a chord with me is a documentary titled, Half the Sky.  This film chronicles the various horrors females face around the world, for being born with two X chromosomes, and the people determined to redirect their fate.  I confess, this was a difficult movie for me to watch…but then again so was Emperor.  Both films have very heavy, and disturbing, realities.  Yet both films are threaded with the redeeming qualities brought forth through devotion.  In Half the Sky, we learn of women (and men) who are devoting their lives to protect and redirect the human experience for girls who are sold into sex slavery as young as 3 years old, and females who are utilized to keep their family afloat, while being subjected to incestuous circumstances.  We learn of people who are dedicated to educating those double XX’s (girls) who long for an education.  And in this process we learn of the dangers, not only the girls are living with as result of their birthright, but the danger the ‘helpers’ endure to ensure the possibility of a change in destiny.  These ‘saviors’ are devoted.  One woman in particular, escaped the life as a sexual slave and has established two homes (plantation type estates), where she rehabilitates these beautiful girls and empowers them to rise above their former affliction.  This middle aged woman organizes raids upon brothels, rescuing girls while risking her own life in the process.  Hers is a devotion that stirs my soul.

Ok, there is truly no way to tackle this subject without being slightly verbose…and because of that reality, I will anticipate that you, the reader, will gather enough of the information I am hoping to impart without needing me to carry on further.  I do hope to glean a greater sense of purpose from the concept of devotion.  I ask myself certain questions, “To what length will my devotion endure?”  “If I become disenchanted by someone, will I allow my devotion (to them) to cease?”  “To what length am I willing to risk my comfort in the effort to assist others?”

These questions are not abstract in nature, they actually translate directly to my children, my husband, my extended family, and my friends.  Yes, I would love to be an ambassador for change on a global level.  But I must first evaluate if I have what it takes to stay the course with my loved ones.  I must transfer my global desires down to a finite and practical level.  And for several reasons the two films, Emperor and Half the Sky, help me to keep my focus and strengthen my devotion to those present before me.

And now I ask you, “To what are you devoted?”

Dancing with the Devil

7 Mar

In my varied traipses through life, I have, time and time again, found the following, figurative analogy, to be true:  When a person becomes addicted to a mind altering substance (aka: illicit drugs and some not so illicit, yet rendering the same effect), the Devil can walk away.  His job is done, the drugs take over.  The job being the mission to destroy.  But before the diabolical being has the freedom to relinquish its prey to the, master of wreckage, a dance occurs.  The Lucifer Waltz.  This is where Lucifer has the lead, but only if his partner is a willing follower.  Like any waltz, there is an objective to the act.  And through a good leader of dance (which the Devil is), the second partner will receive the intended result because of the effortless guiding of the leader.  Thus, with poise and purpose, the victim of the waltz is lead through the steps to get there.  There being addiction.  Once there, it seems to me, the Devil walks away.

Since last October the world of narcotics has entered our life.  Yes, my son is a cancer patient.  Yes, he has an unfortunate affliction of unidentifiable pain (unidentifiable meaning, the brain is registering a severity of infliction yet the body is functioning without harm–not an uncommon occurrence post a disruption to the brain as he has suffered by the removal of his brain tumor).  Yet with the introduction of pain management, into his life, the dance began.

These past four months my husband, my daughter, and myself (friends and extended family included) have been watching on the side lines while our beloved has been swept from one side of the room to the other, whirling and twirling in many directions.  All of them pointing downward.  And of course this dance came in a prettier package than one found on the street, for it has the seal of approval from the echelon of the medical community.  Fancier clothes, same waltz!

My son needs help to be sure.  Yet help has come with too high a price…fear.  Fear our beloved will not awake.  Fear our beloved will lose all hope.  Fear our beloved will be taken away and a drone of a human left in his stead.  Fear the music will end and he will not be left standing.

I have shared my concerns with my son, we all have.  Thankfully, he has been given an insane amount of strength…strength for life.  He has heard the cries of his family.  The overwhelmingly loud cries of his failing body, and has stepped off the dance floor.

Are narcotics still present in our lives?  Yes, though not to the same degree.  Yet for a while there it seemed the Devil was gaining in its efforts to no longer take issue with my son.   But it is the fool, for my son stopped the music while the dance was in progress.  And for now, the intense amount of familial stress has subsided.  We are abandoning our posts as spectators, nay judges…nay, survivors of the dance.  We are returned to other things: dreaming, working, exercising, loving, sharing.  No longer ‘white knuckling’, but living.

Previous to October, if someone asked me if I would like to pray, my answer was always a question, “Oh, did I stop?”  Meaning, I am so accustomed to being in constant communication with Father G-d that I would only stop talking to Him, in order to have a conversation with someone else.  Yet only just a few weeks ago I had to enact a practice of beginning each day with prayer.  An act which required reminders and an effort to remember.  But I ask you, “Is it any wonder my prayers were silenced for a spell?”  After all, can anyone hear their own thoughts when Cacophony is orchestra leader to the ‘Lucifer Waltz’?!

Note:  I do not claim to understand the power of addiction, nor its infliction on any one person.  I have not the education to claim any real knowledge on the subject.  It is only my experience, as a witness to the demise of life and the role drug addiction has played in the cause of destruction, of which I write in this post.  My heart is heavy for those who are no longer dancing.

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