Saturday, February 2, 2013

Things I've learned from moving to Newfoundland: God Loves Gays!


1) How to pray:

Prayer was never something I appreciated the power of growing up.

In third grade my best friend was a pastor's daughter, and I would get invited over for meals with her and her fifteen siblings (mmkay, maybe not fifteen, but there were definitely more than five and less than twenty).

Her mother would serve food that didn't look like this.

When it got to the saying grace part, I distinctly remember being confused and annoyed that I was expected to close my eyes and sit still while a steaming helping of some forbidden-by-my-hippie-parents, gluten/meat/dairy-rich, processed deliciousness sat awaiting my attention. I always peeked, and never focused on the words of thanks on offer.

My cynical eight year old brain was always preoccupied with other important matters, like how to convince the three year old to give me the hot dog slices from her mac and cheese (Incidentally, telling her what hot dogs were made of, in great detail, worked pretty well).

Now, I don't think I'm a particularly negative person...However, I AM a middle of the night worry wart. Always have been. Between two and five a.m., I have an irrepressible tendency to anxiously imagine and re-imagine the worst possible outcomes of every scenario.

In this way I can mentally rehearse how I will react to each impending disaster.

Example: Hypothetically speaking, if there was one Tofutti bar left in the freezer, and there are two of us, and there were supposed to be six in the box but there were only five, and we agreed to leave it until the next day because two stevia-sweetened tofu ice cream bars each in one evening should be enough and we can't agree on who should get the last one... (strictly hypothetically speaking...ahem)

I will wake up at four a.m. convinced that Lisa smells like tofu, so she must have eaten the last one in the middle of the night. I then proceed to fret and obsess and plot my revenge, imagining that empty spot in the freezer where the last bar had been placed, and cursing the worker in the Tofutti factory who couldn't count past five. I might even start to sweat. I definitely won't sleep, because I have to mentally prepare myself for the potential CASE OF THE MISSING ICE CREAM BAR.

At four a.m., everything seems like a BIG DEAL.

I tend to get especially nervous about new experiences. Since I particularly suck at going with the flow, and I like to get things right the first time, the night before anything big (or little) that I haven't done before, I worry.

There have been a lot of new experiences in Newfoundland, so I get nervous and worry a lot. Always between two and five a.m.

Recently, Lisa pointed out that I should stop trying to control every aspect of my life through worry, because it doesn't work and I'm wasting my time (and interrupting her sleep schedule). She also questions why I would be putting all that negative/worried/anxious energy out there when I could be doing fun things (like sleeping).

My ever-so-wise girlfriend then suggested that perhaps I could imagine the BEST possible outcome instead of the worst.

I have to say, retraining my brain to imagine good things happening has been harder than I thought.

But through the process of trying to retrain my worried night brain, I've slowly become more open-minded to the whole idea of prayer (prayer as a visualization of the best possible outcome, rather than asking for favours from a man with a beard...because men with facial hair are almost always trying to hide something).

I figured it can't hurt, right?

I've extended this new prayer practice to daylight hours as well.

Because I'm too young to die.

And the sidewalks in St. John's don't get cleared when it snows...
I (sometimes) have to get places...
I don't have a car...
I hoof it...
there are no sidewalks, so I walk in traffic...
I try not to get hit by cars/trucks/buses/bicycles/tractors...


So, I pray.

(or visualize the best possible outcome of arriving at my desination with all extremities intact).

I have to say, it seems to be working.

After four and a half months, I'm still alive and kicking (knock on wood).

From this, I can draw two conclusions:




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