He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; The LORD is gracious and full of compassion.

~Psalm 111:4

[I] have previously and publicly self diagnosed ‘Social Anxiety Disorder”.  Spot on is the diagnosis but signs and promise of recovery are evident.  I also live daily with a somewhat comical but at the same time restricting “Willie Wonka Syndrome”.   WWS may not be found in the New England Journal of Medicine but real it is; terrified of mayonnaise while requiring cakes and candies.  Cheeseburgers and hotdogs; you get the picture.  The list is long, varied and growing, maladies a many.  The symptoms and indications though of my latest and greatest are the following: considering, confusion, compassion, introspection, emotion, joy, pain, caring, and increasing frequency of uncontrolled weeping.  By my analysis, the signs point to one possible conclusion, male menopause.

I sit in a church service and a tear rolls down my cheek as I listen to the miraculous and grace filled story of my friend “Steve”….. I walk outdoors early in the morning and as the cold air hits me, my first thought is concern for my friends who are tented under a bridge or sleeping in a storm drain…… When I am less than nice to my wife, I feel the hurt at a centering soul level………A rambling homeless man begins to weep as he tells me a story, his eyes welling up in response to his own words.  Words spoken in English but words arranged in such a way as to make sense only to him; my heart breaks a little………  I feel helpless as a woman who having recently picked up sixty days then walks into a meeting, obviously having lost her sobriety……… Waves of sadness over the news that Wyatt’s liver is shutting down and he has little time to live…….Joy over seeing the tried and true coming to the rescue at Mary’s as the “College Group” proved to be a no show…….. I can’t seem to watch a movie nor read a book without becoming totally involved with whatever emotion is being communicated.

Deb and I sat home this evening and watched a couple of movies.  One was particularly unremarkable.  One, while suffering from rather poor production quality was very impactful to me.   “The Perfect Family”, starring Kathleen Turner, told the story of a Catholic family, in which Turner’s character had been nominated as “Catholic Woman of the Year”.  Turner’s character felt great pressure to portray her family as perfect while the recipient of the award was determined.  The humanness of the story is told as her character comes to the realization that her family is not perfect.  She, married to a recovering alcoholic.   She, with a daughter who is gay, pregnant and marrying her girlfriend.  She, with a son who is married but divorcing and dating an older woman.   The beauty of the story comes with her blossoming awareness and honesty in understanding her family is not perfect and that less than perfect is ok.  The poignancy of the movie then being communicated in a single scene in which Turner’s character, Eileen, delivers meals on wheels to a shut in.  The woman who is receiving the meal asks Eileen if she believes she will win the award.  The meal recipient then goes on to say that she should win as “You have come to be counted on and that is no unremarkable thing”.

“You have come to be counted on and that is no unremarkable thing”; beautiful writing found in a single sentence.   Regrettably I did not write these words but I can appreciate them and I can allow them to bring pause and meditation.  After consideration, perhaps it is not male menopause with which I suffer.  Maybe God is just allowing me to have open eyes, an open mind and an open heart.  Maybe with these gifts of consciousness and awareness comes the sometimes joy and the sometimes pain; emotions recognized and felt because I am simply becoming capable of feeling.  To use another old A.A. cliché, “I am suiting up and showing up” alongside the best of the best.  We are together suiting up and showing up.  We are collectively a group of folks who have come to be counted on and that is no unremarkable thing.

Thank you for allowing me to join you on this journey.  We are the church.

God Bless,