God Loves

2-12-2018When I was really little I used to get bored in church. I was that kid that couldn’t stand children’s church when it was really daycare but had no idea what the pastor was talking about in actual church. So my mom and I would pass notes and sometimes she’d write phrases for me to copy.  This is one of those phrase papers. I found it in a box of things from before I was 5. :)

© Michelle Routhieaux 2018


10-2-16     1:13pmfaithquotes_aaa

What’s happening now? I’m sitting in my room. I want to run away but I’m here. I feel my heartbeat where my butt touches the cushion and heavy in my chest. Most of my toes, the side of my left hand on the page. It’s hard to raise my gaze. “I want to die” is on my mind. It’s just a phrase. I’m not getting out.

God sends encouragement just before I need it. And I’ve yet to pair the thought that something bad is about to happen with the joy. Thank God for that.

I just stared at him. All I could say was, “Wow.” And I walked away. (prolonged stare…)

Am I really a miserable human?
(barely moving) Too painful. I don’t want to write. Have to. Need to.
(starting to pass out, not breathing)

After church today I stayed to talk to Matt about the choir, to ask what the fuck is going on. He seemed confused by the inquiry. The choir is chaos. I don’t get the details because I’m on the outskirts but I joined the choir in 2013 when God told me to. I didn’t go for the church or the pastor. I went to sing and to fellowship with Diane. I like the people. The goings on sometimes are questionable but only because I’m not on the inside. I come to most rehearsals. I show up for church. In the past I was able to sing a few pieces for special music. But this year everything changed. There was unspoken drama that caused Diane to quit and many other members to leave the church. I have no details. Bobby took over the choir temporarily. I like him as a human but choir practice sucked. Then a few weeks ago he quit too. Again, I have no details. Richard stepped in to direct temporarily though he lacks any ability to do it and we follow Helen and guess. Sometimes there’s rehearsal. Sometimes there isn’t. When there is we just go over hymns to sing and mark our books. Different choir members shout out what we need to do, direct from the loft. “Special music,” aka the music we sing as a highlight once a month, has become a joke. Even prayer time is lacking. More people keep leaving the church.

At the last rehearsal I went to two weeks ago I asked if in one of the ones I missed if there was a State of the Choir conversation, what was going on in regards to finding a new director and fast. No one seemed to know. They said maybe Matt was working on it. When I asked Richard for information he said he didn’t know. I said, “But you’re in charge.” Silence. The choir concurred that no one had any idea how to even go about looking for a music director or where to find one. I said I do. At least I have contacts who do and would probably help.

At church today Bonnie said she hopes I’m there on Thursday. I said I don’t know, that the situation is making me really angry. I don’t even get texts anymore about whether there’s rehearsal or not. She tried to make it better saying we’re working together and blah blah it will be better soon. It’s not okay. It’s not okay. Music is what ties the service together and speaks to souls. It matters.

After the service I went to talk to Matt. I asked what the info was on finding a new choir director and told him how unhappy I am at the current situation. Richard’s a great guy but he’s NOT a music director at all. Now is when we should be buckling down and starting to work on Christmas stuff. What we need is asking the impossible – someone who is skilled/talented at music and directing, experienced with hymns and traditional music, willing to give at least 2 half days a week, plan and execute holiday performances, coordinate special music, get along with everyone and do it all for free. (listen to solo piano on Pandora)

Matt seemed to have no idea what I was talking about in regards to the choir being in shambles. He said Richard was directing. I’m aware of that. I wanted to know who is looking for a new director, who is working on this. He wasn’t concerned. He said he’s not going to bring in a performer or hire a music director. He said he’s not like most churches. I asked if that meant he was expecting someone from our congregation to just stand up and do it. He kept talking about God’s will and that whatever God wants will happen. I told him I believe in God’s will but I also believe I have to DO SOMETHING too. I told him I’ve been in this choir for several years. I didn’t come to Trinity for the church or the sermons or the people. I came because God told me to come and sing with Diane. And I did. And I put up with a lot of bullshit to stay in it. Now she’s gone and Bobby’s gone and the choir is a mess. I can’t tolerate much more of this. Music is important. It’s connecting. It hurts to watch the program fall apart and the people do nothing. I’m so angry.

That’s when he said it. I thought maybe he would say if I felt so strongly about the program I should step up and lead, but he didn’t. He said Richard is the director for now and that he won’t be appointing anyone to replace him without really getting to know the person over time. He said, “Maybe this is God calling you to go somewhere else…”

I just stood there staring at him. We didn’t say anything. My breath stopped and my eyes squinted. Finally I said, “I’m just gonna leave that with a ‘Wow.’” I walked away without words. I grabbed my purse, looked at the choir loft, thought about the post-it on my hymnal from the first time I was there. Then I left.

I wanted to leave, to hide, go somewhere else but I’m still home. I don’t understand. I think I was just asked to leave my church. It’s not a horrific idea but I don’t get it. I bring people in. My friends like that church. Matt helps them when they need it. My mom gets along well with the people. They have free donut holes. It’s by my house. And it used to have people in it I called friend. They’ve never instituted any of my ideas or requests and they know very little about me, but they care. I don’t want this to interfere with the journeys of my friends. But it interferes with me. Not something I expected.

I don’t know what happens now, just that I feel very alone. Maybe it finally is time to change churches. I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

Wake me up

5/1/16     11:52am

I hear the chorus of “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott. I’m trying not to cry.

God, I trust you and I don’t understand.

I had a dream last night. I had a roommate. There was a funeral. That part’s fuzzy. But I left my room and ended up at a wall, a cliff by the beach. There was a long flight of cement stairs down. The further I walked the steeper they got until the path was straight up and down. I put my arms out and held onto the thin steps/bricks above me. SO far down I looked into the ocean. And then I let go. It surprised me. I free fell, felt the wind on my face. and a stair caught me. Then it was my choice. I tried letting go again but this time and the next few I fell shorter each time. I fell on a concrete slab, the bottom of a different stairwell by the ocean. “I have to call Dr. M,” I said. I climbed up those stairs. At the top was Scripps Mercy ER. I sat there for awhile, decided I didn’t want a 5150 there and left. (long pause) I want to let go.

I’m sitting in church. I chose me over the last minute finance meeting. So much has changed. Diane is gone. I told X I’m not happy. I don’t think he can understand. I don’t want to be here. I don’t support what is happening. But it’s so important to – and my mom and… My breath stops. My face tingles. I belch up puke & hold back tears. I don’t move much. I took my hymnal down from the choir loft. I’ve had a headache since Friday – disabling. I believe the pain is what’s keeping my behavior appropriate. God, what do you want me to do?

Go to yoga

I’m trying so hard, God. I’m listening. I hear you. Please, hold my hand.

SH Urge: hit head into something hard where it already hurts over and over.

Wake me up, Lord. Put me back to sleep.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2016

God Bless the Queen

“I have a message for you. You deserve the best.
Don’t settle for anything less.”
– Pastor

purple flower

Something weird happened to me in church today. I usually greet Pastor after the service but I was talking with someone so I hugged him when he walked by. I said, “It’s nice to see you.” He placed his hand firmly on my shoulder, looked me square in the eye and said, “I have a message for you.” I said, “Okay.” He continued, “You deserve the best. Don’t settle for anything less.” I said, “Okay…” And he turned and walked away. (???) I know God was speaking through him but I’m not sure why.

I asked Diane later why everyone was crying today and she said, “Because Pastor has liver cancer.” I said, “I know. But he had cancer last week too.” And he’ll have it next week as well. She said folks are realizing the mortality of the pastor, a mortality I’m well aware involves family for them. I feel no emotional attachment to the issue. I guess it could be considered rude. I feel it is a calling.

I joined the choir of this church in February, maybe March. God told me to and I listened. I wasn’t sure why. I’m not particularly fond of the music, though it’s beautiful, and the closeness of the people frightens me. But I know I am supposed to be there and I like it. I am learning to love hymns and to socialize with people. There’s something I haven’t told them. I don’t understand it fully but I know why I’m here.

The pastor is going to die. Maybe 10 years from now, maybe tomorrow. But he is. I felt it my first day there and it hasn’t gone away. By nature in new situations I look for a system, a pattern of operation. I want to know how things work and where I fit in. I need to know the rules, the standard operations, where they keep the toilet paper and which row I’m supposed to sit in. I look for areas of need and devise systems to improve them. Here my ideas aren’t warmly welcomed. I realize I’m on someone else’s turf and I need to back down. But I’m here for a reason.

When Diane got in her car accident there were angels with her. And they were in the church when she returned, and they were with the pastor. A heavy presence centers the ground, prepares it for his message. He glows gold. He knows he is dying. I know that we all are. I feel a purpose for me in this transition but I’m not sure that it’s welcome. When I look around, I see areas of change, things that can be improved. I have ideas. They are not ready yet. I am careful not to mention my ideas much. They are seen as an intrusion on established customs. They do it their way. If this were DBSA, I’d be -. I hate -. -‘s always wantin’ to change things. I like them my way. But sometimes her way is better. In this case, it doesn’t matter whose way things get done as long as they get done.

My mom says I’m cold for caring more about the logistics than the emotions of the people. Yes. I guess I’m cold. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. I care deeply for these people. Deeply enough to fight for growth and change, to pick up where some upset person left off, to continue the business of a church when its people are in mourning. The pastor is going to die. I don’t feel sad about that. I feel a little joy. This man who is so close to God will get to meet Him. And what a lovely meeting it will be. My soul smiles when I think of it.

I know I don’t have the normal social reactions most people do. I think God blessed me with my coldness for a reason. I just want to help. I don’t process things the way others do. It is a blessing and a curse. One of my providers thinks I have Asperger’s (high functioning autism). At first I was totally against the idea. Change. Fucking change. But the more I look into it, I agree. I need to talk it over with my other providers. In this situation it allows me to be functional with a lack of emotion, but I can’t understand what’s going on because it’s not happening to me. I don’t think like that. I plan. I live by systems and order. I expect tragedy. I live.

All this to say, God spoke to me through the pastor today and I’m not sure what it means. But I’m pretty sure it’s important. God bless the queen.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2013

Christmas & Shopkick

12-17-11     8:07pm

I hate Christmas.

I went to a Christmas variety show today at a church and God spoke to me. He told me to buy a Panda Express and gave me a great idea for churches. A section for those of us who can’t sit still called Fit Church where we can walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike during the service. I would totally sign up for that.

I have a love-hate relationship with my new fake tree. I had finally decided to keep it and that it was perfect when my mom decided to flip some sections around. Um, HELLO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Now the tree is dead to me. It feels sad, I feel sad and Mom is angry. I hate Christmas.

I’ve been Shopkicking a lot. It’s an app where you earn points (kicks) for going in certain stores and scanning specific items. Then you can get free gift cards with your points.

It’s really helping me, in more ways than you’d think. It gives me a trackable goal and incentives, gets me out of the house and gets me walking. SO much walking involved, which is good because my doc wants me walking and it feels good. Also, I get to go shopping and feel the rush without spending any money. Great catalyst for change. I recommend trying it for anyone who’s bored, wants to get more active and earn free stuff (and has a smart phone).

Oh, I wanted to tell you I tried the Honey Walnut Shrimp at Panda Express the other day, which you know is big if you know my food rules. I resisted the urge to cough, choke or puke. I’m proud of myself.

I’m so tired. I feel myself drifting. My face is tingling. I hear a song I can’t identify and cars on a wet road. I gotta go.

Love, Michelle


PS – I made peace with the tree and put some bows on it. We’ll see how long it lasts.

© Michelle Routhieaux 2011