I attended a party on Friday. That’s right. Me. Party. Attended.
(Please wait for applause to die down.)
Of course, I checked with the host to see whom the party did and did not include—don’t need any surprises or dramatic weeping scenes at Christmas parties. Well, maybe…but I’d rather them not include me. Even knowing who would be there, it took an intensive effort to attend. If it hadn’t been for who was hosting the wine and cheese party (fell in love with Chocolate wine, btw) and a few of the princes in attendance, I wouldn’t have been able to face it. It was a blessing that my bff happened to show up at the same time and walk in with me. I quickly started to feel at home. I only got teary once when a dear, dear girlfriend asked me about he and I. She hadn’t heard. (I know. I thought I’d been screaming it loud enough too.) Other than that, it was a successful evening. Only spent a little time standing in the corner of the kitchen and only did dishes for a bit. Pretty good. It was a pretty fun night. Actually, it was a fun night. I have to learn to see the fun and joy where it is, even if the rest of me isn’t filled with it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
And, I have a party tonight. I know! Look at me go. This one is a smaller venue and I think a more limited guest list, but still. (Thank you, SLuna.) And, both of these parties place me with my best friends, most of whom I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding (both for their sanity and my own as I try to figure out to be this new Brandon—not happy and light like I thought I was before, but not going on and on about what I constantly go on and on about). It is such a wonderful thing to be with them again. And, then we have the party I am hosting next Saturday. There are also two parties after that the following week or so. I may not be the social butterfly anymore, but maybe I can at least upgrade to a social cricket.
This morning was the last of the Bible Study that TB was leading. I missed the two previous, one for being so sick and one for not being able to get my car to accommodate my travel plans in the snow and ice. We have been working our way through James. Only five chapters. A heavy theme of this book is works are evidence of your faith. A lot of the people in the group seem to struggle slightly with this concept. Not me. This was how I was raised. I’ve always wished the adage that ‘good people go to Heaven’ was true. Doing works has never been a problem. I’m a good little boy, remember (most of the time)? It’s the whole ‘keeping the faith’ thing I struggle with now. In typical Brandon behavior, I spent half of the final group wondering what was wrong with me. Typically, I feel pretty strong in my Bible knowledge and ability to flush out the meaning of verses and such. At the beginning, we took a few minutes to go through the final chapter and jot down what we thought were some key words, key themes, and key verses. After, the longer we talked, the more I began to feel like I had lost my mind. I wasn’t seeing the grittiness of the verses they were talking about, nor cultural implications. My typical, yeah, yeah, been there, heard that frame of mind (not true with TB’s studies, but still) was gone. Finally, something someone said triggered my mind. There was no way they could have gotten that out of the verse six that I read. In confusion I glanced around trying to figure out what dimension I had stumbled into. I had worked my way through the fifth chapter 1Peter. Not James. Feeling both stupid and relieved, I turned to the correct passage and quickly wished I had stayed where I had been. James 5:11—The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. Really? I’d like to argue that. Or defend it with my theory of an imperfect God with perfect motivation. Neither of which would be overly appropriate. Then, to top it off, James 5:15--And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Again, Really? Just before this, we talked about at niece of someone in the group. A twenty-eight year old woman with two small children and a young husband who we’d been praying for due to her cancer. They just announced that she has one to three months to live. Perfect. More than any other thing in the Bible, the issue of prayer (healing or not, but especially healing) causes me to question everything (even more than the whole gay issues) in/with the Bible. I have not heard one theory, one anything that can explain verses like this to me. And I’ve heard tons and tons—sought them out for a long time. Every single one seems like a cop-out, an attempted excuse for God. It would be one thing if there was only one such verse as this, or even if they were wishy-washy. Or maybe more like a suggestion. No, nope. They are black and white, every one of them. A do this, then that guideline that I have seen proven true on occasion, but for the vast majority of the time, disproved time and time and time again, by those clinging desperately on this so-called promise. Needless to say, next time, I’ll stay on the wrong chapter, thank you very much.