Thursday, March 23, 2017

A sermon, a devotion, and a few scattered thoughts

Hello blog-reading-type-friends,

Wanted to share a few things with you:

I had a short reflection published in Georgetown University's daily Lent devotional, which you can read by clicking here.

I also preached this past Sunday at Dumbarton United Methodist Church, as part of their "Unpacking Church Words" Lenten series. My "church word" was grace. You can listen to the sermon here; the texts were Exodus 32:9-14, Ephesians 2:4-10, and this comic strip:

So check all that out if you're interested.

As far as "Lithium for Lent" is going: I'm at the part of my book-writing project right now where I'm doing some reflection on medication and meaning. Here's a short excerpt from one of my favorite books on the topic, John Swinton's Resurrecting the Person: Friendship and the Care of People with Mental Health Problems, with references to sociologist David Karp:
The act of taking medication for mental health problems is a clear affirmation that the person has a stigmatized emotional disorder, and as such, requires a dramatic redefinition of his or her concept of "self." .... One of Karp's interviewees puts it thus: "I didn't want to be told that I had something that was going to affect the rest of my life, and that could only be solved by taking pills. It was sort of definitive. I had a label, and it was a label that I thought was pejorative." Thus, even if medication does reduce symptoms and allow a person to achieve a better quality of life, this does not necessarily mean that the person will perceive the medication in a favorable way. In my experience this deeper meaning ot the process of taking medication, highlighted by Karp, is highly significant with regard to the care of people with mental health problems (pg 73-74). 
So, that's a brief synopsis of the problem that I'm supposed to be reflecting on and addressing. I've done some writing on it before, like this post called "Lithium and a Prayer." 

But I'm having a bit of trouble concentrating on it, for several reasons, one of which is this:

Questions of meaning aside, my medication makes me feel kind of crappy all the time.

Don't get me wrong. "Crappy" is better than "breakdown." "Crappy" is better than "hospitalization."

But it's still...just...crappy.

I don't want to whine about it too much. It isn't the worst or most awful thing. It just is what it is -- a a stomach ache, a wee bit of nausea, a sort of steady low energy. Just...crappy.

So here I am, trying to be really articulate and reflective about medication and meaning and spirituality and all these themes I'm trying to weave together in this book I'm writing, while trying to scrape together the various part-time jobs and commitments I have, and feeling, overall, just a bit crappy.

And so maybe that will be the chapter title for the book:

"Just a Bit Crappy."

Which is a better way to feel, anyway, than nothing at all.

So maybe, if you get a chance, just say a quick prayer for me. Oh, and I'm almost to the point where I'll be sharing book excerpts on my Patreon site, so if you haven't already visit over there and maybe become a patron. Thanks!

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