Anachronisms

“My name is E_____. I have just over three years of service…I want to work with the Society for Creative Anachronism.”

“Creative what?” I said.

“Creative Anachronism.”

“Creative Anachronism?”

“Yes.”

I pulled out my iPhone in front of the class and typed myself a note. I did not want to forget what she said.

This scene occurred just two days ago. I was at an Army base – working with about 50 soldiers, all of whom are within months, if not weeks, of separating from the military and stepping into the oh-so-daunting world of civilian employment. I always start by asking each to tell me their first name, how many years of service they have, and what they want to be when they grow up. For all the answers I’ve heard, this was the first time I’ve ever written one down.

As soon as I got home, I looked it up. But the Society’s website alone wasn’t sufficient to appease my curiosity and fascination. On to the Dictionary:

anachronism: something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time.

Ahhh, no wonder: I am one. Not all the time, but certainly often. And truth-be-told, not often enough.

Let me get lost in stories. It is where I find myself…and just possibly, the Divine.

An example.
A few days back, in a pretty dark place, I knew I needed guidance, wisdom, and encouragement. The incessant voices in my brain had long since run out of anything interesting or even remotely helpful to say and now were only spouting rash conjecture that deepened my sadness further. I needed the voice of another. I needed respite. I needed companionship and comfort and sanity. So I spent a couple hours crafting words to myself from someone else.

Yes, hearing voices. On purpose.

I put myself in a story – one that I deeply love – and then began to imagine what its protagonist would say to me. I typed and typed and typed. I wept. I smiled. I was consoled. I knew, somehow, that she knew, that she understood, that we were connected.

Anachronisms.

No time travel. No alternative universe. No alter ego or altar. Just me – needing to hear the voice of another woman who knew my pain because of her own; who understood my circumstances because of her own; who could offer me companionship, comfort, and sanity in a difficult place; who would remind me I am not alone.

Crazy?

No. This, at times, is my only sanity. And it might just be yours.

Whether we know it or not, we are in search of stories that will make sense of our own.

When we find them, when we immerse ourselves in them, and when we let them speak to us (sometimes even literally) we are able to hold on. We are tied back together. We are wrapped and spun and stitched together by a thread that binds us to others and to ourselves. This is the work and heart of the Divine.

Another example.

Her story begins in Eden – a perfect place with perfect relationship. I ask her, “Is relational ‘perfection’ just an illusion, a myth, the set-up for a Fall.”

It continues when she meets up with the serpent, takes a bite of the apple, and pain crashes in. We commiserate over the pain of different and divisive takes on that one, fateful story; on my story. We cry together. And then she smiles and reminds me of Danielle‘s card: ‘The serpent was the best thing that ever happened to Eve’ it says. I smile too.

Most of the time this is where Eve’s story ends – Paradise Lost. “I know,” she says. “You feel the lure to assume the same; to spin in the pain of all that’s been lost. I get it.”

My friend Eve sits beside me and tells me I’m not crazy, offers me her perspective, and reminds me that stories aren’t always what they seem. She knows of what she speaks.

Her story has only begun where most think it ends. She reminds me to hold on to hope.

Did you know that the first words spoken outside of Eden (as recorded in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures) were those of a woman, those of my friend Eve? We laugh out loud together. We celebrate and clink our wine glasses over this little-acknowledged fact. I begin to feel the fog lift. “I spoke, Ronna. You can, too. You will, just like me. We cannot be silenced.”

She bears the weight of a story that has been mixed up and twisted yet emerges – full of life, bearing life, using her voice. “You will do the same,” she tells me. “Tell your story as you know it – full of life, hope, and volume.”

East of Eden. No longer perfect. Life goes on. I get it.

Thanks, my friend Eve. ‘Needed you today. “You’re more than welcome” she says. “Now go on. Acknowledge that your desire is good and eat some more fruit!”

The above was a post I wrote last January, but our conversation far precedes it and most certainly continues. My story is bound to hers – and hers to mine. I feel and rely on the thread that connects us. Divine.

It’s possible that you’re slightly worried for me; that this idea of having conversations with long-since-gone or even fictional characters is yet another sign that I’m tipping right over the edge.

I’ll let you wonder. I do not.

I am increasingly certain that this is the most profound and intimate experience possible of the Divine. Not something outside of me. Not the oft’ envisioned, bearded old man in the sky. Not something feared or to which I must conform. And not a singular, culturally-defined, forever-and-ever-amen system of beliefs that falter in the absence of exclusive allegiance.

Anachronisms. Placing and then finding myself in a larger story. Seeking for, recognizing, and trusting a connective thread that binds, empowers, encourages, and enlivens. In story we are found, recognized, seen, named, and healed. In story we realize we are never alone. In story we discover a mysterious, but no less real thread of conversation, even conversion, that invites us to ourselves.

There’s more to it than this, of course: talk of belief, of god, of story. (Believe me, I’m working on it.) But for now, the idea that anachronisms could offer me a taste of such? Could quell my hunger? Could soothe my aching heart? That is more than enough. And yes, that is (the) Divine.

Thanks, E. I want to belong to this Society when I grow up, as well.

 

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    { 8 comments… read them below or add one }

    Callahan McDonough, LCSW September 14, 2011 at

    Really needed this story this morning Ronna. Women’ s stories is what woke me up many years ago, what keeps me awake. So easy to surrender to the other voices, the ones that pull backwards. But in truth its not easy its harder to go backwards. Love the Creative Anachronism, and of course, Eve.
    Callahan McDonough, LCSW recently posted..Prayers for world Peace Sept.11.2011

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    Ronna Detrick September 14, 2011 at

    Always so grateful for your presence – and your generous comments, Callahan. Yes…truth is hard, but once tasted, impossible to resist. And yes, as you’ve seen and experienced, the stories of other women are what continue to pull us forward – to encourage and coax and call.

    Reply

    susanna September 14, 2011 at

    Wonderful story! I’ll carry it and wear a red thread to connect myself to you, Eve, and all the rest of the Uppity Women both from the Bible and the long history of Church/Synagogue/Temple/Mosque…We belong! The Divine resides in us.

    Unfortunately the website says it is an open domain. Will you be updating this?
    susanna recently posted..Week Two — Land

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    Ronna Detrick September 14, 2011 at

    Love that you’ll wear a thin, red thread Susanna! Indeed, we are connected – all of us. (And as for the domain…I’ve purchased the name, but done no more. Eventually…)

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    Jackie Walker September 14, 2011 at

    “I spoke, Ronna. You can, too. You will, just like me. We cannot be silenced.” – you’ve moved me again Ronna :) and I love the thin, red thread, just a simple perfect and beautiful reminder. Thank you <3
    Jackie Walker recently posted..Relation Ships – an Invitation

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    Ronna Detrick September 14, 2011 at

    Every time I think of her story…and mine woven within…I am moved, as well. That’s the power of it, right? The thin red thread that connects us. Thanks, Jackie. Much.

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    Teresa September 14, 2011 at

    Ronna, this is beautiful. I love how you call us to think about Eve, who has previously taken up no space in my mind or heart. Your gift of reminder, of awakening that ties us back together. “We are wrapped and spun and stitched together by a thread that binds us to others and to ourselves. This is the work and heart of the Divine.”

    There is so much unravelling happening these days, the promise that we will be rewoven and tied to each other is the glimmering thread I refuse to release. Thank you for this reminder!

    So looking forward to the thinredthread! (message me when you get a chance – I have a suggestion for this beautiful new domain of yours while it’s being birthed)

    Hugs and butterflies,
    ~Terea~
    Teresa recently posted..Beauty will save us

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    Ronna Detrick September 14, 2011 at

    You’re more than welcome, of course. And thank your for such kind, encouraging words – as always. Email on the way!!!

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