Nancy McNally: We’ve lost contact with the U.S.S. Portland.
Leo McGarry: Well, they’ve gone quiet. They’re a submarine.
Nancy, hesitating: But they usually call in and say they’re going quiet.
Leo: I have to tell the President.
Nancy: No, not yet.
Nancy: Because I think they’ve gone quiet.
Yeah, I’m showing off. Except when it’s a “skill” like having memorized a television show, The West Wing, maybe it shouldn’t be seen as a skill so much as a need for intervention. Nobody does witty banter like Aaron Sorkin and I watch with envy at how easy he makes it look.
All this, to acknowledge that I’ve gone quiet. Like really, really quiet. Normally I wouldn’t think much of it except that it comes after my Mother’s Day rant. Which took me clean through to a potential Father’s Day rant. Which finally turned into realizing… I’ve gone quiet.
When I peel away all the muck, it’s staring me in the face. Similar to an anti-AHA! moment, it’s my big-fat DUH! moment: I haven’t been going to church.
After Mother’s Day, I took a week off. Having survived the bull’s-eye of the Mother’s Day holiday, I avoided another in the series about parenting and raising children. I fully intended to go back the next week, except it was still about parenting and no matter how many times I’m told that I am a “spiritual mom” to the children of the church, I’m sorry I just can’t find comfort there. So I felt okay keeping some distance. Praying, reading, regrouping, taking a break.
I went to a meeting at church during that time and instantly felt good about being back in the presence of people I really care about. Eager to return, I went the next week and listened as dispassionately as I could about the upcoming five-week series on marriage. Because that’s what this childless, practically divorced woman needed, was to go from a series on raising her non-existent children to a series on preserving her non-existent marriage.
Yes I sound bitter, and I’m not proud of that but it’s my truth.
My mom has often said a particularly odd phrase that never resonated until now: It’s like getting olives out of a jar. The first one’s hard but after that, they come easily. Turns out it’s a lot like skipping church. I went to three in the “From This Day Forward” series and focused as best I could on praying for the marriages of those around me. It was impossible not to be drawn back into the emotions of my own failed marriage, and when I hit “Fighting Fair” and “Don’t Give Up” I caved and went back to easy.
In the long run, it didn’t make it easier. It just made me feel more isolated and alone. That, I already have in spades. My natural inclination toward being an introvert (the socially acceptable form of admitting that I really, really like time on my own) just adds to the difficulty in slowly reaching out again. But reach, I will.
Turning back to The West Wing, I remember that over and over when they were unsure about what was happening during all that radio silence, they continued to say the same thing.
In these situations, you trust the captain. You trust the crew.
Sunday, I’m waiting for you. Because I trust my Captain and I trust my crew.