Church… and a spider web

The last couple of weeks at the club have been poor. Sales have been low, girls have been worse than normal in their behavior. My interest has waned, my resume is updated and my eyes look elsewhere for employment. After a two hour long meeting with the owner I changed my approach to some things. The return of the asshole.

Eliza has done well. My pride nearly burst my heart as I watched her bartend for the first time Thursday night. The night before we had fight over smoking MJ. She had run down the street at 5:00 am with no shoes on and I was very worried. I had ran around all the blocks nearby, passing too many scroungy looking homeless bums and dope fiends for me to feel comfortable with her being alone out in the cold. After a phone call to the police (asking them to keep a lookout for her) I returned home, trying to watch t.v. to keep my mind from racing out of my head. She called me and I went several blocks away to pick her up, grabbed some food, and she became sick.

My heart has gone out to her in her drug dreams. She tells me that she has dreamed of taking meth, only to wake up with the feeling of betrayal that she has failed again, to realize that it was a dream and to feel better. The dreams are a normal aspect of overcoming an addiction. Friday night she had worked at the club and did okay for such a slow night. She got a little drunk and smoked a little pot and said that she couldn’t work a shift without smoking pot. At the end of the night she was a bit mean to me, but nothing really abnormal when she’s been drinking, is tired, and has smoked some pot. It didn’t bother me that much.. I’ve gotten used to it. However I went inside the office to count the money and the dressing room got quiet. I noted that a couple of girls left, dropping their packing activities. I counted money for a while and noted that it had taken a while for Eliza to come back (she hadn’t yet). I went outside into the club, looked around, checked on people to ensure that everyone was heading out the door. I noted that Eliza left the bathroom. My heart sank. It is normal for Eliza to take many, many trips to the bathroom. Really. Yet it is also normal for Eliza to take meth when at the club. I would like to say that I trust her… yet I don’t. She has a ways to go to earn that trust back. This isn’t to say that I don’t love her madly… I do… but I can’t trust her right now. With countless times of taking drugs, other men, and such… trust has been broken but not my love. And so it is with a fearful heart and a prayer in my mouth as I went into the bathroom to investigate. There I could easily see the tell-tale signs of drug use. I wanted to go to Eliza and ask her if she did anything. But to ask such a question is to admit to the one you love that you don’t trust her enough to come to you about such a thing… and I wasn’t ready to do that.

We went home in silence and didn’t say much. The next day we slept late. I got up early to go open the club and have a meeting with the owner. I came back home and went back to sleep. Things were not all that much better when I went to work, as her brother prepared the bong for some pot in the kitchen as I went to work. I held Eliza in my arms and looked at her, trying to implore to her with my eyes to not smoke any pot.

At work I was the asshole, putting my foot down, asserting rules… yet with all of this the night was good. Sales were 50% of what they should be, but the energy and mood (overall) was great, fun, energetic. And for a first time in what seems like a lifetime, I had fun at work. I called Eliza, wanting to say hi to her, and because she had tried to comfort me a few nights before, telling me that she understood how hard things were with the club and how it was taking at toll on me. I wanted to share a moment of something fun with her. But instead of being supportive she turned it around and attacked me, telling me that I don’t ever have a “good night” when she is working. It killed my mood and I was not in a hurry to get home. I counted the money, gave some girls an after work drink, cleaned up a bit, and finally went home. Eliza seemed angry and she gave me some angry words. I listened to them and said nothing. My belief is that they are all without merit and are the results of a drug induced paranoia. I did not want to talk to her in such a state, and so I went to sleep.

The alarm came too early. Time for church. I hit all three alarms and laid in bed. Eliza snuggled up next to me and I contemplated staying with her. I dearly wanted to go to church, but I also wanted to spend some time with Eliza. I’ll have a bad episode of two with her and then there will be a glorious moment, hour, day of her sober and out of the clutches (it seems) of paranoia and fear and we’ll be together and… oh… how I love her so much that it hurts and fills me at the same time. I look at her and my heart warms and I think to myself that this woman is enough for me, can keep me happy for years, can help me grow into a better person, can help me experience life on many levels, can give me another level of fulfillment in this wonderful, blessed life of mine. And then she’ll go back under the waters of a drug that clouds her consciousness and strengthens the feelings of fear and paranoia and my feelings will be hurt and I’ll wonder to myself if things will ever get better with her, or if she will repeat the same cycle for the rest of her life. I ask myself if I want to be there for her to get better, or if I am deluding myself in thinking that she will get better.

So with thoughts like this in my troubled heart I went to church. The topic was “The Open Road” and it was in reference to a Walt Whitman poem. It was rewarding to listen to. There was a short story told before the kids departed about a catepillar that was resistant to change until it inevitably found itself turning into a butterfly (which it resisted). When it had come out of its cacoon it could not believe the incredible new world that lay before it, the beauty around it. My thoughts went over and over to darling Eliza. She is that catepillar, living in habits of drug use and alcoholism, fearful of changing into the butterfly that lies dormant within her. How beautiful her wings would be.

After church I talked with some members, looked at the timeline on the wall and added my own little entry, and signed up for the new member orientation in November. I had finally joined the Houston congregation and now I feel it is time for me to join this one. After walking around the building and introducing myself to others I took a short walk in the path in the patch of woods near the trees. The sunshine streaming through the fall foliage, the crisp air, the scent of fallen leaves… my heart filled with gratitude for this crazy, mixed up life of mine. I stopped at a spider web with one end on a low hanging branch, another end anchored on another tree’s branch, and the bottom anchored on a tall stem of woody grass. I marvelled at the spider web, as I often do when I take the time to stop and notice such things. Again I wondered to myself how a spider makes such a thing, if they possess the vision in their eyes to see the five feet necessary to “plan” a web’s anchor system, or if instead they jump off of something with a string and attach onto something that they simply land on. I thought of such a thing as an act of faith. The spider’s life was the web and yet thing things that made it possible were things that were not connected at all. The trees and grass were all seperate, yet united in their use by the spider’s web. What a wonderful analogy for faith this was… that there are unrelated events, persons, things in our lives that come into play depending upon the steps, the leaps of faith that we take. I took a leap of faith in coming out to Oregon and I’ve been heartbroken, overjoyed, a failure, and learned more about myself. I’ve not regretted my move, instead thinking my life richer because of it. But in stopping for a moment longer… I noted also that the seemingly seperate elements of the spider’s life, the trees and grass, really are connected in a way that the spider will never know. Are the events, people, things in our lives likewise connected on a level that we can never truly know? This, it seems, is an even larger leap of faith.

And so I went home. The day is beautiful and I thought of going to Mt Pisgah, needing some time of solace… some time for reflection… some time to heal… some time to reinforce who I am. It was an odd feeling to tell a member at church that I was the manager of a strip club. The coyote within me likes it, the knight in me hates it. And so the Eddie that I am welcomes the challenge and abhors his involvement every moment.

It is a beautiful day and I am going to grab Eliza and go do something outside.

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