intersecting subsets

I've been gazing at these flowers, absorbing their pedestrian beauty.

I use the term pedestrian in the sense of simple, accessible. The way I want life to be.

Life, however, is of course quite complex. These white mums, now a memory on my desktop, used to be real -- a sweet gift from my son's girlfriend, Kimi. Friday night I attended a benefit for Kimi's alternative high school. We squeezed inside a downtown pizza place, and the crowd's attire and hairstyles truly spoke "alternative." Tie-dyed shirts, long, flowing or dreadlocked hair. Peasant blouses. Though some dresses and outfits shone with classy pizazz. There always exist those whose style makes it all look easy.

Not me, in my Gloria Vanderbilts and shapeless top. But hey, I was buzzed with pride: I had parallel parked down the block without a hitch! In the rain, no less. Then I'd made it inside a crowded place where I knew only Kimi and James, until her family showed up. The sounds were huge. Good band. Kimi's teachers looking like high school freshman themselves played, singing, encouraging their students in all things creative.

I was hungry. Shouldn't have been, having nibbled snacks ahead of time, knowing there wouldn't be gluten-free pizza. I hadn't factored olfactory longings into my sparse eating-ahead plans. We waited in the pepperoni-olive-scented haze for the poetry students, including Kimi, to read their offerings.

One of the people I'm slightly acquainted with asked me where I work. To the beat of an Al Greene cover tune I answered, "Lane Pregnancy Support Center." Of course I had to repeat it louder. And then I hoped my inquirer wasn't offended. What with the news lately about pregnancy centers and Planned Parenthood and all. The latest controversy isn't something I think about, or even that we discuss much at work, but in that moment my awareness heightened of folks with more hip views than mine dominating the crowd. The person who had asked, if of differing political views or not, granted me grace and a vague smile.

There wasn't more to say until I reached to rub an irritated spot on the back of my head. Something with a definite, bulbous body was attached at that point, dining on me (and likely wishing for pizza in my blood). I reacted with hurky movements, fingers combing through hair. The creature -- likely a spider who'd lowered from a rafter above -- disappeared and was never seen. But I became a bit more of a tic, checking for it every so often, hoping my scalp didn't start to go numb or anything.

As time approached for Kimi's reading (which came off very nicely), I had more or less relaxed and was musing that some of these young folk around me may well have been toddlers or preschoolers at the park near our home many summers ago. There was a cool homeschooling group we ran into there, me with my C.S. Lewis Space Trilogy volume and my children playing at sand fantasies in the volleyball pit. I liked the moms and their relaxed goals and the teddy bear picnic they included us in beneath towering firs.

We were an intersecting subset. Our world views likely differed in many ways, but we all wanted to give our kids alternatives to the basic educational norm.

This past weekend Tim used intersecting subsets to describe where he sees the two of us in religion right now. We're still Christian, and yet we're identifying with more than one cultural set of believers.

Leave it to him to come up with a math term. Depend on me to continue combing through contrasting ideas and traditions. Like a tic, to some degree. But like I told Tim Sunday night, tired after Orthodox and Protestant services and ready for a more pedestrian evening in front of Funniest Home Videos and The Simpsons, I feel buzzed. Hopefully more humble, less proud than I tend to be in my comfort zone. Enjoying alternatives and interesting intersections.


deb said…
aside from the instant willies I got re the leech image...

I love this.
And it's okay to never stop learning isn't it. I hope so .
I feel like I'm still just a wee thing at the park.
Deanna said…
Totally okay, Deb -- and I wish I had your way with words, dear wee thing. :o)
Marcus Goodyear said…
I'm with Deb, this is a good post. And we've all been there, uncertain about how others will judge us when they learn who we are, what we believe, or where we work.

Good on you for branching out to other cultures of believers!
Deanna said…
Thank you, Marcus. Nice of you to stop by and glad you can relate.