Monday, January 28, 2013

The Wisdom of Mrs. King

I would say that, initially, it was curiosity that brought me to Mrs. King. How could I not be curious about a small house nestled unobtrusively in between several other dwellings on Poinsett Highway? Its very nature sparks intrigue. From the sign outside that proudly reads: "MRS. KING: PSYCHIC ADVISOR" with her phone number emblazoned underneath it to the neon "OPEN" sign aglow in her window, it beckons to almost any onlooker. 

How could I not be curious? That is not to say that I believe in psychics or predictions or anything of the sort, but I know these people who call themselves psychics can, in reality, just read people extraordinarily well. They can see in people what they can't see--or don't wish to see--in themselves. (I don't take what they say seriously, but with this perspective, I entered this experience simply wondering what Mrs. King would see in me.)

So, my roommate and I called and scheduled an appointment. (Apparently the mysteries of the future have a tight schedule.)

We walked in--after an ominously-creaking door that was much too cliché for my taste--to be greeted by her kindly husband, who led us to a plush, leather couch to sit and wait until Mrs. King was ready for us. After sitting down, I began to take in my surroundings. The room was neat and orderly, with the sickly sweet and clean smell that often consumes taxi cabs. Aside from the many family photos and common household knickknacks, there was a chest underneath a table, overflowing with golden necklaces, much like a pirate's chest. This somehow highlighted the hilarity of the situation I had gotten myself into, and I had to fight the strong desire to laugh. 

I let M, my roommate, go first, because according to Mrs. King, the auras of two different people will clash and conflict, making it difficult to get an accurate reading. So I waited, somewhat anxiously, wand watched "A Minute to Win It" on the large flat-screen TV to pass the time.

After a few agonizing contests on "A Minute to Win It," it was finally my turn. M smiled at me encouragingly and enthusiastically as I passed her into the small room. Needless to say, it wasn't what I expected. 70s-style wood paneling plastered the walls, covered by images of Jesus, Mary, and the apostles. Two tables stood on either end of the room, covered in more pictures of Jesus and Mary, crucifixes, and a large figure of Mary who seemed to preside over the proceedings. 

Feeling somewhat awkward (surprise, surprise), I sat down in a chair opposite Mrs. King, as per her instructions. She first described the various packages I could choose from and their prices, and I selected the most basic option. She told me that I must first think of two wishes, then hold up the money in my right hand, and tell one of the wishes aloud to her. ("Just don't wish for no million dollars or no world peace," she warned.)

Two wishes? I thought, aghast. I hardly ever make wishes, even on my birthday. And, I thought, aren't you not supposed to tell anyone your wishes? Swallowing this thought because I had realized it's likely I will never see this woman again, I proceeded to tell her my wishes.

(Sorry, dear reader, I won't be sharing my wishes with you. I might not ever see Mrs. King again, but it is very likely I still might see you. Plus, my old notion of wishes is still deeply-engrained in me.) 

I was truthful, but vague, almost challenging her to see what she could glean from the wish. After I'd told her, she rubbed her eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, and asked that I not be offended by anything she has to say because, after all, she's just being honest. She said she'd describe my past before moving on to my future. 

She considered me for a moment after I assented, then barked "Relax! There's nothing to be afraid of! I'm getting all of these nervous vibes from you." I didn't think my nervousness was that apparent, but apparently it was. 

I chuckled, trying to push the nerves tickling up my arms from the tips of my fingers, but what she said next made whatever nerves I'd been trying to swallow freeze abruptly and sink rapidly to the pit of my stomach.

"You're smiling, but your eyes are crying. Someone in your past has hurt you badly. You need to let it go."

Doesn't this apply to everyone? I wondered. At the same time, I couldn't exactly deny what she was saying.

She rubbed her eyes again and said, "I see a long life, which is good. You will come into some money." Seeing my smile and misunderstanding it, she said "Not a lot, but just enough." (I was smiling only because I had been expecting something like this.)

"I also see two relationships. One, in the past, you must let go of. The other is in the future. But we'll get back to that later." She had my attention now. At this point, I  abandoned all sense of pride and abandoned any attempt to control my features, and I must have looked like a doe-eyed and eager schoolgirl. 

"I see papers. You must sign them. You will realize that after you have that it was the right decision for you."

"Oh. Thanks." I responded, trying my hardest not to sound skeptical or sarcastic.

She paused again, rubbing her eyes, thinking.

"So this man..." By this time, my curiosity was beyond its peak and I was fit to burst. 

"This person has started having feelings for you, but has been keeping them hidden. When you find out, I'm not saying that anything will come of it, but you will be very flattered." She smiled at me in a way that reminded me of the way my own mother smiles at me when she knows something I don't. It's incredibly infuriating, no matter the context. 

"Also," she resumed, "someone will start a rumor about you. You must ignore it. Do not rise up or confront this person, even though you will want to. You will know this person. Do not confront them, because that is exactly what they want. It will only make matters worse."

I consider this to be wise advice, regardless of whether this happens in my near future or not.

"So, do you have any questions for me? Talk to me," which sounded remarkably close to an order. Taken aback by the abrupt change in the proceedings, I simply sat there for a moment before mumbling, "No, thanks."

"Well, before you go," she took a deep breath and looked around at her surroundings as though she had forgotten they were there. (How she seemed to forget about the four-foot-tall figure of Mary is something I'll never quite understand.) "I'm Catholic," she continued.

"I figured," I replied, and I chuckled, motioning to our surroundings.

"I believe that what I have is a gift from God," she persisted, as though I hadn't spoken. "And I believe that belonging to a certain denomination, whether it be Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, or whatever it is will not somehow bring you closer to God. He just wants our love."

She waited, as though anticipating dissent on my part. I smiled and nodded encouragingly, still intrigued, and also because, fundamentally, I agreed with her. 

"I just wanted to tell you that God only asks for all of our love and all of our selves," she said as she nodded wisely.

"Let go of your past; it is finished," she reiterated.

Smiling now, I nodded, understanding what she was trying to tell me. 

"I just thought you needed to hear that," she said, and I smiled.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hoorah for Delta!

T R I   D E L T A
"L e t   u s   s t e a d f a s t l y   l o v e   o n e   a n o t h e r."

The day finally arrived: bid day! After months of preparing, cheering ourselves hoarse, and oodles of excitement, we finally have a wonderful, beautiful new pledge class! Here are a few photos from the craziness that was bid day.

Red lights are flashing on the highway
I wonder if we're gonna ever get home
I wonder if we're gonna ever get home tonight
Everywhere the waters getting rough
Your best intentions may not be enough
I wonder if we're gonna ever get home tonight
But if you break down
I'll drive out and find you
If you forget my love
I'll try to remind you
And stay by you when it don't come easy
I don't know nothing except change will come
Year after year what we do is undone
Time keeps moving from a crawl to a run
I wonder if we're gonna ever get home
You're out there walking down a highway
And all of the signs got blown away
Sometimes you wonder if you're walking in the wrong direction
But if you break down
I'll drive out and find you
If you forget my love
I'll try to remind you
And stay by you when it don't come easy
So many things that I had before
That don't matter to me now
Tonight I cry for the love that I've lost
And the love I've never found
When the last bird falls
And the last siren sounds
Someone will say what's been said before
Some love we were looking for
But if you break down
I'll drive out and find you
If you forget my love
I'll try to remind you
And stay by you when it don't come easy

--"When It Don't Come Easy," by Patty Griffin