Saturday, November 06, 2010

Paying Dues

Every once in a while some kids at school will form a club. In kindergarten it's usually something like the Unicorn Club where the only rules are that you have to love unicorns and no boys allowed. Or the Pink Club where the only rule is that you have to wear something pink everyday. That rule negates the necessity for the "no boys" rule. Those clubs are mostly fun. Unless someone who wants in is excluded.

But there are some clubs that we join without wanting to. Clubs that we are a part of because of who we are or what we've been through. Clubs with others like us. Others with whom we share something. Something we'd rather not share. I've had this club idea for a while since that episode of Grey's Anatomy where George's dad dies. And Cristina tells him that he's in the Dead Dads Club. She says, "You're not in it 'til you're in it." That's how some clubs work. We're not asked to join. We don't sign on any line. And yet we find ourselves a member. And we're not in it 'til we're in it.

I am an unwilling member of the Crazy Club, whose members have gone through anxiety/panic/depression. I don't mean to make light of it in any way by calling it crazy. But that's how it feels to me. I was initiated into this club a few years ago after my car accident and struggling with post traumatic stress. Which led to severe panic attacks and anxiety disorder and deep depression. The thing about the Crazy Club is that I didn't really know I was in it. It took a long time and some dramatic episodes and some professional help to introduce me to the club. Before I was in the club, I didn't even know there was one. Why would there be a club? Just snap out of it. Or pray out of it. Or count your blessings till you get out of it. From the outside I didn't understand it. I didn't know the rules. Or the dues that needed to be paid. I didn't know the other members or that I would soon be the club president. I wasn't in it 'til I was in it.

Someone I love more than anything in the world is in two clubs to which I don't belong. And like me, she never intended or planned or wanted to be in either. Things happened and people happened and the unthinkable happened and there she is. In the clubs. Two clubs for which she is continually paying dues. Dues that I wish she didn't have to pay. Dues that break her heart. Dues that are unfairly charged. But dues nonetheless. And these clubs that she's in? These terrible clubs with unfair rules? She wasn't in them 'til she was in them.

These clubs that we can find ourselves in are too numerable to list. You are in clubs that I'm not and can't be in. And some of my clubs you can't be in. You may be in a club that I don't even know exists. Or you may change clubs in the blink of an eye. One day you're in the Married Club and the next you're in the Widowed or Divorced Club. One day you're in the Employed Club and the next you're in the Unemployed Club. One day you're in the Pregnant Club and the next day you're not. One day you're in the Sane Club and the next thing you know you are an unwilling member of the Crazy Club. And it remains true for each club that you're not in it 'til you're in it.

All we can do is pay our dues and hope they're not too high. And to not forget that there are others in our club. Others who will understand. Others who have been in the club for awhile and might be able to help us. And someday we might be the one who's been there for awhile and just might be able to help new members navigate their way.


kathy said...

the dues and sometimes high for the crazy club, but sometimes, just sometimes, it's more fun than the sane club. and it always helps to have a pal there at club meetings, or at least to pick you up after the meetings and go for dessert.

Ada said...

The dues are high.
God is higher.

I love you.
So much.

Katrina said...

I'm so glad I knew you were the crazy club president before I joined. I knew exactly who to go to when I needed to find out the club rules!

Great post, Jen.

Ada said...

Sister Christian.
I just read the post again.
It is amazing.

The clubs exist...all kinds of clubs. Clubs that we just might be in before our time on earth is done. Clubs we don't ask to be in, clubs we decided weren't for us. And then you are in them. And it just sucks. But, you are completely right...we aren't the first one in the clubs. We aren't the only member. There are others like us and we will find them and band with them and be stronger for it.

I also stick with my first comment. The dues are high. Dang, are they. Sometimes so high you think you can't make it. You can. God is higher. He is higher than it all and it is through Him that we make it through the initiation and the membership.

Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;he will never let the righteous fall.

Beautiful post Jen. You are talented. Put this in the book. It will be my fave chapter.

Alyson said...

I also very much enjoyed this chapter.

One very positive club I remember joining was the MOM club. I mean, I knew lots of people were moms, but I didn't know about the camaraderie that comes with becoming a mom. How you can just give each other a look and you understand.

I'm also a member of some less happy clubs, but you're right that is so much easier when you know you're not the charter member.