The Wine: Poggio Basso Chianti, 2018, Tuscany Region
The Winery: Walter’s Cafe, Claremont, CA
The W(H)ine: WTH (What the Hei - ה )
This blog publishes on the same date a prerecorded WhineOnTheVine LATalkRadio show airs live, with my special Host (yes, I’m surrendering control for fifty minutes live on the air), my friend of three decades, DeeAnnia. In this episode of my storytelling show, I subject myself as the guest, the storyteller, open to answering whatever question posed.
I feel so vulnerable.
Yet, I put people in this position week after week after weak. Such has been my History. I love being the one asking the questions, Holding the power, and, proudly, offering the solutions.
WTH? We do not often ask ourselves the WTH question, but rather send it sailing into the Universe, or, perversely, direct at a specific other with whom we are aggravated. We, projectionists, we. Self-examination sometimes seems impossible, if not unreasonable.
WTH. What The Heck? Why can’t we fragile, frail human beings spend easily-entered space examining ourselves at every inevitable, troubling turn? Why doest ego buck up against this most-effective resolution to the very thing (self-reflection) that keeps us from connection, contentedness, and evolution?
WTH. What the Heck? I wonder if somewhere in the History of Humankind, we lost interest. I mean, life is difficult (even without a pandemic). Why bother with internal introspection when external interests cost us so much freaking energy. I haven’t got time for the pain!! Do you???
But I digress. Back to the show. So in this delightful episode my dear friend of thirty years, with whom i have experienced so many life circumstances including rare ones like Home birthing, Home schooling (that was a thing before covid some of us entered willingly….oy…that’s a story!), Heretical thinking, divorce, do-overs, degrees, and oh so much more, takes over. We have somehow maintained connectedness through it all, across continents, states, and states of mind.
WTH. Our first connection occurred in a mega-church Hallway, a few steps down from the infant nursery, where we concurrently dropped off our oldest progeny, then proceeded to enter the understood Holy of Holies sanctuary, where some prosperity preacher suggested we “name it and claim it!” What “It” was still eludes me, but the collective crowd’s excitement rivaled that of the Browns stadium when (at that time) we stood ne’er the barest chance of scoring a touchdown, and somehow our team found themselves in the red zone, electrifying fans and non-fans alike, while triggering a traumatized-primal reactive brain. (Look up the research that finds Cleveland sports fans comparable to domestic violence victims who return to the source of agony time and again, hoping against all rational hope things might be different. This year’s the year, though!!!!!)
Dee & I, well, we said “yes” to anything in those primitive days. We swallowed the Heresies Hook, line, and sinker; and banked our nonexistence bottom dollars on those false-theologies, giving the next decade and a Half to (Horrifying, upon reflection) raising our babies in this cultic culmination, somehow convincing ourselves we meant more to the Universe than He/sHe did to us. Desperate for affirmation, we were full of ourselves and had no idea.
WTH. Flash forward. Our marriages unraveled. Our faith diminished. Our flesh prevailed. Our spirits waned. Our children beckoned. Our deepest selves sought truth. Our highest selves found revival. Our friendship across all ebbs and flows failed not.
WTH? That’s the shit. On today’s show, Dee braves the broadcasting wilderness, and asks me the question I am certain many of you have posited, “Why the ‘H’ in ‘Whine’?” Oh, gurl. How much time do you have?
So. Many. Explanations. When our joint cultic church experience left us collectively wondering, and wandering, I sought seminary training, and simultaneously received the left foot of “denominational fellowship” from our “church” and found little peace in my internal reflective journey, as the theology upon which I had built my life did NOT Hold up. Our “pastors” had not even studied at seminary.
WTH? How dare one preach from a book written in an unknown tongue? How can one proclaim promises from an unstudied language? How can one derive truths from a culture one does not understand? I remain mystified. When I originally encountered the Hebrew language, I sat awestruck, dumbfounded and humbled.
WTH? What The Hei? In my first encounter with the Hebrew alphabet, the language of the Pentateuch, the first five “books” of the Christian Bible, I realized I knew nothing. All former encounters with text must be reconsidered. Al prior proclamations reevaluated. All life mantras, rewritten.
WTH. I didn’t know shit. Let alone G-d, Adonai, Elohim, Jehovah, or any other “name” we’ve ascribed to Biblical Deity. Hell, I wasn’t even sure which Bible to read, if any. All I knew is I previously swallowed a paradigm of proclaimed prosperity “gospel” that had more to do with human desire, narcissistic charisma, and padding pocketbooks than it ever did with providing people a providential path to Peace, Grace and Truth.
What The Hei? The most used name for Deity, if you will, in that Book I studied so intently, encompasses only four Hebrew letters, two of which are the “ה” - Hei, signifying the Breath of Life, a Function & Factor of the Divine that, at least to the Jews, is not even utterable. (Yet, we non-Jewish/English speakers, likely in our Hubris to interpret every blasted thing, attempt to pronounce, even adding nonexistent vowels, as we need control over everything.) In what scholars call the Tetragrammaton, the four-letter Hebrew designation for Deity used over 6,800 times in Scriptures….it’s related to the Hebrew root meaning, “To Be,” reflecting that the Divine is Eternal. To be or not to be, that is the question, is it not?
What The Hei? In my theological studies, when reading Pentateuchal stories of “Abram” and “Sarai,” who eventually found themselves recipient to the Divine’s Promise (listen to the show, please), I learned the Hei was added to their very names, changing them to “AbraHam,” and “SaraH.” Divinity met and marked Humanity. That’s quite the Hei-Day, eh?
WTH? My point, Here, is quite simple, really. H is for Human/Homo Sapian, paired intentionally with the Hei. When Divinity touches Humanity, we find BreatH. When life circumstantially sucked that out of Dee & me, we sought refuge in some form of faitH in a Holy of Holies, a Divinity that reached down to us, Holds us continually, and as we allow, breatHes into our very beings. Dee and Me, well, we thought we knew the Divine way back when, but rather some Holier-than-thou version of pretend piety. Hence, lifetimes of learning the Hard way.
Here. Now. We neither Have nor Hold (no naming or claiming, no striving or performing, no measuring or managing), rather, we lean Hard into some Holy Helper wHo Has us, no matter wHat we do (or don't). And in so doing, we W(H)ine on the Vine. And so can you.