My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for May 2010

(I’ll probably work this into a letter for my daughter, but for now…)

Here’s the thing about life- You have to be willing to commit to loving it, the whole of it, and everyone in it, or you’re just going to hate it. You have to love it enough to take it as it is. You have to love it enough to always engage in making it better. You’ll probably find that how you feel about life is how you feel about God. And that how you think life feels about you is how you think God feels about you. So believe life loves you, take what life gives you and embrace all the tiniest pieces of it. Don’t let the busyness, the negative, the pessimists around you keep you from absorbing the love, keep you from loving. Don’t let yourself box life and people up. Life is fluid, people are multidimensional, don’t let your spirit get wrapped up in structures. You have the option to be free, you always have this option.

Take what you are given and give it back into life, love life back. Be brave, be loving, have belief. Have belief so you can believe. Believe in love. Believe so much that you don’t have room for fear or hate or self pity. Believe enough to see past the mountains that pop up in your way, believe the mountains are beautiful, movable, or that the route over or around them is amazing.

Commit. Commit to loving life. Otherwise, you’ll wind up wasting all your time hating it.

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Dreams

Posted on: May 19, 2010

This  is the second night in a row I’ve had vivid dreams. Because I didn’t write down the one from the night before last, I don’t remember too much about it now, except that I was getting ready for a trip, it was really overcast and the trip was last minute, possibly involving the beach and a motorcycle and a high school friend.

Last night, I was in this large, stone place, like an old castle that was being used for a school or camp or something. There were a ton of people all around, like they belonged there. A lot were people from my church(es). There was some movie coming out that night that a bunch of people were going to watch and they wanted to know if i was going go come, and if I had a dark hooded sweatshirt. I went to see if my best friend was coming, but she was waiting for her husband to see it. She showed me something she had made him (for his birthday, maybe?) It was a doll house of their house, I don’t know why, but we really thought he’d like it.  Next thing I know, I’m driving in the snow. It’s may and it’s snowing. I keep thinking if it’s snowing in may, it’s really going to snow in February! Then I can’t find the exit to Shelby. I really want to stop and see my uncle and cousins there, even though I’m really exhausted, but I can’t find the exit.

Posted on: May 19, 2010

I feel like someone, somewhere far off- in the future, or the past, or someplace around me, but not right beside me is whispering all the answers to me, but I can’t hear all the words, I can’t hold on to them over the roar of the life I’m in the midst of. If I can find a way to quiet, maybe I’ll get the story…but even then, when it’s loud again, how will I manage then? When everything is pulling at me…

Guide me. I know I’m not believing enough. I don’t want fear. I don’t know exactly how to get out of here. I am listening to the wrong things far too much, of that, I’m sure.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” ~Kurt Vonnegut

“If you love someone, tell him or her. Forget about the rules or the fear of looking ridiculous. What is truly ridiculous is passing up on an opportunity to tell someone that your heart is invested in him or her.”

“When the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box.” ~Italian proverb

“You eventually learn that true priorities are like arms; if you think you have more than a couple, you’re either lying or crazy.” ~Merlin Mann

“The best things said come last. People will talk for hours saying nothing much and then linger at the door with words that come with a rush from the heart” ~Alan Alda

“There is always more than you know. There are always boxes put away in the cellar, worn shoes and cherished pictures, notes you find later, sheet music you can’t play.” ~Margaret Atwood

“Ever notice that ‘what the hell’ is always the right decision?” ~Marilyn Monroe

“I’d rather be optimistic and a fool, than pessimistic and right.”

“Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.” ~Alan Moore

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” ~Dale Carnegie

“There’s that old joke, not very funny, that goes “no matter where you go, there you are.” That’s true. The person who you’re with most in life is yourself and if you don’t like yourself you’re always with somebody you don’t like.” ~Marc S. Lewis

“No matter how upside down it all may temporarily appear, we will have no fear because we know this secret: life is crazily in love with us — wildly and innocently in love with us. The universe always gives us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it.” ~Rob Brezny

“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you’ve got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience.” ~Robert Fulghum

“There is a time when we must firmly choose the course we will follow, or the relentless drift of events will make the decision for us.” ~Herbert B. Prochnow

“When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?” ~Sydney J. Harris

“Decide whether you want to be liked or admired” Eve Ensler

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

“Starting arguments around the Thanksgiving dinner table is a bad idea. Unless you’re drinking. Then it’s hilarious.” ~Neil Patrick Harris

Posted on: May 13, 2010

So, the morning did not quite go as planned. I fell back asleep, watching tv in the living room. Basically because I was so damn tired that my head spun when I stood up to exercise. So, I laid down for a while, then I got up, did a little workout. Took a shower. Natalie got up, played a little. Got us breakfast. Got us ready. Made coffee and lunch. Got the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded. Got a load of laundry out of the dryer and another one in. Got us out the door. Got to work 2 hrs. later than planned. ;(

Varied between feeling productive and sick at work. The more people that come into that office, talking, taking up space, the worse I work. I couldn’t concentrate or complete any task as I wanted. It’s really frustrating, the way our office is set up.

J needs me to pick up starch, get my car washed, get cash for him to get a hair cut, and clean the house b/c his cousins may come over after the funeral tomorrow. You don’t need to ask yourself why he didn’t do any of these things (besides getting my car washed). There’s no good answer. I asked him if he cleaned anything before he left for work. He wasn’t feeling well. It’s honestly, always something. I do not have the energy or desire to aruge or bitch or anything. I feel like I’m dooming myself to fill this role I don’t want, but can’t figure out how to effectively escape. I’m coping with it (to an extent) but I don’t really want to be. I want to be rid of it.  It’s frustrating.

Like my job. I feel like I’m stuck in a position that I don’t want -at all, and don’t know how to navigate my way elsewhere. Everything seems like an equally bad and good idea. I know far away things I want and have no clue what to begin to get there. I have fear that I can’t get there, or they don’t really exist, or that the things I want are bad or wrong.

That’s my whole problem right now, I don’t know how to navigate elsewhere, from all the places I don’t want to be, I don’t know what to do next, where to look, where to move, what to seek. And I have fear. That’s the kicker.

The only thing I can think is that this is still about trust. I feel like my internal clockwork is all stuck. I don’t know how to implement anything beyond the prayer “help”. So, “help“. I have no compass right now. I’m frustrated.  I don’t want to give up. What is it I need to let go of? What am I clinging to? What am I clogging this up with? Is it fear? Is fear the whole problem (again?).  Please, help. I don’t want to be here forever. I don’t want to be afraid. Or miserable. Or stuck. Help.

Posted on: May 12, 2010

I’m having a hard time writing. I’m having a hard time being consistent, with anything…as soon as I think I’ve got something somehow in my grasp, it’s gone again…I know there’s just something I’m not “getting” right now, or I wouldn’t still be here. It’s too loud in my world, too busy, too demanding, too needy, to insistent, too anxious, too critical, too lonely, too frustrating, too scary, too perpetually unhappy…

some of it’s me, some of it’s around me, all of it’s affecting me to the point that I’m not living how I want to live.

unfortunately, I’m too foggy in my head to clearly know and go for and seek and pray for what would work, what I want. I don’t know, I don’t know. It’s too much and I don’t know how to get where I need to get, be how I need to be.

it’s little things…that don’t take much effort, but feel so insurmountable, so draining. It’s ridiculous. Everytime I think of making strides, I just feel defeated. This is not good. That’s why I’m writing, to get the thoughts out (as shitty as they may be). I need a plan. I just don’t know what for, or what of…

I just feel so strange, a bad strange…eerie kind of familiar unwanted strange…

Everytime I make a plan, I break it. I obviously set my standards too high, or my efforts too low…

so i need an easy plan. an easy plan. go to bed at a decent time. set alarm. get up. pray. workout or write. wake natalie. fix and eat breakfast/coffee. make a to do list for the day. get us ready. give her a warning 5 min before leaving. drop her off. get to office, with coffee. start working on to do list.

that’s my plan, to get me to 9 am. I am not going to bed at a decent hour. see, already an issue. so subtract that for now. i’ll get up at 6:30. Is two hours enough time? We’ll see. Honestly, this is not much different than most mornings. except a few things. we’ll see if those few things are really big things. i guess that’s where I start. with myself, my day, my morning. you have to start somewhere, right? this is what I would suggest to someone else who sounded so down and clueless.

good night. update tomorrow. or not. we’ll see.

Growing up in a Christian church, there was always a lot of talk about putting God first, making God a priority, and about denying ourselves our “selfish desires”. I think these two things contradict themselves for someone who has accepted the love of God into their lives. If now, God lives in me as love, and God created me, then wouldn’t one of the best ways to get in touch with God be to get in touch with myself? To explore my desires, to indulge the things that pull at my heart and spirit? If God lives in us, then wouldn’t listening to our selves be listening to God? To do this, wouldn’t it take tuning out everything else at times, or most of the time? Shouldn’t we, with God in us, be the priority in our lives, with all other things coming after? If I can not hear myself, can not mend myself, can not refresh myself, can not address my needs, can not engage in the things that press on my God- designed, God-entwined heart, can not touch base with God within myself then how can anything else I do be in tune with God, how can I touch base with God anywhere outside of myself? But the church taught me for so long to deny myself, that it’s taken me years to understand that this was incomplete information, it was the beginning of a lesson that no one bothered to follow up on. I’m realizing that the things I do that perhaps no one else in the whole entire world (or my whole entire world) seems to agree with, but rests well on my heart, always serves me better than following anyone else’s guidelines for “the right thing”. Because my relationship with God is about me. Not anyone else (not even the church). Everyone else has to settle what they have to settle between God and themselves. I have to trust that God is handling everything else, whatever I forsake to indulge in the movement. Moving against the standards  set up by those around me is moving in faith. Even if it’s moving against the standards of the (imperfect, human run, though- most- likely- well intentioned) church. I have to trust that whatever time I spend with God, forsaking all else, will make me a better person for all else. And I have to spend time evaluating everything, sans the world- what’s working, what’s not, what have I learned, what do I need, etc. More time, just God and I. While, in the church, quiet time or devotions are encouraged, I’ve found that they are encouraged within the realm of the world – that you don’t dare disrupt any of the worlds in which you reside.  Christianity seems to expect you to tread so lightly in every realm of your life that you are constantly tangled up in the world and it’s expectations. Yes, by acting in and with love, we can honor God in anything we do…but when we’re suffocated by the standards and expectations of everyone around us, we are ineffective. Why isn’t this a constant conversation in the church?

Sometimes, I feel like the Christian church perpetually teaches the remedial version of faith, never moving forward, always waiting for everyone in their midst to grasp the basics of the religion, before they really get into the abstract parts. While anyone can gain from reviewing the basics, what do you do when it’s time to start applying the basics? Where’s the person talking about how sometimes, to put God first, you literally have to forsake all others: you have to stop working, ignore your boss, your job, your church, your parents, your spouse, your children, your debts, your home, your pets, your friends, your government, your responsibilities, everything: every standard, every rule, every expectation , all of it being worldly, and subject to seperating you from God, even with the best intentions.  And you have trust that God will take care of everything while you sit alone with God, with yourself, for however long is necessary, while you move where ever you are moved.

Who’s going to talk about how this may not necessarily be one big event or moment in your life, but that it may be a daily thing, a weekly thing, a seasonal thing? Why am I wondering if I’m the only person in the world who is in this place, who’s been here? Sure, someone’s read me a verse that says, you must forsake all others and follow Christ. Sure, someone will say that if the world hates you, it’s okay, because Christ has overcome the world. Great. Two sentences. Why aren’t we talking about what this looks like, how this feels, in real life?   Where’s the incessant discussion regarding this (instead of, perhaps, homosexuality- or something equally less important to our spiritual growth)? Why aren’t we evolving as spiritual beings? Why do we only expect people to be able to spout out Sunday School answers?   Where’s the discussion on the individuality of faith, of spiritual growth? Why do we all expect it to look the same on everyone? Why is the church afraid of getting messy with faith? Why does the church rely on black and white so much, why is it so fearful of all the gray that is the individual application of faith? Why do the standards of Christians get more specific than love God, love one another? Are Christians that dense that we need someone to give us rules beyond love to live by? The church is so wrapped up in setting and applying it’s own standards for faith in the world, that it has become part of the world that one must ignore to really hear God. Are the structures of the church impeding the growth of the church in regards to allowing and encouraging members to evolve spiritually?

Oh, people are good at saying they know faith is individual, but the actions of the Christian church do not support this. It supports conformity far more than it supports growth outside of conformity. It seems to have so low an expectation for it’s community of believers that it simplifies everything to boxes and lists and categories to keep from confusing anyone. It is a social and political organization, as well as a religious one, and it’s rare to find a church were you can escape these undertones and overtones.  Not to say I dismiss the potential and positive impact of being part of a church community, because I do believe people can benefit from being part of a group of people who care about you and care about others as well. I think church is, overall, a good thing to be part of. I just wonder, is there too much teaching in churches and too little discussion and application when it comes to the intangibles? It’s great that someone has studied the Bible and public speaking and can “teach me” about the Bible, and I gather good info and insight through sermons most of the time, and if nothing else, it gives me a chance to sit in one place, quiet, for an hour with others who are doing the same…it serves me well, no doubt. But when do we come together to discuss it? Bible study and Sunday School are another hour of the basics being taught with little opportunity for discussion beyond more basic answers….it’s like we’ve got everyone on the short bus of faith, perpetually. Shouldn’t we expect more from ourselves, from each other? Shouldn’t we be going deeper on a regular basis? Shouldn’t we be experimenting with love and faith and hope and joy and forgiveness  and then evaluating the results as some kind of community? Shouldn’t we be sharing more? Shouldn’t we be getting messier with our faith amongst one another (and in the world as a whole)?

I want to talk  in church, with my church families. I want discussions. Group discussions. Where we push ourselves and each other, where we get uncomfortable, where we question, where we discuss personal applications of faith, where we get confused and frustrated and show one another grace and mercy, where we seek answers, where we share insight, where we agree to disagree, where we intersect among our spiritual journeys, share stories, gather resources and reserves, where we let go of the standards of the world, of our worlds, where we evolve and move…where we practice among each other what we hope to practice outside of the church…unconditional love…

I’m so tired of feeling like I’m trapped in remedial classes every time I’m in church. As much as I love the people in the church, sometimes it’s like I’m suffocating;  we can’t keep breathing the same air over and over without it eventually becoming toxic. We’ve got to open up the doors, the windows, the emergecy exit- something. Come on guys. We’re capable of more, we should expect more, we should grow more.

We’ve got to do something, it’s getting crowded on the short bus and everybody’s laughing at us.

Disclaimer: I have not and do not laugh at those who ride short buses, nor do I condone such behavior. I just found it to be a fitting methaphor.