My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for the ‘Thoughts and Questions’ Category

Sometimes, I think about the blessings I have and I don’t understand. Material things that I don’t necessarily want or need. And then there are these other intangible things that I do want or need. And I feel guilty because I still have so much more than so many others. And I feel sad because I would give up so much to just have the things I really want.

I feel like I should be happy with what I have and do something good and cherish it all, because they are certain blessings.

And I feel like I should be working towards being the person who has what they really want. I have to keep the faith. I have to fake it til I make it, I suppose.

And I have this fear, underneath these other things…that the thing I crave the most is something I am not ready for, something I would mess up if I had it…

so I’m thinking, I should work towards keeping it, even though I don’t have it…I have to believe in the timing, the cosmic timing of it.

I am hungry and tired. Why do I feel that way so much?

My perspective is off this weekend. I feel this weird sort of feeling. I need someone to bounce it off of. I need that thing I always need. I just want to know that everything’s okay.

I guess I’ll just believe it is.

Sometimes, that means moving through the motions of a life, of a day, with my mind and heart far away. As if all of this life is just moonlighting for the real deal that seems just right beyond my grasp, that I get the smallest taste of every once in a while. (the sweetest taste. my most favorite thing. a moment that makes everything else fade away and…it’s too much to write even…)

And regret…regret is useless but tempting. As if it could change anything. Particularly anything a decade old. All I can do is trust this road that has managed to…to allow me some hope and prepare myself for the life I want…there must be a purpose in the blessings, the needs, the moments, the struggle. There’s got to be a purpose in the struggle.

I’m all stirred up and haven’t been able to pour it into anything yet (or onto anyone yet).

 

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musing

Posted on: June 20, 2011

Sometimes it hits me hard, quick and hard, what I know about people’s lives now. That I know there are children that were systematically sexually and emotionally abused by their families. Children pimped out by their mothers for drugs. Children tied up in sheds fed like dogs. These sound like news stories, but the thing about news stories is they are real. This is real. I have met these people. I have sat across from them, hugged them, driven them places in my car, laughed with them, seen their constant struggles and frustrations and disappointments and confusions. Their sadness, their underlying hurt and doubt and fear and anger. And I can’t go back and make sure that someone held them and took care of them and made them laugh and feel safe. Like children should.

Heartbreaking is not the word. It hurts my soul. It’s just there are so many ways to be lucky, to be blessed, to be wealthy. And there are so many ways to be poor. Most of us are a little of both. Rich in some things, poor in others. They don’t cancel one another out.

I just hate, really hate, what some people are robbed of. And I just really want to see us all taking care of one another. To be connected…I can’t pinpoint it right now, but it makes a difference.

 

 

Purgatory

Posted on: May 18, 2011

Sometimes, there is just this restlessness. I don’t know what to do with it. I feel antsy and trapped. I feel like I can never really breathe, like I’m waiting for something…something to set me free. I feel like I have no place to be. I feel groundless, but not in a way that is okay.

I feel like I’m just biding my time until I can do what I’m really supposed to be doing. Nothing fits, nothing feels right, there is an unrest. I don’t know what to do with that, where to go with that. It unravels me. It makes me feel not okay with no rhyme or reason to why, or what, or how. I feel like there is something upon me that I need to shake off and I’m too apprehensive to do this, too fearful of the repercussions. Fearful maybe that I will shake the wrong thing off? Or do it the wrong way, at the wrong time? I don’t know, I just don’t feel well.

Part of me wants to crawl into bed and call in sick (from my whole entire life) but the other part of me is pushing me to keep trying to figure this out.

I’m afraid it will end with me breaking down in a parking lot somewhere.

Maybe that’s what I’m supposed to do?

And I don’t know why I have to write it out, I don’t know why I have to post it. But I do. Ridiculous.

So, I’ve seen this  link passed around, where a doctor states that our problem as a country is not that we need health care reform, but that we have a culture crisis of people that think “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. He then follows that up with “life is really not that hard”. That line in and of itself reveals a good bit about the person behind this. Anyone who has the naivete to say this should not be patted on the back for spouting off his short sighted opinions. Not to mention there are plenty of explanations as to why someone on Medicaid has a cell phone (with, god forbid, an R&B ring tone) or new tennis shoes but can not afford their own health insurance.

First of all, a cell phone is no longer a luxury (and a ring tone is like $2.99, and who knows, maybe that song keeps the person’s spirits up, all for $2.99). Many people only have cell phones and do not have home phones. If you expect someone to orchestrate getting a job, childcare, and schooling, they need a phone to do so. Especially if they don’t have a car. Tennis shoes are also not a luxury. You have absolutely no idea what someone spent on their shoes, or if they were a gift. Nevertheless, shoes are a one time expense. Health insurance is expensive on a monthly basis (my cheap plan through work is 150$ a month for my daughter and I, without vision coverage), and not all jobs offer it, especially if you are working 2 part time jobs because neither company wants to pay benefits. Or if you make minimum wage ($7.25/hr) and live below the poverty line raising children and can’t afford to have it taken out of your measly check.

And just shut up about things like people’s fake nails, cigarettes, and beer. We all have our vices or our little ways we treat ourselves. If you really think that that extra 20$ will make a huge dent in their financial situation, you have no idea what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck your entire life, so just stop running your mouth. It’s important for our mental and emotional health as human beings (that’s right, people on welfare are human beings too) to do things to take care of ourselves and to have an indulgence or something that we enjoy or relieves stress for us. (Not that I think smoking is a great choice, but it could be worse).You can’t walk a tightrope all the time, even if the more fortunate think you should (because, by being poor, you’ve proven that you don’t deserve any of these things apparently).

Now beyond that, it still appalls me that there are people who don’t believe that health care is something we all have a right to have (like public education) and that it’s okay that it’s for-profit (unlike a public education, why is this okay?). That people think it should be earned, as if not everyone is worthy or worth health care (and as if it is not completely detrimental to our society to have people without health care). And that if you get help, you are relinquishing your rights to live as you want and you are opening your life to constant scrutiny, as if by accepting help, you have sold yourself to any and all taxpayers (even if you are also a taxpayer). And beyond this, what about all those people that can’t qualify for Medicaid or regular insurance? Too bad, so sad?

It must be nice to have your life so put together and unaffected by any misfortune that you can’t buy your way out of that you’ve got nothing else to do but criticize other people’s.

The fact that we have masses and masses of people with no apparent understanding of the concept of being part of a community, a society, a connected group of people whose well-being depends upon all others within that group is a culture crisis.

Guess what? The more poor, homeless, sick, needy people you have in your community, the worse off your community is. Walking around grunting about “your money” won’t improve your society. You being well-off does not benefit your society unless you utilize your resources to benefit your community. And guess what? You’ll only be safe in your little cocoon of “well-off” for so long before it all trickles up to you, or before you fall. At some point, the deterioration of your society will become a disadvantage to you. Is that the only time it matters?This is the culture crisis.

The problem is not that people think they can do nothing and have someone else take care of them, but that people can be so selfish, naive, and uninformed to think that’s really the case. Every group of people (race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, social class, etc) has a set of outliers that makes the whole group look bad, as the people that abuse the welfare system do for all those living below the poverty line. Why is it okay within our society to make such sweeping prejudice remarks and judgments about our fellow citizens? That is a culture crisis.

Oh, I know this is not the only group of people that are suffering from societal prejudice, as we all know there’s still ugly racism, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance running rampant all over this country. And there’s the rest of our culture crisis right there.

The fact that teens and children are committing suicide because they were bullied for being homosexual is a culture crisis. The fact that a “Christian” pastor was trying to lead a group of people to burn the Quran (and people were going to do it!) is a culture crisis. The fact that women are made to feel bad whether they are work or stay at home and dads are made to feel bad for staying home is a culture crisis. The fact that there is even an Arizona Immigration Bill SB1070 that people support is a culture crisis. The fact that we have people routinely believing sensationalized media stories that affect the way they treat others, act, and vote is a culture crisis. The fact that anyone believes socioeconomic status is an indicator of someone’s worth, including their own, is a culture crisis.  The fact that  the amount of millionaires in the U.S. rose while the amount of those living below the poverty line increased this year is a culture crisis. The fact that victims of sexual abuse have to validate that they weren’t “asking for it” is a culture crisis. The fact that in 1.5 million children are homeless in the U.S.  is a culture crisis. The fact that the U.S. has a grade D mental health system is a culture crisis.  These are culture crises. The fact that someone on Medicaid has new tennis shoes and an R&B ring tone on their cell phone is not a culture crisis. It’s actually none of your business.

I seriously hope that any of my friends or family that jump onto the kind of bandwagons that people like the doctor who wrote this little rant are driving are doing so due to lack of information, not because they are actually that selfish and naive. There is no way to grasp the full scope of someone’s life within one encounter and it’s an insult to your own intelligence to criticize the life or lifestyle decisions of someone you don’t even know.

If you don’t understand what’s so hard about becoming a U.S. citizen, then go find someone who’s trying to do this and stick with them through the whole process no matter how many years, setbacks, or roadblocks it takes. If you don’t understand how someone can need Medicaid and food stamps for an extended period of time, then get to know someone in that situation and watch them try to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and get to know the system that you’re criticizing- you may find yourself criticizing it for all new reasons. If you don’t understand how bullying could push someone to suicide, then find a group of people who hate you for what you are (white, tall, female, a dog lover, whatever) and let them spit hate speech at you on a daily basis. If you think people should not expose you to their religion, then don’t expose anyone to yours, ever, and if you slip up and mention something religious in a public place, I hope that everyone looks at you like you’re a terrorist.

Life is hard. You know what’s really not that hard though? Being a decent human being and caring about people are are different from you as if they were you or your loved ones (because you never know, one day it may be you or someone you love in a tough spot)- offering them compassion, tolerance, and support.

The fact that some people live differently than we do or make decisions we don’t agree with is not our culture crisis. The fact that we are a society that struggles with human decency and respect towards one another is.

Belief

Posted on: June 6, 2010

Sometimes, a lot of times, writing is the only thing that makes me feel powerful…it’s empowering…it’s active…I don’ t know why I just don’t write sometimes. I should write all the time, but it’s like there’s some block…not writers block, something else. And it’s not just with writing, there are the walls I hit, far too often that just knock me down, or that I just keep hitting my head against, over and over until I feel defeated. I don’t know how it happen, what it is, but it takes me down…anyways, I’m writing right now…

Do you ever feel like there is only one lesson you are ever really supposed to learn in your life, something that you keep coming back to, over and over in varying degrees? Belief is my lesson. I just know it.

I will not let anything steal my joy. I won’t. New decision. Our joy is our strength, so I won’t let it be stolen. Even as I write this, I am struggling to believe it, but I’m going to write it. Because writing is powerful.

“If you would just trust me, your whole life would be amazing…even the struggles would be adventures, opportunities, open doors…open your mind to more than the world, what the world says is good or bad or scary or sad…get beyond that, beyond people, even the people you love…they have their own lessons, their own journeys and all you can do is live your life the best way you know how, that’s the most help you can ever give, honestly…it really really is. I love you. I’m the mountain mover. Why don’t you believe me? Just believe me. It’s a beautiful world, it’s a beautiful life…you have to believe…and write even when you feel blocked. Don’t get discouraged when you feel exhausted, cloudy…just give it to me, just let it go. Just believe.”

I’m trying, I’m trying. Guide me Lord, I need you. I keep falling back into the same thoughts, the same habits, the same fears. I keep getting overwhelmed and exhausted. I’m not delving into your grace, into faith. I need help to be free from what holds me back. I need help with clarity. I need help with follow through. I need help living the best I can. I know I’m not right now. There’s too much negativity and anxiety for this to be the “best”, so please deliver me from the chains, help me please be free in you. Lift me when I fall, encourage me when I feel defeated, give me energy when I feel exhausted, grant me clarity when I feel confused, hope when I feel despair, strength when I feel weak, joy when I feel depressed, peace when I feel worried, please please help me. I can’t live with anxiety, exhaustion. I need your deliverance. I know there are life circumstances that I’ve been letting get the best of me- instead of seeking your magnificence, I’ve been fearful, anxious, confused, weary. I want to let that go, I’m letting that go. You are more, life is more. I can not live worried anymore. I have to let it go and believe you will guide me, you will show me the ways to go, you will make a way where there seems to be no way, so that’s it. No point in knotting myself up about it. You are in control, you have it all in your hands. I need to let it go. And the thing is, it’s everywhere…the things I fear, the anxiousness – it can be triggered anywhere I am, anytime of day or night, all thinking about money or the lack there of and what the world tells me that means, what the world says will happen, what the world thinks of that, how scared the world is of that and it makes me feel like I should be scared, like I should be freaking out all the time and like I should feel discouraged and defeated and I’ve been believing this crap. Please help me believe in miracles, in your miracles, not just water to wine kinds of things, but the miracle that is life outside of this earth, the miracle that is trust, that is belief, that is hope and joy. Lead me in these ways, in the ways of peace and in the powerful presence of everlasting hope and eternal love, redeeming, powerful thing that it is. May the things that bother me become convictions to seek you out, to delve into hope and belief, to pray for peace and guidance to move as you will have me move, to allow you to move as you will move, may my worries become convictions and my convictions become actions of faith…I want more than worry, I want more than the world…  Please, help me let it go…I love you.

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.

Why won’t you let me be magnificent? Why do you keep putting something worldly first? Why do you let other’s standards freak you out, hold you down? Why do you wake up dreading the day? Why aren’t you trusting me to take care of you? After all this time, you still worry…Why are you so trapped in this fear, this anxiety, this feeling that it’s up to you to hold it together? It’s not up to you. Why aren’t you following up when your muse visits you? Why are you so tired? Let it go. It’s okay if we’re here again, but ask yourself why… Why do you keep thinking the world rests on your shoulders? You’re free! Be Free! And start writing everything down. Even when it seems stupid. You have to write it out. And post it. Just do it. You will feel better. I’m sorry you’re so tired, so drawn, so worried. Let me be the standard. Let me take care of you, of everything. Stop worrying and beating yourself up. Nothing really matters anyways, besides you and I. Everywhere, there are you’s and I’s and those are the only things that matter. I promise.