Category Archives: Spirituality & Religion
So, yeah. I’ve had over a week now to reflect. Unfortunately, I could not quiet myself down for long enough to get back into that personal quiet place. I made an attempt here, at Stormy Reflections, but the boy was off from school at the time and I just didn’t get myself far back enough, or quiet enough. Right now, I’m at Starbucks, enjoying a Christmas coffee, with jazz playing in the background; but this snooty Asian girl is staring at me and I have no idea why. Is it the fact that my boobs remain unfettered and out on their own? Could it be that she is oogling my new nail design, or maybe that I tried out a new clear polish on just one nail? Holy Crap… I really like the wet, shiny finish of “Looks Wet” Ultra High Gloss Topcoat I just got at the Christmas Tree Shop…. Merry Christmas to me~! Who knows about this girl, but I really want to get into the topic, so I’ll just jump right in at probably the far left, but it’ll get me started…..
Last Sunday, I served as lector at our church and it was one of those times that you just know the Holy Spirit is right there with you. My heart burned. I feel the need to post the readings as I could never explain them.
1 Kings 17: 10 – 16
|10||So he arose and went to Zar’ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”|
|11||And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”|
|12||And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”|
|13||And Eli’jah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.|
|14||For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”|
|15||And she went and did as Eli’jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.|
|16||The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli’jah.|
Hebrews 9: 24 – 28
|24||For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.|
|25||Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the Holy Place yearly with blood not his own;|
|26||for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.|
|27||And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,|
|28||so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.|
Gospel: Mark 12: 38 – 44
|38||And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places|
|39||and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,|
|40||who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”|
|41||And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.|
|42||And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.|
|43||And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.|
|44||For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living.”|
It’s irregular of me to post scripture readings, but I found these resonated inside and I felt comfort and I felt shame at the same time. I was comforted because the scriptures were telling me that I could feel free to donate to hurricane victims, despite not having a whole hell of a lotta resources to support our family; and this is because the Lord will take care of us. The widows of the first reading and the Gospel gave all of themselves, to the point of true sacrifice, whereas the ones who donated from their surplus, were not truly feeling the loss, and so it was not really a sacrifice at all, and not heart-felt by them. I do have faith in that, but walking the tight rope is pretty scary and fear creeps right back in sometimes.
I feel shame because one of the days right after Hurricane Sandy blasted through, I was approached by a guy asking for money. I made a judgement that I know full well that I should not have made. This guy seemed to be lying to me and I refused to give him money. I never should have done that. I could have given him a dollar, even, but I didn’t. Whether he was lying or a drunk or a drug addict is between him and God and now, my refusal is also between ME and God. Living day to day has played havoc on me in a lot of ways and I’ve grown weaker when I should have been growing stronger all along. This is my shame. Also, I failed to set a good example to my kid. FAIL. Sigh, I just realized that. Holy Crud, I’ve been wracking my brain on how I could teach the little guy to be more giving and there it was right in front of me. At the time, though, I have to realize I was a little afraid to stop to talk to this guy with my son along with me. Elizabeth is not a very safe place, but I really should have trusted more in the Lord to take care of us. It’s gone… but maybe I can learn from this.
I have to look back at the hurricane, which was really nothing for us, and realize that whatever our inconvenience, was just that–an inconvenience. We did not lose anything but the food in our fridge. We had no heat, but we had hot water and gas to cook on top of the stove. Yes, I missed my internet. I felt so disconnected and isolated and it was a horrible feeling. My world literally stopped, paralyzed because we could not get any information about what was going on in our city and what was being done to fix the power problem. PSE&G continuously lied to us and I feel that if they were just truthful about the time frame, that I could have simply made plans to go stay with someone. The problem was that my dad in PA and my sister in Old Bridge, NJ. also did not have power, though my dad had a generator going. Then when the schools reopened, that was it for us and we had to stay here. Pathetic, right? I thought so when I was finally able to see pictures of our shoreline and how those people REALLY suffered and still are after losing their homes permanently, not just for ten days. Some of those people, at this writing, have still not been allowed back to their homes. I’m sure that whatever they have left is gone from mold now. All I can do is pray for them, for strength to be given to them to get through this. Gas lines? Sheesh, is nothing compared to what they are going through. I guess the only Americans who can really know what they are going through are the Katrina victims.
Okay, so I’ve still not managed to “get inside” myself to do proper reflection, but writing sure helps get thoughts out. DH and the boy were supposed to leave me alone today and I was planning on it, but those plans fell through. Sometimes things do not work out and we have to make the best of it. One thing I do know and that is that I am blessed. I have a family…. a family that I never thought I’d have and it has surpassed every hope and expectation. A loving husband and a very happy little seven year old. My spouse is my rock and my little boy shows me joy and happiness, and both accomplish this with a simplicity that boggles my mind.
Henri J. M. Nouwen wrote of the Wounded Healer. I am very much a “broken” spirit struggling every step through my life’s journey, which is why the quote below holds so much hope for me. I try to keep this in mind every day with the goal of serving the Lord in my brokenness. My comfort, my hope and my joy. I do believe wholeheartedly that God has a use for us. Imperfectly perfect. We will never be perfect, but I find comfort that I have the perfect place, as I am, in God’s Great Grand Plan for the world. So ironic that we all struggle, we all search for our purpose. Do we ever realize that we need not really search for anything. “It”, our purpose, will find us at the right time.
“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing
from God as my successes and my talents,
and I lay both of them at His feet.”
I am very much drawn to one of my favorite hymns this week, “The Cry of the Poor.” In this haunting melody you meet the burning need of the poor face to face.
Today I attended the 2012 Catechist Convocation at the Paramus Catholic Regional High School in New Jersey. Whew, that was a mouthful! Usually, I’m alone for most of the day during these things and my schedule today left me free from any workshops from after the opening ceremony, ending at 9:30am, to my scheduled lunch then my first workshop starting at 12:45pm. Basically, I was left to my own devices most of the morning. I spent some time browsing the “exhibits”, but I shall call them vendors. I pretty much spent almost all the money I had on a book about my favorite author entitled, “Genius Born of Anguish~ The Life and Legacy of Henri Nouwen” and a car bumper sticker that reads: Abortion stops a beating heart. Yeah, the book took up 98% of the money I brought. Normally, I would’ve gotten something for the current RCIA class but there is no class currently in the works. Thanks to Cyndi for teaching me the proper “etiquette” for these things. The first time I attended, she got me a booklet and cards for our then class. Well, after that purchase I headed outside and got halfway around the building, and found a nice gazebo to sit a spell and start this book. The weather was really nice and stayed there a while until the groundsmen came around with their leave blowers and drenched me full of diesel fuel or whatever they throw in those things…. yuk!
I also attended two workshops:
- Be An Evangelizing Catechist
- One Body in Christ: Sacrament Preparation & Participation in Liturgy for Individuals with Autism
That’s one bitch’in title and I had to write that whole thing when I took the survey with my opinions on the classes. The first one really focused on the CCD kids. Some really great ideas for teaching kids and inviting the parents to get involved. I really enjoyed that class for the ideas, but I spent the whole time getting up and down to get my handouts, which were one after the other the whole hour fifteen minutes. The up side is that I have the actual handouts to give to the school, and I’m going to make sure I do some of this stuff with Gabe at home. I think I’ll work on a separate post for that…. Heck, maybe while this Frankenstorm comes through.
The second workshop focused on providing an effective education for, as it says, Individuals with Autism. This is near and dear to my heart and I took this workshop with Gabe in mind, hoping I could bring some of this home. My second hope is to try and get the church to develop a program for the autistic student, both children and adults. Not sure how it will go over, but this is SO important and would go a long way with families who are not yet advocating for their autistic child for whatever reason. While I didn’t really hear anything new about autism in this class, I found it helpful, though I do wish the speaker was more prepared. She spent most of the time fiddling with her electronics and getting them to work. We did not go over all the material she had for the class and that was a downer. It was a major distraction, all the while I was thinking about the previous instructor telling us we should be well prepared with our lesson before the children walked into the class…. priceless!
Well, getting to the inspiration of my post. I’m sitting in the cafeteria eating my lunch at 11:15am and I realize that I don’t have any money to buy more water. The lunch people were very specific as to what we could take: ONE sandwich, ONE packet mustard or ONE packet mayonnaise, ONE drink, ONE bag of two Oreo cookies and ONE half-bag of chips. I’ve been guzzling water lately like an elephant and all I had right there was a 16.9 oz. bottle of Snapple Spring Water which was to last me the entire rest of the day. Snort…. I’m sitting there knowing that will never happen. So I sat there, counting the minutes till I could get home for a nice frigid cold glass of water …. (glugg… glugg…) I’m thinking that the fountain water was not too bad of a tasting water. I sat there knitting (yes, I brought my knitting and knit through the whole opening ceremony and keynote speech, though I wasn’t actually there for the speech as I was stifling hot and couldn’t wait to get out of the auditorium. Let me just say that God most certainly works in His own way and in His own time. Whenever or however, He knows what you need and exactly when you need it. Just before I got myself ready to leave the cafeteria, my friend from our parish came out of nowhere and offered me her 16.9 oz. of cold water, unequivocally stating she was not going to drink it. I accepted her offer with such gratitude that even that completely overwhelmed me. It was all I could do not to tear up, there. She really had no clue of my dilemma, yet she handed it over just when I was going through my options. Even after I finished her bottle, I refilled it with water from the bathroom because that water was colder than the water in the drinking fountain. It had a distinctly chlorine taste but I told myself that it was sanitized… ugh. That bottle, though, kept my tongue from drying onto the roof of my mouth and my lips moist and separated during my two workshops. Oh well, not a life and death situation, but God certainly has looked out for me in many ways and many, many times.
Well I’ve had an interesting two days this week. I had made the excruciating decision to redeem a CD that my father had given me years ago. His intention was for me to keep it as a nest egg, hopefully for my retirement.
Let’s give a little background. When our son came into our lives, I had tried to stay at my then employer, who shall remain nameless. You know who you are. The Drake had taken FMLA and I had spoken to my employer to see if I could work part time. The lab location was open until late and they had seemed receptive to the idea and my supervisor was going to see what she could do. It was a very busy place, always bustling with work. I was a typist and there were always tons of reports to type up. Well, they kept me working for the three months that hubby was home, and the very last day before he went back to his own job, they told me it couldn’t be done. To be honest, I felt they took advantage of me… Water under the bridge now. I stayed home with Little Drake full time and I loved it. I never made any bones about the fact that I love to be home and not beholden to any employer, most of which do not value their employees beyond their own profitable interests. When I worked, I was an honest and steadfastly loyal employee who was industrious and cared a LOT about the quality of my work. Seriously, I could be left alone in the place and be relied upon to do my work and not drift off into personal stuff. I was trusted and I felt very comfortable being a company person, looking out for their interests when considering my own. I liked it that way….. Times have changed.
So, it was for three years. I had gotten a part time cashier job at a major food store, but hubby’s work schedule was totally erratic. His boss would make him work overtime without any notice and meantime, I was on a work schedule, too. His salary was way greater than mine, so his job was our priority. I really didn’t mind that, but the old loyalty card was rearing it’s head. I became uncomfortable calling out of my shift, AND I thought it was wrong, so eventually, I gave notice. When Little Drake started preschool, I looked for a job, mainly at the poking and prodding of hubby. It’s his belief that I need a job to be happy with myself. I love him dearly, but he has no clue. I did have more free time and I started looking, but it was half-heartedly. Ironically enough though, after two years of looking, with no prospects and a failing financial system, I recognize that I really need to get back to work. (queue parting of the clouds and angels singing ‘Hallelujah’) Circumstances dictate it. My beloved drake has been out of work for over a year and became a full time student in order to complete his degree and start teaching math to high schoolers. Ambitious, yes? We had been doing fine, but now resources are dwindling. The unemployment is not reliable either, with weeks when he’s told by the automatic machine clerk that he will not get a check, BUT will receive a credit. Oh yeah… um the rent is due every month, in cash, not credits… sigh. So, in order to keep his pension in tact, I decided to redeem this one and only nest egg that I have to do my part and help out the family. My intention is to pay off my credit card, not a real big problem but hubby cannot make these payments for me any longer. I will also rectify an ongoing situation of my cell phone being on hold… but still receiving bills. Yeah, I’m reALLY looking forward to that call. I digress. My intention was also that we will have a very nice cushion that will secure our rent should all else fail. I should mention that hubby has exhausted avenues available to him.
Did I mention that this was a really difficult decision for me to make? Yeah. Well, I made it with the condition that I would not tell my father what I did. Yeah. I’m a terrible liar, but I’m great at just not mentioning things like bank visits before visiting him at his house. The bank is close by his house in PA, so I thought it would be a good time for a visit, too, mostly because he was alone this week, too. Everything was working perfectly. We left early, got to the bank, redeemed CD. My bank was conveniently right up the street, went there and deposited money. Now on to my dad’s house. eeeek! Am I going the right way on 209? Should it be 209 North or 209 South??? Oh, cripes, had to call my dad for directions:
Me: “Hi Dad, if I take 209 to your house, which way do I have to go, north or south?”
Dad: “Where are you?”
Me: “Um… in Strausburg.”
(a little silence)
Dad: “If you’re in Strausburg, you need to go north.”
Me: “Thanks, Dad… see you in a little while.”……. click.
I thought I handled that pretty well. We get to my dad’s house and he didn’t ask anything. r-e-l-a-x. Okay, so we settle down and I go to take out my knitting project, the Clapotis in Madil Yarn’s Eden Print 100% bamboo, and it was nowhere to be found. p-a-n-i-c. Instantly, I knew I left it at the bank. I had only one bag with me….have to get back there…. sigh. So, I asked my dad if he wanted to come for a ride. I figure this would be a good time to tell him. We drove all the way there and I still had not opened the subject. I meant to. So, we get there, I get my project, and we head back to home, but make a stop at Food Town. Dad did some shopping, now heading back to the house, another 40 minute drive or so. He’s talking, I’m balking. Finally HE brings it up and asks if the reason I was at the bank was to redeem the CD. I said, “yeeeeeaaaaah”, with lingering resignation. He was understanding. Immediately launched into reciting my very planned out plans on how I was handling the money, ending with the promise that when I find a job, whatever was still in my bank account was going to be put into “something” and I was going to be responsible about it. I detailed everything that hubby had already done on his end to secure funds….and seriously, I feel as if I contributed nothing on my end… Well, that’s not true. I did cash in my gold and silver jewelry for money. I did not regret that, but I do miss one gold chain that I used for almost every pendant I had. Now I use my silver box chain for everything, gold, silver, whatever.
So, we get back home today to a message from the college that the Drake’s classes will be forfeited if he doesn’t pay in full by (today). Remember that unemployment check? Well, after not coming, then being promised, we waited and received it only a day or so ago and it still has not cleared. Guess what my first spenditure was. Yep, for school the Drake’s butt got saved. I am not even going to say how much it was, but my sense of security was immediately broken not even five minutes after our arrival back home. I definitely am one of those people who literally repel money. We went to the school and I gave them a large chunk of my nest egg. The Drake is definitely worth it, but it scared me. I’m very glad to say, however, that I’d do it again…. and it would still scare me.
There’s more to the story as evidenced by the “God’s Eye” and the title of this post. God is constantly working in and through our lives. There, behind my own eye, is the constant, pesky at times, thought that God will provide and make everything alright. Maybe not as “alright” as I would personally have it, but I just know that we will get through this and that we are not alone in this. We will emerge with scars etched into our skins and forever into our souls. We will use this experience. We will make it a positive. We will gain more compassion when dealing with our fellow human beings, and yes, even when dealing with credit card company employees trying to do their job by calling past due accounts at all hours of the day… (they DO have jobs, though, you know). I’ve got to say that when I finally spoke with them (yes, I was screening my calls for about a month), I had a good experience. The Indian gentleman I spoke to was compassionate and I do very much appreciate that. Of course he wanted a commitment and a check no. and when I’d be able to make a payment, but understood (well, he really had to) when I laughed and reminded him that I had no money.
More importantly, I will remember. I will remember this experience when confronted with the anger, resentment and frustration of people who can’t seem to get a break. I have a neighbor who, it seems, walks around with a lot of anger and prejudice. I don’t like interacting with that woman and avoid it at all costs. Well honestly, I viewed myself (albeit briefly) as someone who had worked for her whole life, was a good girl, paid her taxes, and now in need of assistance. Friends, believe me when I say, I am looking for all sorts of assistance. It’s survival for us. At times, I too, wake up feeling angry, resentment and frustration. What makes the difference for me is that my feelings of insecurity, my anger, my frustration all subside when I am reminded that God is looking out for us; and believe me, he takes the opportunity to let me know. He is here and available for me, no matter what time of day. We are blessed.
Lord, I pray that those who are jobless take heart, and find the courage to persevere during these hard economic times, by strengthening their relationshiop with God through prayer and service to others. Amen.
Today I had to write about something that happens all too frequently around here. Have you ever been in a social situation with your partner, when you glance at them and a “feeling” comes over you too suddenly? I mean in a certain place and situation where there is no chance in hell of doing more than look longingly at them?
This happens to me when we are attending MASS of all things! We are R.Catholic. We go to church, attend mass, receive the Eucharist. It’s supposed to be just you and God, that’s it. Somehow unbidden, I desire to connect with My hubby, the Drake, as all my old readers know him as. So, this post will be my attempt at poking and prodding at this phenomenon and see where it leads…. probably nowhere special because I just can’t seem to concentrate and the moment is over, at least for today. I really should attempt this earlier in the day and not late at night, or sleep deprived.
May I first say that at these times, I feel more tenderness towards my love-guy than at any other time… I mean, ANY other time! So, this wave washes over me right in the middle and when we give the sign of peace, we usually give each other a peck on the lips… which I was really temped, but we were pretty much sitting up front, so wasn’t going to go there… sigh… I felt a rush of longing as if I was watching him from 1000 miles away; yet I was sitting right next to him. I sat there, gazing at him feeling so proud to be his wife. So grateful for him in my life. I know that sounds corny, especially to the young, but I don’t care. Humph… the young. What do they know? They experience feelings, allow themselves to experiment with their bodies, then believe they are experts, “worldly” beings. Let me tell you something. A-G-E has a LOT to do with it. I don’t care if you think you’re an expert by the time you’re twenty-one because of whatever you have done…. you are not. You still have a young, innocent, naive, heart and mind. Age gives you the objectivity to examine your feelings and emotions without getting crazy (in the subjective). Age allows you that third party advantage… well heck, I’m 47, but figure when you get to 50 you’re already the age of two 25 year olds combined.
But you know, there are other times I unexpectedly feel the same way. Almost always when I observe him playing, interacting with our 3 year old boy. I melt all over… I just get the urge to make more of his children. ha… I’m 47 now, so I am trying not to go there while I’m still ovulating. I often wonder when this “change” that women are always talking about will come over ME. For the longest time I believed that I could not have children, now I’m hoping that I won’t get pregnant again. That’s so selfish of me. I really do wish that my little guy could have a brother or sister, but then it always comes back to the age thing… I really don’t want to be an older mother than I already am.
Getting back to getting the hots in church…. wow. If there is a place that discourages that sort of thing with only the air within, I’d like to know about it. But what was that wave really? Was it really the urge to commit a cardinal sin… but it would be with my lawfully wedded husband, so would that make it a cardinal sin… or any sin? I suppose so…. Man, don’t let me lead you to believe that I would actually have sex in church… geez, NO… Don’t forget you are entrapped in my brain, and these are my musings just at the moment.
So. Was it lust, love, tenderness…. bliss? All of the above because that overwhelming feeling of tenderness can definitely lead to lust… and of course, enhances the love… at least for the moment. I sort of get transported into the air… definitely a floating, blissful feeling. I’ll just float on in to lay next to my hubby… wonderful things might happen!
I must stop! Stop a busy, frantic, cluttered life to write. Remember me? I am a writer, though I am not a good hunter or gatherer of my own thoughts. I’ve had so many these past few weeks, and I’ve not laid a single one of them down. What was I thinking? I am painfully aware that my memory is lacking. So enough procrastinating. The topic of this post will be my interaction, or maybe more aptly, my collision with people who have chosen a child-free lifestyle. I will try to summarize what happened.
I belong to several forums. While at one of them, I went into a “childfree by choice” group because I was curious about them after hearing other chit chat about them. I hung out there for a couple of days, then got involved with helping out the mod with her banner. While around the group, I made some comments and got in trouble by asking a question, getting straight to the point.. well more of a-thought-came-to-my-head-and-I-posted-it. Never thought I’d get the reaction I did. I don’t want describe it in such a way as to intentionally leave myself in a good light, so I’ll just say it. Oh, this is not for you to judge, just some of DragonMommie’s rumbling and grumbling. I am quoting myself, but not the responses I got because I don’t think it’s appropriate to do so without their consent, so here goes. This was my post:
“I’ll just say first that I do have a child. As a mother, I’d like to say that I’d rather see you ladies choose not to have kids than a women who would get pregnant then have an abortion.
“Oh, maybe I spoke too soon… is abortion part of what your choice is? Understand I’m not trying to be sarcastic, but wondering if I misspoke to begin with.”
As you can see, I indeed, put my foot in it. One person really went off on me for “assuming” that abortion was a “primary” mode of birth control. In general, the reaction was negative and everyone thought that my post was assuming. One mod said that their reaction was severe because they are constantly being pushed into the position of defending themselves, and I can understand that; but this generated roughly 36 posts, with one wondering what I was doing there, because they were not looking for a parent’s perspective, yet they state that everyone is welcome in the group.
This is my second post, after an irate response or two:
“I didn’t mean to offend anyone… and that was an honest question. Understand that I’m an outsider here and making an assumption is part of trying to learn more about the women in this group. It’s an assumption I made because, well, a LOT of women are having them, whether they make that decision (to have an abortion) because they want to remain child-free as their chosen lifestyle like you women have, or just got “caught”.
“As you can see by my original post, I am guessing at what exactly a woman who has made your choice of not having children does to stay child free. I can also assume that you (or anyone) will practice abstinence, or use condoms, the pill or whatever. Again, I know that I’m an outsider here, but since I was here, I wanted to LEARN more about you as a group so that I don’t have to make assumptions.
“Again, sorry. I certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone. Also, I am sorry if I am not explaining myself clearly.”
It was after this post, I was basically told to lurk and learn. Ask questions, listen to answers, and that I was making up the answers first, before asking questions. I wrote this last post before I left:
“Some of you are pretty touchy for me. I just came in here to see if what other threads were saying were true. I realize that, as a group, you’ve been judged harshly and that has definitely left scars. If you had really taken the time to read my post, to see what the idea was behind it, you would have seen that, even in my ignorance, I meant no malice.
“I’ll give you a present and never come into this group again. Hope you don’t treat all your guests this way.”
Needless to say, they took exception to this post. They made some assumptions as well. Like they assumed that my post was acusing them of using abortion as a primary means of birth control. I was accused of flaming everyone, then they all flamed me. I did correspond with a mod, privately, and we had some decent conversations and she helped me understand “childfree” as opposed to being “childless“. Unfortunately, we could not come to an agreement, and agreed to disagree. The thing that struck me was that all the other people in the group were congratulated on being “respectful” after they fell all over my post, yet they seemed to be as like a pack of wolves. I quickly dropped out of there and was accused of not taking responsibility for my comments, though I did post that my question was an honest one and not meant to be disrespectful. It seemed as if there was a cement wall erected and nothing I was going to say was going to have any effect, so I removed my presence. Someone said that it would have been better to stalk the group and read the hundreds of posts already in there to “get the feel” of the group before I plunged in with the reference to abortion. Now, I don’t have time to read hundreds of posts. I do not have the luxury of t-i-m-e, period. I guess that is something they will never understand. One minute stolen here and there could never compare to the luxury of having the whole night, every night, to yourself. It is a group and the people are there to talk. I mean, they had no qualms about airing their own views about parents and kids, in general…
not all hardly positive. I guess that’s their perogative, but when you are officially welcoming guests to comment, be prepared for some of it not to be all polished and to your liking.
I do agree that maybe I got in too deep before I got the chance to know the people, but I wasn’t going to be there for long as it really is not my interest…. but.
Here is the but. I thought that I shared that perspective, to a point, because I spent 43 years without children. Yes, I know that I was childless” and not childfree, courtesy of the mod there… but I DO know what it’s like to have friends and family with children and feeling like the outsider because I did not have kids. That is the whole premise of this group. I’ve also substituted pets for children. I know what it’s like to have a mother tell me those infamous words, “You will never understand until you become a mother”. Yes, I’ve been the brunt of that one, too. See, though… and this is the thing that I could never say there, hence the motivation to write this post. That statement is true. So many realizations have been zooming in to hit me on the head ever since my Little Drake was born. And it’s NOT about that famous inborn instinct that mothers are supposed to have (and we do). Well, what that “instinct” is born of, is the stresses we experience just trying to keep our babies alive. This instinct. How else can you possibly explain why a mother knows her own child’s cry? It’s a biological connection, and not something we made up. Here is something to think about. I remember when I was childless that when I was in the company of my niece and nephew, I looked at them as being separate from me… I did not have the responsibility for keeping them safe. Oh, I would have protected them if I had to, but it was not MY responsibility. I did not have that radar that scans the big picture, the stairs, the flame on the stove, the exposed electrical outlets, the cords and wires, the too hot, the too cold… you get it? Now, wherever I am with my son, I have that radar constantly scanning our environment for obstacles…. anything dangerous. When I am walking with him, my hand is always there, protecting his head against the walls, the corners of the counter. My hands are always there, at the ever ready to catch him when he falls… and that happens a lot. This, I did not have when I was without children. I have to laugh now, because I was seriously offended back then; but now I know it to be true.
Another thing I did not have when childless was the turmoil inside about what kind of a parent I am. I am constantly analyzing my interaction with my son because I want to be a good parent. People without children don’t understand this is going on. How could they? Could they understand that? Would they trivialize it? Would they call me crazy or being just plaiin, “too much”? And, DAMN YES, I’m jealous of all the free time you have. Of the self-centered lifestyle…. meaning, the live-for-myself-lifestyle. I had it. I loved it. Now I miss it, in a selfish kind of way. I want it back! But, I too, have made my choice. In the back of my head, I know that this is what I want, and that the selfish side of me wants my own life back. So what do I do? I steal moments for myself throughout the day. It feels selfish… it IS selfish…. but it’s my way to survive. After re-reading some posts, someone had said that they’d hoped that their friends with children would give them the benefit of the doubt if they had spoken ignorantly from their own perspective. Well, I wish they had done the same for me.
There, I’ve said it. I do agree that childfree people should not have to endure the jerk-ish attitudes they do. I agree that they are not “different”, they just don’t want kids and society should not make them feel like they have to have them, or are not normal because of it. They are not to be pitied, either. They are happy with their lives. But you know, everyone at some point in their lives, encounters some form of prejudice. Whether it be their childfree status, race, creed, gender, marital status, body size,… the list goes on and on and on. It’s taken my whole life to deal with being the outsider of many circles. What it comes down to, is “are you happy with yourself?” If you are, then it shouldn’t matter what anyone has to say. I know from personal experience that if I am sensitive to something, that it bothers me, it upsets me. When I can get to the point of not being so phased, then I know that I am okay.
Now, the question of utilizing abortion, despite my time away, is still a sore spot with me, as evidenced by my last posts about it, here, and here. While I admire these people for choosing a lifestyle, I do not agree that if they become pregnant, that they should have an abortion, especially if they are married. What a shame. I think that adoption would be a good solution. If they make the choice to be childfree, they should also consider abstaining from sex because the production of children is the reason for having sex; or I should say, being open to having children should be the prerequisite before having sex. It was obvious during my time in the group that before my foot-in-mouth post, abortion was not discussed. I am wondering why that is, especially since the group is meant to be supportive to the members. You can disagree and that is okay; but it’s my blog and I’ll freely exert my views here.
Whew! Of course, all comments are welcome… but BE RESPECTFUL… and no curse words. Comments containing curse words will be deleted.
This post is inspired by another article written by tobeme, “Pain and Suffering”, over at The Naked Soul.Again, I had to post my own article because I write way too much for other people’s comment section and I also get so personal that I want to document my thoughts on my own blog.Plus, I wrote about my religious beliefs and do not want to totally get off the subject of his post.I write in tangents, you see!
To make this [hopefully] simple, most of my life has been spent in pain, whether it be physical or emotional. I learned how to disassociate from it, music and my art being major tools I used for the emotional stuff.As I sit and look back through the years and arrive at specific experiences, the one common thread I see between my experiences of physical and emotional pain is that I did not try to block the pain out.It actually hurts more when you try to deny it.Rather, I’d ride through it, if you can imagine that.
I believe that going through the pain is the only way to survive it.Feeling the pain, exploring the pain as I ride through; then come out on the other side, stand up, look around and see that the pain is gone and I am still here and alive.Acknowledging pain, experiencing it and feeling it [very important], I believe, is the only way one can truly tuck it away, then bring it out again when we see someone else going through the same pain.Otherwise, when we say, “Oh yeah, I know what you are going through, I’ve been there,” it will be meaning less to the suffering person because they don’t feel empathy being projected toward them.The attempt will lack depth and authenticity.
When a person shares their own experiences, in depth, when trying to help, the sufferer will be able to feel the pain and identify with it.They know it’s not a snow job.Isn’t that what you are trying to do in the first place?To tell them that you’ve been there, weathered the storm, survived and that you are okay now.Revealing our own pain, I think, is a compassionate act.We lift the sufferer out of their own, more current, pain and enable them to forget it for awhile and focus on ours.They come away with a feeling that someone else TRULY knows what they are going through.
This is a concept that is shared by every self help organization out there.AA, all 12 step programs, and others that are not based on the 12 steps.I belonged to one such group for separated and divorced people, and it’s true;I did not really want to hear from my married friends or family.I felt more at home with people who experienced the same trauma in their own lives.I got the sense from them that they really knew what I was going through, and they did.I knew that I could call them at any time of any day and I would have a ear that would not get sore listening to me cry.Not so with my own family.After a while, people who do not share your specific pain, are not so happy listening to your woes… and it shows.
Sharing our pain to help our brothers and sisters.I believe this is what it’s all about.I believe THIS is the reason we experience pain to begin with.THIS is the answer when someone shakes his fist at the heavens and screams, “Why?” This is how we transform our very personal pain into a blessing for us and others.Instead of feeling negative emotions, hatred, resentment, disparity, we can perceive it as a way into the light.This is how I stay out of the deep, dark horrific hole I was in during my tweens, teens and early twenties.It was a major chunk of my life and I rather see those years as not wasted; but as a preparation period for my present self.A foundation laid out by my Lord to teach me lessons I needed to learn.I embrace my painful experiences because, through them, I am rich.Rich with knowledge and experiences; all of which I intend to share with my son, leaving him [hopefully] a good foundation to build his own life upon.
So, I do not worry too much about experiencing pain.I believe Christ suffered death on the cross to save man.I believe that in writing this post, in my own feeble mind, I am just beginning to understand that mystery.I think I begin to understand what is behind that mystery, though, his suffering and death means so much more to humanity than my own, and being trivial in comparison to his.
Yes, Absolutely!We have the power to choose not to suffer. Allowing oneself to suffer is, indeed, a choice; whether we do it to get attention and sympathy, or not.Christ did not have to suffer, but he chose to and that is the difference.
“Remember man that you are dust and into dust you shall return.”
That is what the priest says when he puts the ashes, the outward symbol of repentance and the wearer’s desire to change, on your forehead. For those of you who may not know, today is Ash Wednesday, first day of the Lenten Season. A renewal of spirit. The day you commit to change and embark on a journey during which you strive to become a better Catholic. Today at the mass, I remember very little of what was actually said, though I got the message. To satisfy our Lenten commitment, we must, #1 pray more, #2 sacrifice, #3 oh geez, I forgot! I just wasted over an hour trying to remember, so I will go on.
This time of year has always been a difficult one for me because 1. I don’t believe that one should need to be poked and prodded into change. Change is something that I believe can be proactive, but the person must have the desire to change and this doesn’t really happen overnight, or require an appointment. 2. I never really could see how giving up “sweets, smoking, chocolate, etc.” could make me a better catholic. In a lot of ways, I am a black and white sort of person. I need clear directions to follow when attempting something I am unfamiliar with. You guessed it, I am not that familiar with “religion”. Though, I am a practicing catholic now, I am really not sure if I am doing it “right”. I follow my heart and play it by ear. My religious experience in and out of mass is a very “feeling” one, very heart-centered. I do not “pray” in words. I pray with feeling. It comes from the concept that God knows your needs before you do and I believe that. I just open myself, my heart up to God, or the Universal Energy, or Spirit, or Higher Power… by whatever name. I open up, and I can feel the Spirit flow through me. I cannot use flowery words when the words are not what matters. What is in your heart is what matters.
The sacrifice part of this all is not about giving up something that doesn’t mean too much to you, like “meat”, or “sweets”. You can get through that, knowing that soon, you will be able to have it again. The whole point of sacrifice is to “feel” the loss. The examples given today were something like this: It’s harder to give up gossiping to our friends, or complaining about everything than to give up a piece of chocolate.
Oh, the Drake just came in and remembered the third thing: #3 Charity. This mixes well with #1, sacrifice. Part of what was said about this was that we can take the money we save from unbought cigarettes, or whatever surplus comes our way from “sacrifice”, and give it to the poor, or to the church, or use it for some good. I immediately thought of the trip to the company store that we had planned for today… but then thought how can I turn company credits for cosmetics and hair products into something the poor can use? Hmmm, maybe purchasing shampoo and conditioner and giving it to the organization I’ve been donating baby clothes to. That sounds good.
All in all, I shall be striving to strengthen my connection with God, as I know Him. Oh, and another thing that I take on every year is my tremendous ego, a formidable opponent.
This year will me MINE!
Let’s get serious about people and weddings. This conversation is going on over at The Naked Soul & Buddha Warrior. I was going to comment on those blogs; but , sorry guys, my comments got very long and personal so I decided to express them here being I haven’t written anything thoughtful here in a while.
I think that people seriously do not know what they are getting into when they get married; and for some, even after failed marriages, still do not fully grasp what marriage is all about. I think that most people assume it’s the “next step”, “the thing to do.” Certainly this is proliferated by all those aunties out there asking, “When are you going to get married? You have such a pretty face!”
First and foremost, marriage should be taken seriously, not just a means to an end, such as financial security or the means to get out of the parental home. Society tends to regard the institutions of Marriage and Family as disposable and not important enough to support. It’s no secret that our (American) society is not family friendly, not really. Oh, yes, they target and exploit families to make money, but many actual businesses are not family friendly at all when dealing with their employees... which is a subject for another time.
Society accepts divorce just as readily as it accepts McDonald’s as being a healthy choice of food, oblivious as to exactly how that food is procured, prepared and marketed. Well, I speak for the time before “Super Size Me” and “Fast Food Nation”. Sadly, even now, after the facts were revealed, millions of people flock to fast food establishments. Similarly, people are flocking to the divorce courts, without even attempting to heal their marriages. Then a lot of them rush right back into the marriage bed with someone different only to begin the nasty cycle again.
I believe having old fashioned values is the best way to go. There is something to be said for abstaining from sex before marriage, extending courtesies to our partners, and plain old respect. I do not agree with the idea that people should test each other out to see if they are sexually compatible. If the love is there, you should have no problem. Though undeniably important in a marriage, sex should not be the priority. If approached from this viewpoint, it can prove to be immensely helpful later on if something happens that should prevent the couple from having sex either on the long term or permanently. People get sick, impotency, etc. Stuff happens. Imagine how a man would feel if/when he becomes impotent, thinking that it’s important to his partner? But if going into the marriage the emphasis is on more important things like honesty, trust and respect, he will be a little more at ease knowing that his wife loves him no matter what. I know it’s not all there is to that because I am sure that he will need reassurance from his wife… but it will be easier for him to believe her. Aside from all that, marital s-e-x is not all fantasy and even if it is, how long could that be sustained? Sure, we need to always be attentive to our partner’s needs, but every couple does settle into their own cradle of bliss and it’s different for everyone.
Too many times I see couples breaking up over petty issues, really non-issues. Women expect too much from their men and visa versa, taking our partners for granted, etc. The woman fully expects the man to provide the means for everything they do together. The man expects the woman to be available for him whenever the mood strikes him that he wants to see her. At the other extreme, the man will expect the woman to pay her way, even if he was the one to request and plan the date. The woman makes a scene if the man holds the door open for her. I’ll admit that these were my own stereotypes, so my examples were kind of over the top… but were they?
Maybe it’s sour grapes, but I have no patience for high maintenance women and the men who perpetuate that mentality. Let’s face it, they are raised to expect and accept only the best that a man can offer and more. Possibly, it’s the mothers who ingrain this into their darling little girls thinking they are teaching self worth. Somehow the experiment goes terribly wrong. Then there is the man whose identity is wrapped up in how well he can please his woman with material things, side stepping his involvement in an honest relationship. Maybe he gravitates to material things because he was either taught that; or he doesn’t believe that he is enough, alone, to make a woman happy. The clue here is that nobody can make anyone else happy, nor should they be made to shoulder that burden. These people never seem to be truly happy beyond the glitter off the surface. As a woman, I can tell you that even I, growing up in a not-quite-poor, not-quite-rich household, was impressed with this mentality. I was brought up believing the man must give give give and pay pay pay to prove himself worthy of my attention. This was preached by both parents. I could never quite rectify this in my mind because I always believed that any relationship should be an equal enterprise.
The big picture seems to escape so many people. They do not look beyond the sex they get before marriage, the easy social life, the absence of everyday responsibilities that can put an inconvenient damper on selfishness in later married days, especially when there are little ones running around. The me me me days are forever over. Now, it’s us. I find that a hard thing for some couples to manage is the concept of “what is yours is mine and what is mine is yours”. That goes for money, chores, space, time, anything and everything that they must now SHARE with one another. For some, this is a hard thing to get comfortable with doing. Maybe it’s harder for people who have been single for a long time and place priority on their personal freedom. What is also a big issue sometimes is that now you must account to the other person. It’s not really a rule, but a consideration for our loved one’s feelings. I have personal experience with these issues. DH was single for all of his 50 years before me and did not have to account to anyone in those years. He still struggles with the “ours” concept; he’s more comfortable with the “yours, mine” thing… but we work with it. I tell him that I am not saying he “can’t” go anywhere; but that I need to know what he is doing if he is not coming home. This might seem restrictive to you, but it’s because he does not carry a cell phone and I do have a “need” to know when he is coming home so that I don’t worry about him. In the beginning, he just didn’t get it. Probably partially due to the fact that he, himself, did not place any restrictions on me.
Notice that I’ve not said a lot about “love”. Well, that is because it is assumed that you love the person, silly. But more than that, there is so much more that comes into play equally. A lot of people get divorced because “they do not love the person anymore, or just like they did when they met.” Oh how I hate to hear this. People, love is not stagnant. Love evolves, love changes with every day, every minute you love. People just don’t see this and assume that love is gone when it’s still right there, just showing you more of it’s many facets. Think about the loss. Possibilities for love thrown out the window; so sad it’s heart wrenching. I believe the soul suffers, too. Something happens to the soul that is hard to heal, if ever for some people. When damage like this can be done, you would think that one would really think before assuming this kind of commitment. Commitment. That is something people really do not realize the depth of.
I would be remiss if I did not include that God is present in our marriage. I believe we have a “Sacramental Marriage”. I wrote on this a while ago. If you are interested, it’s here. We believe that our marriage, and the fruit it bears, in it’s own way, is a part of God’s plan for the world.
Wow, when you look at it like that, it goes beyond being special just for us.