Don't take life too serious.

Driver? Passenger? …Or am I just looking too much in to this one?

letting go

I have a re-occurring dream that until now, I thought I somewhat understood the origin.  While trying to close down the 500 tabs opened in my brain last night, I started thinking about this dream.  I gained a new perspective, that kept me up for at least another hour pondering.

I’m in a car and the car is moving.  I am either in the passenger’s seat or the back seat (I’m sure there is something to that as well) and I am alone in the car.  I realize that no one is driving and very soon I’m going to crash.  So I become panicked and try to crawl in to the driver’s seat to take control of the car.  About the time I get to the wheel, I wake up.  I never actually start driving and I never actually crash.

I used to think this was my subconscious telling me to take control in my life.  Maybe I needed to try harder to make something (I’ve never really been sure what) happen.  I am alone in the car to make clear that only I can do this.  The car is out of control because, perhaps, I am not taking control.

Last night it occurred to me that maybe I need to not jump in the driver’s seat and trust that the car  will get where it is going.  And that I will be safe and protected when I get there.  Maybe that is why I never actually take the wheel or crash.

The concept of someone or something, outside of myself, taking the wheel or laying down the road I’m driving on, has always been a hard pill for me to swallow.  That is the very idea I have been playing tug of war with for the past few years.  I pull as hard as I can and then something happens – I wait a few seconds before going on a green and a truck runs the red light, I stop what I am doing to look at wedding cards and find $90 inside one, a song comes on the radio that is way too coincidental, or a friend stops over to give me things she has extra of and doesn’t really need, but I do.

These events or signs always leave me with no choice but to give on the rope a little…but never fully.  It’s not the principles and/or morals of God that I have ever denied or resisted, but more the dissonance or incongruity I feel when trying to put total and undoubting faith in something. It’s in doing that, and not feeling like I am choosing to completely shed personal responsibility.

This dream has become just another one of the signs, that have kept my pondering spirit on over drive lately.

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Don't take life too serious., Life can be serious business., Momma has lost her mind.

5 Things I Learned From Being Freshly Pressed.

I’m still smiling quite a bit over here from the news that I was Freshly Pressed.  “Could someone please tell my daughter who God is please” was the post chosen to be featured.  Let me share with you what I have learned from this experience.

This was me when I realized more than 10 people had liked something I wrote.
This was me when I realized more than 10 people had liked something I wrote.

5.  Always check the “Social” tab in your Gmail account!!! 

I tend to not check my email everyday and when I do, I scroll my primary mail and that’s that.  Well, lesson learned because I was completely and utterly confused when my WordPress notifications started blowing up on my phone.  I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why so many people were reading a post I wrote nearly two weeks ago and coming out of the woodwork to do so.  It wasn’t until someone who commented congratulating me on being Freshly Pressed that I was even aware it happened.  Afterwards, I looked and saw that the email landed in my social inbox FOUR days before!

I get it Tom.
I get it Tom.

4.  My “happy butt dance” scares little children. 

Apparently, jumping up and down on a couch is a normal reaction when something exciting happens to you.  My apologizes to Tom Cruise for starting that nasty rumor that he was obviously cooking meth in Oprah’s green room.  And another apology to my son who was frightened to tears by a grown woman jumping up and down on a couch and flailing around like she just cooked up some meth in the bathroom.

untitled8

3.  It is possible to have a respectful and wonderfully intoxicating conversation about God.

There are a lot more people out there that are as enticed, enthralled and confused by the questions around God as I am.  I am truly amazed at the depths of thought that came my way when the FP flood gates were opened.   I stayed up so far past my bedtime trying to read and absorb all the different perspectives that night; all the while, drinking far too much wine.  I should probably apologize to anyone that received a reply from after 11pm.  I was probably “in the zone” but I suspect I probably should have edited a bit more.

Some comments swayed a great distance away from how I see things but out of the 219 comments, none were (too)overbearing or judgmental, which I find surprising and humbling considering the topic at hand.  Some people definitely had me saying “Whoa!”, as in, “Dude, easy on the preach”; however, none of the (as of right now) 804 people that have viewed the post were offensive.   If I haven’t replied yet, be patient.  I’m taking my time with this on purpose.

Faith in people restored!
Faith in people restored!

2.  There are simply not enough ways to say Thank You.

Thank you.  Sincerely.  I find it a bit peculiar and almost comical that at the time I was having a conversation with a friend  over coffee about God and all the good and bad we thrive in and suffer from, a post I wrote asking for help in understanding who/what God is was being passed around the biggest virtual show and tell I’ve ever been a part of.  The answers I got both made me laugh out loud (at midnight) and sob like a fool.  The personal stories people shared and their incredibly personal feelings about God truly inspired me.  It’s still all sinking in.  So again, Thank You for engaging in my story and partaking in my journey.  One thing is for sure…No matter what branch of religion you hang out on, LOVE resonates with all.  And that is a beautiful thing.

It's actually worse than this.
It’s actually worse than this.

1. Getting Freshly Pressed causes perma-grin. 

I’ve been smiling for days.  People around me are getting nervous actually.  I just can’t tell you what getting recognized for my writing has done for me.  It’s not just the recognition but the conversation that came along with it both in commenting and in personal relationships.  I’m quite flattered, very humbled and perhaps a bit still punch drunk.

Couldn't leave this out.
Couldn’t leave this out.
Life can be serious business.

Can Someone Tell My Daughter Who God Is Please.

huff po

“Momma, who is God?”.  

My daughter asked me that question last summer. I am still trying to figure out how to answer her.

I didn’t grow up going to church. I say that with no hard or jaded feelings about the fact. I feel like I heard a lot about God, having grown up in middle Georgia. However, the conversation always felt more like “someone” that other people knew. I never met him.

Like my daughter is starting to now, I saw a lot of gray matter in the way people, especially the ones that made it a point to remind you how often they went to church, presented themselves and the way they authentically were when around like minded people.

Hypocrisy was something I couldn’t name back then but I felt it every time I heard a self proclaimed Christian person use the N word. Sort of today’s version of “No I don’t think you’re going to hell because you’re gay, but I’d be devastated if I found out my son or daughter was gay.”  I’ve known that kick to the gut feeling you get when you see or hear hate and ignorance collide since I was very young.

As a child, I think I had a cartoonish version of God in my head. He was someone that hung in the clouds. I knew other people believed he created all of us but I was never completely sold on that idea. I knew most people around me believed that he was a protector and that you turned to him in times of need. I was never firm in that belief either.

I knew there was something more to be said about God then what was being exposed in front of me; however, the older I got the more I pushed away from his existence at all. The little bits here and there that I learned about the bible just didn’t add up.

Anger was a major divider in me being able to ever associate anything other than frustration with God. That everything happens for a reason rhetoric just irritated me and it pushed me further away. It was impossible for me to believe there was a reason for having to endure the abuse and violation being done to me. And if there was this great creator and protector that loved us all, why did he forget about me? I think I always wanted to believe, just never could given the hand I was dealt.

I’m sometimes envious of those that have the spiritual camaraderie that comes from attending church. I’ve been lucky enough to find that elsewhere though. I just can’t bring myself to look for God, or whatever other name you have for him/her/it, in a church. Even the more “modern” churches that claim to accept everyone still, from what I’ve seen, finish off sentences with “but…” when discussing non attending people’s choices.

Forgive me if I sound crass but I don’t see finding God in a church, or anywhere rather, as an acceptable claim to being a “good” person. Understand that a man that raped me for 8 years of my life found God and he found that suitable enough to send me a birthday card and a $50 check on my 19th birthday. It said “sorry I didn’t raise you kids in the church.”

The $50 bought a bag of some high grade weed to numb myself and the card just solidified my belief that being religious, in any form, does not qualify you to claim you have a clear conscious or genuine heart. I get that this is an extreme example for my rather simple point, but in writing I always promised myself I would be honest about where my thoughts generate from.

It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s, which coincided with becoming a mother, that I began to question my lack of faith. Years of rebuilding myself worked towards letting the anger go. I was starting to find it more difficult to fight the idea of God’s existence than acknowledge it. I knew there was something greater than myself because I could feel it. It was something that I could identify as borne out of and moving within the forces of love. I began to open myself more to the idea of spirituality. I started to see how there could possibly be a distinction between religion and spirituality.

I was becoming more and more aware of a force around me that was powerful, magical, comforting and often ironic. I started to understand and accept that I was allowed to have faith even though I wasn’t brought up in a church or attending one now. I learned that my faith is in no way connected to a book. Especially one that is often turned to for direction on every aspect of life. I try not to turn to any one thing when looking for answers or guidance. I just know I would miss something if I lived like that.

Maybe I should look at the other side of things and say maybe if I had God more present in my life as a young child, I would have felt more protected or secure or less lost. I suppose I have come to know that side after all though. I know now he was there, just in a shape or form that didn’t fit the better known version. The praying hand nic nack, a bleeding man hanging from a cross or a pregnant virgin were not things in my view growing up, but God was present without the physical signs. I know that because I survived. And in some strange way I recognize I am a stronger person because of all of the pain.

Had I not had “someone” help hold me up and carry me through all that, the end result of all the abuse would look very different on me. God helped raise me. Just not in a church or with the help of scripture.

So, I return to the question at hand. How do I give a simple answer to my daughter when I’m still not sure I have it figured out in my own head? I refer to the greater power as “God” only because I don’t know what else to call it. I say “he” because “it” doesn’t sound fitting enough, and people get too rattled when I say “she.” How does a mom that believes in both science and a greater power answer that question in way a very inquisitive four year old will be satisfied with?

For now, my daughter knows God is love. It’s the only thing about this whole topic that I can be sure of at this point. I refuse to fill her head with scripted rhetoric because it’s the easy way out. She and I are both very much students on this topic. Students that will perhaps, along the way, teach each other.

Don't take life too serious.

Whose got the wheel?

This is really about perspective – questioning my own and curiosity about yours.  I have a re-occurring dream that until now, I thought I somewhat understood the origin.  All of a sudden last night, while trying to close down the 500 tabs opened in my brain, I started thinking about this dream.  All of a sudden, I had a new perspective that kept me up for at least another hour pondering.

The dream is the same every time. I’m in a car and the car is moving.  I am either in the passenger’s seat or the back seat (I’m sure there is something to that as well) and I am alone in the car.  I realize that no one is driving and very soon I’m going to crash.  So I become panicked and try to crawl in to the driver’s seat to take control of the car.  About the time I get to the wheel, I wake up.  I never actually start driving and I never actually crash.

I used to think this was my subconscious telling me to take control in my life.  Maybe I needed to try harder to make something (I’ve never really been sure what) happen.  I am alone in the car to make clear that only I can do this.  The car is out of control because, perhaps, I am not taking control.

Last night it occurred to me that maybe I need to not jump in the driver’s seat and trust that the car  will get where it is going.  And that I will be safe and protected when I get there.  Maybe that is why I never actually take the wheel or crash.

The concept of someone or something, outside of myself, taking the wheel or laying down the road I’m driving on, has always been a hard pill for me to swallow.  That is the very idea I have been playing tug of war with for the past few years.  I pull as hard as I can and then something happens – I wait a few seconds before going on a green and a truck runs the red light, I stop what I am doing to look at wedding cards and find $90 inside one, a song comes on the radio that is way too coincidental, or a friend stops over to give me things she has extra of and doesn’t really need, but I do.

These events or signs always leave me with no choice but to give on the rope a little…but never fully.  It’s not the principles and/or morals of God that I have ever denied or resisted, but more the dissonance or incongruity I feel when trying to put total and undoubting faith in something bigger than myself. It’s in doing that, and not feeling like I am choosing to shed personal responsibility.

This dream has become just another one of the signs, that have kept my pondering spirit on over drive lately.

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