Not THAT sermon!

Well! I guess I knew how Sunday Service was going to go. When I realized that I was assigned to read the, “Therefore a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh” passage, alarm bells went off in my head. I can’t say I wasn’t warned.

So, when service started late – as usual, really – I was already irritable.  When the pianist was not aware that the pastor had changed the opening song without telling him, I was already judging and having to pray for forgiveness for my attitude. When the songs were not familiar, again more prayers of repentance. My attitude was rapidly one that was decidedly not worshipful. Lord, why am I such a – uh – ornery person?

Soon, despite my failure to bring my attitude under control, it was time for me to read. Whispering a final prayer, I made my way to the altar. “Lord, I am not ready to hear what I need to learn. Please use me for your will, despite myself.” And, so, Adam named the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and clung to his wife.

A couple more readings and the sermon began. It was a slow progression that led, finally, to the bombshell. Marriage is for a man and a woman. Homosexuals should be celibate if they want to live according to God’s plan. All else is sin. Sigh. She went there.

She. The pastor is a woman. St. Paul was clear: women should not preach or speak in church. Women should wear hats in church to avoid being overly sexy and distracting the men from their worship. LEVITICUS! She actually went to Leviticus. Fine then! Homosexuality is an abomination? So is eating shellfish, and I love me some crab and lobster. I like pork and bacon, too. Sinner and abomination that I am. How will I ever get to heaven? There’s more. I wear clothes made from two fabrics. (Cotton/Polyester among my favorites.) Oh, heck: I’m not researching Leviticus again to make note of all the rules that we now consider obsolete. I never ONCE presented myself to the priest to be declared clean after my monthly period, for instance. My husband used to TOUCH me while I was bleeding, if you can imagine. Then we were BOTH unclean! Oh, brother. Really??!!

It was a long sermon. She kept trying to explain herself, when she’d already been clear. Lady: you can’t justify why that one rule is more important than the ones you ignore.

I can. I can justify the ones I ignore and the ones I follow. It’s simple, really. Is there a victim? Don’t do it. Does it lead to orderly, just society? Do it. Is it loving? Do it. Is it judgmental? Don’t do it. Hateful? REALLY don’t do it. As Jesus said, all the laws can be summed up in two laws: love God with all your heart, mind and soul and love others as ourselves.

Homosexuality? Love them. Let God sort it out.

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Mom? I’m sorry…

Through the years (72 of them, to be exact), I have been begrudging with praise for my mom, stingy even. I’ve failed to acknowledge the woman who endured a male dominated business world with grace and beauty, juggling big jobs as though they were a snap. Divorcing a domineering and abusive man in an era when divorce was scandalous and fault had to be proven in court, she supported three kids basically on a female clerk’s salary in 1963. Dad paid a whopping $70 a month child support. Sure, those are 1963 dollars, but let me just say that it was costing Mom a whole lot more than $70 of her money. We didn’t buy extras, we lived on T”Bare Necessities”, as the song goes. Mom once complained that her company paid men lots more to do a job like hers, “because (the man) had a family to take care of.” Sadly, she asked, “What do they think I’m doing?”

I have excuses for being stingy with my praise of my mother. Probably (please feel free to judge me for this) my chief reason was she failed to acknowledge that I was her best child. (I’m 72: how’s your judgement of me going to hurt me more than my realizing this about myself?) Children can be expected to be like that. But, my siblings had troubles. My brother was a baby, babies are cute, adorable, lovable and a lot of work! My sister had emotional problems and was my father’s scapegoat and then suffered under her stepfather as well. She, too, was a lot of work and no little heartache. I blamed my father for the abuse and I blamed my mother for allowing it. It turns out that this is a common dynamic and I followed it to the norm.

Here I am, though. Finally seeing that everyone, (Dad and Stepdad, too) did the best they knew how. As the air finally clears, I see that Mom was an amazing heroine! She worked three jobs for a while, she got tired, but she never quit. We never lacked shelter or went hungry, though we were often self absorbed and ungrateful. I faulted her for being unloving, because she was tired and didn’t hug us enough.

What did I think love looked like, anyway?

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More Links Do Not Make a Stronger Chain

via More Links Do Not Make a Stronger Chain

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Where’s…?

The most dreaded words
Ever said:
Have you seen my…?

I fear I am losing my memory.   It was never good.  I remember that I used to laugh and joke that my memory was so poor that no one would ever know when I became senile.

I haven’t made that joke lately.   I have tried to make everything neat and orderly so there would be a place for everything and everything would always be in its place.  That’s not so easy when I am not a neatnik and I live with an almost hoarder who sets things down in the nearest work surface where I will need to find work space.

So?  I move The Thing.   Then?  Then The Thing is needed.  Where did you put The Thing?  becomes the crisis of the moment and I am again reminded: maybe it will be easy to know when I am senile. And – maybe when is now.

Daily Post: Sweeping Motions

 

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Snob? Me?

Stuck-up! That was the worst insult we kids used aloud in my area back in the ’50s. We heard all kinds of words: the ‘h’ and ‘n’ words, for instance. But we knew enough to whisper those. Stuck up? That word could be thrown loudly about the playground without adult intervention.

I suppose it isn’t surprising that those of us worried about what folks thought about us spent a lot of time learning to hide anything that marked us as ‘better than’. Through the years, I’ve learned about the harm those whispered insults caused. But, only lately have I come to see the effects of our prejudice against thinking too highly of oneself.

Yet, I know I am a snob. I know I think I am better than some. What IS the prejudice, though? Something to do with education, but that’s not it. Folks seeming completely satisfied knowing little outside of themselves? Folks I find nothing in common with? By many people’s interests that might include most of the Universe, but I am interested in ever so much! I’m able to relate to almost anyone.

You do not have to meet me halfway, I will converse about your interests. I will happily learn what you teach me about what I do not know. But: aren’t you interested about anything except your own hatred of those who are not like you?

I was wrong. I DID my identify my prejudice.

Daily Prompts – Upturned Noses: http://wp.me/p23sd-nCz

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Endurance

Endurance - My Mom

Endurance – My Mom

My mother was a strength of force that was not to be ignored.  She overcame. There is no way to enumerate the many obstacles she overcame in her life in anything short of a book. Her last hurdle, however, was longevity.  She didn’t want it.  Handicapped after a stroke twenty years prior to her death, she was depressed and often verbalized her opinion that life was no longer worth living.  (Yes, of course!  I tried to get her help for that.  She was not suicidal and refused help for that and it is not legal to force unwanted help.  That was my hurdle.)

She lived, though.  She lived and fought and scrapped – with amazing humor.   She endured.

Endurance

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LATE AGAIN!!!

Oh, my gosh!  I only have 10 minutes!  There is no way I’m going to make it!  Everybody knows how slow I am! It isn’t even possible. How do I get myself into these pickles? What am I thinking?  I’m not smart enough to work that fast!

Look at the clock.  Four minutes gone already, and I’ve had to slow down to correct four mistakes!

Oh!  Remember? Slow down to go fast. That is the only way it works for me. Slow down. That’s right. There is no need to panic. I’ve got this. You know?  When I learn to use positive self-talk right from the start of an endeavor, I’m going to be spectacular!

Wow!  I’ve GOT this!  Nothing to it.  Ha!  And my clients used to tell me positive self-talk didn’t work!

(Response to 9/18/14 Daily Prompt:  Ready-Set-Done)

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Gramma’s Closets, Explained

Gramma's ornament closet is full - floor to ceiling.

Gramma’s ornament closet is full – floor to ceiling.

“Stuff!”  Too much “stuff” to be more specific.  I need to get rid of “stuff”.  Let’s take a look at some of my “stuff”.

“My mother painted this ceramic cookie jar.  Didn’t she do a beautiful job?”  When I dropped the lid, it broke into a thousand tiny pieces.  My ex- said I’d never get it put back together.   I did a pretty darn good job, if I do say so.

“Look at this closet!  I have Christmas ornaments from three households.”  My mother collected these, in these boxes here,  over her 85 years.  These boxes are the ones my ex-and I collected over our 32 years together,  and these are the ones Fred and his ex- collected over their 25 years – and – of course, these are the ones Fred and I have added to the collection since we’ve been married.   We have hand made ornaments from six kids and 14 grandchildren.   “Hey! Look! Here’s one my nephew made for my mom!”

One of these days I’m going to thin out this mess, I swear.   But, for now – while I still can identify (almost) every piece – I’ll hang onto them a little longer.

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Identity: a tanka

DSC00393

I need to find self.
I would not be my father,
Am not my mother.
I still have not found myself,
I think I should look at me.

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