The Call

A friend of mine posted on Facebook today: 

Ive been wanting to ask my fellow Christians an important political question today. As Christians we know that all of the troubles facing our society today are a result of our sinful brokenness. Poverty, oppression, the broken family structure, drug addiction, violence, these all stem from our sinful appetites. 
My question is: why do we look to the government to solve problem that humans by their own nature cannot fix? If the church truly is the body of Christ in this world, why do we look to others to fix the problems that Christ himself addressed. He didn’t condemn Herod or Caesar for not ending slavery or for not caring for the poor. He didn’t demand a minimum wage or free healthcare. He didn’t criticize the Romans violence and oppression. He didn’t come to say those things, and discussion of those topics are for another time. My point is that Christ came to call us to repentance and to a new life of true freedom. Freedom in spite of the brokenness of our world. We can be poor yet rich, broken yet whole, and return good for evil. Why do we expect a politician to do the work of the Holy Spirit? Republican or Democrat if you expect a bunch of men on a hill to accomplish the societal change that can only start with inner revival then you’re out of touch with reality. The Holy Spirit cant just be on Capitol Hill, or in the White House, or written in the law. It must be in the Church. It starts in our homes, on our streets, in our communities, in our hearts.

I suppose I have more questions than answers about this issue he describes prior to asking his point. 

Should we exclusively as churches deal with this issue or should we as Christians vote in candidates who will help steer the government in a direction to take care of people on a mass scale? Which does the most good? Can that even be quantified? I don’t know what the “most good” can even look like in a social climate prone to corruption and destruction. 

In our broken state, and even with the Holy Spirit, doesn’t the same kind of broken affect the Church as well? Wouldn’t that also mean that there is a possibility for corruptibility and if so would it do more harm in the sight of the world and “cause our brothers and sisters to stumble” if the Church to have a slip up? Would that be effective to the cause? Is such a slip up inevitable? Look at the issues of the Catholic Church and all those molestation accusations they had. How many people ran in shame and disappointment then? In counterpoint, those who stayed in the Church, how many forgave the kind of people who committed such atrocities? How does all that reflect on the record? 

In addition, would we run into the problem of the Church being a commodity instead of a spiritual and communal relationship? How does that affect the cause? 

How much has present government influence tied the Church’s hands? 
It’s such a big hot topic issue with so many scenarios and a lot of factors. None of which I think have a definitive or even correct answer. I still wonder if perhaps our fear of these questions and their potential results is what stops the Church from living up to its full potential. 
1 John 4:18 tells us “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” 
We have forgotten this. We have forgotten that throwing money at people and actually loving them are two different things. Can we even come back from going so far? Has the revival halted? As Christians, what is stopping us from using the full power of the Holy Spirit? 

People Suck

Why can’t people just be happy for her?

It was her third marriage. People kept reminding her and anyone else who would listen to their mouth flap. Yes, it was her third, not that the number counted toward or against anything, though for them it did. They used it as a quantifier in which to judge her, instead of as a fact. Yes, she had been married three times before. They didn’t want to know the rest of the story, only that at one point, she had two other husbands. 

The first one died tragically of cancer. It was painful for her. He was older, and of course they judged her on that too. Even then, they didn’t care that she was stable, happy, and loved. Only that he was so much older than she was. When he died she was alone in the loneliest of ways. Three children who could barely understand where their father had gone. People pretended to mourn with her, but they didn’t really care. They judged. As they always do. Thus, she pulled away as she always did when she sensed toxicity and resentment.

She tried to love again, but the toxicity of others brought someone into her life that was fueled by their toxicity. It turned him against her. He manipulated her, threatened her, convinced her to marry him or else he would say, but the else would change. He’d find her, he’d hurt her, he’d hurt the kids, he’d hurt himself. He was desperate, and it made her desperate. So she married him to protect herself and her children, besides she could handle it she thought, and of course they judged her for that too. For trying to love. For letting his threats get to her. For ultimately marring someone else betraying her first marriage like her late husband was still alive. 

Nothing she did was good enough for them, and as the poison of their presence in her life seeped in, she began to believe that she would never be good enough ever. They all would find reason to talk. 

After having enough, and deciding to ask for her worth and being refused, she left him. They judged her once again, but this time for leaving. She decided not to listen to it. She took her children and moved away. Started going to church. Started learning to love herself again. Her children felt more free to be creative. She felt more free to be creative. Finally, she was ready to love again, and she did. They got married and are happier than ever! Of course they judged her again. They still do. But this time she shut the door on their words and made a home of love and safety for her family. They live happily and functionally. She finally feels that kind of safety and love she once had felt. Yet, they still judge. Out of ignorance. Out of malice. Out of loving to hear their own voices. They say the children must be emotionally torn apart, as if she had never spoken to them or gotten their input about it prior. Like she was being selfish. Like she hadn’t sat on my couch for several hours pouring out her soul about how the kids would feel and if they would let her get married again. Because she needed their permission. Not that those who judged her knew, and not that they cared. They just wanted to pretend to have empathy. 

I was so angry to hear how many people so openly talked about her in front of me. So willingly thought that I’d agree with them. So openly shamed her. So I spoke up, knowing that I too Would be judged, merely asking if they knew all these accusations for certain. Asking if they were living her life for her and felt as if they could come along and have a say in it. Asking if they enjoyed talking about her more than talking to her. So they stopped speaking to me. 

Neither she nor I have felt loss at their absence. 

I’m just getting so sick and tired of ignorant people talking about things they know nothing about. Especially when it has nothing to do with their lives. She’s not a relative. Her life has zero impact on theirs. Why open your mouth at all? LET HER LIVE HER FREAKING LIFE WITHOUT BEING AN OBJECT OF YOUR JUDGMENT! But, of course, we all judge. It’s our nature to want to. To gauge our lives against the lives of others and assure ourselves that we are doing the right thing. As if there is even a definition for that. I do it too. I catch myself being that person all the time, and realizing that I’ve got my own problems too. People ignore the fact that life is messy because people are messy, and a mess is a mess no matter how big or small it seems to be. 

If it isn’t your mess, just don’t worry about it. 

Linear 

Every one says

Push forward

Keep going

Don’t look back

That’s not where you’re headed

As if life is linear

They never tell you

That sometimes

You just end up

Working backwards

Or looping back

Or you bring that past

To the future

And make a

Complete circle 

They never tell you that

They lead you to believe

It’s all linear

Finally…

After several months of waiting and waiting, I had thought the ship had sailed. I was convinced and disappointed. It was a great position. Only five minutes from my house. What are the odds of that? Finding a corporate graphic design job only five minutes from my house in a tiny lakeside town very few people in the world had heard of? I thought it was impossible. Still, I waited. Nothing. I waited longer. Nothing. I e-mailed asking how things were going. I got a generic response of noncommittal and affirmation that they were still interviewing. I waited more.

Eventually my wedding came and went. Still nothing. I had given them the dates I would be “away” on my honeymoon, so part of me still hoped that  they were considering me and not counting me out. Still, there was that other part of me whispering that it wouldn’t happen. Not to me. It was too big of a step. Too much for me. There were so many other talents and people asking for less from them financially. Every doubt encircled my heart, and I became discouraged. Still, I was tired from looking for other jobs. I stopped looking. Kept going to work at retail, praying hard that God would open a door somewhere.

“We need another hand in the gift shop, and obviously we thought of you right away. It’d only be short hour, but it would give you a better financial situation.”

I was flattered that the Director of the museum wanted me to switch from volunteer to paid associate. I wanted to say yes, but he inquired about the interviews I had for the design position. I told him honestly that I hadn’t heard anything back, but I wasn’t sure what to expect really.

“There is a part of me that says I ought to wait on this.”

He nodded knowingly. Kindred spirit to my own.

“We can play it by ear, but by saying this, I have a feeling that I’m going to lose you to them. You’re talented and very special.”

I was so encouraged. A fellow designer, professional, and creative twice my senior thought I had what it took. I held on a little while longer to that little glimmer of hope. There was also a bit of relief knowing that even if I didn’t get the design job, money was going to come from somewhere. I wasn’t being left out here, trapped in a position in retail that wasn’t doing anything for me. I had options that would be supplemental, fulfilling, and use my expertise. I thanked God for listening to me, even if it was for a moment.

“Have you heard back from them babe?” My husband asked the evening he came home from his first day at his new job.

“No. The ship has sailed I think. It’s been nearly a month since I last heard anything.”

“You never know though.”

“I do know.”

I didn’t know.

That same evening my iPad told me I had an e-mail notification. It was them.

I got the job.

Androgynous

“I’ve never seen you wear a dress. I guess I just always thought you were androgynous.” 

The statement had stunned me for a bit. I knew I didn’t wear dresses or very obviously femenin clothing really at work much, but I didn’t think I wore it so rarely that others had described me as androgynous. I hardly knew the word but from a few posts here and there on Instagram from people I followed. I had always associated the term with a kind of unisex vibe. People not wanting to be one way or the other. Neutral. Sometimes odd, over-done, or even alien-esq looks, which I have been known to do. 

I’m not mad at all about the label. Just surprised by it.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the term. Mainly because, after googling it, I’ve lived and been defined as an androgynous person in many ways without ever having realized it. My interest are vast. My lifestyle has been independent, even since getting married. I’m a strong personality often associated with being male, and also a nurturing personality as often associated with being more female. I grew up with brothers, watching sci-fi with warriors and strong female leads. Playing Star Wars, Pokémon, Digimon, and Transformers. I was repulsed by romance novels and romantic comedies. I liked action and suspense. I liked drama and tragedy. I liked thrillers and the films that often made people WTF. I grew up being one of the guys. Defined as a female with male tastes. Having more male than female friends. Even being called one of the bros. Whatever that even means. 

 Honestly, I think the pants and the short hair are really the strongest indicators of something close to androgynous about me. I keep my hair short because it’s easy to maintain curly short hair than it is with long curls. I enjoy doing my makeup, but don’t often wear dresses. I prefer button ups, leather jackets, blazers, and hoodies over dresses, skirts, lace, and sparkle, but only because it’s usually impractical for me to wear dresses in most occasions, especially at work. I wear heels when I can and tennis shoes when it is comfortable. I love glittery makeup and dramatic lipstick. I love lacy bras and panties. Getting my nails done. Things that tend to be described as distinctly female and feminine are still my forte. 

I hardly think any of this is really something I could label as androgynous though. Mainly because I get the impression that androgyny seems as though it ought to be intentional, and consistent. Something you identify yourself as. A lifestyle choice. Maybe even a sexuality if one could go so far as to say. I feel what I do fashion wise is more a combination of eclectic and modern. I mean, the entierty of fashion seems to be male driven when one thinks about it, especially since WWII when more women entered into the army and were wearing a similar variation of the male uniform simply because it was practical, and women back home started taking on more male dominated jobs and needed more practical clothes to wear. Fashion was driven that direction for women then, and the sexual revolution did more to encourage fashion that way along with feminism, when women were beginning to strive to be more than just objects of pleasure, but actual people with shit to get done and needing practical clothes in which to do it. 

My tastes in media and fashion are also what I would define as eclectic. Merely preferences. Perhaps influences by enjoying a childhood with two brothers. Perhaps not. Not an intentional statement, just a personal one. Though I’m sure one could argue that androgyny is also a personal statement. In which case we could leave it all at that and nix labels altogether. However, I can see how my coworker thought I could be androgynous. If a person needs a label to organize their world, referring to me as androgynous is a better label than most things. 

Lonely Extrovert

“Did you make any new friends yet baby?” 

“No, not yet.” 

He sounded cheerful, but I could tell he was discouraged. Of course he was. He was an extrovert. Social interactions were kind of his thing. I sighed on his behalf, knowing he wouldn’t really tell me he was discouraged and missed his friends back home. I worried that I had made a mistake convincing him to move here. I tried to figure out how to get people around him to help him make friends. We had already gone on a double date with a couple I knew, and it had gone well, we even planned a second date, pending everyone’s schedule. So it was good. Just…would take time and more connecting. 

I’m an introvert though. I don’t know how to network well. Half the time I can’t even tell you how I’ve made the friends I have. It just kind of happened. 

I guess I supposed that kind of thing worked with Extroverts too. That people would just be attracted to them especially because they’re driven by social interactions. That they’d just find people where ever they were. It never occurred to me that, for an extrovert, it would actually take effort for them to build relationships. I mean, starting mine kind of happened, but maintaining them is exhausting, and takes a lot of my energy and effort. Maybe I’m just lucky that way. I had hoped my husband would be that lucky too. 

I keep hoping and praying he finds his place with his people, and doesn’t end up more lonely than he was when he was a Bachelor. Nothing would break my heart more. 

Mourn and Hope

I’m afraid to tell you the name of the Facebook group. Mainly because I’m pretty sure it isn’t legal to do his sort of thing. Passing off prescriptions in every case is illegal…at least I’m pretty sure. However, there I was, looking at the screen. Reading all the posts of desperation, the outcry for this kind of insulin, that kind of insulin pump attachment set, the horror stories of painful arguments with insurances and pharmacies that would end in moot meaningless apologies. The whole time wondering who added me to this Facebook group. 

 The group was of others who were diabetics from all across the country, asking others to share the excess diabetic supplies with people who were either struggling to get some because of switching insurances, having no insurance from loss of jobs, or being unable to afford even the “affordable” healthcare. My heart ached as people would post their plights. One woman was struggling to get her insurances to switch over and her son had been without insulin for nearly a month. She had syringes they could reuse, but they just couldn’t get the insulin. Even the Pharmacy was trying to help her fight for it, desperate on her behalf. She was pleading with anyone who would help her get her hands on some for her eight-year-old. Thankfully others came to her aid in the comments, but my heart just shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. It struck me. It struck me so hard. Like my heart had been in a bloody bar fight and came out the loser….barely alive. There were so many stories like hers. 

At any moment I could be in their place. 

As some of you who are my “veteran readers” (congrats you’ve been titled)  know, I am a Type One Diabetic. I was diagnosed at age eight. Being diabetic has been hard on my prideful and at times, depressed soul. Okay, I’m whiny and I know it. Let’s call it like it is. But, diabetes is a very serious and expensive condition. In my time as a diabetic, I’ve been very fortunate to have wealthy family and friends who have been there to assist me generously when I was in a bind. I’ve had good insurance for a very long time and have been fortunate to never be in want of diabetic supplies. Though, when a person added me to this group (to be honest I didn’t know the person who started it, nor did I know the person who added me, so I haven’t the slightest how I came to be added to it at all) I became so much more aware of the plight of other diabetics in the world. 

It humbled me. Considerably. 

I was once an eight-year-old very aware of my mortality, and absolutely terrified to die young. I could only imagine what it felt like for that little boy, knowing he needed his meds to live, and knowing he was off of them for far too long. I could empathize with parents trying to make low carb meals (that were filling for a growing child) on a shoe string budget and walking on eggshells with food and diet to keep blood sugars from getting worse. I could imagine the feeling of those high blood sugars that boy would feel. The joint stiffness and aching, the difficulty processing information (especially in school). Trying to function like a child should, while working with what felt like half a mind, body, and chronic exhaustion caused by high blood sugars? The worst. Feeling dumb for not understanding the assignment. Feeling weak because muscle fatigue made your arms feel so much like noodles you could hardly hold a pencil. Feeling like your eyes should just close and sleep it all off, but being afraid you wouldn’t wake up if you did. Then there was the long term fear that ever doctor makes very clear when you’re first diagnosed:  the fear of organ failure. 

My words are so limited to explain all of it. You would have to have lived it to know it. 

None of this probably resonates with you. Most of you will probably skip over this and never read it. Even if you do, you’ll go about your lives forgetting this exists. Why? Because even if you do read it, you’ll be just like I am now. Sittings on here, writing a blog post or voicing an experience to social media, without knowing what you can do. I’m with you there. It resonates with me because it hits close to home, but I know there is little I can do. I’m not wealthy, just a combination of lucky and blessed. I’m just out here trying to make my own life work. Even if I could throw money at the problem, what good would it do? There are so many out there that need it and aren’t going to be as lucky or blessed as I was. 

So I mourn.

I mourn at how limited I am. I mourn at my own situation and the fear I feel. I mourn because I, and so many others, are so weak physically and financially and handouts can only go so far. I mourn because so many will die tonight because of a disease we talk so much about, and still know so little about. I mourn, because mourning does nothing to fix it. I am helpless, and I am no less that fearful eight-year-old all over again. I mourn, because I can relive the questions, the fear of not waking up in the morning, the feelings I feel both physically and emotionally when there was something wrong in my body and nothing I could do would stop it. I know that story. I lived it. I cannot unlive it, and I am helpless to save anyone else from it. 

So I mourn, and I hope. For what? I’m not sure. Just something better that I don’t have words for. 

Thoughts on 9 Days of Marriage

I really don’t want this to sound cold, because marriage is a very significant commitment to so many people, including myself. However, I understand now why people don’t seem to feel like marriage is as big of a deal as others. Sure, you have the ceremony. Sure you have the reception and party a bit. Sure you have the honeymoon and in my case, lose your virginity. However, none of these things seem to make you “feel” any different. At least in my case it doesn’t. I love my husband just as much as the day I married him. I love him just as much as when we would only see each other every few months. I love him just as much as when we spoke every night on the phone. I love him the same when I wake up and when I go to sleep, if he’s next to me or not. Nothing really changes. You just kinda go from being together…to being together forever.

There is of course a knowledge there that you’ve made the commitment, but there really isn’t much of an indicator that gives you a “feeling” of being married. I was speaking to my husband about it just the other night. While I sat on the toilet, door wide open (as usual) as he finished the dishes I asked him if he felt like we were playing house. He said he did.

“It just doesn’t feel real. I feel like I’m going to wake up and be back at my old house.”

For him it feels a little more real though than what I describe, he admitted. He had to move away from his old home. A place he had been all his life and travel to another state. I didn’t. I’ve been in this house for seven months. I moved in my own stuff. He moved in his. Things just kinda happened around me. I felt somewhat detached from the situation, while somehow still feeling attached to him. Empathizing with the transitions he’s experiencing, but not really feeling the transitions myself.  While he had to move across state lines, I was just coming back to the place I had prepared for us.

Maybe that’s why it doesn’t feel like it’s that big a deal? Because while he was starting a new adventure, somehow, subtly, I had already crossed the threshold. It all felt really normal to me. Like this was how it was supposed to be. No big sense of feeling or emotion attached to it, just….it happening. Finally happening. Even still, you would think I would have this big sense of emotion, or relief. Not to say there is none though. Every so often I find myself looking at my husband and saying “I don’t have to send you back. You get to stay here.” With those big blue eyes of his smiling back at me he’ll nod, affirming my discovery. Though it only twinges at my heart in those moments. It’s not like my heart settles into the fact. It’s almost like it hasn’t quite realized that there is a hat to hang on the hook of that reality.

A friend of mine warned me this would happen. She told me that after it’s all over: the ceremony, the reception, the paperwork, the sex, the honeymoon, you just kind of wonder why people make such a big deal out of it. I guess I’m one of those people. The next natural step is just that….the next step. Maybe that’s why people have the parties? Huge ceremonious extravaganzas that make things a big deal, because innately, it really isn’t that big of a deal. They want to experience something. A feeling. An excitement. Something that pushes them over the edge of being a couple to being a married couple. I can get that. I can respect that too. I just wasn’t the kind of person who really needed it, because the work I put into my wedding really didn’t do anything to give me a sense of what was really going to happen. Which was just the happening part. The slight adjustment to the new normal. Which doesn’t really feel like much. The love is the same. The life part doesn’t change much either. You just kinda, move in and get things rolling.

Resurrection Sunday Thoughts

It’s resurrection Sunday. The most joyous Sunday in Christian holy days. The day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, but not just that, we celebrate the metaphors of dying to self and resurrecting as a child … Continue reading