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. 

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.

Brutal Depression

As I got into my car, the heartache I was keeping at bay finally spilled over. I had never felt so completely broken apart, though I’ve said that to myself before, and the worst thing was, that nothing had actually happened to cause it. I went from feeling amazing that I accomplished so much at work today, to suddenly being overcome with a deep sense of hopelessness, and wishing I was dead. 

Mental illness is something very difficult to figure out. For the longest time I had never actually identified myself as depressed. You see, that word had been handed to me when I was much older, but while I was younger I recognized that there was something within me that was changing, and wasn’t quite right. When I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 9, “depressed” was a word used to describe chemical imbalances that could very well be caused by my diabetes. I accepted this truth, and as it got worse and worse as I got older, I began to wish the term had never been handed to me. That I could just call it being sad. That it didn’t even exist. 

Today I laid in bed after work. I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t do anything. Eventually I got up and took some Saint Johns Wort. Then I laid on the couch. My boyfriend called. Asked if I was okay. Then and only then did the tears start flowing. It was embarrassing. How do you tell someone who loves you that out of nowhere you found yourself wishing you were dead? How do you explain further that there is absolutely no reason for it in your life? How do you tell them it’s not because you don’t love them, that it’s nothing they did, and that you don’t think you can be cheered up today? How? How the fuck do you tell them that they’re amazing, but you just wish you weren’t alive anymore? 

How do you tell them when you suddenly feel better, and go back to moments of normal? How do you reconcile those emotions and problem to them? How do you tell them it isn’t lashing out for attention, that it ligit happens this way? That it passes sometimes. How do you tell them that sometimes it doesn’t pass for a long time and it’s not their fault? How do you get them to understand? 

None of it makes sense. None of it.

The Boat

He kept looking back as he boarded the boat. Each time his face looked more sad than the next. I kept biting my lip. Trying not to cry. At times I couldn’t even look up. The lump in my throat got larger as he disappeared into the swarm of people. 

I was there. On the dock. Alone.

Every time he visits, my heart knows it will hurt a bit more when he leaves. With every goodbye the pain increases. The desire for him to stay digs deeply into my soul. Why does he leave when he knows he can stay? What stops him? I ask him this all the time and usually he responds the same way: “I don’t know.” 

I don’t know how to convince him of how wanted he is. I don’t now how to change his mind. How to tell him I don’t want him to go and make him realize just how badly I don’t want him to go. I don’t have the words for it. I never seem to. If he could only feel what I feel when he leaves then maybe he’d understand. He can’t though. He isn’t me. So I have to wait. To wait for him to realize it. 

I’m not very good at waiting. 
I am however very good at holding onto things for longer than I ought to. This trip I told him of my rule. I have a time limit for relationships. If they don’t seem to progress after a certain period of time, I bail out. I won’t say how long I wait, because that’s the issue. If they know then they’ll manipulate you. Not that he would in all reality, but I am afraid of it still. Others have. That’s happened so many times before. That’s the problem with being empathetic. You can rationalize everything a person does and let them get away with dragging you on and on for so long. It’s torture of course, but you never tell yourself that. You make up excuses. Tell yourself that things will be alright. That they really do love you and just aren’t ready. But, that’s the whole point isn’t it? Not ready. If they aren’t ready then why are they in a relationship? So I have had to take responsibility for his flaw in my life. Which is painful. Very painful. It makes me out to be the bad guy when things end. Makes me out to be the selfish one. That really sucks. It’s not wrong to protect yourself from the manipulation! What’s wrong is the manipulation! Being lead on. The attempts to convince me to play wife when they have not committed to making me one. So I have to make personal rules…dare I say…laws. I have to protect myself. 

As I drove away from the dock, eyes misty from saying farewell, I found myself trying to tune out my brother, who desperately wished to run and get some essential oils from the natural market down town. We were close and he tagged along with me and my mom. Not to say goodbye to my boyfriend of course, but to accomplish his own desires to make everything he owns smell like eucalyptus. “It reminds me of he spas in Hawaii.” He commented as I quickly grabbed a tissue out of my purse at the stop sign, waiting for an opening to slip into. 
My mother was crying as well. Empathizing with me. She and I have the same personality type: INFP. So she and I feel things in a very similar way. Though during the week she seemed to be upset about something. She’d constantly be scolding my father, and they’d have whispering arguments in their bedroom a lot lately. Sometimes not so whispering arguments too. They’d been at each other for a while now. It’s constant after nearly 29 years together. They’ve been going through things I know. Dad having just been diagnosed with Celiac disease and upset about his eating habits and disfunction caused by the disease. Mom because of the disfunction it has caused him, and the insensitivity he always had towards her dietary needs and restrictions from her allergies and diabetes, and now his sudden demand for her to be more sympathetic towards how upset he was to have to change his eating when for over 50 years he hasn’t had to think about food before he put it in his mouth like she and I do. It was a lot of aggravation. I could understand. Still, she empathized with me, probably releasing all the stress and tension of everything else in her tears. Though I felt that there was much more she was crying about than just my feelings, my boyfriend leaving, and the issues in her relationship, but I couldn’t quite read what that sorrow was. 
I drove to the natural market and helped my brother pick out an essential oil diffuser. It took him only moments. He never shops. He goes in, buys, and leaves. Never looks at anything else. Tries not to make eye contact. In and out. So he purchased and we left. 
My tears were saved for the arrival at my apartment later that afternoon. My boyfriend and I had stayed at my parents house that week, because they had more room, Internet, and I wanted them to spend some time with him too. I had brought my cat Shelby with us, and she had been quite dismayed about the whole affair. When I released her from her traveling carrier in my apartment, she immediately began to rub herself on the floor, happier than ever to be in her own space. That night she and I cuddled as I cried. We cuddled as I read. We cuddled as I spoke to him on the phone that night where he recounted his trip back home and his plans for the next day. We cuddled as I slept. It was much desired affection to help me heal from the heartbreak of having had my partner in crime suddenly gone. Cats are wonderful creatures in that way. They give you companionship to help break the loneliness, and that was just what I was. Being an introvert didn’t matter that night. I was lonely. Completely and desperately lonely. 

I felt pathetic.