Tag Archives: questioning

Christmas list?

This post was originally published in December 2010, but I thought it could use an update. Even though I am working now, I still can’t help but feel like crap because half the time I forget things that are easy for everyone else to remember and I seem to always be doing something wrong. I’m not saying that because I get constant criticism, although it feels like that sometimes. I’m saying that because I’m oversensitive and tend to respond to things like the tones people use when sometimes it’s better to remember that that’s just how someone talks or that this isn’t a good time of the year for me in general. It’s better this year than it has been because I’m working and making money, although I do wish I could see my family and friends more often. Anyway, back to your regularly-scheduled whine-fest.

My husband asked me what I wanted for Christmas. The first things I thought of were a Bible with the Apocrypha in it and/or one of my favorite party games. Of course, we’d actually have to *have* parties in order to play said game, but that’s something else entirely. I can think of a few things I’d like, but I don’t think they would be something he could give me. For instance:

-He can’t give me my brain back. One thing I hate to no end is that I feel like I am ‘slipping’…everyone else ‘gets’ things that I don’t, and I keep missing and forgetting things. I don’t want to immediately say it’s because of my bipolar and/or ADHD, but that’s probably the most likely scenario. My doctors have told me that it affects the way I think; I test lower on IQ tests than I did before because my brain works differently (well, assuming it works at all 😛 ). Seriously. I’ve been told over and over again that I ‘don’t think’ or whatnot, but that’s not true at all. I *do* think, I just tend to think so fast that nothing really ‘sticks’. My last few employers-you know, the two jobs I was fired from in two weeks-can attest to that. It’s just so frustrating, because I feel like everyone else is smarter than me and understands everything much better. Maybe this is true, but maybe I’m just *different*, not any less or any more. I don’t know.

-He can’t help me lose weight. Maybe he can in terms of eating more vegetables and less fatty stuff, but he can’t exercise for me or stop me from liking things like soda and cookies. I feel like I’ve nagged him enough about that in terms of getting him to buy veggies and fruit for produce, although truth be told I really don’t push anywhere near as much as I could. Still, I know that money has been really tight for us and that he feels like the stuff we can afford is often the stuff that’s really the worst for us. He doesn’t say it like that, but that’s what it comes out to. We *do* get canned veggies but It’s up to me to actually *eat* them, or to choose them over other stuff when I have a choice.

-He can’t help me get motivated to do, well, anything. I have so many projects I’ve started that I haven’t finished and don’t really know if I will. A children’s book, a novel of sorts, a few other writing projects…at least I’ve had some stories published, although they haven’t sold yet and *ahem* aren’t the type of stories you let your dad read. I have a couple of tabs open in my browser right now for things I keep meaning to read, but somehow never get around to it because I’m so easily distracted. Maybe at some point I’ll stop playing Facebook games long enough to read the stuff I’m supposed to read on Beliefnet for my job, and Slater, get off the counter,then do some writing I get paid for and Dr Phil’s head looks particularly shiny today….oops, got distracted again.

-He can’t get me to stand up for myself the way I need to.

-He can’t ward off my depression or make other people do stuff with us. They have their own lives and I totally appreciate that, but sometimes I just get bored with the same old thing. Boredom often leads to depression with me and, since I don’t work outside of the home, I get bored quite a bit. It’s gotten better now that we’ve paid the car off and I’ve been doing more stuff at church. Just to get out among other people-especially more women since most of my friends here are men-really helps. Even so, sometimes I still feel really “meh”. Which leads me to my next point:

-He can’t make me feel like less of a piece of crap because I get disability even though a lot of the time I feel as though I can work. I know from experience that my mental issues cause major problems and my physical issues aren’t much better, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as though I’m one of those “sponges” or “cheats” some people rant about. I would never, ever say that to someone else, but I’ll say that to myself. Hmm.

He can’t change the past, which is ultimately what it would take to ward this off.

That’s just it. He can’t change the past. I know he would if he could, though. The only thing that can be done is to get to be more comfortable and content with the way things are and to try and improve things from there, but that’s something I have to do for myself. I have to ask God to help me with that every day, if I remember. That’s really sad, ‘if I remember’, but the point is that he can’t do it for me because it’s not *for* him to do. It’s for me, with God’s help. And I need all the help I can get.

*sigh*

Maybe I should just stick with new jeans and some bras to replace the ones I can’t wear anymore. That would require a lot less explanation.


Why I’m *Really* Going to Hell (Or So I’m Told)

(I’m re-publishing this because I added an item. Hope you like it.)

Last year, I wrote a post joking about going to Hell based on a discussion thread I posted on Beliefnet.com. It was meant to lighten the mood on a normally-heavy debate board. It was mostly successful, but there were several people who didn’t appreciate my sense of humor and implied that God wouldn’t either; I *am* in the Bible Belt, after all. After reading a few responses, I figured I’d better write a something a bit more serious. According to some people, here are the reasons I’m going to Hell.

Having the wrong political views.

But Here’s 5 Reasons Why American Evangelicalism Completely Lost Me

I’m citing this post by Benjamin Corey because item #1 speaks directly to what I’ve experienced. The person I dated before my husband was a deeply conservative Christian. It ended for a lot of reasons, but I’m mentioning this because being with him got me sucked into the Evangelical culture and politics Corey mentions. It’s very disturbing how some people would judge your faith by whether or not you supported the Bush administration and/or the Republican party. It wasn’t as creepy as the movie Jesus Camp, but it still felt weird. As a then-Democrat, I learned very quickly to keep my mouth shut lest I be accused of “helping the Devil” or something like that. I can’t explain it any better than Corey does, but what got to me the most was that there really was a time when I thought God had abandoned me because of my beliefs. Before you scoff, consider that few things make you feel farther from God than the depression that comes along with untreated bipolar disorder. Why was it untreated, you ask? Well….

Seeing secular medical treatment. It wasn’t getting medical treatment that was the problem so much as the “lack of faith” that prompted me to seek said treatment instead of relying on God to heal me. In “Prosperity Gospel” circles (more on why it’s BS in another post), that can mean anything from having somehow lost my way to (gasp!) not being a Real Christian at all. The fact that I had gone back on medication after having tried the “supernatural healing” approach made it even worse because it was thought that I got sick again because I lost faith and God had taken away the healing. How this made sense to anyone I’ll never know, but it’s thoughts like this that can make someone already suffering from depression or something like it feel even worse. If even God doesn’t love you, you must be a piece of crap, right? I actually began to wonder if the “diagnoses” of me having an unclean spirit that needed to be cast out were true after all. Again, scoff all you want; When you feel like something else is inside of you controlling your thoughts and actions the way you would in “mixed state”, you’d believe it too.

Strangely enough, I never *did* lose faith. I still believed and sought God throughout all of this. Take that!

Blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Despite the fact that it comes right from the source , I haven’t heard this one as often as the others. The only reason I’m mentioning it is because no one can tell me what this actually *means*. Was it laughing when I saw, “I found Jesus-He was behind the couch” on a T-shirt? Was it playing Cards Against Humanity and giggling at some of the less-disrespectful cards? Some of them *do* mention God or Jesus. When I see a really rude one I’ll say “that’s just wrong” or “that’s sacrilegious”, but I don’t bow out of the game. Was it when I used to play with Ouija boards as a teenager? I won’t touch the damned things now; they creep me out. Was it when a boyfriend started exploring Paganism in college? When a Catholic one stopped going to confession? He said he’d been made to do the “church thing” growing up and was enjoying the freedom. Was it when my friend told God to “shove it” when her husband died shortly after their son was born?

The definition that makes the most sense to me is, strangely again, not the one I hear most often. The way my former Southern Baptist church explained it to me was that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an ongoing, willful rejection of God. It’s not something you do out of anger or youthful ignorance, nor is it related to your choice of entertainment; that’s another matter altogether. It was also said that it’s not something a Christian can do because, if someone is willing to completely deny Jesus, they probably weren’t saved to begin with. If you’re asking this question, you probably haven’t committed this sin because if you had, you wouldn’t care.

As for the aforementioned Catholic, he never left the church; as much as he liked sleeping in on Sunday, he realized pretty quickly that nothing can take the place of Jesus. I wonder if this minor “straying” was a way of showing him that.

I’m happy for my brother. Before you say “huh?”, let me explain. My brother and his now-husband live in a state (Hawaii) that, after years of debate, finally allows same-sex marriage. They have been together for nearly 35 years but, because of their genders, somehow their relationship is less “real” and worthy of celebration than celebrities who ask for divorce via text message or leave after six months because the “honeymoon phase” is over and it’s not fun anymore.

Some in the more conservative circles would say that homosexuality is an “abomination” and that, by being happy for my brother, I’m somehow “condoning sin” or, worse, participating in it. I think this is ridiculous because even if I did believe homosexuality was a “choice”-and the hell my gay friends went through in trying to “make themselves straight” tells me it’s not-, I’m happy that someone I care about is happy. Period. It would be one thing if this happiness hurt someone else, but it doesn’t. It’s just there for him, his husband and everyone they love to share in. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

I’m a feminist of sorts. I think women are equal to men and should be treated as such. I don’t see why this is a big deal.

Not trying to convert everyone I meet. I’ve had friends of other faiths (or none at all) for a long time. This isn’t a problem for most Evangelicals, but I heard some pretty nasty comments about how I needed to “convert” certain people so they won’t go to Hell. I see two things wrong with this view: 1) I was under the impression that it was the Holy Spirit who converted people, I was just the messenger, and b) I know from experience that the harder you push something on someone, the more likely they are to push back. Harder. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about your faith; in fact, I do it all the time. I’m not aggressive about it or bring it up in every conversation, but I love learning and talking about Jesus and religion in general. I wasn’t raised a Christian, so this is a big change. I just don’t know why I would need to be aggressive about it when the people who showed me to Jesus were anything but. They didn’t just talk about the Gospel-they lived it. Even if they didn’t say word one about God, you could see Him written all over their faces and in their lives. That is how I want to be. I want to bring people to God the way they did for me. Like I said, though, He’s the one who does the “saving”. I just want to lead people to the door. I suck at that, but that’s another post.

These are just a few of the reasons I’ve been told I’m going to Hell. I’m not saying that doing the right things isn’t important because it is, but I’m not sure if that’s really the “point” of Christianity. I don’t know; I just want to be like Jesus. Perhaps I need to be thinking more about *that* than what other people say. One day at a time.


What if they’re right?

This post was inspired by one from my friend Steve:

http://newwhine.blogspot.com/2014/10/what-if-i-am-wrong.html?showComment=1413422547445#c3372567103006826529

I’m afraid I don’t have any wise words for him since he’s been at this whole “Christian thing” a lot longer than I have. I presume so, anyway. The only thing I can think of to say is that I ask a lot of the same questions. For instance-

I’ve heard a lot of talk in my time as a Christian about ‘standing up for God’. Specifically, speaking up for Him and publicly denouncing sin. Lately I have been part of a lot of discussions about things such as sexual orientation and tolerance where I spoke and acted against the stance presented by many conservative evangelicals that these things are ‘sin’ or ‘wrong’. That I and those like me who say that sexual orientation is not chosen and present arguments that the Bible is not inerrant and that people should tolerate homosexuals are ‘lukewarm’ or ‘compromising God’s truth so that the world will like us’, ‘ashamed of the truth,’ etc. I usually pass it off, but last night I had a thought*:

What if they’re right?

What if the stance the fundamentalists’ or conservative evangelicals’ take on this subject are right, and that I really am ashamed, afraid to stand up for God, or pandering? On other things, what if the Bible really is inerrant? What if I really am ‘lukewarm’, whatever that means? What if Christianity really is the only way? I know what Jesus said about no one coming to the Father except by Him, but I’ve wondered whether or not it’s possible for someone to know Jesus but call Him something else. I remember when I first came to Him, it felt like I finally had a name for something I’d known was there all along.

What if I really am doing wrong by not talking about my faith or trying to ‘witness’ to non-Christians? I don’t have a problem with telling others what I believe, but I don’t always go out of my way to discuss those things with people I know aren’t interested. I talk about those things a lot online and in church, but those are places specifically dedicated to those subjects; as much as I admire those who do, I’m a bit shy to go up to strangers in a parking lot and hand out fliers the way a very nice Jehovah’s Witness once did for me. I like to think that I’d be able to do that if I were so led, but I don’t find myself in such situations very often-only when around other religious people. What if I really should be trying to convert them, though, rather than agreeing to disagree and accepting their having another religion, or not having one at all? I love learning and talking about other people’s beliefs, but I don’t usually find myself wanting to try to convince them to turn from their way onto mine.

What if my choices in entertainment and things like my continually indulging in sins like my bad language and lusting really will put my soul in jeopardy?

What if I really do believe the wrong things, and it is believing the right things that makes the difference in salvation? What if my study of other religions and the intricacies of our faith and the Bible (like meanings of particular words or context or how it came to be) is distracting me from my faith and just believing? What if I really am being overly critical and judgmental to my former coreligionists, or if I talk badly about them too much? I wonder if I really have lost my salvation, or am in jeopardy of that, from my ‘straying’ or worldly views?

I would never suggest to another person that their salvation may have been lost because of changes in thinking, so I wonder why I am doing that to myself?

I don’t know if I am just being paranoid, over-thinking, etc, or if this is God telling me to adjust my ways. I know I am a work in progress, and that there are things in my life that I need to get rid of and repent of. I’m just confused sometimes, and I get so many different ideas. I am very offended a lot of times by the actions of some of my fellow Christians and beliefs about things like homosexuality being sinful or that I am thinking the wrong way…I just wonder sometimes if perhaps I wandered too far from my evangelical/fundamentalist past and unknowingly threw the baby out with the bathwater. I haven’t really changed my belief about the major things such as who Christ is and the Cross. That’s probably the important thing, but I don’t know.

I’ll stop babbling now. I am a master worrier, and this might just be an example of my mind over-wandering.

 

 

*Yes, I do have ideas. No, hell hasn’t frozen over.


Soil or thorns?

Warning: A very long and crappily-written whine sits below. I’m not sure if “crappily” is really a word, but there’s a first time for everything.

I was reading an essay from on Bible.com talking about how to know if you’re ready for the Second Coming. I don’t normally think about the Second Coming at all (which the article said wasn’t a good thing), but I thought of it because there was a “blood moon” last night-a lunar eclipse that made the moon look blood-red. I’m not sure how that happens, but that’s not really important. I’m not sure I’m ready, or if it’s really something I should think about.

Anyway, I got to a part about soils, which reminded me of the parable of the seed sower…some fell among the rocks (didn’t take root at all), some in the thorns (that took root but it wasn’t very deep and could easily be removed), others fell into the fertile soil, took root, and grew. There was a point in my life that I would have considered myself one of the seeds in the soil…hungry for the presence of God, devout in public and in private, taking root and growing. For the past few years, however, I’ve felt like a “thorn”. Or, in keeping with the story, “among the thorns”. It’s not that I lack faith or have stopped trusting Jesus so much as that I don’t think about Him as much as I used to, don’t always keep myself from sin, don’t read/pray as much/go to church/seek to serve.  When I do pray, it’s more of a short babble than anything else. I can’t remember anything in the sermons or liturgy in church, assuming I’ve paid attention to begin with. That bothers me, but what bothers me the most is that I used to feel God’s presence and love very deeply. Even if I wasn’t bouncing up and down in my seat with joy, I felt a deep happiness and peace. Other times, I felt a deep gratitude, a deep feeling of reverence and felt the significance of everything around me.  But I don’t anymore. I don’t feel much of anything. I know that I should appreciate things like that, should be hungry for God, should seek Jesus and put Him first in my daily life. That I should make Him my master. And yet, I sometimes see church or Bible study as an obligation, a duty. I don’t have the excitement I used to, or the deep love and need I see in other people. I don’t feel the “high” I used to…come to think of it, I don’t feel the “low” either. I don’t feel anything.

I spend a lot of time reading online and playing Candy Crush on the couch with Grey’s Anatomy or Bones on in the background. I know I should do more, serve more, write more (for pay or otherwise), but I don’t. I end up wasting time without intending to. I’d say it’s depression, but I don’t feel sad. I don’t feel hopeless or helpless. I don’t feel anything.

Do you see the pattern here?

I know it’s possible that it could be my medications at work. I know it’s possible that I could just be deeply bored. It’s just frustrating that I can’t tell if this is the reason I feel so numb or if it’s become I’ve become a “thorn”. If I have either moved to different soil or never was that deep in the first place.

Is it possible for someone to become a thorn, to be choked by the weeds in the rougher part of the soil when you used to be deeper?

I know I should do something about this, but I know that the moment I get off of the computer here I’m either going to take a nap or go back to watching Dr. Phil while playing games on my iPod. If I start a “program” or whatever, I know I have a tendency to forget about things and never finish what I start. I haven’t finished a book in months.

My friend K told me that the fact that I know I should be feeling something, know that something is significant and powerful means that I’m on the right track. She also says that my bipolar/ADHD could be to blame, since one of the major problems is the inability for anything to “stick”. The Velcro doesn’t work. I wonder, though, if this is true or if it will be seen by God as an “excuse” for an unwilling, seared and stale heart or if this is part of what’s behind my numbness.

So I ask anyone reading this-is it possible for someone to have thought they had taken root when they actually hadn’t? Or maybe they took root, but they weren’t as deep as you thought? Is the numbness something all Christians deal with, or is it just me? I know that my current Episcopal church is nowhere near as emotionally-charged as the Baptist/Pentecostal/non-denominational churches of my past*, but I used to think that was a good thing. Is it really? I have no desire to go back.  Does my lack of thought and feeling mean I’m not really saved, not ready and never will be?

And how can I get that “about me” section below every post to stop showing up? 🙂

Thanks for indulging me.  I’d better give Haley (cat) her pill and let her out before she plots her revenge on me. Assuming she hasn’t already. 🙂

 

 

*In fact, the numbness was part of why I left. It was the inability to feel God’s presence, the feeling that He hated me and left me, that pushed me to seek treatment for bipolar. I’d suggest this was the case now, but I’d have to feel something to do that. Oops.

 


What *is* sin, exactly?

I’ve never been very good about reading my Bible or putting time aside for God. I know I should but, every time I start a new ‘kick’ of reading or devotion, I seem to fall to the side as the ‘regular’ pressures and distractions of life come to me. Even if I *do* remember, there’s no guarantee that my mind will stay where it should be for long. One minute I’ll be reading the Sodom and Gommorah story in Genesis…that usually leads to a mental recitation of the scene in Dogma where Loki and Bartleby (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in all their glory) are shopping for a gun while recounting stories of raining down fire and brimstone. From there, I’ll go over other Kevin Smith movies in my head until I find myself arguing with Jason Lee about whether or not the cookie stand is part of the food court at the mall or playing roller hockey with Dante on the roof of a convenience store. I suck, by the way.

I usually pass it off as a function of my bipolar/ADHD, but that only goes so far. I usually try to fight it, but today I’ve decided that I’m not going to. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

I know so many people who think of religion as a series of ‘dos’ and don’ts’ for life. Some groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention-my former ‘stomping grounds’-put more emphasis on the ‘don’ts’. The Episcopal church, on the other hand, seems to focus more on things like prayer and service-things we ‘do’. That’s how the liturgy in my church looks, anyway. I suppose each group has to teach the Gospel in the way that works for them, but these things greatly affect what kind of relationship a person has with God. For instance, do they love Him or fear Him? Do they pray to praise Him or only pray to ask for things? I’ll admit I do the latter most of the time. Do they feel like a beloved child, or do they feel like a bug who gets ‘zapped’ if they go too far in the wrong direction? Or is it all of the above?

We’re taught that the reason sin and death even exists in the world is because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Basically, all of humanity inherited that tendency from them. Maybe that’s true and maybe that’s where the emphasis on sin as an act comes from, but I’ve come to see it in a different way.

My family has been touched with a lot of medical conditions-high blood pressure, high cholesterol, alcoholism, breast cancer, sinus issues etc-that have a strong genetic component. That’s not to say that they can’t happen independent of such things, but those of us who have such conditions in our families have to be especially vigilant to make sure that the negative effects don’t happen to us. We have to eat right, exercise, lay off the liquor and carry tissues around with us everywhere we go and have everyone in school make fun of us. Okay, that last one was just me, but you get the point. It seems pretty obvious that the condition of sin can be better controlled by staying away from things (and people) that cause us to stumble. I’m definitely not disputing that because I’ve had to take such measures myself on a number of occasions. Perhaps you have too.

What happens, though, when the illness ‘hits you’? If you get a sinus infection, you go to the doctor for antibiotics. When you get cancer, you have several treatment options. If you fall and break a bone, you go to the hospital to get a cast. In other words, you deal with it. You don’t sit around and blame God (much) or expect a cure to happen instantly. You do whatever you have to do to get your condition treated and get on your way.

Perhaps we should see sin the same way-a condition that needs to be treated? I’ve heard of churches referred to as a ‘hospital for sinners, not a country club for saints’. Perhaps the treatment for the condition of sin takes place in church among a community of other believers and starts once you begin to trust in Jesus as your savior. When I had the hip replacement surgery to repair damage from an accident about eight years ago, my faulty hip was replaced with a new one that gave me back the range of motion I lost. Perhaps my new hip can be likened to the new heart and new creation we become when we come to Christ, and the damage it repaired to the punishment He took when He died on the cross?

Also like my hip, we can’t stay idle. My surgery was over in five and a half hours, but it took a while before I was able to do much for myself. In order to walk again, I had to do a lot of work. The therapy exercises were painful and difficult at times, but I had to keep at them so that my muscles could heal and get strong enough to support my weight. There was no ‘shortcut’…it took as long as it took. Such is the Christian life…difficult at times, but we have to keep on going and working in order to grow stronger in the faith. The process of becoming more and more like God is like my recovery-it happens over time and takes as long as it takes.

I have recovered very well, but there will always be precautions I will have to take to ensure that I don’t dislodge my new hip. Otherwise, I’ll end up right back where I started and might even do more damage. I have to trust that the doctors know what they are talking about when they tell me how to care for my new hip properly. To give another example, my ‘recovered’ friends will have to keep working their Twelve Steps and live their lives differently so that they won’t fall back into the trap of drugs and alcohol that got them in trouble to begin with. It’s not easy, but the effort is worth it. Maybe the same can be said about our walk with God…we have to trust that He knows what He’s doing? Without this trust, we’re liable to fall even harder than before? This isn’t to say that we’ll never stumble or fall again…in fact, it’s pretty much a guarantee that we will. There’s always the temptation to have just one more cigarette, to put off laying off the junk food and soda for ‘just one more day’ (another issue of mine) etc. With the support of others, however, we can continue on the right path. Could this be likened to the way that we’re always going to have trials and tribulations but, with the support of Jesus and our brothers and sisters in Christ, we can get through them?

I don’t know…I’m probably getting way off track and sounding like a blithering idiot. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. I guess what I’m getting at is that our faith isn’t just about what to do and what not to do-it’s about a lifelong change, a lifelong effort at a relationship with God and becoming like Him. Sin isn’t an act so much as a condition, a condition that will need to be taken care of. It takes time and work to ‘get better’, and we have to trust that the Person who we’re trying to serve knows what’s best for us. We can’t do it by ourselves or in our own way. The support of a community of believers can help keep us on the right track, and help pick us up when we fall.

Speaking of which, I’d better go eat something before my mind goes and I start typing even more nonsense. Oops, too late. 🙂


Yet Another ‘Kid’ Post

I’ve been thinking a lot about kids lately. Yes, we’ve been here before, but I guess this is something I won’t get over anytime soon. The loss of my cat Daniel Tiger and the fact that it’s a brand new year has me thinking about things in a different way.

I’m 35-am I too old to have kids? Is it too late for me? Some people say yes. Quite a few, actually. Some of those people wouldn’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, so perhaps I shouldn’t worry about what they think.

Is the fact that I spent the last seven years with an injury that made it impossible for me to have kids (or do what it takes to make a kid), only to get it ‘corrected’ when I’m past the age some doctors would even *see* me God’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t reproduce? My doctor once said that he would refer me to a high-risk OB if I got pregnant because of my age and my bipolar disorder. The last one, I can see. As for the first…I remember telling my husband that I was concerned that the accident and our financial situation would make it so that we would never be able to have kids, even if we wanted to. We were prepared for the possibility that we might decide not to have kids because of our medical issues, et cetera…we might not like it, but at least then it would have been our choice. It wouldn’t have been because some wreck I don’t even remember getting in took that choice away from me.

Related to the above, am I an ingrate for being bothered by what the injuries made impossible when I’m pretty damned lucky to be alive at all?

Sometimes I feel left out because a lot of the women in the circles close to me all have kids or their lives center around kids. I feel like they’re in some sort of club that I will never belong to and that there’s something wrong with me because of it. That they will always feel like I am ‘left behind’ or something and will never *quite* have enough in common with them again. As much as I love my guy friends, sometimes I want to be around some women. I know it’s not a ‘contest’ or a ‘race’, but sometimes I still feel lonely because I’m in this weird place in life that most of my girl friends back home are in too, but no one here is.

What am I missing out on? Sure, I’m not having to wake up at 3am to change a diaper or spend hours connected to a breast pump. But I’m also not going to have anyone to take to a first day of school, anyone to make tuna salad sandwiches for, anyone to take prom pictures of, anyone to send off to college…you get the idea. Will my life still feel complete? Will it *ever* feel complete again?

I just finished writing a pilot for a kids’ sitcom. I got the idea from Amazon Studios and, while I’m not sure anything will come of it, I am grateful for the ‘push’. You see, I have all these stories going around in my head that I have yet to really do anything with. I sometimes will mean to write them down, but get distracted or discouraged halfway through (or sometimes not even *that* far). I had a great time writing this story, but it bothers me that I keep running through the final scene in my head. In it, the main character (a 14-year-old boy) is really excited because he just asked out a girl for the first time and she said yes. I keep thinking…you know, I’m not *quite* old enough to have a kid that age…well, not unless I had him at age 21. That’s still pretty young. But what if the kids I write about in this sitcom project are the only ones I will have? I love my cats like they are kids, but what if they are the only kids I have? Will I be okay with that? I’m really not sure anymore.

What if I don’t make a difference in the next generation? I’m not around my nephews much, although that isn’t necessarily through any fault of my own. We do go to see my sister-in-law’s little boy as much as we can since he’s here in town, but all my other nephews live at least 8 hours away in Virginia. I’d be with them all the time if I could.

Maybe I’m just being selfish.

Maybe all these questions are my mind’s of telling me that maybe I’m more ‘desperate’ than I thought. Or that I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I think I do; that I’m too old now to think of things in ‘maybe someday’ terms. I don’t know. Is this what a “midlife crisis” is like? When I hear that phrase, I think of the middle-aged man in the red convertible leaving his wife for a woman who’s barely legal. I don’t think of a questioning blogger who has no clue what she’s done with her life.

We talk about adoption, but we haven’t been able to make any sort of plan because everything hinged on being able to have the hip replacement surgery. We had to save up to afford it, we still have bills surrounding it, and it wouldn’t be fair to a kid to have a mother who couldn’t play with him or take proper care of him because she was recovering from surgery. Even if there were other people around to help, he would still need *me*, and I couldn’t be there. If that makes sense.

Maybe this is God’s way of having us wait for Him to bring the right child into our lives. Maybe there’s a child yet to be born (or already born to someone else) who we will be uniquely suited to parent. Maybe this is God’s way of having us wait for Him…period.

I don’t know. I never do. Hopefully I will someday.


The Ghost Sitting In My Chair

I’m just going to come out and say this because I’ve wanted to blog about this for a while but have no idea how to put it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about death. No, not that I want to die. I’ve had that before to an extent, but I’m doing pretty well now. No, I’ve been thinking about the more ‘philosophical’ questions concerning death.

For instance, I keep unintentionally reminding myself of the sign for the ‘palliative care’ unit of the hospital my mother-in-law was in when she had her stroke this past winter. You know what that is, right? Palliative care is when they can’t do anything else for you and know you are going to die, so they try to make it as easy as possible. It sounds so simple when written out like that, doesn’t it? In reality, it’s anything but. I don’t know if you’ve ever been around a dying person…I have, and it’s not exactly something you can see being summed up by a few letters or words. My church also had a seminar about ‘end of life decisions’. No, I didn’t go. I already had a pretty good idea of what they were going to say. It just seemed so…cut and dried when written out like that.

DNR-Do Not Resuscitate. That was the advance directive my mom signed that was put on the refrigerator when the people from the hospice came to get her. In North Carolina, any form like that has to be put up in plain sight in the house any time you have an ambulance or similar come to get a dying person. They would probably keep something like that in her charts as well, but that’s the law. It basically meant she didn’t want to be hooked up to any machines or be kept alive by any extraordinary measures. She said that that wouldn’t really be living, and I completely agree. That’s not a life. She didn’t seem to have lost any of who she was up until she died, but how could someone really have their personality and basically everything else that makes them them if a machine is doing what their brain should be doing for them? They can’t, and that’s the point. She didn’t want to be here if she couldn’t be herself, and I’m the same way.

Here’s another thing I keep thinking of. When I walked by that sign in the hospital so many times, I kept thinking about how it would feel if you knew you were going to die. Specifically, what would be going through your mind in your last moments, or when the doctors ‘broke the bad news’. Things like, ‘what, this is it? I have so much else I want to do! It can’t just be over, can it?’ How could a person’s life be written up in a medical chart as though it were nothing? Would the world even remember I was here? I wonder if these are some of the thoughts that went through my mother’s mind before she died. There’s no doubt at all that she made a difference, at least to me.

I’m scared to death that I will die, that I will leave this world and it will be as though I was never here. I don’t have any kids, and very well may never have any. My husband is older than I am, and so are all of my siblings. Who would be left to remember me when I died, if all of them were gone and I still didn’t have any kids?

Maybe my nephew Austin would…he’s 21 and really more like my little brother than my nephew. I’m only 12 years older, and he lived with us up until he was about six or so. We used to talk a lot and be somewhat close, but not so much now. Like I’ve said in other posts, I don’t get to see my family that often and he lives up in Virginia Beach. My sister has two stepkids, but they didn’t grow up around me. She also has 4-year-old twins, but they probably don’t recognize me much. They’re still pretty little, but the sweetest little boys you’ve ever met. Sev’s sister has a child who will be seven next month…maybe he’ll remember me. He likes to do art projects and stuff with me. I have friends and their families…several of my friends from high school and college’s families ‘claim’ me as one of their own. LOL “Panda’s” dad actually jokes with me, wanting me to call him ‘Daddy’! So maybe their kids will remember me. But even if they did, would I have made a difference in the world in general? I’m sure there are some people I’m forgetting to mention, and maybe it’s not something I should be thinking about. But here I am. Maybe these questions are kind of conceited of me to ask, but there you have it.

I also wonder, how would someone know when it was time? Or would they? The show Scrubs is hardly a deep and profound series, but one episode sticks in my mind. It’s the one where JD and Turk were psyched and rambling about going on one of their ‘steak nights’. Some time before their shift was over, they found out that one of their patients wouldn’t make it through the night. He either didn’t have any family or his family happened not to have made it there in time, but whichever way, JD and Turk decided to stay with him rather than go out. They were talking with the patient-who was still perfectly lucid and knew he didn’t have much time left. He might of coughed or something, but I don’t think he had any physical breakdowns or anything. All he said was, “I’m ready to go to sleep now”. Except he wasn’t going to wake up. He knew this. He knew that closing his eyes then meant closing his eyes forever. I just can’t help but wonder, how did he know it was time to go? Or did he? When he got to the other side, would he remember that JD and Turk had stayed with him, or what they talked about? Would he have known when-I think it was a nephew or a son, not sure which-got there, even though he’d already died? I know this is a fictional character, but what if this were a real person? What if it was someone we knew or, God forbid, us in the future?

I like to think he would. It would seem to me that you can still talk to dead people and they will hear you on the other side, but they might not actually respond. I remember my friend Binky’s uncle died and she said that she hated that she didn’t get there in time because she didn’t get to tell him she loved him. I told her what I said above, that I believe that he knows how she felt, that now he’s able to know and see more than he ever did on this earth.

I’m not just pulling this out of my ass, by the way; I’m taking it from Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 12-
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known.” (King James Version)

I know Paul might have been talking about something else, and there are other parts of the Bible that imply that the soul of a person who dies is effectively asleep until The Rapture comes. Even so, this spoke to me. Binky said that it made her feel so much better when I said that, even though I thought I didn’t know what to say. I know my viewpoint about people who have died still being able to hear or whatever isn’t the most conventional in the world but I just can’t bring myself to believe that there’s nothing else, or at least not for a long time.

I’m also not at all afraid of ghosts. Yes, I believe they are real, but not necessarily the horror-movie types we’ve grown up hearing about. If you think about it, you’d kind of have to believe in ghosts if you are a Christian-or at least, in one Ghost. I’ve seen my mom physically and in dreams many times since she died about twelve years ago, and I believe I’ve heard and spoken to my friend M after he killed himself three years ago.

One night I heard his voice asking me to tell his wife that ‘this is not her fault’. I just ignored it or thought I was losing my mind…it was in that place where you’re not quite asleep but not quite awake either. I put it out of my mind…until two weeks later, when I heard him again, asking me why I hadn’t delivered his message. I told my husband about this, and some of my friends, and the explanation I heard most often had to do with me being a spiritual person and ‘open to this sort of thing’. I don’t know. Once I figured out it was M’s voice, for some reason I wasn’t scared anymore. Seeing my mom the first time sent me into a panic attack, but seeing her in dreams now is strangely comforting. My sister says she’s seen Mama too.

After my accident, my cousin D told me that I told everyone that I had actually died and seen my mom…I told them that she said, ‘its not your time yet, get back down there’, and so I did. I don’t remember this, but then I don’t remember hardly anything from that time. My husband doesn’t remember it either, but it still makes me feel connected to my mom in a way I can’t adequately describe.

I’ll stop rambling and boring you now, but these are some of the thoughts that have been going through my head lately. Sometimes my mind goes crazy just when I’m trying to sleep, and wanders in weird directions. Judging from a conversation I had with a friend at church a couple of weeks ago, however, it seems I’m not the only one who has these thoughts in the middle of the night. It was just so odd but comforting at the same time that she and I had been having pretty much the same questions and thoughts running through our minds…it was good to be able to talk to someone about this without them thinking that I might be suicidal again like I was about three years ago.

Sweet dreams, everyone! Sorry this is so long, but considering the subject matter, I hope you’ll forgive me.


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