Monday, June 25, 2012

celebratING a simple life

I wasn't going to garden this year.
 "I have too much going on."

But in the busyness of this summer. I needed something.
I needed at least one, small, summer, miracle.
One that gives all summer long, and even gives into early fall,
and with a little sweat and diligence, gives all winter,
through cans of salsa, and sauce.

I wanted something to remind me of the beauty of giving.
How if something has roots, and is cared for,
it will grow, tall and lovely, with leaves and fruit,
in the warm summer sun.

I needed something, just one thing this summer,
to carry me through.

It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life."
--Bilbo Baggins

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

filtering and figuring it out (part 2)

For those of you who have been reading since the beginning of this whole thing, you may remember this post.    This is kind of a part two, a whole 2 years (or is it 3 even?) later.

I've been thinking a lot lately and trying to figure a lot of things out lately. Maybe this is even a repeat of the post from a few years ago. I will say though, that I am very much less afraid to be honest with people about where I am than I was when I wrote years ago.

 I still am at a very funny (although it's probably not funny at all) place with my Christianity. Even typing that word Christianity causes me to take a deep breath and a step back. I'm still at a loss sometimes of what to think, maybe even more than when I wrote my original post.

I'm about to sound whiny. There, I warned you.

When Dave and I first got married, we changed churches for an abundance of reasons, and it was exactly what we needed at that time. We have been at our new church for almost three years now and we feel very much...alone. We started by going on Sundays, it was refreshing to be somewhere bigger, somewhere new. We were in a small group and then we led one. All said and done though, it is still of little consequence if we are actually physically there (I say physically because our church offers their services online as well, which is a whole other topic for me, probably not nearly as important).

Dave helped out with the acting and comedy ministry at our church. Still, nobody talks to us, or calls except for one couple and to be honest if that one friendship is why we have been there, I'm okay with that on some level. I also know though, that point of church isn't just to sit through a sermon. At least that's not what I want from it.

I know that  three years ago I would have told someone saying these very same things to me that "Well, you just need to make an effort, call someone, join a small group, join a ministry....etc." or "Well, remember, it's not about you anyway, just find someone that you can reach out to." That all sounds pretty empty to me now and I'm sorry to anyone that I ever said that to. What I should have said was, "Hey, do you want to go grab a coffee or come over to dinner etc???" I feel like we have done those things (joined ministries, made an effort, blah blah blah) and still we are figuring it all out alone, and I hate it. I know that Christianity was meant to be lived together, but I have no idea how to accomplish that.

Along with that, new questions in my own mind have come up about Christianity, perhaps because of the alone-ness we are experiencing. (???) Things like how did politics and Christianity get all jumbled up into one big tangled mess? Being an election year I find myself hiding Facebook statuses and rolling my eyes as Christians tell me who to vote for and why and I find it all...tiring? Maybe? (Honestly, I shouldn't just blame Christians for this, everyone does this, but sometimes Christians can do this with a particular zeal).

My own politics have changed over the past year, a lot, and in ways that have surprised me.Why? Mostly from being in classrooms with kids that have next to nothing. I don't know that I can look a student in the eye and say "Yeah, I voted for you not have health care." I just can't. I hate that Christianity is often connected with being Republican. And to be honest, I'm not really either. I am not democrat or republican and maybe that's a cop out, or maybe its being balanced, or maybe its both or neither. I don't want to be either. That's another post for another day. I guess I'm saying, why all the hateful politics connected to Christianity sometimes? (I say sometimes, because I also recognize that not every Christian or every church has hateful politics).

All this to say though, I am trying so desperately to make the connections. Every. single. thing. that I know of Christ is loving and good and yes, even holy (but I think our idea of what that is has gotten skewed over the years). I can't line it up though with the current breed of Christianity and I don't know where to go next. I can't even tell you exactly what I would like to see in a church. I can't , and I don't know what that means. I do know that somewhere in it all I still believe that Christianity wasn't meant to be lived alone, but I don't know how to fix that. I don't have a next move.

This all sounds way more bitter and disillusioned and even much more vague than I intended. Wow. Sorry. You don't need to worry, you aren't going to find me out on a ledge somewhere, and surprisingly despite all these nagging questions I have, I am not on the verge of a panic attack (any of those who have known me for years know how great of an accomplishment that is for me) :). Also, this wasn't intended to bash Christianity. I still believe it, and understand it be something that can be life-giving and beautiful, but the last few years I have come face to face with it's ugly side over and over and I am still trying to make sense of it all.

 I do know that these questions are important to me, and I do know that I still haven't given up on the whole thing, I even know that it will be okay and Dave and I will someday (hopefully) find a place that we can be and feel less alone.I also know that that was a run-on. This is just where we are for now. Hopefully, when I write part 3 of this (I have no idea if or when that will happen), maybe some things will be figured out. To be honest though, I'm glad I've asked these questions, I think when we don't ask, we don't grow, in Christianity or with anything really. So, that's that. For now.