Is abundance the only thing that prevents us from unraveling to anarchy?
What must life be like for people who are afraid, cold and hungry week after week, year after year?
Keone Singlehurst of the Rockaways byMark Morales/New York Daily News
Wake up sleepy head. That’s not what it means.
All people, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have the right to marry.
Oh. Hang on a second. Sure, I believe it. But do I believe it enough to be brave enough to put that pronouncement on my car? Don’t I get tailgated enough as it is?
Roll back the clock a few years. As a passionate follower of Christianity, I became a member of an organization that makes this claim on its website: “Aglow is a dynamic, global organization made up of women and men with a single purpose: to see God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven through prayer, local groups, events and outreaches.”
Sounds okay, doesn’t it? A group of caring people who want love to make the decisions?
I left that religion’s belief system ages ago, but earlier this month the alarm clock sounded; I learned I was still on Aglow’s mailing list. I responded to the author of the following email and was going to let it go at that, but I’ve made this blog a vehicle to share who I am and what I believe.
This is no time to be chicken. Where the heck is that mail carrier with my sticker?
(You are so cool, Cara.)
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2012 16:05:15 -0400
Subject: Urgent prayer request for the Southeast Region
To: (This was left blank, so I guess it’s to everyone?)
Dear Southeast Regional leaders,
Urgent prayer needed for this country! Come with clean hands and a pure heart to pray. We war not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities and wickedness in high places. Today is a day to rise up and pray for Chick-fil-a and to decree over our nation:
1. We decree that God will shut the gates to the enemy in this nation, in Jesus name.
2. Let the fire of God invade every organized strategy of the demonic world in this nation today, in Jesus name.
3. We send confusion and fire into every satanic gathering in this nation today, in Jesus name
4. We command the church to rise up and declare that the gates of hell will not prevail against it, in Jesus name.
5. We arrest every perverse spirit that is operating in this nation and we command them to bow to the name of Jesus.
6. We shut down every satanic assault and assignment against this nation now, in Jesus name.
7. We plead the blood of Jesus against every spirit of contamination that is attempting to invade our nation, in Jesus name.
8. We send the fire of God to consume the plans of the enemy and destroy every evil altar that he is attempting to build in this nation, in Jesus name
9. Arise oh God and let our enemies be scattered, in Jesus name.
10. We bind every power and principality that is legislating in the atmosphere and loose the power and presence of God, in every city, in Jesus name!
11. We command every satanic gathering to disband as we send the fire of God and confusion into the camp of the enemy, in Jesus name!
12. Let the fire go before us, burn and destroy all the enemies of this nation, in Jesus name!
13. We loose the presence of God into the atmosphere of this nation, in Jesus name!
14. We open the gates for the King of glory to enter in, in Jesus name!
Thank you for standing in the gap for this nation,
U.S. Director S.E. Region
P.O. Box 3295
Brandon, FL 33509
I used to view the end of a friendship as a failure.
I’d berate myself, believing I didn’t care enough to stick it out, to work through the problem.
Now, I see it differently. When a friendship ends, it is because what we were meant to learn from each other is finished. Letting go with a loving heart is a success.
The good-bye is temporary anyway.
As a kid, I dreamt about becoming a writer. Until Mr. Lo Monaco told us in 10th grade English that if we wanted to write well, we’d have to “get real,” learn to drop our masks and be willing to expose our weaknesses along with our strengths. (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s pretty close.)
I come from a long line of secret-keepers. Stifling feelings and dancing to ignore the ugly was as natural as eating chocolate fudge until I was ready to heave. So I sat in that classroom and thought, Too bad. Maybe I’ll become a buyer for Macy’s.
Mum’s the word; stay in line.
Forty-odd years later, I have to talk. Not about the run-of-the-mill, suburban-catastrophe stuff. There are thousands of writers more skilled at telling those tales. I need to tell a different story…even as part of me longs to cling to the old “keep quiet” philosophy.
Blogging—what better internship before attempting the high-dive?
Somebody ticks me off and boom, they’re off my radar. The offender’s crime doesn’t have to be that awful. Just awful enough for me to be too cowardly to confront them. (I’ve no problem with the big stuff. Call me Sheena-Queen of the Jungle when a bully needs thwamping. But standing up for myself on the little things? That’s been near impossible since childhood.)
Being human means being imperfect; I know. Yet the gavel in my head slams in judgment and the guilty party is ignored. No facing their accuser. No last words. They don’t even know there was a trial.
Crazy, right? How many times have I lived through this scenario? Hundreds?
Weeks ago, Friend made a mistake and didn’t own up. She shrugged it off, in fact. Reasonable for me to be ticked, but hey, we’re all human. Yet I didn’t let it go. I ignored her.
Friend’s husband, who is running for office, has a big yellow sign in my front yard. (Don’t you just love those beauties?) The storm we had the other day blew it apart. Instead of fixing it, I put it behind a wicker chair by the front door and kind of forgot about it, kind of been feeling guilty about it, especially since Friend reached out and left another voice mail yesterday, and sent another email last night.
I ignored both.
Then this afternoon the doorbell rang. I thought, “Crap. I bet that’s Friend. She’s gonna see the sign by the door. What if she thinks I took it down on purpose. Crap. I’ll make believe I’m not home and maybe she’ll go away and I can sneak out there and fix it after she leaves.”
Minutes tick by. Bell rings again. Crap.
A big girl would have answered the door. Big-Baby tip-toes to the front window. Should I peek through the curtains drawn against 97+ degrees of sweltering heat? Will she see the blind move? That’s when I hear a tap-tap-taping on the porch slider at the back of the house, opposite the front window. Gasp. There’s Sister, who is ill, bent over in said 97 degree heat, scratching her head at her lunatic sister.
So tonight I listened to Friend’s voicemail, read her email, and emailed her back. Explained my feelings in plain words and asked her not to take my silence personally. No hard feelings. Life happens. I told her I’ll call next week.
I really hope I do.
Here I am, 2 ½ weeks from a long-awaited graduation, cramming a foreign language into two, online, summer semesters. Panic set in earlier this week when I scored a 35% on a practice exam. Poor, stupid me. I’ll fail. I’ll have to retake Spanish II. I’ll have to come up with the tuition and money for a tutor. I won’t graduate until January.
I remember the day, seven years ago, when everything changed. After betrayal encouraged me to wish a human being dead. To hope for it. To plot. And the unexpected twists and turns that led to forgiveness and an appreciation for life.
I remember the day I slouched on the sofa, baby-math book open on the coffee table. I can’t. I was never good at math. No. Pick up the pencil and try. And try. And try until it makes sense. Months later my instructor calls to tell me I received a perfect score on the final. That momentum got me through five more math classes.
I remember the night in “Commercial Design” when the impossible project stopped me cold. I can’t do this. God, I need help. I look at the blueprint again, the specifications. Of course it can be done. Start drawing. Two months later, the result was beautiful.
Spanish is just the current challenge. And beyond that, the reason for all of this effort–writing an unlikely story openly and with grace.
Easy. I just have to remember I’m not doing it alone.
From Zen in the Art of Writing
“If you’re not happy with the way your writing has gone, you might give my method a try.
If you do, I think you might easily find a new definition for work.
And the word is LOVE.”
Last night I was reminded of how nuts our world can be. The conference I’d attended earlier in the day was terrific—learned some new things, met some great people, faced some fears—but after I settled into the crisp hotel sheets and opened my email, my happy mood deflated.
One of the blogs I follow is written by a witty, intelligent business woman. Usually, I come away from reading her posts a little smarter. Or with some insight to think about. But last night? I couldn’t even read her words because the photograph she used to introduce them was of a young child, maybe 6 or 7 months old, strapped to a wall…with silver duct tape. Heaps of the stuff crisscrossed across her little body. Her stuffed duck was taped next to her, a stripe of the silver stuff across its neck.
And none of the blogger’s 70-odd commenters said a thing about it. Well, there were two of us. One of us “loved” it.
It took two people to tape that baby to the wall: one to hold her up while the other taped. That’s funny? Why don’t we tape the elderly who wander beyond their nursing home hallways? Or dogs who charge the front door? Or convicts? Good for a laugh, right? Hey, maybe our deed could even go viral!
If we are hesitant to question abuse, or don’t view something as abusive because someone we admire either condones or commits it, aren’t we contributing to the weirdness of this world?
Am I over-reacting?