Thursday, March 5, 2015

I Am So Mean

I'm in a pissy mood this morning and not sure why. I always know I'm pissy because when I'm feeling that way, I love to read religious blogs.
And then make fun of them in my mind.
This does not make me a good person.
It has come to my attention that Anne Lamott posts on Facebook and I stumbled across one of her posts last night and I have spent WAY too much time reading it, thinking about it, and then reading the gozillion and twenty-six million comments which in 99.9% of the case are slavishly praise-filled. Praise for Anne, praise for grace, praise for faith, praise for god.
As we all know, Anne has a very close-up and personal relationship with her god and man, that's awesome. I loved her book "Operating Instructions" as does every woman on earth and her ability to wade into the muck of human behavior and still find the bluefilled sky of it, the sweet rose scented blessing of it is a constant in her writing. And much of the muck-filled human behavior is her own, as she reports it with great openness. I also love her for actually DOING great good things which take a lot of courage which she does do.

In the post I read on Facebook last night, she talked about how she was having a hard day and many horrible things were happening to many people she loved, including herself, when her car (a '57 Volkswagen) ran out of gas and she prayed "Please God, fix my car," and then she remembered something her beloved pastor had said about sometimes it's too late for "beggy" prayers and that it's time for trust and surrender.
And then of course, some guy knocked on her window and ended up spending two hours with her, getting her gas (and she got in his truck with him and yet, he did not serial-murder kill her) and this is all somehow proof of grace and how you just gotta have faith and also, that "all truth is paradox"and she misses her mom but her mom is right here.

You see. This is the sort of thing that makes me just want to ask, "What the fucking fuck?" And then, "Why the fucking fuck did you get in the truck with the guy when he could very easily have gone and gotten the gas can and filled it up and brought it back to you?"

My husband, whose religious beliefs are tenuous, to say the least, would have been that guy who stopped to help. He's always the guy who stops to help. Not because a god tells him to but because he's that kind of guy. And so if he had been the one who stopped to help Ms. Lamott, why in the world would it be necessary to bring in grace and god and all that stuff when the simple fact is- people can be good and people often want to help. Yes, there is grace in this. But's just (!) the grace of goodness. Which in itself is pretty miraculous to me.

I would be far more impressed and driven to believe in celestial grace and goodness if god sent down someone to spontaneously heal the woman whom Anne talked about who has tongue cancer. But no, in that case, faith is proven by the woman's attitude of not being particularly worried because she knows that "God has got this."

Well. Okay.

Perhaps it's just a case of a difference in semantics between me and Anne Lamott. She needs to feel that there is a higher power while I am content to believe that there is good, there is bad, and more people are good and helpful than there are serial killers.

See those pretty little violets? I took that picture on my walk. There's a stretch of road shoulder where they grow like crazy and it is one of the most trash-filled parts of that road. Do I need to make a nice little fable out of this? That even in a place which so clearly illustrates the uncaring and trashy way humans can behave, beautiful flowers grow every spring to show us that there is grace and beauty even so?
Nah. I just wish the uncaring and trashy people would quit throwing their fucking trash out the window and I'm glad I see them every spring and I should probably pick up the trash myself because obviously no one else is going to do it.

One thing Anne and I can agree on is that we are all, at heart, sad, mean little spirits at some times. We all need help, we all need reminding that we are deserving of love and care and yes, that we do so very much need to remember to be grateful when, despite our sad, mean little spirits, someone comes along and helps us.

Out of the goodness of his or her heart. And to be grateful for the goodness in those hearts and in our own, as well.

And to keep our eyes out for the violets. Even in the midst of trash. And maybe we should just pick up the trash while we're at it although most of us (me) are too damn lazy but which Anne would probably do. Maybe. Actually, I have no idea.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Never having met Anne Lamott, I don't know what she's really like, but I suspect she's one of those people whose spirituality makes me feel base and unworthy.
    I have a friend like that. Deeply spiritual. She's now in the acquaintance category because while she may not have been judging me at all, made me listen to myself as I spoke and question everything I was saying.
    I'm afraid I have little patience for people who feel the need to wear their beliefs on their sleeve, whatever they may be..
    Fabulous post

  2. Mary, Mary Moon. I spent my night two nights ago turning over and over a problem that required a decision. The pros, the cons, who would be affected by one decision, who another. I finally decided what I would decide and went to sleep. The next day I told my very religious friend about the decision, and was told I'd given the problem to god, who worked it out for me.
    It was one of those coffee spitting moments. So, I am still pissy because of the situation, and doing my best to work through it, but I am here to say the only person who worked on it was me. As you note, too bad one of those angles hasn't been by to smack some sense into the other people.
    Is that an anemone leaf in the middle of your violets? I need an anemone to know it's spring in NE Ohio.

  3. I am right there with you. We are humans. Our lives occur. Things happen. Whether we prayed for them or didn't pray to avoid them or had faith. Our lives occur either way.

  4. You're not mean, you just have your way of thinking. The way I see it is if believing and praying makes one feel good/better, more power to them as long as they don't try to put it off onto others. I believe there is something greater than myself. All I do is look at the ocean and I believe it. I know nothing else. I don't care what others believe as long as they are not discriminating against any other human being, lifestyle or life choice. Put another way, as long as their beliefs only impact their own lives.

  5. Does she really think bad things can't happen to her? Plenty of bad things happen to Christians all the time. I think she was extremely lucky not to have been raped or killed or both. Gail

  6. Oh, Mary, I am right there with you. I would say "Amen" but even that is too much religion for me. I believe in good and I trust good. And that's about it.

  7. I've never read anything by her. I once got a flat tire in a residential neighborhood in front of a house where I had had an appointment. Two laborers across the street in another yard watched me change my own tire. Maybe I should have prayed or surrendered to god.

  8. I have never encountered her. I think I might not really know what to make of what she writes.

  9. I stopped reading her after Bird by Bird because of all that rampant religiousity. Fuck everyone. JUST FOR TODAY.

  10. Nobody...and I mean nobody, can summarize and size up a situation quite like you do Mary Ms. Moon. This is why I stalk your blog and nod and laugh, and cry and sometimes wish I could put it into words as well as you do. You have made my day and trust me, it has been a real...clusterfuck. So, thank you. Hugs. X

  11. Marty Damon- Well, she sure has a lot of people would disagree with you and me. Seriously.
    And don't let anyone make you feel base and unworthy. Just don't!

    Joanne Noragon- It not only annoys the snot out of me when people attribute things that other people have done to "God" but when they attribute things to that same god that they have themselves done! Take some damn credit! Urgh.
    And no, sorry, I don't think we get anemones here. Except the sea kind.

    Jill- Well, obviously YOU don't have faith either! Oh, we heathens! I am so glad we find each other!

    Joanne- Well, I certainly know there are plenty of things greater than I am! And that often brings me great comfort. I just don't have any belief that any of those majestic things have the ability to magically alter the universe for people who pray "properly" or whatever. Believe in the right god. And the people who do believe that, have every right to believe as they want. I just, quite frankly, do not understand it. And unfortunately, as I think we would all agree, so many who have deep-seated religious beliefs DO want to force their beliefs on others. I don't think Anne Lamott does. I do not feel that way about her at all. She just joyfully reports how she feels and I respect that.
    Thanks for saying I'm not mean. You are still sweet.

    Gail- She said she was exhausted and so her judgement was impaired.

    jenny_o- And love. Which is good personified.

    ellen abbott- God knew you "had it" yourself. I guess. She is a very talented writer and sometimes hysterically funny.

    Jenny Woolf- She is a bit of a conundrum.

    Madame King- I loved Bird By Bird. Her fiction- eh. You can say fuck everybody. Even tomorrow if you want.

    Camille- I hope the cluster has unfucked itself, my dear. Thank you.

  12. I love Ellen Abbott and Radish King's comments. I actually love Anne LaMotte, except when she gets too Jesusy. But like Joanne, I don't mind a Jesusy person unless they're proselytizing.

  13. I remember reading (and liking) "Bird by Bird," but like Radish King, I pretty much abandoned Anne Lamott after that. I don't know what it is in some people that makes them attribute the chance happenings of a chaotic Universe -- and, yes, good and evil human responses -- to a higher power. I don't understand the need to believe that there is a guiding force out there. To me it seems simplistic and, frankly, cowardly. The universe is chaos. Things explode and bang into each other and are born and die and there is no guidance or meaning in any of it. That's how I see it, anyway.

  14. Right there with you, Mrs. Moon.
    I love her books. Even the more religion-y ones. I'm not sure why. I saw her speak once. She's super like-able in person too. I guess I'm glad she turned her life around.
    I don't think much about god. I think about our mean little spirits, the higher power that resides in all of us. I think about the natural word and how we are connected to it and what we can learn from it. I think about all those moments that make up a life and how it's just as easy to run into the serial killer as the good kind person.

  15. YES! What the fucking fuck covers it. The guy who helped was the one who should be thanked. YES!


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.