Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gifts of Pain- Who Needs 'Em?

Well I didn't go to bed at 7:30 and I didn't finish that book. What I did instead was stay up and wipe down the kitchen surfaces because the dust that Mower Guy kicked up had coated everything to the point where it was not...hygenic? Not that I'm afraid of dust, really, but it was nasty.

I threw some stuff away, too. I'm in a throwing-away mood. I'd love to just bring the wheelbarrow into the house and start tossing stuff in it. Tossing without regard to sentimental attachment. Tossing without reflection on whether or not I will ever in this lifetime or the next want or need some specific thing.
Tossing without borders, so to speak.

I would need about fifty wheelbarrows.

Okay. In completely unrelated news, I just found this online:

Tallahassee, FL --- April 2, 2012 --- 5:37p.m.

A local minister stepped down from her post just before announcing she is an atheist.

A member of Lake Jackson United Methodist in Tallahassee says Teresa MacBain left the church Friday, March 30.

A day later, a video was posted online from a recent American Atheist Conference.

In it, MacBain came out as an atheist to the crowd.

Church members are meeting tonight to discuss leadership plans in her absence.

MacBain was with the church since 2009.

We have not been able to get in touch with MacBain or church clergy for comment.

(Thanks, Anna Amundson for the link.)

Wow. Bless her heart. I sure would like to take her to lunch and listen to the story of how that happened.

I don't even self-identify as an atheist. I just don't believe in religion. There may be a god; I don't know. But if there is, I don't think his eye is on the sparrow. The sparrow may be god for all I know.
I just don't know.

But that took some courage, I would think. Especially around here in the Deep and Very Religious South.

I went and looked at the video of her "coming out" and it was not unlike any other support-group situation. There were quite a few former ministers there. I guess I hadn't realized that religious indoctrination is so strong that if one comes to the conclusion that ones beliefs are false, it takes a whole lot of support to speak out publicly.

I remember reading about Mother Teresa and how for the last forty years of her life she did not feel as if her prayers were being heard, as if God and Jesus had removed their presence from her to the point where she sometimes wondered if they were there at all, and yet, her spiritual advisers kept reassuring her that they were indeed hearing her but that they loved her so much that they were giving her this gift of pain.

Or something like that.

And I just wonder- how can someone believe this? How can someone hold on to something for so long when there is just no proof at all of its existence?

And then hell, I realize I can't even get rid of a pair of shorts that I once loved that I haven't been able to wear in a decade and I know I should just shut my mouth.

We all hang on to things and beliefs and ways that we know, in our hearts, we have no need for anymore. That in fact, may be clogging up our closets, our hearts, our very lives. We do. That is just the way of it.

I think today I will try to start thinking about this as it pertains to my own life. To consider what life would be like if I managed to let go of things that are nothing more than gifts of pain. These things can range from that pair of old shorts to my constant need to feel guilty about things.

Huh. Well. I guess that that article WASN'T exactly completely unrelated to what I was thinking about, was it?

All right. I've taken the trash to the trash place. That's a start.
Now. To figure out a plan to see my grandsons. I suppose I better call their mother. Whom I would also really like to see.

Life's always interesting, isn't it? And humans- well, bless us. We get it wrong, we get it right, we get it both. I think that for me the important thing is to just really not be afraid of being who I am. And at the age of fifty-seven I am just really beginning to figure out who that is.
And of course, everything changes all the time and just when we think we have something nailed down and figured out, we realize we don't. Just when we think we've got the surfaces cleaned off, the dust kicks up and covers them again.

That's okay. As long as we're true to our good hearts, it'll all work out.

I think.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon


  1. Oh wow, sometimes I am reading along in this relaxed, meandering way, like watching the chickens with you, and then boom you hit me with this like Zen koan feeling. When you suddenly compared your hanging on to the shorts and other "stuff" that clutters up your life to the other kinds of hanging on we humans do it really hit me. I actually made a noise, like huh! I loved this post. You make me a better person.

  2. I love how real you are. That doesn't sound like what I wanted to write. But I can tell you're an authentic person and I love you.

  3. I'm with ya on the god thing. Unfortunately, some folks' basic sense of decency is only held up by a religious belief that there is a reckoning.
    Otherwise, they would do all that bad stuff church told 'em not to do?
    So I guess that's the good side of religion, keeping the borderline folks in stasis.

  4. It's not uncommon to have a dark night of the soul...the fact that even Mother Theresa had a dose is a comfort to me.

    I don't know what I believe in. I believe in magic and miracles and in goodness. I believe in it all, I guess.

    I'll go ahead and quote my favorite man Tom Robbins again,

    'I believe in nothing, everything is sacred. I believe in everything, nothing is sacred.'


  5. I have a very close friend who went to an extremely fundamentalist conservative seminary out in California to be a pastor, graduated, moved to China (as a missionary) for four years and came home agnostic. He's never looked back.

    The article reminded me of him.

  6. I don't believe in religion either. Putting an ethereal feeling in a box just doesn't work.

    However, religion might just keep certain people in line a bit. Organized crime can also keep some people in line.

  7. I think so, too.

    But why does it take so long to get comfortable in our own skin. Do some people find that comfort sooner?

  8. I have my issues with organized religion although for some people i love, it is a lifeline, no less. my mother included. her belief helps her weather all manner of losses and diminishing returns, so i'm glad she has it.

    I believe there might be a God. I believe it is in us. Or maybe it is us. Many people will find that to be blasphemy, but it is what i have thought since i was a little one. I believe reality as we know it is plastic and our good intentions, harmonized, can help shape it for good. or something like that.

    I deeply dislike proselytizing, though, so i don't try to convince anyone of these things that might be as true or false as anything else.

    I do think i get pulled down into the morass of negative imaginings too much, and i spend my whole life trying to fight that. And when it comes to my kids, I spend a lot of energy trying to banish my fears and think only the best on their behalf, and sometimes I call that prayer.

    I know this life is a crapshoot. But I don't add up the negative things that happen, and that helps. I do add up the positive things, and that helps too.

    I never did get it, though, when someone received a mountain of a gift of pain, as you call it, and they said only God helped them through. I never got why they thought God would have a reason to dump on them like that. I surmise they go there because it's what helps them cling to the idea that, in spite of it all, they must go on.

    I do believe, no matter what, we must go on. Tomorrow could be a brilliant and beautiful thing. Or the next day. Or the next year.

    I'm rambling, so I'll stop. Hugs, Mary Moon. You are always true to your good heart.

  9. Sister Moon, I just adore you. Yes, you know my take on God and Jesus which differs from your own but we always agree on love. That's why I love coming here and listening and reading. You are a wonder, that's for sure.

    Oh and did you see my suggested title for yesterday's post? It was "I'm ticked off. But at least I don't have syphilis." (Inside joke, ha.)

    Love to you, the chicks, and the clothesline, too.

  10. One day I will write a post on this but I used to be a "Christian" that went to church 6 times a week. I was going to go to Bible college. I married young and was a virgin on my wedding night. I thought everyone who did not believe in the Trinity and that Jesus died for our sins was going to be lost for all eternity. The story between then and now is a long one. I don't feel bad about how I used to believe but I do feel very sad about it. I know I hurt a lot of people but most important I hurt myself. I lost so much. Anyway, I will post on it one day.

  11. Wise words. I have taken them to heart.

  12. Bethany- Sometimes things just unfold as I write. Today was one of those days. I don't start out knowing what I know by the end of the writing. Odd, huh?

    Madame King- I love you too. You know it.

    Magnum- I guess so. Whatever it takes. But I often wonder if the Fear Of God really makes anyone a better person who does better things. I really do doubt that sometimes.

    Chrissy- Mother Teresa didn't just have a dose. It lasted from 1957 until she died. Seriously.
    I love the old (younger) Tom Robbins. The new one? Not so much. That's a great quote.

    Nicol- I respect that man a lot.

    Jeannie- "However, religion might just keep certain people in line a bit. Organized crime can also keep some people in line."
    Damn. I love that.

    Denise- I was wondering that myself. I really was.

    Angella- I believe in the holiness of people like you with hearts like yours. That's what I believe in. I lurk at a blog now and then where the woman is pretty eat up with the God Thing and she was talking about how much god must love her to give her such difficulties in life. I really, really think that's some twisted-ass shit there.

    gradydoctor- Yes. If I was actually giving a prize, I think you'd get it. AT LEAST I DON'T HAVE SYPHILIS! Love it. Love you.

    Birdie- Sounds like a BOOK to me. You know, in her speech that minister who came out as an atheist apologized for all the years she went door-to-door to convince people that they needed her religion. She said, "I didn't know a thing about them. Not one thing."
    She was brave. So are you.

    Elizabeth- Well, you give me wise words I can use all the time.

  13. I identified with this post so much SO much that it's almost uncanny.
    I keep things too. I had a file once with inside of it correspondence around my divorce which I never really got over in a way, even though i initiated it, I never got over the guilt of it, and every time I ran across that file I felt big ugly until one day I realized I should burn it and I did, now I hardly remember what it contained, much better.

    thank you for all of this, you rock baby.

    xoxo love d

  14. Yeah, I don't know much about the new/old Tom Robbins. To me he still exists in that floppy hat and brown beard.

  15. I love how you say what you think and how you say it with grace and tact.
    When I think about religion, I definitely think of myself as an atheist because the kind of God most religions talk about could in no way be God. See, this is where I have no grace or tact. :)

  16. There is more than me--I know that. What that is, I don't know. I call it collective energy, physics, some conglomeration of protons and electrons. But I am okay with that. I do for myself as needed and every day is a good day in some way, no matter how small that is.

  17. She is very brave and is now being true to herself. Good for her.

    While i do believe, i also believe God is bigger than any religion i could possibly have.

  18. deirdre- I love being called a "rock baby." I seriously, seriously do.
    Why DO we hold on to shit? Why? And then, why do we suddenly realize we don't have to?
    Mysterious. I'm glad you burned that file. I sure am.

    Chrissy- It's his old/new writing where it all shows up.

    Rubye Jack- I'm not being graceful or tactful. I just know my mind isn't big enough to consider all of the possibilities. There are a lot I have considered though. And discarded.

    Syd- You have a big mind and thus, you can conceive of big things. Answers AND questions.

    messymimi- In my mind, the very concept of what a god might be is so huge that I know I can not conceive of it.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.