Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Love of Christ

What do we all want? Love, kindness, security, friendship, compassion. The list goes on.  For me, I want to be able to relax, be myself, feel accepted and know I am not alone.  I want to be able to enjoy life, hope for the future, feel important and do seemingly impossible things.

With Jesus, all this is possible. He is like everyone's ready made best friend.  And the awesome part is, he can be anything to anyone.  For one person, he is a strong big brother type. For another, he fills in the need for romantic love. He is the friend, the cheerleader, the guardian.

At times, Jesus is all we have. When I say Jesus, I mean whatever supernatural entity people may identify with.

So, what happens when we lose the ability to believe in him?  Or, what if you are a person who was never able to feel the "love of Christ."

When my mom died, it was devastating.  But, having let go of Jesus over a year before, I had learned something of losing a major loved one.  When I said goodbye to Jesus, I realized I could still hear his voice.  He had always been with me and could always be with me, because, he was me.  I had taken all the things I wanted to believe in and placed them in Jesus' hands. Now, I could take them back and hold them in mine.

When mom died, I decided I would hold her with me. I would hear her voice.  I would never let her go. Because, the truth was, if she had not died, she would be there for me. She would call me everyday. She would come visit me and call my kids silly names and clean my house when I was tired.  She gave me the love of Christ.  And just because life sucks and she got sick, does not mean that I have to give up her love. Her love was real and it was given to me freely. I will never let that go.  I can live each day knowing, I was/am loved.  I am not alone on
this difficult beautiful journey.

I can also tell you of Judy, my godmother.  This woman loves and cares for others to a scary point that most may think a bit over the top. But, she loves.  She made me believe I was important and valuable. Maybe it's just because she believes Jesus made me. But I like to believe it's because she values the individual regardless.  She believes in God and she showed me the "love of Christ."

So what is a decided Atheist to do with this "love of Christ?"  Give it away.  I know what acceptance, encouragement, compassion, apprenticeship, and friendship have done for me.  They have given me hope when I felt all was lost.  They have helped me to believe in myself when I wanted to give up.

Life is so short and fast and scary.  "We can see so far because we stand on the shoulders of giants," my college professor, Dr. Regis Martin, would say quoting Isaac Newton.   We need each other to take flight past the limited isolation of our finite being.  We can hoard our time, energy, love, education and resources. Or, we can share. And by sharing, we lift others up.

It is true that sometimes we will be hurt, abused, abandoned, and taken advantage of.  This is the risk.  For me, I would have nothing if it were not for my mother and Judy. If it weren't for my sister, my friends, teachers, books, and the smile of a stranger, I would have given up when life got hard.

At times, especially since I have let go of Jesus, it is the smallest acts of kindness from complete strangers that allow me to suffer the pain of a difficult life.   I choose to offer that to others.

I still allow myself to bask in the peace of Christ that I used to believe was real.  I still allow myself to hear my mothers voice calling me her baby. I hold a strangers hand who is scared. I give a hug.  I look into another's eyes and love. I give the love of Christ to myself and to those I meet.

We all need the love of Christ.  Of course, I do not mean the actual love of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who lived 2000 years ago, was crucified, died and was buried and now sits at the right hand of the Father.  No.... We need the love, acceptance, understanding, encouragement, kindness, and hope that only we can actually give. Because we are all we have.





Friday, January 20, 2017

Annulments

Eeewww...  This one is a doozie for me.

So, just spent the last 12 years having sex with one man, getting pregnant 8 times, 6 births and wearing a ring on my finger with this man's last name, but now, if he wants to remarry, he needs an annulment.

What is an annulment?

An annulment in the Catholic Church is basically a decree nullifying the marriage. It actually means, in their eyes, that a marriage never existed.  What B.S.!  There can be many reasons to grant an annulment: persuasion, deceit, and inability to choose marriage.

But, we were both over 25. We were college educated. I had a BA in Theology for pete's sake.  We both wanted children. We both wanted a marriage that would not end. We both were Catholics and strong believers at that. Were we perfect? No.  Did we get married too quickly? Maybe.  But, does that mean that we were not in fact married? I say absolutely not.

The Catholic teaching on marriage actually says that the individuals marry each other. No one else is actually necessary.  No church, priest, or ring required. It is a mutual commitment between the two people.

Why does my ex want an annulment? So he can marry again.  I am fine with him wanting to marry again, but I'll be damned if I sit back and say we were never married.  This is my problem with the Church and her teachings.  If we were incapable of living the tenants of marriage, then how can 80% of people do it? The Church actually teaches that you don't need to be married Catholic for it to be valid.  So WTF?

I mean, we are just human.  The Church has highfalutin beliefs that are mystifying and amazing, but valid for justifying a marriage, they are not. Tell my stretch marks, or PTSD or six children that I wasn't married.  Bull shit.

This Church that fanaticized me and separated me from reality for 20 years continues to want to terrorize me after I have long rejected her.  Fuel for the fodder.   I did not decide to separate from my husband because I didn't believe we were not married. I left because the marriage was going to kill me mentally and emotionally.  That does not mean I was not married.

Annulments are dumb. The Church's teachings are better left to fiction and fairy-tale than reality.  Religions provide no real answers, just mazes to navigate.  Therapy and truth are what can heal.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

They're ALL right in their minds

What do all of these people have in common?                                                                                                                                                                       Funny clothes?  Male dominance? Scriptures? Prayer? Funny eating habits? Child indoctrination of things that are not provable but dictate the rest of their lives?
Yes, all of those are true.  
The thing that gets me is that they all believe they are right. At least, they REALLY hope they are right, because they have sacrificed their lives, income, comfort, family, intellect and time in devotion to their religious belief systems. 



 The thing that gets me. Is that instead of trying to see what these things have to offer humanity and take the good, they demand in their minds that it is actual fact and insist others do the same.  It is, in their mind, divine.



We see this control start off innocent enough with prayers and coloring pages and songs. But it turns ugly with religious wars, intolerance and abuse.





We are human and that is why I am patient with the fragility of the human mind to so blindly follow such idiocy out of hope in a purpose, a god, an afterlife.  But, the fact is, they all can't be right. They have NO PROOF.  Nothing makes them better.  They have a cult following... that's it.





The mobs who follow look like this:








They build buildings to house and draw in the lost and lonely. 










And we are the idiots who follow them.  I wouldn't care so much, except, I was an idiot who followed.  My life has been used and abused by religion.  
My children are currently being indoctrinated. 
Wars are fought and people are killed because we wont get past this supernatural wishful thinking. 

I am angry. I am exhausted by it.  They can't all be right. And when you think of it critically for just a minute, it's so obvious what is going on!  Makes me want to cry. But, we are only human. We are just not smart enough to figure it out fast enough. 

I live in Salt Lake City now.  The power, control, dominance, devotion and stupidity of Religion is on full display everywhere you turn.  I am fine if people want to believe bull shit.  What I cannot tolerate is what religion cannot help but do, take over the rest of the world. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hope

Where is hope? I am over politics, marriage, religion, military, consumerism, intoxication, indoctrination. I could go on.

Where do I find hope? Simplicity.  Appreciating today. One day at a time. For me, there is no bigger hope.  No one size fits all answer to life's struggle.

There is no one answer. I've spent my whole life seeking answers and today I find consolation in that there is none.

We find it for ourselves, for each other. I find hope in you, in a child, in life.  Hopefully the super rich and powerful don't screw shit up too much for the rest of us ants.  But, until that happens, we live... Today.


Monday, July 25, 2016

What Happened? Ode to my marriage

 How does a young couple in love go through 11 years and then divorce? Everything looked promising.  Committed, family oriented, religious, how could this happen?

Instead of being angry, resentful and divisive, I choose to focus on the amazing fact that in a chaotic world, two people tried to love and share their lives. That is an accomplishment, not a failure.




We were not just two people. We are different races, different cultures (southeastern white, and west coast Hispanic), different ideologies (I am a hippy love artist type, he is disciplined and military), different personality types (free flowing and determined and structured), raised in different family examples (mine are divorced, his married), our family and friends are on opposite sides of the country. We had a lot going against us.


Throw in 2 deployments, multiples moves and 6 kids and the stress won out.  I was always faithful. I waited, loved, served, compromised.  He provided, was there for every birth, and  tried to understand. Ultimately, we had very different needs and goals.

In marriage, it does take much more than love and appreciation of the other. We are just human. We are limited.

Being involved in the military world changed me forever in ways I could have never have imagined.

Living the Catholic faith and leaving it behind transformed me and I will never be the same.



We did try. We compromised.  There are many wonderful things that we experienced, and many many trials. 


 We were in love.


 That will not change. We don't have to deny that in order to move on.  Ultimately, he wants the military and California. I don't. I have given more than I can get back ever.  We cannot force people to change or be what they are not.


 We love our children. We can continue to love them and work together to be great parents.
 But, I wont be a martyr. My mother died a martyr, living for others her whole life. I don't believe anyone she died for loved or appreciated her devotion or cared. I realize now, she should have loved herself a bit more.






























In the past 11 years, my body has gone through 8 pregnancies, 6 births, nursing and exhaustion.  My daughters' special needs depleted my time, thoughts, and energy. My ex-husbands' work left me alone much of the time to figure it out alone.  I went on 4 types of antidepressants over the years.  I got an alcohol problem after my mothers death.  We had finally gotten stable, had the perfect home and then it was all ripped away from me again.  I had home schooled my kids to be at 6th grade level at 8 years old and then watched as I had to put them back in public school and see all my hard work dissipate,  This isn't the end of the world, but my dreams were consistently compromised.


 I have had to let go.  I cannot fight any longer. I will live my life in a way where when I am old and dying I don't wonder what could have happened if I stood up for myself and needs.
I have also been in therapy for 10 years, almost consistently, trying to make this work. 


 My point is, I know what I gave. I know that we tried.  I cannot look at my divorce as a failure. Look at these kids!  They are beautiful.
 We've had ducks, tree houses, dogs.  We've gone camping, to amusement parks, birthday parties, beaches, mountains.  That is an achievement.  We lived in 4 states and traveled across country multiple times.  Do not tell me we failed.  We lived.

We will continue to live.
 Pictures are great, but what you can't see is the struggle. The difficulty. If my ex is honest, he will tell you behind all of these smiles, there was real difficulty.







So.....  now....  we figure out a new chapter of cooperation, I hope. 



Since our divorce was finalized we have gone to dinner, taken our kids hiking and to the aquarium.  Why do we have to be angry with each other? Why should we fight? We should be grateful that another person chose to share their lives, energy, offspring and money, home etc. with us.

I am saying....  here's to trying.... giving and love....
Here's to new beginnings and acceptance. 
Here's to marriage and divorce and friendship that remains!