Saturday, December 31, 2011

Praying "To" and "Through" People

There are those who have a problem with praying "to" a saint; they say we should pray directly to G_d. There are others who feel that we are too insignificant to approach G_d directly, so we must have our prayers delivered "through" one who went before us to the feet of The Master, or "through" an ordained "priest." And then there are others who feel that they have a great friend in Jesus, who walks and talks with them as would a fellow friend or sibling.

I'm not sure what prayer is, but I consider the remembrances of those who loved me in this life to be prayer. I feel their energies infusing me, and I try to channel their examples of behavior.

My mothers did not approve of me, but each of them had certain gifts that were saintly to others. I studied these behaviors, and I try very hard to get past the negative baggage that comes with memories of them to the saintly qualities that I saw them sharing with others. It is often difficult to embrace their saintliness without my demons rearing their ugly heads.

My father thought I was quite a prize, but we were taught, even by him, that there was nothing remotely saintly about him. I still find myself remembering him fondly. Even though I don't "say" prayers to him, I do find myself feeling his presence infusing me with a certain positive energy.

Each of us has a relationship with a different aspect of each person we encounter. Those that have been a saint in one's life may have been pure pain in the life of another. In seeking the Spirit of Wholeness, I steadfastly strive to incorporate the positive from every encounter and hope that my Holy Spirit can keep the demons of destruction at bay. Is this prayer? I think so.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Much-Maligned Masses

A life without hope is certainly not worth continuing to live. When authority figures overstep their bounds to the extent that the masses no longer have hope, the masses become reckless because they feel they have nothing left to lose.

People had hoped for comfortable retirements after many years of hard work, but the corporations who love to portray their entities as people with consciences have created many layers of law that exempt the people who make the rules from any consequence of their ill-fated decisions. Many are left penniless while the robber barons are offered lifetime security and extreme wealth.

People hoped for peace in the hereafter, but the religious organizations convinced us that they have the power to grant or deny our entry into paradise. The religious leaders then exempted themselves from the rule of law governing their flocks, thereby insulating themselves from the earthly consequences of their disrespect for and abuse of their fellow humans.

People hoped to have the powerful in our government making, following, and enforcing rules of fairness. The officials in government exempted themselves from all their own rules and became the worst of the bullies, taking advantage of the weak and granting themselves lifetime benefits denied to their fellow citizens.

Religion and "our" government representatives have sold their souls to the almighty dollar and a continuation of power for their own elite. Corporations have no souls, and by their legal instruments of incorporation, are given licenses to steal.

What do the maligned masses have to look forward to, short of death? Death, even without the promise of paradise, might at least give the peace of no further pain. Nothingness may seem better to some than continued striving for fairness that is not forthcoming.

We must not stay silent as the masses band together to call for accountability. We must be willing to stand with them as they attempt to steer the world toward right. We cannot go back because there is no "back" to which we can return. It has been either destroyed or bought by the very people who now wish for us to go backward to "their America" and their world, a world from which they have exempted us.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Loving and Lashing Out

Why is it that we can give G_d all the thanks for all the good in our lives, but we tend to lash out at other people for all the evil that befalls us? I can understand children, as teenagers, lashing out at their parents because they are trying to clearly identify who they are and their own values as separate from their co-creators. If we really trust that G_d will always love us, why can't we trust that we can lash out at God when we are angry, hurt or confused?

G_d has bigger "shoulders" than any human, including those of our own fathers and grandfathers, and yet we quake in fear at the thought of shaking our fists toward heaven. Moses questioned G_d, as did Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. In my reading of the Bible, from the beginning of creation, it was the people who hid from G_d that were lost, not those who struggled with G_d. Maybe if we hadn't been taught that G_d punishes those who question "Him," we'd be more prone to open dialog with The Force that really impacts our lives.

It is natural for children to be in awe of their parents, up to the age when children have mastery of their own values and skill sets. If we are truly firm in our faith, isn't it time that we begin talking with G_d as adults instead of as quaking children? Awe is not the same thing as fear, and yet there are many references to "fear of The Lord" in the Bible. We cannot be in honest relationship with that which we fear. Parents who demand fear from their children get children who are outwardly obedient, but not bonded in the spirit of community.

I have been the recipient of so much misplaced grief and anger that my heart is broken. Since I seem to be the strongest, I am too often seen as the only one who can "take it." I don't think it will ever mend until my people begin to give their grief to G_d instead of dumping it on each other. But, unfortunately, most of my people seem really afraid of G_d.

My hope is that we will all begin to experience the strength of an internalized and freely shared Spirit of Wholeness, which, I believe, only comes with a mature faith.

Monday, December 26, 2011

God and Good Will

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." - King James 2000 Bible (©2003) Luke 2:14

"Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased." - New Living Translation (©2007) Luke 2:14

How many of us haven't heard the Christmas carol with the King James version of the message of the angels, who upon the birth of Jesus, appeared to the shepherds? In looking past the Christmas carol, it seems that there are a number of versions of what was said, based on the translator, and presumably, the narrator, since we know that Luke was not an eye witness to this event.

It seems to me that the two versions quoted here mean entirely different things. I have been trying to make peace for many years based on a Christmas carol version of a bible saying. Maybe it's time for me to rethink which version of this bible verse I accept. People without boundaries are not people of good will, neither are they people with whom we can find peace.

From my experience with animals, including myself and other humans, there is no peace without clearly defined boundaries. This is the reason I've come to dislike being in crowds whose boundaries are not defined. It is difficult to know what will cause the crowd to unite, and for what purposes. I have not found the "crowd mentality" to be a generally good thing.

We seem to live in a society of covetousness, not knowing the difference between what we need and what we want. We are kept in a constant state of arousal by the many merchants accosting our senses with everything from rap to Christmas carols, from the ringing of the registers, to the bright blinking lights. We are meant to become so frantic with the sensory overload that our reason short circuits. We are all children in our emotional selves; too much stimulation leads to meltdown.

The wise parents put boundaries around their children, and take them out of situations where they are becoming too lacking in peace. Those who follow a religion are putting boundaries around their behaviors, and have an expectation that the others in their tribes will adhere to the same set of rules. This creates a place of peace in which to let down our guard and come to a sense of inner balance and balance with our fellow people of good will.

My wish for the new year is that we all find a place of peace among people who define their boundaries and live by their espoused rules.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holy Days

Last night we had supper with a professed agnostic,
And we tried to find a common view of God that would fit.
We seemed to all agree the the God force leads to good;
This is a conversation I enjoy, and I wish we all could.
I wish for Peace on Earth to all of good will;
This takes compassion and voices not shrill.
Is all the good in the Universe simply the Image of God,
Including all creatures who, on this earth, trod?
The spark of God's image in a rock, I think may be less
Than the free will to grow it with which humans are blessed.

A perfect Christmas morning, snuggling with Santa Claus;
This is the way to spend holy days, taking pause,
Celebrating the gifts that we always have at home.
Sending hopeful wishes to those who are alone:
The military people who protect our families,
The doctors and nurses who have patients to see,
The police, the fire fighters, the cooks, and wait staff
Who work away from family while we party and laugh.
It is time to give thanks for those at gas stations
Who keep us visiting family all across the nation.

What if every staff was Christian, Muslim, and Jew
Each holy holiday would badly affect only a few.
Fridays could be the day of Muslim worship;
Saturdays, the Jews could into their temples slip;
Sundays the Christians would not ever work;
This would be a great melting pot perk.
On Christmas, we used to have our Jewish friends over,
And I've enjoy a Jewish friend's family Passover.
I have no Muslim friends, but whatever holy day meals they do;
I'm sure I'd love learning their customs, too.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry F---ing Christmas

From Bruce Nolan who is proudly serving our country while away from his own family this Christmas:

all across the world
in the mountains, deserts, plains, cities, and waters
of the Middle East,
in the Horn of Africa,
Northern Africa,
across Europe,
in remote outposts in the Pacific,
in the Caribbean,
across South America
even in the U.S. ...

Tonight, as Soldiers stand duty behind a machine gun,
Tonight, as Sailors stand watch on a bridge,
Tonight, as Airmen fly patrol in aircraft,
Tonight, as Marines ride in convoys,
Tonight, as Servicemembers, wherever we are,
one will turn to the other,
and say with all bitterness
Merry F---ing Christmas

Deep down,
we are thinking of our loved ones,
our friends,
our families,
those we don't even know,
that are home,
with friends,
in their house,
surrounded by comforts,
enjoying Holiday parties,
some will miss us dearly,
some only know who we are.
We miss them...
we also know that they can enjoy the comfort of home
because we are here.
Deployed, fighting, maintaining presence,
so that you can be home safe.
We are here, so you can be there.

And that makes us proud.
Proud to know that behind each of us,
is a country of grateful people,
who honor what we do.
Proud to know that behind each of us,
there is someone at home wishing we were there
but knowing we serve a higher purpose.
There may be those against us,
but there are so many more behind us.
They they can enjoy where they are
because we are here.

So tonight,
I say to you all,
from the bottom of my heart,
Merry f---ing Christmas.
And I mean it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Toys and Boys

The baby boys are coming;
A good time will be had by all
Won't know when until they get here
Because their mom can't call.
I seems that one of the boys
Threw her phone into the toilet
How will she disinfect it,
Since she surely can't boil it?

But more to the point at hand,
How will she communicate
So we'll know how much time I have
To clean while we must wait.
"What," you say, "you're cleaning
Before the boys come to play?
This seems to be a silly way
To begin this grand holiday."

Cookie goop is on the floor
And the counters in the kitchen.
I don't want them to think that
This is how we greet our friends.
And I like to know that
Everything has its own place
Before we begin running
The two and four-year-old race.

And, of course, there will be gift
Wrappings strewn across the floor.
We don't want this stuck in
Cookie goop and tracked out the door.
We also must make space for them to
Play with their new race track.
When they go to their house,
We can put our furniture back.

And when playtime is over,
And its time to go to bed,
And we speak the words that
All playful children dread,
"Pick up the toys and
Put them neatly away."
They will have some idea
Of where each toy should stay.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Graceful Grief

The holidays are a time for catching up on relationships that may have been too long ignored. This leads to a lot of visits with friends and family, and the sharing of many memories. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of providing lunch for my uncle's widow, and in return I came away with some her soul to sustain me.

I have come to the stage in life where many of my friends are widows. No matter how tempestuous their marriages, the common complaint is loneliness; yet most of them aren't inclined to marry again. It seems that their souls are still bound to the men with whom they shared their children and friends. There really is no substitute for shared history, even with the sorrows that the history retains.

I feel honored that these women of such wisdom share their stories with me. I feel blessed that I knew most of their husbands well enough to have a feel for how to hear their loss. Being with these brave women, most of whom grew up in a time when a woman was nothing without her man, I am in awe of their ability to continue loving and laughing through their tears. A favorite phrase from "The Wedding Song"..."A woman draws her life from man and gives it back again," seems to hold much truth in the energy of these widowed women.

One of my favorite friends of the widowed set is ninety-two years old. Mamie has been widowed for forty years, and still talks about her Frank like he died yesterday. Her son of the same name became her buddy after the loss of Frank, Sr. Junior's recent death brought double grief, as she felt the loss of her husband all over again. Mamie has lived so long that she now houses and cares for her oldest daughter with Alzheimer's. How she continues her happiness is a mystery to me that I'd love to learn from her.

My contemporaries and I may one day face the same sadnesses. It seems important to me that we take the time to sit at the wailing wall with these wise widows and learn how to gracefully grieve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Gift of Light and Life

Why am I obsessed with death at this time of year that is filled with such joy? I think it's because I am so very aware that our bodies begin to die at the moment of conception. What we do in the interim is what I believe creates the hereafter of our souls. It was while kneeling in church at the age of six contemplating the sweet baby Jesus that I had the realization that what I do to others affects Jesus's joy, just like what we children did to each other affected my parents' joy.

Unfortunately, the emphasis in my religion was on the guilt that we should carry for, not only our sins, but the sins of our ancestors. This guilt was fed with the constant reminder that Jesus died for our sins. How could a six-year-old be held responsible for sin? But we certainly were.

There is a custom in some Jewish practice that the afterlife consists in being wrapped in a glorious cloth of the good works that one performed in life. The teaching encourages the followers to be very careful of what kind of cloth they are weaving. This is one way to honor the interconnectedness of all of creation.

We seem to have gotten so focused on our individual relationships with a heavenly presence that we forget that we are put on earth to be valuable parts of creation. As we age, we are faced with a dilemma. How do we continue to be valuable?

The fact is that all physical resources are finite. If we hang onto life even when we become a drain on the resources so needed by those who come after us, what will we leave for them? People of faith espouse a belief in an afterlife of pure peace and joy, so we are we so afraid of "going to God?"

I think it is because of the focus on sin rather than on sharing. I firmly believe that Jesus's life was one of great joy, and that he was born to an observant Jewish family to be a mentor for mitzvah (living the commandments). I believe that part of his mitzvah was to show how much he was dedicated to his cause by allowing himself to be sacrificed. I don't believe that this was the most important event of his life on earth, but was probably necessary to make his point.

Christmas day is a time that I reflect on a life of thirty-three years lived completely and totally by the commandments. He admonished us throughout his short life to help one another. He left The Spirit of Eternal Mitzvah for us all to follow.

My Girl Scout laws included the promise to leave every place I visit better than I found it. I want to leave more good energy on this earth than I have received. I wish that there was a way to bequeath to my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews the resources that I won't use if I let my body break down in the way that all of nature eventually disintegrates. This would be a present worth wrapping up and placing under the Christmas tree.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Desires and Death

As this season of death and rebirth does approach,
My gift is a subject which nobody likes to broach.
The day we're conceived is the day we begin to die,
Leaving the positive behind is that for which I've tried.
The birth of Jesus began a sequence of life;
One in which we are shown The Spirit of less strife.

Lord, please take me before my second childhood;
I had a first one, and it truly wasn't so good.
People get tired of wiping poo out of people's pants;
At least when we're tiny, there's a little romance.
But for the elderly and the physically infirm,
The thought of complete dependency makes most of us squirm.

As my body ages and I begin to disintegrate
Eternal peace of the hereafter is that for which I wait.
To give up holding on to this body of mine,
There should be a way to sign it over on the dotted line.
Not simply to say that as I breathe my last breath
And there are flat brain wave studies and other tests.

This season of rebirth and personal regeneration
Has given me pause to think about the next generation.
I've worked so hard to give my children, nephews, and nieces
A way to make peace with our ancestors' disparate pieces.
I want to go while the positive that I've imparted
Still exceeds the bad memories of the dearly departed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Still Soul

My soul is still this morning, even though I have much to do.
The fear for my children that has fueled me seems to be in a far-back pew.
I finally feel connected to the Divine Feminine in other mothers;
I feel that The Spirit is beginning to infuse even our dads and brothers.
It is our bosoms that hold our children and men and soothe away their fears,
But our men have been taught to fight this truth over so many years.

It seems that now men are finding the joy in being daddies, not fathers;
They are feeling their own Divine Light shining in their sons and daughters.
This gives me hope for a new compassion to infuse all of us on earth
We must remember the pain of getting here, and celebrate this new birth.
This is the joy of Christmas for those who follow the Christ child:
The Spirit infuses all with whom we share This Light in times of trial.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Renewal and Reflection

All alone baking cookies for us and our closest friends;
Letting my loved ones know that when the holidays end
The greatest gift they can give me is a bit of their time;
This is all that gives my life a bit of reason and rhyme.
We have enough candy, cookies, candles and potpourri,
And most people won't dedicate time to be with only me.

I'm not good in crowds because I may say something that offends
And then the pre-planned time of happy camaraderie ends.
I cherish the moments when I can sit and share with one
Who seems part of my world since my time on earth has begun.
I have no need or desire for politics or other small talk;
The shallowness of thought in these simply make me balk.

I have within my heart peace on earth, good will toward men,
But I cannot seem to hold this against the greed that has no end.
I look forward to the visits from those whose love I cherish;
Without the times to renew this, I'm sure that I would perish.
The holidays, if Holy Days, would be a time to reflect and renew,
But renewal and reflection seems to be the plan with only a very few.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Preparing for "My Pretties"

People wonder why I feel that I must tidy up for visiting family;
They tell me often that family should, from judgement of me, be free.
It isn't that I'm afraid that they will think less of me;
I want them to feel that I've prepared a special place for them to be.

I feel that the world outside our families can be such a hard, cruel place,
And that home is where we go to rest when we're tired of running the race.
I want our home to be a shelter that offers protection from outside harm,
Where we wrap blankets of love around those who seek a place that's safe and warm.

I like to think that after we feed and fluff up those we love,
They take away some strength that comes through us from above.
I like to think that we, in the family human, are doing our part
To soften the bonds of fear and anger that have hardened many a heart.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Moving My Merriment

Pumpkin pies for grandson and a gingerbread house for my angel
These are the projects that gave yesterday its holiday angle.
Today it is observing my granddaughter in her school choir
What more could I want to complete my Christmas desires?

Its back home to my sweetheart at our little condo.
I'll miss all the excitement here, but it's time to go.
On to an overnight visit from our niece and nephew;
Our times with these college students are far too few.

Perhaps we'll have lasagna and and my man's amazing salad.
For dessert, our nephew usually thinks that carrot cake is good.
Then we'll give them gifts to celebrate the season
Hoping that their memories will be long-lived and pleasing.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Food Fairy Feats

When my nieces and nephew get together, I'm their food fairy;
Having even this little part of their lives makes me feel merry.
All-you-can-eat good sushi is their favorite "food fairy" treat;
This is what my nieces and nephews wanted me to provide to eat.
It gave us the opportunity to strap the toddlers into high chairs,
And have a bit of adult conversation about in which toddlers don't share.

It wasn't without its moments of challenging by the boys,
But with a four adults to two toddlers, they could not kill our joy.
The waitress was wonderful; she must have children at home;
Of all our special requests, she refused not even one.
Then home with eggnog for grandson to chug-a-lug out of the jug,
And preparing shepherd's pie with my ten-year-old grand love.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Laughter and Love

The grandson is begging for eggnog,
The granddaughter for cookie baking.
Bourbon balls were already in their cans
To keep the children from them partaking.

Son smoking baby backs on his big green egg
His wife acting as teacher, chauffeur, hostess,
I help my son get the kitchen ready for fun;
She welcomes all comers with a smile and a kiss.

Grandson and son fought homework battles,
While granddaughter and I together baked
Peanut butter and jelly cookies for us,
And some extras for the neighbors to take.

After teeth are brushed, we watch the Grinch,
Before goodnight tickles and goodnight prayers.
Son and daughter-in-law tuck us all in with
Enough laughter and love for all to share.

Happy Holy Days

All these people with their panties in a twist about whether we say "Happy Holidays' or "Merry Christmas" are really giving me a rash. In fact the very word "holiday" is a reworking of the words holy and day. "Happy Holy Days" it seems to me would be no less honoring of the Spirit that Christ left on earth for all of us than is "Merry" Christ Mass. "Merriment" doesn't exactly evoke visions of "peace on earth, good will toward men" for me. It seems that it sort of feeds the flames of eat, drink, and get drunk, in other words, forced fun.

(Old English mæsse, from Church Latin missa, ultimately from Latin mittere to send away; perhaps derived from the concluding dismissal in the Roman Mass, Ite, missa est, Go, it is the dismissal)source: Wikipedia. I believe this dismissal is, or should be, an admonition to go forth and live the light of the Holy Spirit.

Neither Muslims nor Jews dispute the greatness of Jesus. Gandhi, a Hindu, spoke about his admiration for the ways of Jesus, and his use of Jesus example in his peaceful protests. Even atheists, if asked, would probably not want to go back to a world without the gentling aspects of the truly Christian way.

Rather than complaining, let's start a subversive protest. Many movements take root because they are sneaky and subversive, like early Chritianity. Would anyone object if we went back to saying "Happy Holy Days?" And how about wishing each other a Happy Christ Mass because we are going out into the world with the joy of the light of the Holy Spirit revealed to many of us by our Christ? With both, we can acknowledge the specialness of the new life breathed into the world by the introduction of the Ways of our Christ's life, not just the ways of his cross.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Home For The Holidays

How peaceful I feel in the light of loving parents;
How wonderful it is to bask in their reflected glow.
This is the way to celebrate Christmas for me;
This seems a real holy family, not just for show.

The Christmas tree lights glow warmly,
But not as warmly as the love all around.
Baby Jesus is tucked into his crude crib;
He must be enjoying all the family sounds.

My nieces and nephew came by for supper,
Which I had the honor of providing.
My granddaughter read bedtime stories to me;
I sang to her of The Good Shepherd's love abiding.

All of these magical, messy, merry moments
Will forever be stored within my heart.
It may not bring peace on earth, goodwill toward men
But at least for me, it's a good start.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Addressing the Human in Humanity

Comments on "Simply Sacred"
From a Unitarian Universalist friend:
Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

In the Unitarian/Universalist tradition the “dedication” service is just as you describe (except for not being in the home.) The whole community dedicates themselves to the child.

Communion. Community. Communing. Commune."

A very faithful Jewish friend:

"This is wonderful.... and these rituals can be found in Judaism.

A baby is welcomed into the community with ceremonies. A girl may be named at home or in the synagogue with a special blessing, with a clergy member officiating (rabbi or cantor). Prayers for the child and parents are sung/said, with the hope that the child will be raised to perform loving deeds throughout his/her life. Circumcision for a boy is traditionally performed on the eighth day, and signifies the covenant that Abraham made with God. A naming ceremony for a daughter takes place anytime. At both ceremonies, the child is given a Hebrew name, frequently chosen to honor the memory of a loved one in the family. However, in Sephardic (Mediterranean) tradition, names are often given to honor a still-living relative (i.e., grandparent). These rituals are meant to be shared by the community, in the hope that, in the future, that community will gather to celebrate other occasions in the child's life - such as Bar/Bat Mitzvah and marriage. Education of the child is meant to be shared in the home and in the community. "Show me the way in which to go...."

My husband and I introduced the "Motsi" prayer (thanking God for the food we eat) to our children on a regular basis, after being in the home of friends who did the same. We enjoyed clasping hands around the table, saying or singing the blessing, and then enjoying our meal. My husband and I continue our ritual to this day, and we really surprised my daughter last night, when we did the same at her house. Acknowledging those who have prepared and provided our sustenance is a powerful connection to make for our children and grandchildren. And I, too, mourn the loss of regular family meals in many homes. Community.... communing.... at home and away. Beautiful values, all!"

I Googled "Motzi." Here is what I found:
"Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth."

Read more: How to Give the Motzi Blessing |

A retired Pentecostal minister who was long-stationed in Africa posted this in the comments:
"These things you mention are some of the reasons that in our tradition we have called "Communion" by a different label most of the time. We do refer to it from time to time as "Communion", but more often as "The Lord's Supper". For me, the Communion is about remembering the Lord's death on the cross as the price for my sins. He died that I might live. The wafer signifying the broken body - and the fruit of the vine signifying the blood that He shed on Calvary's cross.

In my growing up as a Pentecostal, we always were taught to pray before every meal and it included something like, "Thank you Lord for the food set before us and ...Lord bless this food, the hands that have provided it and those that prepared it. In Jesus name." That's thanksgiving first to God, then to the human hands that took part in the preparation thereof.

The "dedication of a child" always involved a charge to the parents that this was a moment of challenge to them that it is their responsibility to teach their child the ways of the Lord to the best of their ability. This dedication does not assure the child's salvation. That is a personal matter for the child to decide when the child comes to the age of accountability and makes his/her own decision to accept Christ or reject Him."

I believe it was Mother Theresa who said that we are God's hands on earth. I believe that we all need to understand that we as human animals need human touch and human ministry in so many ways. Each of us is given some gift(s) to give, even if others don't want to acknowledge our value. We must look for the value in each person and honor the Divine Spark in each person, lest we lose our collective souls in the competition for most-favored status.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Simply Sacred

Growing up, I was a Catholic kid. I received infant baptism into the church and my First Holy Communion after my first act of Confession. All of these rituals required a priest.

As I have grown I have often asked myself why parents can't hold a dedication ceremony in their own homes at which time they swear all present into a community of people who will lay down their own lives to raise the child in the way he or she should go. We would have to define laying down one's life, as very few of us will ever be asked to stand between a child and a bullet. But we are daily challenged not to lead our children to sin with our own examples.

In watching the lives of truly righteous people, I would respectfully suggest that it is much more difficult to live in a righteous manner than to allow oneself to be killed for what one espouses but doesn't necessarily live. It is we that should be dedicated at the dedication ceremonies, not the innocent infant. Only in this way can we stop handing our children our legacies of the sins of the fathers and mothers.

As for communion, our family meals should all be acts of gratitude for the gifts of the Creation and the lives that are dedicated to nourishing and protecting us. Some have a tradition of acknowledging "The Unseen Guest" at their tables, referring to the Spirit of Jesus. The Native Americans had rituals for honoring the food and the Spirit that provided the food. Kosher laws provide for respectful homage to the gifts of creation. Somehow, it seems to me that our giving over the full power of the Eucharist to a person performing a ritual among a group of strangers is not what makes communion holy.

We have lost the culture of family meals at which we honor The Creator, creation, and the providers of the labors of love that go into the nourishment of the vessels of our souls. Never do I feel more like I'm experiencing Holy Communion than when I am at the table of our dear friends where we always begin the meal with a blessing that ends with, "And bless the cook."

Having been a cook my whole life, I feel that he really does understand the efforts I expend to feed them my best blessing. The last time we were with them at their table, he was rather taken aback when I retorted, "and bless the people who earned the money to buy the meal."

My parents and grandparents spent untold amounts of energy providing for our meals. We would go to church and experience the sacred in that communion, but we were never taught that communion can happen in every loving home, and does in many every day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Parental Protection

At what age should a child be free of the womb?
It seems that many are freed too soon.
As seeds must sprout in the shade of a tree
To grow roots that are strong enough to be set free,
So must children be protected by parents
Until they claim their own unique presence.
Then they can face the drought and the storm
With community that helps protect them from harm.

Our duty as parents is to nurture strong seeds,
Providing, not their wants, but their needs.
Some will grow to be oaks that won't bend;
These are the ones who surely need friends.
Others will be willows that wait with calm grace
For those that seek a restful place.
All of them need time to develop strong roots
To produce humanity's most nourishing fruits.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Child's Smile

Faith and innocence is the greatest gift,
And when our hearts to darkness shift,
Our lives are so often set adrift.
We do not have to teach children
About the disappointments yet to come;
We can hope that they will avoid some.
Only tell them what they need to know;
In time their own experience will grow.
They don't have to reap what others sow.

I want to grow old gracefully
Watching children flit around me,
And coming to rest upon my knee.
I want to watch them sing and dance,
As their eyes twinkle with the romance,
That all things new are worth a chance.
My greatest wish is that each child
Will always have reasons to smile.
This makes earth heaven for a little while.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oceans of Emotions

In this season of so much raw emotion
I'm trying to avoid all the commotion.
Will many may wonder if they did something amiss
If there are no boxes of Christmas gifts?
I love the hellos, but hate the good-byes;
I am always left with tears in my eyes.
I tried for years to get used to them,
But my tears always upset our friends.
It seems to be true that both pain and mirth
Leave lasting impressions upon the earth.

Instead of crying, I can make myself laugh,
But even this, it seems, is a gaffe.
When I scream, people run for cover,
And look to hide behind their mothers.
But if I'm their mother, it's safe to say,
They simply want me to go away.
I've taken to avoiding the people and the pain
This way, from emoting, I can refrain.
But avoiding pain shuts out good memories;
And what is life if we don't have these?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

We Were Too Close

My best friend from seventh grade sent this:
“We don’t see things as THEY are. We see things as WE are.”

Psychologists call it projection when we put our thoughts and feelings into the minds and hearts of others, believing that the other feels and thinks as we do. I believe this is also the basis of compassion, but can lead to what is called enmeshment where we can't tell where we end and the other begins.

I have almost destroyed myself and others with my attempts to have people see others and themselves as I see them.

There was a 1970 song by Melanie Safka with this verse:
"We were so close, there was no room
We bled inside each other's wounds
We all had caught the same disease
And we all sang the songs of peace."

As parents, good friends, and as marriage partners, it is important to know when to bond and when to allow each other our own space. This is not always easy to do, especially when we know that compassion is the only way to live a loving life.

My daughter and I used to call each other for what she jokingly called "mortal support." I am blessed, as is she, by a circle of friends that will join us in the three-legged relay race of life so that we don't have to be totally dependent on the "mortal support" coming only from each other. This is what community is about: those with whom we will bond and then let go as needed, trusting that we will each keep up the our parts on the path to the finish line of life.

I like to share my visions of life and the people I love through my rose-colored glasses, but I have to stop tying so many legs to my own, and dragging them along with me. It is true that we are all children of The Universe (that which is called God, Allah, Yahweh, etc.) but we are not all children of each other; that is why there are dads, moms, neighborhoods, church congregations, clubs, and families.

In my walk in life it has been hard to see
That I am not you and you are not me.
We each have our strengths and weaknesses too;
Neither of us holds the absolute truth.
I will share with you what you ask,
Be it thoughts or be it tasks.
And then I will go back to my space
Where you will always have a welcoming place.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Gardens We're Given

We are each given a personal garden to tend.
There are some who have spouses and/or children,
And this is where their gardens end.
There are others who are asked to manage many
As teachers, doctors, trainers, or nurses,
And those who serve the people managers,
Helping them survive leadership's curses.

But every one of us must carefully define
The boundaries of our responsibilities,
Of the lives and gardens that are mine,
Based on who we and they were meant to be.
Only then will our gardens bear good fruit,
As we prune away the dead wood, we'll see
That our missions in life will follow suit.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Blog Because...

"In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is – i.e. he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts – i.e. he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance."

Ayn Rand, "Philosophy, who needs it?".

The purest definition of the word philosophy seems to be "The love of thinking." To think without a context is decidedly daydreaming, but to think within too close a context is purely prejudice.

To have a degree in philosophy does not mean that one has the love of thinking; it simply means that one has been exposed to many manners of thought. I have often been accused of being a philosopher by those much more educated than I. I was even told by one of my physicians that I should take up tennis instead of thinking. I tried, but my spasticity prohibited me from performing.

As I have aged, my body has left me few options outside of serious contemplation. The internet affords me options for study that I never even imagined when I was still a student. My association with many of wisdom and education has prepared me to discern with discrimination. I now feel as if I have much to offer in the way of words of wisdom, not gleaned only from my experience, but from my education at the knee of those who offered their knowledge to me. I have been both their Mary and their Martha, feeding their bodies and accepting the feeding of my soul.

I blog because I feel I have much to say, as a reporter, not as an expert. I invite all to offer their comments and critique, but, as I asked of my children, keep the comments respectful.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Divininity in Darkness

Every breath of autumn's clear, crisp air, every dapple of the sun
Speaks to me of the majesty of The All Powerful One.
Every dimple on a child's smiling face, every tear in a baby's eye
Is something that I seek to embrace as a reason to continue to try.
Every trill of birdsong, the pelicans bobbing on the waves,
Let me know that it is the life we embrace that saves.

I say I'm comfortable with accepting the Eternal Mystery
Of what or who The Eternal Energy of The Spirit must be.
But from limits to God's faces, my soul is free;
I look for This Energy in all I am privileged to see.
But if I truly could accept the deepest unknown
Wouldn't dark nights, like day, feel like home?

Perhaps this is the lesson I have yet to embrace:
That there is Eternal Energy in the darkest place.
We seek out The Spirit in love and in light,
But we must learn to find peace in the darkest night.
Only then will we find balance in our present life,
And stop fearing and hiding from times of strife.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Words Which Forever Fester

Words may hurt and words may heal,
Once spoken, they're forever real.
Those who often speak carelessly
Perhaps don't see what I think I see:
The wounds that will bleed forever
Because someone was being clever.

Maybe they see in others more strength
Than the vision of self which some were sent.
Those who belong to a successful tribe
Have an identity on which they thrive.
They think nothing of rejecting others;
They don't feel called to be earth mothers.

Those who had no parents to protect them
Feel the pain when others reject them.
They cannot stand strong and true
In the face of careless things people do.
They suffer from society's rejection
Because they ask for more introspection.

The bearer of bad news soon becomes
The person from whom others quickly run.
If you point out problems you will be
The problem from whom other people flee.
You must begin to hide from all who embrace
The shaming of others to save their own face.

The greatest message I see in Christianity
Is permission, from our ancestors, to break free.
We can choose who we follow and who we'll be
Based on our personal gifts and ability.
It is up to me to choose an accepting society
Based on the life values held dear by me.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Marvelous Majesty

I don't think evening can get more beautiful.
Can I stand this much glory when my heart is full?
I've surely already died and then to heaven gone
The water, sky, and sea are all gloried as one.

The pelicans feasting on fish before night begins,
Are part of the circle of life, beginning and end.
The Marvelous Majesty in the golden rays of the sun;
I imagine it was there before the earth was begun.

People on the promenade hurry home to loved ones,
As early animals did before our civilization was begun.
Birds find their nesting places in the trees on the grounds;
The feral cats hunt for the prey that in them abound.

I've loved what I could see as I looked upon the day,
But I know that none of these moments are here to stay,
Except in the memories as we welcome the dark of night
A vision of life's wonder in which I wish to delight.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Divine State of Mind

A recently rediscovered childhood friend sent this to me:

"Namasté :
I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one."

I looked up the term Namasté and found that this is one interpretation of the meaning of this Hindu greeting. All definitions seem to refer to the honoring of the divinity in each other. I am struck by the contrast between this and the belief system on which I was raised in which we are always praying for some small part of divinity to visit us with little hope that it would stay around for long.

It seems that the difference in my culture and the Hindu culture can be summed up as: We look for our faces on that of The Almighty; where they are always seeing The Almighty in each other's faces. Perhaps that is why we have been so sure that God is an angry man for so many millenia. We were busy putting our earthly power provinces on god instead of looking for The Eternal in each other. As King Arthur said in Camelot: Might doesn't make right, but right does make might.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today's Taps

The golden light at the fall of night on the waves of the serene sea
Reminds me always that I must think about the day that was given me.
It is time for quiet reflecting on what I did and what I said,
Thinking of how I followed my mission and who I may have misled,
Spent in quiet contemplation and in saying a silent prayer,
For the many people whose life and love I'm privileged to share.
A bit of melancholy usually presents its sweet, sad face;
I'll never have another chance for today's special grace.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Managing My Mission

What is to be my mission we ask ourselves after our "life's work" is done?
It seems to me that after children and paychecks, our work has just begun.
We must remain available to assist, advise and guide the young;
It will teach us patience and will help to channel the high-strung.

I was never encouraged to ask what I wanted or had the talent to be.
I did not choose a life's path; a life's path instead chose me.
I fell into marriage and motherhood like falling down a deep well;
This meant much of my children's childhood, I made a living hell.

I am so fortunate that they have given me a chance for a do-over
By allowing me into their children's lives under the "Granny" cover.
This has allowed me to redeem myself in little bits and pieces
So that I now have the ability to share what life really teaches.

I always wanted to be a reporter, but didn't want to chase tragedy.
I simply want to observe, question, and report on what I daily see.
I do not need to seek drama, as drama seems to ever be seeking me;
I don't so much want to judge it as to convert it to dramedy.

The Fates of Our Foremothers

It seems to me that religious upbringing is to help define a life's mission greater than one's immediate pleasure and release at all costs from stresses of our animal instincts.

What confounds so many young women today is how to choose their life's mission. We are now faced with so many choices that were not available to our foremothers. When I was speaking to a couple of high school sophomores about their ambitions, they were very sure of their choices in professions. Upon hearing that, when I was their ages, all the women I knew were automatically expected to become wives and mothers, one of the girls replied, "I wish it was that easy." Easy? I wish.

Our educations prepared us for becoming doctors and lawyers, but acted as if becoming the co-creators of human beings and bringing them up to be moral men and women needed nothing other than a set of static rules and a stick. How foolish we were to take the path of family life so for granted.

We could never have even envisioned a book called What to Expect When You're Expecting. Even we who had never gotten a crying baby to settle down (to laugh yes, but not to settle down) were left to figure it out on our own. The closest we came to parenting advice was from Dr. Spock who believed in disciplining even small babies until they bent to our wills.

Forget about advice on life as a couple. We were told that once you married, you could never change any behavior of your man, so we simply learned to live with the resignation to that belief. And we dared not risk sex before the man "bought the cow" because we may end up at the mercy of a damning society for the support of a fatherless child. Men were taught that he way to have easy sex was to marry, even though all who have rared children know this not to be true.

Our greatest ambition for our marriages was that our husbands brought home their paychecks and didn't beat us to death. For these concessions, we were expected to accede to their sexual desires or accept their infidelity. Men had "needs," you know.

I have found some Eastern tomes on married love, but they never seem to have the lovers locked in intimate embraces that include shedding dogs and dirty diapers. I wish I could remember where I read it, but someone once pointed out to me that love is when to people are passionate about the same thing. The closest I could come to finding that quote was this one by C.S. Lewis, “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” The problem is that we don't define that about which we are passionate before we pick a path for our lives and mates to accompany us on these paths.

A lot of my friends are distressed by all this unmarried sex. I'm encouraged that the young people seem to be defining the difference between animal attraction and the friendship that grows out of shared passion for something outside one's selves. I believe that, in a lot of cases, they feel pressured into adding the sexual component by the erroneous belief foisted on many generations that males and females cannot have intimate friendships without sex "happening."

Even in this age of AIDS and DNA testing, many males are still brought up to treat their bodies as tools of conquest. Semen and ova are handed off to perfect strangers, as if these are not the seeds of human beings with the potential for souls. We have made mockery of the old-fashioned belief that our bodies are temples of The Holy Spirit.

I would prefer for young people to discover if it is only their animal instincts that attract them to each other before they attempt to bring children up with a shared set of values. Only in this way can we hope for a moral, civil society instead of continuing to foster packs of hyenas competing for the sake of the conquest. My husband once said to me that he believes that the real thing that separates humans from other animals is the ability to say, "No." I believe it is our ability to redirect our animal energies.

Would I prefer that we be taught responsible ways to recognize and responsibly relieve or refocus our own sexual tensions? Yes. Do I see that happening in America in my lifetime? I wish...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Yin, the Yang ,and their Young

"He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24) and "Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell." (Proverbs 23:13-14)

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6)

"Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48)

We must get the "mother" energy back into our concept of The Almighty in order to break the bondage of the patriarchal model for "raising a child in the way he should go." Our wrath should be reserved for what harms the vulnerable and not for what inconveniences or displeases the strong. It may not be that the Judeo-Christian scribes were wrong in the stories of what happened, but wrong in their interpretations of the events.

Perhaps it wasn't God who told Abraham to sacrifice his son, but Abraham's understanding of his god as being a god with a lust for blood sacrifice. Perhaps the "angel" who stayed Abraham's hand was his wife who pointed out the error of his interpretation of the voice of their shared Spirit.

Are there any blessings from bullying and beating of those over whom one holds the power of life and death? The reading of what Christians refer to as the Old Testament would have us believe that the Creator of Life is unable to control his children without the threat of death. How is mortal man to find his strength in the powers of persuasion that are made possible by bonding, when he is encouraged to react with rage to all displeases him?

I honestly believe that my father was attempting to follow the example of what he saw as God the Father in not "sparing the rod." Wrath was a part of his sensibility of how one is to train up children in the way they should go. He didn't kill any of us, but he certainly drew blood on more than one occasion. As a chivalrous man, he didn't believe in hitting his wife, and he did believe in protecting her, even from her own "beastly" children.

I hurt for many men raised in the traditional male manner, who they have been taught no nurturing skills, and resent any pain inflicted on their wives, even by their own children. I also grieve for the love lost to them and their children.

The expectation of my mother from all in our family was to, "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect." All mistakes were "corrected" by corporal punishment perhaps because, in my mother's mind, pain was the way to perfection. This seemed to be a result of the huge amount of emphasis put on the belief that God demanded that His Only Son suffer and die in order to make up for the sins of our ancestors which were passed down to us.

I prefer to believe that a greater gift than his suffering and death on his last day was Jesus' ability, joyfully and without sin, to live on earth, following the stringent Jewish law. Even though I'm not from the "show me" state of Missouri, I learn better by following examples. This is an example that I can attempt to follow.

We do not have a clear scriptural example of how a monogamous married couple is to comport themselves, nor does the Bible have a great deal of information on how we are to behave toward our spirited children. I have to believe that there must have been some couples' and women's accounts of dealing with family life in a moral manner. Why do we include none of these in what we accept as sacred scripture? (Paul was not married and only advocated marriage as a substitute for the fires of Satan's domain.)“I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn” (1Corinthians 7:8,9).

I'm hoping to hear more about how families of faith raise their children "in the way they should go" and comport themselves as couples. This would be sacred scripture to me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Thoughts

On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the blessings that I'm getting from the women (and men) of moral courage entering into dialog with me about their real-life experiences with faith and family.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cooking and Creation

When I cook for family, I feel my mothers with me.
Every day, the kitchen is where they would be.
My mother was the oven and pressure cooker queen,
So her long absences from home wouldn't cause a scene.
Her mother used a meat grinder as a food processor;
She could sit and do this without foot and back pressure.
My daddy's mom was the neatest cook I've ever seen;
As soon as she'd spill something, she'd immediately clean.

They thought I didn't heed anything they had to say,
But I watched them as closely as a hawk watches its prey.
They didn't like my questions about what I didn't understand,
Like why rules were different for woman than for man.
I saw how with food and fun they got their points across;
For why they allowed their men to slide, I was at a loss.
Now I use some of their subtle ways of reward
To soften the minds and hearts that are hard.

I pray daily that the values that I express
Help those I love to become more, not less--
More of what they are put on earth to be,
Realizing that no one is ever completely free.
But we must appreciate every contribution
That leads to the final meal's execution.
The ancients respected the grower and the grown
Realizing that none of creation stands alone.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pass the Potatoes, Peas, and Philosophies

A childhood friend sent me this:

“God is a synergetic experience. Science can never reveal it, philosophy can never come to it – only a poetic approach, a very passive, very loving approach, can.” Osho

I had no knowledge of Osho, but these words seem full of wisdom. Come to find out, Osho was a well-known professor of philosophy who formed his own counter-religion, ministering mostly to the wealthy who richly rewarded him for assisting them in accepting their greed as good. It seems that Osho was a proponent of responsibility only to oneself.

Another friend who writes a spiritual blog wrote these words today:

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens (Ps. 68).

The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28)

We all recognize that eating once in awhile is not enough to sustain our lives; we must be fed constantly in order to live. God's ministry to us is constant and on-going; He bends low to hear our cry and to meet our daily need. And if He asks us to serve Him, it is that we may imitate Him by serving his "sheep." Jesus asked Simon Peter to "feed [His] sheep." from the blog One Bird Watching by Gayle Nolan

I came to adulthood, marriage, and motherhood at the time that gurus spread across the land promoting self-fulfillment through the pursuit of pleasures, irresponsible sex, and drugs. Many of these gurus became wealthy and were apparently worshiped by their followers, even when it was obvious that the gurus were using their followers to feed their own greed. We seem to easily fall into the trap of deifying people who pretend to lift our burdens, while they are actually feeding themselves and their own egos.

Even saints are also sinners; no person is infallible. We must stop allowing those with the loudest voices and longest speeches to take over our consciousness. A truly spiritual person sets an example and then leaves their own spirit to continue to inspire us. He or she does not need the constant control of others to feel powerful.

Like a good grandmother who offers a peaceful place at her table to all who come, much of enlightenment happens when we are simply having our physical needs met. But we must be careful of those who offer easy fixes like mind altering substances and soulless sex, and feed our greed with fear of not enough to go around which leads to competition and hoarding.

A good grandmother offers assistance, but expects that the family values will be taken from her table to the hearts and minds of others. The spirit of the family is offered with the lovingly shared fruits of the labors of each member who contributed to the meal. Perhaps we should take the time to look at our own families and define what values we want to pass on as we pass the potatoes and peas.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cherished Children and the Faces of Infinity

How nice it must be to have been a cherished child so that one can relate to god as a beaming parent, so proud of his progeny! Not all children are so blessed. Many children see fear in the faces of their parents and feel it as disapproval. Some are treated as scapegoats, receiving reprimands for that which has been inflicted on the parents by others. How do we expect for the people so wounded by their examples of parenting to relate to a parental god as love?

I have no feeling of a person of god, but I nonetheless feel a seed of the Infinite Force For Good in all of creation. I do not believe that my prayers sway god's decisions, but I do believe that I can receive strength to find the positive in every situation by keeping myself open to the lessons of life. Finding the positive often takes many years and much hurt, but I continue to be open to it. I am often reminded in my openness that I must actively seek the positive and be patient. Is this the voice of The Almighty coming out of the mouths of my family and friends?

I believe it is our gift as humans to choose to nurture and expand these seeds of the soul or to extinguish the positive with our own negative energy and encouraging that of others. Sometimes sustaining this life force is as easy as a smile or a hug. And sometimes we are called to lay our lives on the line by fighting our more base animal instincts and setting an example of acceptance and empathy. We are all asked to give our lives for The Infinite Good, not by our deaths, but by the ways we live.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Personal Paths to Positive Power

As a Roman Catholic child, I was exposed to a practice that was common, recitation of litanies in which God was called by many names. It is true that many of those names included being male, and a fearsome male, at that. Here are some examples:

"Divine Essence, one true God,
Spirit of truth and wisdom,
Spirit of holiness and justice,
Spirit of understanding and counsel,
Spirit of love and joy,
Spirit of peace and patience,
Spirit of longanimity and meekness,
Spirit of benignity and goodness,
Love substantial of the Father and the Son,
Love and life of saintly souls,
Fire ever burning,
Living water to quench the thirst of hearts,"

"God the Father of Heaven,
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, One God,
Father from Whom are all things,
Son through Whom are all things,
Holy Ghost in Whom are all things,
Holy and undivided Trinity,
Father everlasting,
Only-begotten Son of the Father,
Spirit Who preceedeth from the Father and the Son,
Co-eternal Majesty of Three Divine Persons,
Father, the Creator,
Son, the Redeemer,
Holy Ghost, the Comforter,
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts,
Who art, Who wast, and Who art to come,
God Most High, Who inhabitest eternity,
To Whom alone are due all honor and glory,
Who alone doest great wonders,
Power infinite,
Wisdom, incomprehensible,
Love unspeakable,"

"Judge of the Godless and wicked,
Majesty humbling the proud,
Terror of blasphemers,
Rewarder of the patient,
Sanctifier of the obedient,
Thou Who dost exalt the humble,
Thou Who dost exalt the meek,
Inspiration of the persecuted,
Comforter of the mournful,
Father of the peacemakers,
Glorifier of the poor in spirit,
Author of Light,
Author of creation,
Author of life,
Author of fire,
Countenance of wrath,
Countenance of justice,
Countenance of mercy,
Countenance of love,
Countenance of splendor,
Eternal Father, object of the beatific vision,
Eternal Father, incessantly adored by the angels,
Eternal Father, contemplation of the saints,
Eternal Father, desire of the righteous,
Eternal Father, worthy of all adoration,
Eternal Father, worthy of all love,"

Why did ancient humans put a fearsome face on god? And why do so many still believe that god is a vengeful father figure counting our crimes against him and his creation? Why do we still think worship is a good substitute for responsible reverence? Why can't we accept that The Creative Force is exhibited in every form of creation and that we are not great enough to ever see the full scope of the "faces" of that which makes up all matter, Creative Energy? It's okay not to know; the danger is in pretending that we do know that which we don't.

It seems that the people who put human faces on god diminish the magnitude of the Awesome Almighty Power. It can also spiritually cripple those who have had abusive human familial relationships. If I am afraid of all those who have said they are there to protect me, while in truth they use my vulnerability to further their own purposes, it is unlikely that I'm going to feel comfortable with a god who has a father, mother, sister or brother face.

If a raging flood has wiped out my entire village, I may be unable to see Positive Power in the water that can keep me alive, but can also kill me. The same sun that warms me and keeps our crops growing also destroys the sensitive skin that covers my friends prone to skin cancer. The breeze that billows the sails and cools us on a hot day also brought murderous conquerors to the shores of many lands.

Depending on my former experiences, I may perceive any of these things as either good or bad. This is why I believe it is so important to allow each individual to look for The Power of Positive Energy in whatever aspect of creation with which one is gifted, and allow them call all Positive Power god. There is still only one Ultimate Source of Energy, The Alpha and The Omega.

Why can't we see that all religious beliefs, like all accepted science, is what has been revealed to us and the writers thus far. Until we all turn back to Pure Energy, we are not meant to see the beginning or the end, only to be responsible for our small section of the energy that is put in our person and our paths.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Windows to Wonder

It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and great debate about where the saying originated. There seems to be an instinct that we mirror what is truly in our hearts through our eyes. This is probably why we seek face-to-face communication even though we have so many ways to communicate over long distances. We want to see each others souls. But are we really looking?

As we become adults, we seem to think that the way to show maturity is to find fault with the world and to point it out at every opportunity. We seek to hide our souls from others and turn to sarcasm and exclusion instead of good-natured helping-hand inclusive humor. We stop looking into the eyes of others and become uncomfortable with those who look us in the eye. There are even those who train their eyes to tell lies by looking inside of themselves for feelings instead of looking outward to others with compassion.

Many politicians and priests kiss babies and old ladies and shake all outstretched hands, but are they really connecting with all those souls? They spout platitudes about morality and fairness, but are they open about how they apply these values to their own lives? I think not when I see no truth in their eyes.

The first time I ever saw my husband, he appeared very stern and rigid in his demeanor, except when he turned his eyes to my girl friend and her infant son, my godchild. His joyful amazement at the sight of that baby boy radiated from behind his very thick eyeglasses, and I knew he was a man with a gentle soul. Perhaps if he had known how carefully I watch people's eyes, he would have been more guarded.

We went on to become dear friends through interaction with my many young nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. He, being the breadwinner and calming influence and I being the chief cook, diaper changer, and bottle washer. He has continued that sense of wonder and delight in assisting others, but when we lived in a community of mostly retirees, I missed the "little boy" in his eyes that played trucks, trains, and tractors on the floor with the children.

We have moved back to be where his gentle soul can come out to play, and we seek many opportunities to be with the younger people in our lives. I have also had the opportunity to work with him as he shares his "little boy" joy with other men sharing in work on projects. Many see his unbridled excitement and wonder that is evident when a difficult task is shared or mastered as a sign of immaturity, and others never look behind the glasses to see his soul. I see this joyful amazement as the window into the faith "like that of a child." If a person is not able to be delighted by the light of learning in another's eyes, I don't know that they can ever be trusted to bring good into the world.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sacred Sexuality

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28

lust - definition of lust by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and ...
a. An overwhelming desire or craving

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. Exodus 20:1-17

covet - definition of covet by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus ...
v. cov·et·ed, cov·et·ing, cov·ets. 1. To feel blameworthy desire for (that which is another's).

It seems to me that the wrong in lusting and in coveting is that the desire is overwhelming; therefore, it drives the person consumed by the desire to endanger oneself or others (physically, emotionally, or spiritually)in the pursuit of the fulfillment of the passion.

I feel so sorry for the moral men
Who have been taught to live in shame
Because of their need of their women.
We are animals who are given a gift:
The sacred bonds of sexuality,
So that we won't want to drift
From protection of the community
Including our precious young,
With life mates basic to unity.
Physical desires drive us to bond
Whether in wrestling, hugging,
Or the mating life depends upon.

It is competition that has led us
To reject lifetime partnerships
And to scorn those that wed us.
Fear of the church and of the state
That we may find something more sacred
Than that which they overrate.
The sacred is transcendent,
And it is the greatest blessing
That in sexual love we are sent.
The transcendent man or woman
Will have discipline if we reclaim
The sacred in sexuality's plan.

Friday, November 11, 2011

America's Collective Cowboy Complex

I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Isaiah 50:6

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you. Matthew 5:4

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. Matthew 25:35

On this Veterans Day, many of us may ask ourselves how to square our views on loving our enemies and turning the other cheek with war. It seems that there has always been war because there has always been jealousy and greed, a lust for imperial power. Adam and Eve wanted to be greater than their creator; Cain wanted to best Abel. How different our world would be if Adam and Eve had understood peaceful partnerships and parental protection.

One of the wonders of the way our current armed forces are approaching their duties as protectors of the oppressed is in holding the bullies at bay while encouraging the empowerment of the citizenry. From Time Magazine, Monday, Aug. 29, 2011, The New Greatest Generation by Joe Klein: "...Seth Moulton, a Marine captain who had been the Harvard class-of-2001 commencement speaker and became particularly adept at working with Iraqis to organize construction projects. "Petraeus was an amazing boss," Moulton says. "Our mission was to defeat the military bureaucracy. We were able to build border forts, using Iraqi engineers and work crews, for one-fifth the price that the American contractors were charging and in one-third the time. Our proposals went right to his desk, rather than through the bureaucracy. The only thing he demanded of us was success."

The post-patriarchal era of United States military involvement appears to be empowerment by passing on information and protecting the weak while they learn. This is something that we know has happened all over the world in wars past, but we've not necessarily been proud to admit it. Helping our former enemies to help themselves is a hallmark of America's fighting forces. Chivalry isn't dead; it's now called cooperation and compassion, shared by women and men. Perhaps we Americans do have a collective cowboy complex, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Arguing for Amazement as Sacred Scripture

This is what I mean when I say that I believe that very little of sacred scripture is contained in the works that the world religions call "sacred scripture." I believe that the sacred is first written in the hearts of the people who take the time to be amazed and grateful for that amazement, and secondly on paper, stone tablets, papyrus, and cyberspace. I would love to see more of the contemporary stories of that amazement and gratitude written down by everyday men and women reporting on their everyday lives.

One of my soul sisters who has spent much of her life studying the Judeo-Christian faiths and now writes a blog about her spiritual journey called "One Bird Watching" mentioned that she's reading a book called Radical Amazement. This term spoke to me because it seems to embody part of my philosophy of The Spirit, "Amazement," so I Googled the term. The first reference to the term that I came upon was regarding Abraham Joshua Heschel (January 11, 1907 – December 23, 1972) who was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. Here are some pretty amazing quotes from him:

"Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge."
"Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy."
"Racism is man's gravest threat to man - the maximum hatred for a minimum reason."
"All it takes is one person… and another… and another… and another… to start a movement"
"A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair."
" God is either of no importance, or of supreme importance."
"Self-respect is the fruit of discipline, the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself."
"Life without commitment is not worth living."
"Above all, the prophets remind us of the moral state of a people: Few are guilty, but all are responsible."
"Remember that there is a meaning beyond absurdity. Be sure that every little deed counts, that every word has power. Never forget that you can still do your share to redeem the world in spite of all absurdities and frustrations and disappointments."
"When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people."
"Awareness of symbolic meaning is awareness of a specific idea; kavanah is awareness of an ineffable situation.
"A Jew is asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of thought."
"Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed."
"The Almighty has not created the universe that we may have opportunities to satisfy our greed, envy and ambition."
"The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments."
"The course of life is unpredictable... no one can write his autobiography in advance."
"When I marched in Selma, my legs were praying."

I realized that he hadn't written the book with that title, so I looked further and found that non-deceased Judy Cannato had written it. Here is a quote from an interview with her:

“ When each of us vibrates love and compassion, our energy mysteriously unites with the energy of love and compassion all over the planet, augmenting the field of compassion, making its resonance, manifestation, and influence a very powerful force for transformation and
healing. . . . Could there be any greater cause for hope in the community of life?”

If these things aren't sacred scripture, I don't know what would qualify.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Sweetness of the Sacred

The sweetness of life is all the sacred that I have ever needed;
It is also, I understand, with death and destruction seeded.
But to continue waiting to attain a heaven or a hell after death
Gives my uneasy, longing human heart and soul very little rest.

I suffer the pain of separation every time I lose sight of a loved face;
I try to remind myself that I'm always left with the loved ones grace.
The consolations that I have in losing someone to the hereafter
Is in the remembrance of our shared lives, love, and laughter.

I will not save these enjoyments until after my loved ones are gone;
Continually celebrating the joys of my people is what I depend upon.
I can't say that it doesn't sometimes hurt to be so emotionally open,
But the faith that every day is sacred is the faith on which I depend.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Core of Community

I've always been most comfortable with people who discipline themselves,
Instead of depending on rewards and punishments administered by someone else.
These are people who can be trusted not to be manipulated
By the many moods or the whims that others have strongly stated.
The rules in which they operate create a comfortable fence
In which their steadfastness is our community's best defense.
Those of strong emotions are sometimes called upon for fuel,
But their fiery passions are not allowed to be the final rule.
It takes quite a lot of courage to handle emotional hurricanes,
But without people of strong moral courage, no boundaries remain.
It is also true that those who have closed their minds to reason
Can't be counted on to survive through the stormiest of seasons.
Every community must be balanced with people of adventure,
Without ever losing sight of the core values at its center.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Haze of Our History

There are so many things that our men can't seem to say,
As if the forming of the right words gets in their way.
In email, chat, and messaging they communicate many things,
That if dependent on spontaneity, their thoughts would grow wings --
Not to tell us what they think, feel, or want for themselves
But in trying to please what in each of their communicants indwells.

I had a message conversation with a beloved nephew today;
The many topics we touched on were of a varied array.
He's intelligent, compassionate, and politically interested,
But none of my personal opinions has he actually requested.
He did, however, ask for some of my remembered information
About the family we had shared before his life's creation.

I hope he knows that all my most vivid recollections
Are actually made up, in part, by others' reflections.
There is no absolute truth in any telling of history;
Every reflection is colored by the person who did see.
Nothing would please me more than to our history hear
From the mouths of the people my nephew holds most dear.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Patience and Priorities

Our western way is not one of patience; it is more like the restlessness of a teenager seeking instant salvation through saying a few magic words or instant gratification through demands that we be given whatever are our whims or risk the creation of chaos.

How easy it is to be swayed by those that cause us to feel fascinating by their wooing of our attentions, and how hard it is to find true friends who will help us to simply be the best we can be, no matter the cost to themselves. This seems to be the segment of relationships that we aren't taught, the patience part. Without patience, all relationships are doomed to failure, even our relationships with our better selves.

Setting priorities seems to be the most important part of relationships. This setting of priorities necessarily means the exclusion or delay of gratification in other things. Our worldly, scared selves can be convinced that this discipline is snobbery or cowardice, but it is actually the only way to become truly whole.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Attaining My Aspirations

As a child I was surrounded by sounds of humans all around;
In a family of nine children, great energy abounds.
As we lived in the cathedral atmosphere in the forest
I came to know how much the sounds of children I missed.

My granddaughters who lived convenient to me
Are young women now, this we plainly could see.
Their mother and father didn't so much appreciate
The wild energy my presence seemed to create.

So it's back for me to a wilder place,
Where people like me are simply given their space.
Where there are still children young enough to be,
The embodiment of divine energy, flowing free.

It is true that I can't do this alone
And that Richard requested life in his home.
I warned him often before we were wed
That he may not be ready for the life I led.

But he's true to his word in everything,
And welcomes with joy all the life children bring.
Guiding young relatives is married bliss,
All I ever really aspired to is this.

Monday, October 17, 2011

All Are Our Neighbors

It seems to me that the question is not do we love our neighbors as we love ourselves, but how do we love ourselves and who do we consider our neighbors? Do we coddle ourselves, allowing our weaknesses free reign in our lives or do we discipline ourselves to use our strengths for the "feeding" of those less gifted (blessed) than we?

Do we hoard our talents and other gifts in fear that someone will be perceived as equal to or better than we and/or our tribe members if they learn what we know? In a true community we are honest about our strengths and weaknesses. False humility is a form of denial of the sacred in ourselves. Asking for assistance with a humble heart is a way to honor the sacred in others. Sharing our gifts freely is a way to build partnerships, which I believe is the pattern for paradise on earth as it is in heaven. Pride in the efforts of others without honor for the dignity and sacred spark in the achievements of those on whom we depend for what we shall eat, what we shall drink, and what we shall put on seems to me to be false pride.

I spent many years in food service management, where I worked with many people who had marginal job skills and very poor education. Some were of very limited intellect. The joys of watching them achieve a sense of wonder in their own abilities as they slowly learned how to properly make a sandwich or sanitize a sink full of pots was a great reward to me. It pained me to see the owners of the firms for which I worked cheating people out of their hourly wages because many of them had no math skills and didn't know how to add up their own hours or read their own pay stubs. Management by intimidation and success by climbing on the shoulders of those we hold down seems to me the sin of false pride.

We fool ourselves into believing that we have no caste system in our America. Those that provide the most basic of our needs are treated like untouchables and held down with poor wages and lack of access to conception control. When will we get past the "divine rights of kings" mentality and truly act as if we are all created equal? When we get it right in our country, we will be an example to all our neighbors, no matter their race, religion, creed, or gender. All are our neighbors in an interconnected world.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Lies of Our Leaders

While The Almighty's words may be infallible, human words have never been;
The scriptures are the retelling of stories spoken to friends.
Each one of us, when repeating our personal stories,
Focuses on the parts that bring our beliefs most glory.
We must look for common messages in all words we consider holy;
What makes them seem to reach a place that is not simply worldly?

There seems to be a common thread of honoring all creation,
Instead of building boundaries that separate the nations.
There also seems a common thread of responsibility
Of caring for the needs of those given less than me.
The ten commandments are the basis for communities to get along,
So that less sacred energy is consumed in righting personal wrongs.

Our passions don't necessarily have to lead to prejudices;
This is something that, I believe, true holiness addresses.
If we are strong in disciplining our own behaviors,
We will not look for any humans to be our earthly saviors.
We will look to each other for ways that are eternally right,
Not letting the greed of our officials lead us to act in fright.

Instead of paraphrasing what others have already written,
Why aren't we hearing how, by right living, each other is smitten?
There has been so much sacred written by people with a purpose,
It is for each others' sacred voices that our communities thirst.
But needing to have someone dictate The Spirit's voice to us
Seems to have long caused suffering and is humanity's greatest curse.

This is where I fear that much in organized religion
Is actually leading away from the attainment of a heaven.
We allow our religious leaders to pretend that only they hear
The voice that is whispered into each listener's ear.
We must be alert to hear the voice, and to teach our children
That we are each chosen to have a part in leading our nations.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Soul and the State

What will it cost for each of us to sell our souls?
What are our priorities when we set our relationship goals?
Do we want to be the ruling class, no matter the moral cost,
Or do we want to attempt to reclaim the paradise humanity lost?
The old rules of fear that permeated patriarchal rule
Have been shown to be the province of jealous frightened fools.

We now know that thinking and informed decision making
Is within the province of each whole human's undertaking,
Except perhaps for those who have been mentally handicapped;
For those we still have boundaries that hypocrisy has collapsed.
We have begun to pretend that our Creative Energy
Shows distinct preferences for the groups of you and me.

I believe that each of us chooses a group with which to travel;
The denial of this has caused our society to unravel.
Nobody should not be forced by any ruler or by any nation
To support that which they believe works against the balance of creation.
The United States of America claims separation of church and state,
But until we stop attempting to force to Judeo-Christianity, we wait.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chiding Our Children

A child feels bad when parents aren't glad,
But so often they don't know how to correct it.
Angy and fearful looks and scary books
Only take away their power to use their wits.
A sense of honesty, humility, and humor
Are the very best things I've found
For keeping relationships with our
Children and others on solid ground.
My children were told I'm not perfect,
And that I don't know many things,
That I want them to learn from every
Situation that their lives bring.
I gave them encouragement and affection
I confess I also gave them
Fearful, angry, and harsh correction.
The best gift I think I gave my progeny
Was the frequently voiced confession
And my no-excuse, sincerest apologies.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Watching and Waiting

My friend who writes a blog about her spiritual journey wrote today about how all the great spiritual leaders had a long period of waiting and listening before they began their public ministries. Christian women have waited for two thousand years, and now it may be time for them to begin their public ministries.

Woman have consistently been handed the children for purposes of nurture, but we were deemed too weak minded to teach the older males. It is time that men listen to the voices and hearts of their women and honor them as leaders instead of walking away when women speak. How else can they know what messages are being handed down to their offspring?

Where traditional men seem to want to force change on their own time lines, traditional women are taught to wait. We accept that change is a gradual process, and that forced pledges of allegiance don't build team spirit. It is careful teaching by bonding and by example that bears the fruits of The Spirit.

A great gift that motherhood has given me is the ability to watch and wait, being ever vigilant for "teaching moments" and learning moments. I never cease to be amazed at how competent my children are as parents. The lessons learned while watching them certainly would have come in handy when I was in their shoes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hearing Holiness

How foolish we are in believing that only those who attend church are spoken to by The Spirit. Every time a voice whispers to us that we are to help someone, even at great cost to ourselves, that is the voice of The Spirit of Holiness that endows our animal natures with the fullness of our humanity. Nobody else can hear the exact same message that is being whispered into my ear.

It is helpful to keep our minds open to correction, as was Abraham. What if he had closed his ears to the correction that he was not to offer blood sacrifice to his god by killing his son, but was to offer his own live flesh and blood and that of his son in service to his god? We may never have moved on to understanding that it is our lives that we must offer, not merely the deaths of someone or something special to us.

Often I get to quaking and shaking when I feel that I'm being sent on a mission for which I don't feel prepared. It's like the old hymn, "Every time I feel The Spirit moving in me, I'm afraid." Somehow, when what I hear is right, I'm given strength and knowledge that I had no idea I possessed. Other times, when I'm gearing up for action, something or someone will put roadblocks in my way, or lift the burden off my shoulders.

This happened when a dear friend was diagnosed with cancer. Her children, whom I had always felt were part mine, and I had little contact as they became adults. Several months before my friends surgery, her older daughter began a correspondence with me that reminded us how much we meant to each other.

My friend, who was quite convinced she would not survive, was in total peace with her impending death. She asked me to be available after her surgery so that her family could continue their busy lives uninterrupted. I was more than happy to agree. Her children then began to turn to me for adult information regarding their mother's condition. I remained open to their Spirits which were leading them to support each other, their steadfast father, and their mother's Spirit. I, against their parents wishes, encouraged them to do what their Spirits told them to do.

It was so beautiful seeing them all together, all at peace with the parts they were playing in dealing with their precious mother's impending death, even though it left me feeling very lonesome because I was not in the inner circle once they came together. I now realize that I was sent into the situation to broker their trust in their whispered voices of The Spirit. Some are meant to serve, not by action, but by listening. I may never be considered a Christian or a hero, but I like to believe I can be a good sister and friend.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wonder as Worship

When I was a little girl I thought that rain was God crying
But the world is full of those who spend their lives, children's visions, denying.
I also thought the rays of evening light filtering through the clouds
Came off of God's fingers to touch each man, woman, and child.
This, too, was ridiculed as not in keeping with the Bible,
So I learned to keep to myself the visions with which my mind was full.

I am now sixty years old and my mind has fairly exploded
From trying to hide the visions with which my mind is loaded.
The mother of a friend of mine who starved herself to death
Had a favorite song that, I thought, her faith expressed.
She was told by the church people that her visions didn't fit in,
And that to question the authorities was a grievous sin.

What is left to those who want to shout out what they see:
The holiness in every person, animal, plant, you, and me?
Are we to take our visions and talents and take to our beds
Because the rejection of "those who know" is that which we dread?
Will we ever be allowed to sing out our child's faith praises
Without condemnation by those we are told are religion's sages?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Scapegoating and Salvation

As a child I was taught to avoid occasions of sin;
Anyone with different beliefs should not be let in.
I knew there were hypocrites who espoused beliefs
That they didn't practice; my distrust increased.
But the great WASP male powers that then ruled our world
Put not a whit of value on the questions of a girl.

Scapegoating is as old as the story of Adam and Eve;
It is easier to be angry than it is for us to grieve.
There are many things in life we don't understand;
This seems to be the biggest frustration of humans.
We'd rather destroy everything than to continue
Accepting things, about which, there's nothing we can do.

And then, there are those among us who feel very human
Because they won't eat animals, be they fish or ham.
Many of these same people have no problem refusing to see
The Jews, Muslims, Blacks and the poor closely resemble we.
I feel like an outsider because I can't come to terms
With the hatred that I see, in our nation, still burns.

I see people who treat their family's dogs and their cats
With more respect than they exhibit in human chats.
How we define humanity is still very important;
If I don't agree with you, doesn't mean you're hell bent.
If there's not enough space in heaven for all creation,
What is the point in all of our godly adoration?

We must be willing to respect each other's space;
Finding the path to salvation shouldn't be a race.
It seems to me that a Supreme Being wouldn't continue to create
Millennia of people who, to The Divine, can't relate.
I believe that we each are offered a suitable path;
That path, pursued with faith, won't incur The Almighty's wrath.

I also think that, in the final analysis of life,
Our salvation is in how we handle our and others' strife.
Those who think that they can hoard and leave others to suffer,
May be surprised to find they have only created a buffer
From the eventual balancing of all Creation's resources;
None of us are stronger than The Almighty Nature's Forces.

I was so proud when a black president was elected
I thought our nation, had prejudices, finally rejected.
All genders, races, creeds would have intelligent discourse;
This turned out to be such naivete, of course.
I pray every day for us to finally see that people,
No matter their color or gender, will one day, be seen as equal.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Willing Women

I think I may be a Jewish woman
Covered thinly by Gentile skin.
Those matriarchs of the Old Testament
Knew how to handle the strongest men.

There were women who led battles,
And women who used their feminine ways
To keep their people on the right path
To being eternally saved.

I'm tired of wimpy women
Whose husbands bully their young;
They hold their children hostage
To stay on society's higher rung.

A woman who uses her power for good,
I think is a pure delight;
To protect vulnerable people,
She's always willing to fight.

But there are so many women
Who have given away their power
Preferring to stand behind
The security or pleasure of the hour.

Religion is meant to tame humans
And temper our animal natures.
Those who back down to bullies
Will always live in their fears.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Serenity and The Spirit

My girlfriend who lived next to me when she and I were birthing our babies blogged today about the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I have another gal pal that I've known even longer than that. She lived next to me from the time I was six until I was married at age eighteen. She and her furry, four-legged "babies" came to spend the night so that we could take the babies on their first-ever romp on the beach.

Between our two homes their were a total of twelve children, four boys and eight girls. She and my deceased little sister were inseparable, and thought nothing of challenging even the most monstrous of the men in our lives. This friend took over the running of her mother's household when her mother took to her bed, which was most of every day.

To say that this friend was a scrapper in our youth would be a gross understatement. We both came from very abusive "Christian" households where forgiveness wasn't even possible without serious punitive penance being first served. The only way she knew to solve a problem was to come out swinging; it was either that or take to her own bed. This simply wasn't her nature, and somebody had to keep things going at her house. Needless to say, this friend developed some sharp edges. I contend that these situations mess up the sibling dynamic because the in-charge sibling isn't seen as an equal to the other children.

My sister was this friend's sister. In a sense I too was a sister to her, but she saw me as her older sister since I was a year and a half older than she was. Being an older sibling in our homes meant that I was no fun and not to be trusted not to snitch. Little did my siblings know that I'd rather have my tongue cut out than to report them to the monsters. I finally had to stop watching what they were doing in their rage against the hypocrisy of our "faith."

Now this friend is the picture of peace and tranquility. She has taken on the care of her parents in their last years and seems to fairly float through her daily life. Never did I think she could become so serene. Even with the misuse of religion in our homes, she somehow soaked up the knowledge of needing to connect to a Holy Spirit inside herself and her parents.

She has tried finding it in church, but continued to feel hypocrisy coming from that community. She's now a devotee of yoga, where she has obviously connected to The Spirit as is seen in the fruits that she now displays: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. How beatifically beautiful she has become!