“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”–C. S. Lewis
I posted the above as a Facebook status this morning. It seemed fitting, because this morning I took myself and my children to a friend’s church. It’s the same friend/colleague that I’ve been acting all crazy about, but I asked him if it was okay to go before going; I didn’t want to seem creepy and stalkerish. This would be the first or one time in very few times that I’ve ever made a decision to go to church on my own, without feeling like there was some sort of deliberate or subtle pressure.
I’ve grown too accustomed to living my life as a series of disasters. This blog is supposed to be about healing the chasms in my heart, one pebble at a time. Recently, new chasms had opened up.
Last night, like a lot of nights in the last three months, I had a dream that I was in a car accident. This time, instead of me dying, my car rolled several times, and I landed in a store parking lot upright, but I was in the backseat, and I was trying to use my smartphone, but realized it was actually one of my kids’ toy phones, and there were people walking around the car, but nobody realized that I had been in an accident, so they kept ignoring me, and I had a severe injuries to my left leg.
I dreamt of car accidents a few times prior to the event, but, since the event, I have been much more frequently dreaming about them. I suppose a car wreck could just be a fitting metaphor for my life at large; however, I am more inclined to believe that it’s a warning that if I don’t change some things about myself now another disaster is coming up down the road of my life.
When I was a kid, and in my adult life as well, I kept hearing over and over and over,
“The Lord works in mysterious ways!”
Maybe my silly little schoolgirl crush, as I suppose I should see it, was used as a catalyst for wanting to explore things more about myself and my beliefs.
I look at this individual and other people in my life as an example of a good person, even though that feeling that I felt that I had for the person I am being told is probably more the results of the painful issues that I’m going through and my failed marriage and maybe projecting a misunderstanding about what my feelings were supposed to be, like maybe I was meant to see them as a Moreh rather than a mate. I’m still having difficulties reconciling that with the superfluous flood of emotions, but it doesn’t help that Aunti Flo’s been visiting since Wednesday and rarely get enough sleep and am addicted to energy drinks.
He is a really a good friend, as is evidenced by the fact that he didn’t immediately shun me upon realizing that I was becoming quite obsessed (I mean, really, passionate poetry dedicated to someone who hardly knows me is crazy). I should just look at him as a really good friend. It’s probably not right see him or anyone else as someone that I should be with right now at this point in my life. I know that, so that’s okay.
But before I found out he knew that I thought I had feelings for him, I had been asking him and several other people about maybe learning more about their faiths and maybe if I could even possibly attend services at someone’s church, because in order to be comfortable I have to know somebody that I’m with when I get there, like a friend invites me, or I go with a family member, or whatever, so that I can feel like I’m not just some random person walking in. Even though I’m fully aware that churches aren’t supposed to look at some new person that walks in and go,
“Who the heck are you, and why are you here?
I still get that feeling in my mind, because crazy me always worries how people think about me, and that they hate me, which is why I extremely overreacted when I found out my silly little junior high level crush–as I guess I should think about it–anyway when he found out I liked him (you know I made it public on this blog, so I should have expected he’d know, but apparently I’m transparent anyway), and then I’d been acting really silly, and I don’t need to freak out easily about these things.
Okay, you like someone; they like you but they don’t like you like you. Get over it, and go on with your life.
But this little freak out of mine helped me realize even more that I’m headed for a car wreck. Maybe I need to pick up all those pieces of my life that my husband destroyed and learn how to move on as a grown woman leading my life with my children and trying to focus on who I am as a person, because you remember when I separated from my husband in ’11:
I didn’t even know what kind of lettuce I liked, and that’s a silly little thing not to know about yourself.
How did I know what religion I liked? How did i know where I wanted to be in my career? Without knowing how to make major life decisions–to make me truly happy decisions–if I don’t even know what the fuck I want.
And, okay, that’s another thing about myself. It’s like I can’t just give up on my vices that easily, but I want to try. I want to try to improve myself as a person, because I’m in a professional capacity at this point in my life. I’m a college professor, and, as a college professor, should I really be thinking about,
“Oh, I want to go out and party all weekend!”
“Oh, I want to go figure out how much fun my family can be!”
“What’s up my friends and family?”
“Can we have a lakeside barbecue or a barbecue at my house later on the patio?”
or just sitting around talking at a coffee shop, or maybe doing a book study, or going to church on Sunday and enjoying that atmosphere of acceptance and welcoming and learning about a religious path in life and learning a moral code and structure.
And then, thinking about Luna, my dear sweet wonderful child, she has been through so much, and one thing that she looks forward to is to be taught things. Everything that she loves and craves involves some kind of structure, and I feel immensely guilty when I think about how very little structure her life has had up to this point, and I am very, very grateful that her school is so wonderful, and that we have some beautiful people in our lives to help us through everything that we go through, but I wanted to to be the one to bring more structure and guidance in her life.
A friend of mine pointed out that maybe the way I was going about it, the whole
“I’m not going to give her any religious structure at all, and then let her find her path in life.”
maybe that’s the wrong way. I don’t consider going,
“Here’s a path that I can follow, and here’s the structure of it, and accepting the changes her path may lead her on.”
Instead, I’m going,
“Nobody has a path; let’s just do whatever.”
And maybe I’m freezing her to be like me, and go to a restaurant, and go,
“I don’t know what I want. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know where I want to be.”
I want her to feel excited about the place she is in life and a salad, or about the village and who she wants in her life. If I choose in my adult life now to embrace the belief system as the one that has been shown to work for a huge group of people, some people that I’m very closely friendly with, and very obviously it works for them, and they are great people, if I can learn, if I do embrace that lifestyle and become a better person in that way then I could show with the guidance and structure of it–organized religion–that it is possible to have a moral code and structure, and as she grows up she can or she cannot like that, but I can still encourage her that it’s okay for her to go on and study whatever she wants as I’ve always done.
I can just make sure that I find a path, and then I bring her down a path with me, and then she can go as an adult and say,
“Mom, this is the path that want right now.”
“Mom, this is not the one. I’ve decided it was this other path over here.”
But as long as she knows that the reasons that I’m taking her with me to see all my new changes in life. It’s not that I want her to absolutely be what I’m trying to be, because you just need to be really your own person, but that this is so a good life that I have found.
I know that I do not like iceberg lettuce, and I know now that I want a salad with Romaine or green leaf red leaf. I want those crisp fresh lettuces that just crunch, and they have nutritional value. If I had figured that out about my preferences, then I need to figure about my religious preference and other preferences, because it definitely does not feel good to be that woman that can only connect with a man on a sexual level. I want to be someone who can connect with someone on an intellectual level, and then if it develops into a relationship that would be completely different and so much better and stronger.
I can’t find that if I’m always leading into serious relationships by trying to attract people through my sexuality. It’s unhealthy, and it’s very important that I do learn my place and find what is going to work. I feel like, looking back and reflecting on my life and the choices that I have made, what went wrong was here’s me being a 14-year-old that hates my life, but here’s my boyfriend the Atheist. I should listen to this, because he’s cool. Then, down the road, it was a different guy, but all the same because he’s pagan and I totally should be too.
I always follow the path someone else followed, that it appears at first to be the least resistance, but usually turns into a very complicated path, a wooden footbridge with boards missing stretched out lengthwise across the Grand Canyon–that’s the path I’ve been trying to walk in life, and I’ve been doing it very deeply, desperately, utterly alone, and that’s just not fair to me, and I need to make that change.
“How is this any different than before?”
This morning I got my three children dressed into their Sunday best (kinda) and I took them to this church. No one forced or pressure me. I wasn’t going to be with a boyfriend or husband or lover. A friend was there, but he wasn’t shoving me into his path. I went to Sunday School and Sunday service with an open heart and open mind.
I was not that 14-year-old girl in service with the rolling my eyes going,
“OH EM GEE, this is so stupid!”
I was really in a place of maturity, a place to be well, to know how to make decisions. I’ve been to college, and I know how to read a literary text, and I know how to get a study and learn anything (I went to college I got one masters degree already; I hope I’m quite well-versed in the art of studying and learning something now). Maybe now is the time to start studying and learning about the religion that my family tried to bring me up in, and maybe I will stop being little girl lost. Maybe I can help my children better when I have direction and guidance. Maybe I can stop stressing so much about things that are much much beyond control, because I can know that something greater than myself is there to help to hold my hand and guide me through.
I can accept that. I’ve recorded this post up through this paragraph through talk-to-text, and I haven’t been editing it as I go. I hope you kind of get the jist of what I was thinking. I welcome all commentary. I really do, and I promise from here on out not to flip the fuck out, freak out, or go crazy when someone that I actually know in real life comes along and comments on a post, even if I go through some random emotional thing in my head. I can use that rational self when I react and talk to that person.
“What did you do after church?”
All day, actually well before church, the only music we listened to was country gospel, a station on Pandora recommended a while back by an old friend from my childhood who at this point is primarily a facebook friend given our geographical distance. I shuffle all of my pandora stations, normally, but today I was in the mood to stay on that one station all day. Since I have a cassette adaptor for my car, I was able to carry the station with me all day long. The girls and I sang along (Corvid quietly listened or cooed).
We had lunch when we got home, and then I read the Bible. I started reading Luke, but got only eight chapters in before I realized that all of my kids were napping simultaneously, which was a golden opportunity for me to also catch a nap.
I left the kids at home with my mom so I could attend the evening worship. Both services were enjoyable, but at least with the evening one I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the lesson to change Corvid’s loud, stinky diaper. The only thing that was slightly embarrassing was that I was the only new person, so it was mentioned more than once that they were happy to see a new person. They weren’t trying to make me feel uncomfortable, but I’m crazy, so I did. During the morning service, I sat part of the time by one of the other families, because my daughters had made a friend in Sunday school (they would make friends anywhere).
Yesterday, we’d gone to the park and Luna’s kindergarten crush was there and she and Freya wouldn’t stop following him around. Where did she get that from? *whistle*
I don’t think that this one friend from work was the only person gently coaxing me back to the church though. I have several friends who prosthelytize through their lifestyle and their demeanor. I have historically chosen to accept them as friends while swiftly dismissing their teachings. The scholarly approach is most appealing to me.
Even, still I am glad that I have had friends like the guy who is at seminary with his wife and a baby on the way who debated various topics logically with me when we had classes together during our rhetoric studies.
I am glad that I have had friends like the lady who once worked with my husband but has long since proven to be one of my closest and dearest friends and is incredibly selfless, to the point that I often feel guilty.
I am glad for friends like the woman I met in a bookstore when I was an undergraduate who is now, like me, struggling to eek out a living for her family through writing and various other sources of small-potatoes income but still finds the time to be charitable, even if that charity comes in the form of an ear lent (or an eye since we mostly chat online now).
And, of course, I’m grateful for the colleague who welcomed me to visit his church family today, even if I let my crazy shine before that.
There are others–please don’t think I’ve forgotten you, even if you’re not on this list.
Thinking about it today, it’s like this scene in a book I once read where a young girl is being literally pushed forward by each of her younger siblings all down a path ’til she gets to the door of the man everyone wants her to marry, so she can present him with some bread she made, as an offering. I’m not headed towards my second husband, though. I was being guided towards a better me.
I know I’m not saved from one service. I know righting myself will take time. I’m willing to take that time, for me, for the kids, for the future. I want to stop living my life as a series of disasters.
Hymn–Take my hand. Lead me on.
Carrie Underwood–I can’t do this all on my own
Rascal Flats–It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true.
Hymn–Do you really care?