This may come as a surprise to no one- but I identify very strongly with Jeremiah, the Weeping Prophet of the Christian Old Testament. I feel things- suffering specifically-so very deeply I am sometimes paralyzed. A simple conversation with my husband about gender roles and careers has had me sinking into a quick sand of thousands of years of patriarchy and “this is what we do to women” in a matter of minutes. And before he knows it I am sobbing for all the women of generations past with unrealized dreams because they were unfortunately born with the wrong sex organs. I can hear a sermon with only male gendered pronouns and find myself weeping for girls being sex trafficked in countries 1,000 of miles away- the connection so clear to me it pumps through my veins and leaves me exhausted from pain.
This week my hometown community lost someone very special-my childhood pastor, my only pastor, really. A man who was exceedingly loving and kind and passionate. He devoted his life to his church and to his faith. His family was a pillar in the faith community. He was the type of father a fatherless daughter couldn’t help but envy.
When I finally allowed myself to feel the loss it came in waves. My sadness and heartbreak turned into confusion- How? How could this happen to someone who was so faithful? If anyone deserved healing it was this man. If any family deserved a miracle it was this family.
This loss came on the heels of a rather rough few weeks for me. You may have noticed I’ve missed a few scheduled posts. Been a little absent. A little off the radar. I’ve brushed it off as “being in a funk” or “seasonal depression”- and that’s probably part of it. But underneath that is something more.
Here we are again
A nightmare we know too well
The familiar mix of emotions
Here we are again
An anchor of resignation pulling us down
The familiar questions
Is this enough?
Here we are again.
A broken man.
A broken world.
And now, hundreds more broken people.
Friends, I am so tired.
Ever hear of Bluma Zeiganick? Yea, I hadn’t either until a few months ago. Bluma Zeiganick was one of the first women in Russia to go to a University. Upon graduating she became one of the first female psychologists in the world. Our dear Bluma discovered the Zeiganick Effect which links memory to incomplete tasks (and she had the audacity to name it after herself!) Basically, your brain remembers uncompleted or interrupted tasks, going back to them again and again. You haven’t finished the laundry, you’re about to fly across the country, and so it stays on your mind all day. Conversely, once you cross an item off your list you’re less likely to remember having done that task. Perhaps this answers why so few of us can remember what we did the other day, but we can remember what we still need to do.
During my first year of college, I had an 8am (!) Biological Anthropology with the intimidating, serious, not-messing-around, Dr. Madrigal. She would start each morning with a fierce “It’s 8 o’clock lets begin” and boy did she.
It was from this formidable woman I first really learned about evolution. I had gone to a Christian school growing up, so all of my experience with the subject had been focused on poking holes in evolution and trying to convince us science was the devil.
I’ve started this post five or six times, each time I am at a loss for words. My heart and my soul grieve.
How is this happening again? What have we done?
When ‘45’ publicly sympathized with Neo Nazi’s I was stunned. Stunned, but not surprised. I’m not proud of this, but my first reaction was one of superiority- “See?! We told you this guy was terrible! I bet they really feel like shit for voting for him.” I practiced what I would say the next time I saw a Republican family member or friend, the snide comments I would make. I took great pleasure in imagining exactly how I wanted to make them to feel- ashamed, remorseful, embarrassed.
You know that feeling you have when your hand finally finds your partners after a long day? I believe God is in that moment. That one painting that has always moved you- the colors, the energy? Pretty sure God’s there too. Your favorite spot, on your favorite hike, during your favorite time of year? Definitely. The smile of your child early in the morning. The smell of the first rain of the season. Good food with good people. That moment when the peony is just about to burst into a fury of feather soft petals? Each and every time, the Creator is there.
History repeats itself.
We’ve all heard it our whole lives, usually said with a sigh of resignation or a hint of disdain.
Tied up in this refrain we hear a note of condescension directed toward those poor, unenlightened people who came before us. They didn’t realize what we know so well, and because of their ignorance, history did, in fact, repeat itself for them. Time and time again.
I am passionate about my faith, my spirituality is the richest part of my life. But can I share a struggle with you? So often, when sharing my thoughts with others, I am met with a resistance to unorthodox idea. Which puzzles me because I know we are all just trying to live out our beliefs as best we can. But in my pursuit of conversation, I am confronted with a confining black and white way of viewing a world that is rich in color.
My dance of faith and feminism began when my mother-in-law suggested I read Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter. This book ripped my heart wide open and threw a freaking hand grenade in. My faith and my identity blew up. Everything I was so sure of was ripped from me. I was left with fragmented pieces of faith, sorting through what I wanted to keep and lighting on fire that which I no longer needed. At times, I longed for the security of ignorance.