For A Very Important Date.
No time to say hello — goodbye.
I’m late, I’m late, I’m LATE!
Ok no I am not the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, but this post is late.
This week has been a crazy week so perhaps mad hatter fits more appropriately.
Three jobs and midterms can drive anyone crazy.
I do however have some great reads to share with you all, which is why I had to find a minute to get on here.
This week I found several voices challenging me and encouraging me on several fronts.
Over the years, I have discovered that the only way to love and be loved by my neighbors (locally and globally) is to be in relationship. The reason I used to be scared of Muslims was simply because I didn’t know any. I had never heard their stories. I had never been to their sacred places. I didn’t understand their traditions. I hadn’t even shared a meal with them. ~ Jon Huckins
This author challenged me. I have been working on my fear of difference and others for awhile now, and I am a continual work in progress. After 20 years of cementing mindsets of isolationism, homogeneity, and safety in similarity cloaked in Christianity I didn’t know how to deal with anyone remotely different. They were either to be feared, pitied, or prayed for. They just didn’t have the right answers for whatever reason, and given the opportunity I was to convince them of how wrong they were. This kind of religion was full of my own pride as a glorious mask that held up my certainty in faith. So I stayed with easy people. With comfortable people. Anyone else was too threatening to my comfort zone. It was too shaky. What if I was somehow not right. For someone who believed in a God who loved the whole world… or a God who is greater than evil or fear or doubt — I sure worked hard to never put myself in a situation that would actually test that theory.
As my stories reveal though life happened anyways. Moving to Japan taught me to understand getting to know a people of other faiths largely through the students I met and taught. It was a beautiful experience. I have never met a kinder, more genuinely understanding people. Buddhism is quite prevalent in Japan, and I have never experienced a more gracious faith. I still don’t know all the ins and outs of it, but I do know that honor and peace are two prominent trends that I witnessed. My students, many of whom were either atheists or professed Buddhists loved learning about me, my life, my religion, American culture. They were unafraid of hard questions, and they never once tried to minimize christianity or anyone’s beliefs, whether mine or another students.
I think the author above Jon Huckins, shares some key wisdom that we would all benefit in learning from. Islam and its followers can not be described by the headlines in the newspapers, or by what this extremist or that extremist did. Before we write others off as unknowable or categorically worth fearing we need to stop and remember that Christianity has enough of its own stones to put down first. History is full of extremists who used the Christian God to do just as horrific things — Hitler, Columbus, and the Chrusades are just a few that come to mind.
Marriage doesn’t take away our loneliness. To be alive is to be lonely. It’s the human condition. Marriage doesn’t change the human condition. It can’t make us completely unlonely. And when it doesn’t, we blame our partner for doing something wrong, or we go searching for companionship elsewhere. Marriage is intended to be a place where two humans share the experience of loneliness and, in the sharing, create moments in which the loneliness dissipates. For a little while. ~ Dr. Kelly Flannigan
Dr. Flannigan’s words struck a chord with me this week. He reminded me of how a different perspective is sometimes exactly what you need to remind you of what’s important. Loneliness in marriage is no stranger to a military spouse — its something we all learn to deal with in different ways given the frequent absences and duty away from home required of those serving. However, in dealing with it on a fairly frequent basis, I have also learned that loneliness can also be a tool to draw us to connect and communicate even from afar, and it can be a loving reminder to make the most of those times when we are together and forget the loneliness for awhile.
But, even with the obvious application in my life — I know that I have also dealt with loneliness in marriage even when my spouse has been nearby. Sometimes I think these are the harder moments, as we look to our spouses to fill so much of us and when that loneliness appears when it shouldn’t or we feel disconnected or we feel like we are somehow on two different wavelengths of communication — it happens and I panic. I get hurt. I get angry. I wish for him to just understand my mood and my emotions and my thoughts for once instead of me having to spell it out. Or maybe I get the nerve to be really vulnerable and share something, but no matter how hard I try to articulate it, he doesn’t just feel it the way I do or understand it.
Anyone ever felt this way before? Or maybe I am just crazy.
Regardless, marriage has taught me that a relationship involves two people with differing emotions, personalities, and perspectives — and it brings all those together under one roof. Sometimes everything meshes perfectly, and other times its more like oil and water. Changing my expectations, learning to open up and be vulnerably honest, extending grace, and choosing to believe the best in my spouse are the tools I have found that help me to get through those moments when the loneliness starts to creep in. No matter when it shows up, I believe we have a choice to hold it in, fight it, deny it, or acknowledge it and reach out anyways.
We should stop telling women and girls that they are not allowed to be sad or angry. Forbidding half of the human experience to half of the human race is quite insane and dangerous. It hurts women – bad. We internalize this “women don’t get angry” message and so every time we feel angry we layer shame on top of our anger. And so instead of using our anger, we hide it. We numb it with food or booze or snark or TV or sex or whatever else. We assume that if we are angry- there is something wrong with us instead of considering that maybe we are angry because there is something wrong with the world. Perhaps that “something wrong” is even something that we could help change. Maybe anger can be our fuel. Maybe anger is like compassion, in that it can point us directly toward the place in the world we were born to help heal. ~ Glennon Melton
This woman’s voice has changed my life, and she continues to. Her words speak for themselves. Go read them. Listen deeply.
As a woman, I have been afraid of anger and denying its existence in my life for as long as I can remember. I am learning now that, that isn’t my only choices for facing or having this emotion. In fact, I have been learning that my usual method of stuffing anger down so deep or hiding it behind a mask of fear and self-blame are far more damaging than if I just am honest and express my frustration or anger.
The person who never questions their faith unnerves me. I have a difficult time believing they are being honest with me. When I read the Bible I do not find people who never questioned, never wrestled, or never doubted. I find people who, because their of their humanity and the difficulty of faith in the world, struggled. ~Nate Pyle
Nate is a gifted writer, and here again, he writes with an uncanny sense of what many of us among the ranks of doubters have struggled with and continue to struggle with. It is no secret here that I have been a doubter for awhile now, and am continuing to wrestle my way into a deeper, more honest faith. What he manages to do, instead of isolating any in doubt further, is give dignity to the journey and place of faith it truly holds. In doing this, he has walked into the outskirts and the margins, and spoken hope and life. Even more than that he has centralized the struggle with doubt as essential to genuine and authentic faith. If this is not emulating the life and ministry of Christ, then I don’t know what else more you could ask for.
In the meantime…
- What has been on your heart lately? What have you been sharing on your blog this week? Post a link below.
- How do you handle interacting and getting to know others who are different than you?
- What emotion and article above did you most identify with? Do you have a story or some wisdom to share on how you deal with that emotion in your life?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts below!