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27 August 2009

Not much of anything

If you've been reading long, you may know that i'm not all that comfortable with the pastor of our church. He's a good guy & all, but more than anything, he has solidified my position that anything a pastor preaches is opinion. Like this past weekend. There was not a lot in his sermon that i found uplifting. (But then, he doesn't believe in "uplifting" but in reminding us how much we need God, & if that means underlining our "manifest sin" then so be it.)

I am not "New Age." I don't believe all paths lead to God. I wish it were so, but then i didn't create the world, etc., so i don't make the rules. Even so, i believe some churches focus too much on sin & the smallness of man. To me this takes focus off the greatness of God & puts it on how insignificant & inept we are. Which is true, but i don't believe self focus to be the point of our existence. In fact, i go farther & believe that we shouldn't even argue with folks who say, "I'm a good person." Why focus on trying to convince them that they are wicked & depraved? They have the genuine belief that they are good. Work with it. Because what it comes down to is we can be the "goodest" there ever was, & still not reach God. And that is the focus. Not so much how small & unimportant & trifling i am, but how God desires to have relationship with me & with all the world, & in order to achieve that he sent Jesus.

I had this discussion with our pastor a few months ago. He said he found it "offensive." Not me or that he was rude. He said my point "offended" him because he couldn't find an argument with it, it offended his belief system.

Well, evidently he forgot that discussion because he started this last sermon with "If you hear someone say 'I'm a good person,' then you know they are headed for hell." Which, in truth, i don't have an argument over this point, because most folks who say, "I'm a good person," mean they are good enough to get to God their own way. If you choose to call yourself a Christian that, by definition, is stating that you need Jesus to bridge to God. And again, i find the "I'm good/you're vile & wicked" a pointless argument. And, the sermon became how small & inept & wicked we are. (BTW, i don't need a reminder of that! I am fully aware.)

But, but, but . . . he ended that sermon with this:
Adam & Eve in the garden essentially said to God, "I don't believe you have my best interests at heart." And that was sin. So, am i really trusting God? Do i believe he has my best interests at heart?

And that, folks is why i stay at this church. There are times when i am pierced to the heart with things i need to hear or be reminded of. Because, in light of my struggles with illness & disability, & in light of our struggle to have a family, i think i stopped believing God has my best interests at heart. I needed a reminder.

Different kind of TMI: I was late this month. By about a week. I didn't freak over it or anything. I've kind of reached the point where i am guessing i'm starting menopause & being late will become the norm. That doesn't mean i didn't hope, of course, but there was no expectation in that hope, just . . . hope.

It has been nearly 4 years since i lost Kaylee. And in that 4 years there have been two other times i'm sure i was pregnant, tho we never had a positive test. And, in light of how heavily i am flowing currently, which is unusual for me, & that i was having some symptoms i ignored, this may have been another such month, tho i'm not as sure of it as i was those other two times.

We had our only "for sure" pregnancy when we had been married 11 months. Given that we had been "trying" for only six months that isn't a bad record. Especially as i had a history of issues so that we didn't know if pregnancy was even possible. So even tho it was hard & it hurt, i guess in the back of my mind there was the belief that eventually it would happen for us again.

And, in the subsequent two "i'm sure i am" times, there was still the hope, real hope, that if we held on & had faith, it would happen for us again.

But this time? It is kind of along the lines of "What does it matter if this was another early MC? They aren't holding, it is not going to result in a baby." In other words, while i use the word "hope" i don't believe that is what i am feeling. It is more like a wistful dream or fancy. Certainly no hope that leads to expectation. There comes a time where positive thoughts & "calling on the Universe" (a la "The Secret") doesn't work.

And so my prayer is that i find myself aligned with what is coming to my life, being allowed by God. That i truly seek him & not a desperate baby quest. That i truly believe that God has my best interests at heart, even if it doesn't feel so to me.

If you HAVE to wish me the hopes of a baby & that God will fulfill my desire, i think i have reached the point where i can take it. But let me challenge you with this thought: God's best interests don't always look like what we want. Many times they don't result in what we would consider a "happy ending." And, if you feel you have to give this response (hope for a happy ending) to everyone, you might want to check your belief system. More to the point, to someone trying to cope with infertility/miscarriage/child loss, such wishes can be very hurtful.

God could still make a miracle happen in our desire for a family, but it is much more likely that he is calling me to trust him, to trust that he has our best interests at heart, even if that does not mean fulfilling our hearts' desires.

After that sermon Sunday, i had another run in with "C" the lady who has determined i don't have enough faith because i'm fighting chronic illness. This one was brief as i refused to engage her.

I was in conversation with "S" who was at church after an absence of several months. S has been dealing with a very painful condition. At first the docs thought it was shingles, but then they determined that it is a diabetic neuropathy. S has been in a great deal of pain & on serious painkillers for quite some time now. The docs told her it would be six months to a year before she saw much improvement, & essentially, she has just had to suffer thru. (And my current very painful rash has made me appreciate what S has had to suffer much more than i have wanted to know!) So i was so happy to see S in church. She isn't well, but she has improved to the point she can get out & about a bit more.

And C came up & joined our conversation & told S how glad she is that her condition has improved. Then, of course, she turned to me with expectation of hearing of great improvement. And i made a mistake. The proper answer to C is, "I'm doing fine, thank you." But instead i just told her i'm dealing with chronic issues that may take years to improve. I'm tired of being asked all the time, with expecatation, if i'm better. This is a long, slow climb up a steep hill. If i move by inches i will be fortunate. "This may take years," is my equivient to "back off & leave me alone!" But she didn't hear that.

Her response was, "I don't accept that!"

And she began arguing with me. In truth i wanted to argue back. Because she was hurting me. I wanted to fight back. But it was also a day of no energy at all. A day where i was leaning against Duane during the service because i didn't know how much longer i could stay upright. And i knew that if i took the energy to argue with her i would not be able to function for the rest of the day. She was being an energy vampire in her attack. So i chose to disengage. The only way i could do that was to turn away & stop speaking to her, not respond to her prodding. I could not, as a friend suggested, say "I don't like you, i don't want to talk to you, go away." However, i'm getting closer to that, & in essence i did that by refusing to speak to her.

I'm so glad she knows only of the illness & not of our desire for a child. Lord knows how she would attack me with that info!

What was also interesting to me came about in conversation with S a little later. S was talking about how her current condition is "her fault" thru not being vigilant in her diet for diabetes. In the same way the acute issues (mostly rash) i'm dealing with currently are "my fault" for not sticking to the gluten free diet i know i need to follow. (The more chronic issues are not ones for which i can take blame.)

More than ever, this current fight makes it clear to me that cheating on gluten IS detrimental to my health & functioning & has given me a lot of incentive to stick to the diet. I had to be hit with a ton of bricks to get it into my head, but i haven't any doubt about it now.

So i was very surprised when S laughed & said, "But you know, when this clears up & i'm well again, i know i'll do the same thing all over again." Say WHAT???? This poor lady has been having severe, debiliting pain that has limited her functioning, lasted for months, & made her want to die at times. And she said that she's likely to do the same things all over again?

In truth, this kind of thing makes me despair for our country. Because the large majority of people will do what they want to do, what makes them feel good for a moment, & then turn to docs & expect a pill or something as a quick fix to what they themselves caused. No self-discipline, & no personal responsibility, & no accepting consequences for actions. Our country, culture, & much of the world has become a "quick fix for what i did wrong."

But then, hangovers don't cure some folks from drinking to excess.

I'm a week away from my parents arriving. They will arrive next Wednesday, & we will be bringing them up the mountain on Thursday. I'm getting a lot done, & pacing myself well, too. Kimmy is coming for more cleaning tomorrow & Monday.

I have a "to do" list, but more, i'm keeping a list of things i ACTUALLY did because it seems i often get to the end of a day & feel like i've not done anything.

Yesterday i became aware, however, that i'm dreading this visit. It is, frankly, too soon since our visit with them in June. I still feel hurt over some things that happened then, that they are unresolved & will not be resolved, & i just need more time to pass.

I am so thankful for God's blessing in my husband Duane. We do have a healthy relationship. We talk about all kinds of things, & if there are issues, we discuss them & move on.

That is not how the family in which i was raised works. Nothing gets discussed or resolved. I learn more & more how dysfunctional & very sick it was. And the only way i can handle that is to simply walk away. Not engage. Abandon ship.

I had a fairly long conversation with Sis #3 last night.

I was 9 years old when Sis #3 was born. I loved that child deeply, fully, completely. I wanted to be her mama. And, when i was 13 & people started thinking i was her mama, i was very pleased. I wanted to protect her, love her, cuddle her & give her the things (comfort & love) i had not had. But i could see her faults, too. There were several times Sis #2 was punished by our mother for things that had really been instigated by Sis #3, & i knew it. And there were a few occasions where i was able to step in & comfort Sis #3 in a manner that a child needs.

Sis #3 knew early on that our mother was not safe, & she did not take hurts & pains or any other sensitive matter to our mother.

But i moved away when Sis #3 was not yet 9 years old. And our mother kept her from ever having much more to do with me. In fact, mother not only told my sisters that i was a bad influence & could not be trusted, she told them i was demon possessed & demented.

So i did not know that Sis #3 DID confide in mother when she was in HS. I think it was out of desperation as she had no one else to talk to. But last night she was telling me that when she confided in mother, mother sat across the room from her. Sis #3 cried & poured her heart out. And when she had finished & stopped crying mother's response was, "Well, it is late. We need to go to bed now."

And my sister would go to bed & fantisize about ways to kill herself in a manner that no one would know it was suicide. (Which, BTW, was what i did in HS, but without the confiding in mother.)

And that makes me ache. My dearly loved sister, needing comfort, needing hugs, understanding, & love, my sister whom i desperately wanted to be near, had to go thru this, & go thru it alone. I couldn't be there. I was helpless to help her at all.

I am not looking forward to next week's visit.



Amrita said...

Hi Kathryn, may the lord grant you the dersires of your heart.

Amrita said...

just came back to comment on what you were saying about your Pastor 's sermon.

I think balance is important.
A Christian should not over-estimate or under-estimate himself.I am what I am by the grace of God.

My Pastor is not a good speaker at all Kathryn. I' ve heard much better sermons and preachers. But I listen to him as an act of spiritual discipline. He is good at heart.He is not on my intellectual level at all.

And our church is a training ground for budding theological students...pastors in training...some of their sermons are very childish, they have language problems and many of them have not received proper education - again its spiritual discipline.

I hope you don 't mind me saying this.

Curly Muse said...

I am probably going to have people trying to "save me" for this, but I dont think that people are wicked because of Adam and Eve. I dont really think we are all sinner from birth. I think that people become "bad" when they do bad things-murder and such.

I also think there is HUGE difference between believing in God and Jesus and believing in Religion. Religion has had literally thousands of years to change and interpret. I dont think my salvation (if there is such a thing, because again, I dont need to be saved from anything, I have not done anything wrong)depends on what a pastor or priest says. It depends on my own actions and what I do in My life.

I like your views because you try to balance it out. You are not like that lady who thinks you have too little faith and you are not as you said New Age.

I can be a question of if there is a God and if so, I dont think its the God that many of us are so afraid of. God would love us, sins and all and make us feel worthless at all.

I follow many paths and beliefs and the truth is that we can never be sure what is correct. Faith is wondeful to have if it is not imposed on others because then it is not Faith.

As always I enjoy your blog.