"To show, make known, or reveal." Emmanuel: "God with us."
I'm a day early, i know. Epiphany is tomorrow. I may not have time then & i've many thoughts pinging in my head now.
I like analogies. I try not to over use them!
In my mind & speech, i was using the analogy of our pastor & his thought process being like tea. Many of his sermons were so infused with his beliefs that i felt i had to "distill" every sermon in order to remove much of his opinion. And that takes a lot of energy. But i think i've been using the wrong analogy.
We have two long haired cats. Jazz in particular being a white, Angora cat, sheds a lot & that hair gets everywhere. I had to be very careful when knitting all those scarves & hats to keep the yarn from the cats or the hair would have been woven right into the knitting.
I'm coming to see that our pastor's beliefs, opinions, & depression are tightly woven in the cloth of his faith. I'm not sure i can tease out the disturbing "hair" in his message. Our pastor is honest that he has a history of depression going back years. I do as well. Because of that it may be that i "hear" those separate threads of depression in ways that others don't. But i DO hear them, very clearly & i don't know how to separate it. To mix metaphors, it colors everything he says. Let me be clear: He loves Jesus! He tries very hard to stick to a biblical perspective. He is dynamic. He loves his church & the people there. But somehow, that infusion of depression colors all of this in a way that makes it hard for me to be there.
Part of the problem in choosing a church is that Duane & i have set a standard that will be difficult to achieve. We would like to attend a liturgical church. There are 4 (out of 25) churches in this valley which follow this format. That, by default, limits our choices severely. I still don't know the answer we seek, but we are leaning toward limiting our attendance at our current church & visiting others. If nothing else, perhaps we will get to know more people in this small valley of ours.
In Stephen King's extended version of The Stand, he goes into detail of Frannie's relationship with her mother. I don't remember the exact words he uses, but he speaks of the living room her mother treasures & the clock ticking in a way that measures off the "dry" moments of time there. This also resonates with me.
My mother is very Christian religious. She spent a lot of time trying to "convert" or "save" children in the neighborhood thru Vacation Bible School or after school programs called "Child Evangelism." She believed that once someone said the simple "sinner's prayer" (best done at age 6 or 7) that the person was "Christian" & if they never gave another thought to God in their lives, they were "saved" & would go to heaven. When i was a child, she spent hours listening to Christian radio. Woe to the child that might interrupt her programs!
The point of Christianity, truly, is love. God's love for us manifest in Jesus who came to build a bridge to God, because we are so loved. Jesus' admonition to those who followed him was to love in similar manner. Love of any kind was sadly lacking in the home in which i was raised. It was so dry of love that i often felt dessicated.
I struggle to use or think in "Christian" terms or images. Neither of my sisters or i myself can listen to Christian radio, even all these years later. (My youngest sister says she used the music at the beginning of a program to tell time. When she heard a certain song, she knew it was time for lunch or her nap or that her older sisters would soon be home from school.)
The words, phrases, & images used often in Christian circles trigger those memories & i cringe to hear the Christian phrases (such as "born again," or "it's not a religion, it's a relationship"). I don't disagree with such concepts, but using the words in such a manner is unpleasant for me. Finding a liturgical church was a God send, for in general they don't use catch phrases, or at least not the ones i grew up with.
I'll be honest, many of the concepts used by most Christians seem cheesy to me & make me uncomfortable. Perhaps because the religion in our home seemed to be plastic (unreal, insincere), certain concepts had no meaning for me because i didn't trust them. Or maybe i had trouble trusting them because they seem just too easy, too simple, & not at all possible.
One of the images often used is the concept of "take it to the foot of the cross." In fact, i just Googled that, & a number of phrases came up: "put your heart in the hands of the Lord," "today is the day," "lay it out before the Lord," "repent of your own anger, & fear, & hurt," "submit," "you will find the answer." And over & over, "take it to the foot of the cross & leave it there" (once with the promise, "you will assuredly find relief").
I mentioned that John, the therapist with whom i work, recently said that my life is currently a mix of really, really good & really really awful. That is true. I have so much good in my life. But i have awful, as well, the physical limitations with which i struggle & so limit me & my deep desire to be a mama & have children to raise which is not going to happen. John also said to me, "Don't want what you can't have."
I'd like to know how to not want some things. Over all, in my life i've learned to walk away from certain - mostly material - desires. I don't desire a fancy house or car, or expensive clothes (for a short time a passion of mine). I do want to live simply & without a lot of fluff.
But i don't know how to "not want" to be a mama. That desire seems to be a part of who i am, ingrained in my very personality.
And so, i tried using the imagery of "take it to the foot of the cross." I need to start using it again, & for me it is a very literal image.
As far as "leave it there" however? This is something that grows in me, it is part of my thought process, part of my bone & flesh. I don't just lay it down & walk away & it is "over." When i walk away it is still within me, part of who i am. So it becomes a minute by minute thing. It will have to become a habit of mine, for i carry it with me & can't leave it. Part of me has to be sacrificed with it each time & it has to be continual. It isn't a fixed moment in time i can leave behind. It is something that reoccurs every time i hear of others having a baby, or a grandchild, or see a mama in the grocery store, or hear about the delights of parenthood, or see the ads in magazines, or hear the doc i work with describe the joy & love he has for his daughter. These things won't change; they are a part of existance. This isn't my desire for a particular car or house or shoes or dress or food, but the need to change who i am.
In truth, i know that when i'm very disturbed about something over which i have no control i focus on something else. Currently i have no control over my energy & physical abilities (tho i'm trying very hard with diet & supplements) & i have no control over becoming a parent (& it often feels i have little control over my emotions regarding this). So? So the focus has been on church & the pastor, or sometimes on my family & relationships with friends. I do struggle, & i take issue with what is preached at our church. But i wonder, i wonder very much if this is not a distraction for me from that in my life over which i have no control.
Down the hill today, for the first time since Christmas. I've a fairly busy (for me, which is maybe 5-6 hours a week is busy) schedule today & tomorrow.
Mac is sick, too. He has a bladder infection that needs pills twice a day (for 2 weeks) to cure it. I'm not sure how i feel about that as i think antibiotics are overused, but i don't know an alternative treatment for him. I've found alternative preventatives we will explore, but for now i think he needs the drugs. We used to feed Pet Promise only, but they have gone out of business. The cats don't like the new food & this problem has occurred since changing the food. I may have to look into a raw food diet.
We've had to hire someone to come give those pills 4 times while we're away (& will probably have to have her come again next week or i'll have to stay home). When we're away for longer (like last summer) we have hired a couple of neighborhood girls to check on the cats & play with them. But i can't ask them to give Mac pills. We had to find someone else. Usually cats are pretty independent, but pills twice a day are a challenge!