Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Is it possible to have a twin?

Because Molly is mine. She wrote this post and it is ME! So pretend I wrote it and just read:

How does a person know that he/she is walking in truth? I was considering this today, considering the various “truths” I once held versus those beliefs from the past that are actually still with me today. What is a key difference between the not-actually-truths and the things that turned out, as far as I can tell, to be just as true now as they were then? I remembered the words of Christ about truth, and nodded my head. Truth and freedom really do go together.

One common denominator in my experience in fundamentalism/legalism was the shrinking down of the world, the tightening of the borders, the closing in of the box. Sure, there were a lot of vocabulary words that indicated freedom, but in actual practice, it was a lot more like hiding behind a little wall, fearful, shaking, waiting for this world to be over with already. Choices? Questions? Not okay, except for those that fit into the prescribed grid. Have others had a different experience in fundamentalist/legalist/conservative circles? Probably so. But this was mine.

One common denominator in my (forced? chosen?) exodus from that tight safe-feeling place has been the sense of liberation, the feeling of stepping into a wide world, a world full of options, full of choices, a world full of opportunities.

I recently heard someone (Where? Anyone else here this and remember who said it?) quote a new study revealing that human beings, if forced to choose between pain or the unknown, will almost always choose pain. With pain, at least we know what to expect. With the unknown, that’s just the point—we don’t. So, according to the research, if you’ll give me the choice between pain and the unknown, you can know ahead of time which one I’ll pick: let me have the pain I know. Is this the reason so many stay? Is this the reason that leaving what we know is so hard, because leaving the known pain means facing the unknown?

These last four or five years have had two huge paradigm-shifting crashes for me. The first was my spiritual world. That was a slow but steady turning over of everything, until critical mass was reached and I realized I no longer fit within the walls of the conservative evangelical/fundamentalist world. There was not a lot of joy in that crash. I remember much fear, pain, panic. ”Where will I go from here? Where is here, to begin with?”

So when it came crashing down, helped by painful circumstances that were a little more painful than the paradigm was capable of bearing, it was a blow I wasn’t sure I could recover from.

And as I was still scratching my head and figuring out which way was up, slowly trying to make sense of the big wide new world I found myself in, the second crash began, born of the earlier mentioned painful circumstances that helped, in part, to cause the first one.

The first crash was mostly philosophical/theological. The second was very practical, very earthy. It involved losing a part of my most precious possession in all the world: my hopes and dreams, family-wise, for my wacky wiggly beyond-loved children. When the vision of what-might-be finally gasped its last, no doubt kept alive for so long only by my valiant and often humiliating attempts to Make It Work (It Has To Work!), it was no different from a death. It felt no different from a death. In many ways, I think it always will.

So two huge life-changing things happened, like a huge steam roller crushing its way along The Way Things Are, and that is why I nodded my head when I heard the research that says we prefer pain over the unknown. The pain of what I know is something that I might not like, sure, but at least I know how to survive it (and, besides, it might stop soon, right?). The unknown is something else entirely. I had to, pretty much, be forced out into it.

I am not really sure I am up for anymore paradigm shifts. I think I’ve maxed out. Stepping into freedom has been one of the most beautiful and horrifying things I’ve experienced. Many of you who read and comment here, each in your own unique way, know exactly what I’m talking about.

But some what I found in the unknown was a beautiful Unknown… and I continue to find Him. And what with all the bright light, it was a lot easier to see things, to gain clarity, to get new perspectives on things that I’d only read about before in a textbook, never actually seen with my own eyes. Much of what I observed was that some of my precious old “truths” had been nothing more than planks in a little box, nailed shut. There was a lot to rejoice about. It didn’t make the mourning any easier. There is no such thing as an easy paradigm shift. These things only come with the hard pains of transition-stage labor and blood and afterbirth.

But, still, there it was. Freedom.

I still don’t know which end is up, on so many fronts. Personally, I hold tight to the Nicene and the Apostles Creeds, but beyond that, what? I don’t know. But I do know that I have grown to not only love this sense of freedom, but to look for it, to nurture it, to enjoy those things that encourage its growth. And like an ex-con going back into prison, the sight of the thick jail house door is enough to make me sweat.

I hope this means I may now have an instinctual sense for recognizing the confines of the old way, because I didn’t have that before, and I think it would be valuable. But when instinct fails to reveal truth, there are always carefully observed ways of determining what a thing is, what it isn’t. This is why one of my new questions is, “Does it bring freedom?”

Not, “Does it promise freedom,” because there are all sorts of things and people and organizations that will promise all sorts of things. No, I’m talking about standing back and observing and watching what actually happens. Where there are captives being set free, chances are pretty high that something Good is afoot.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Caleb school update

I totally forgot to tell everyone that Caleb's absences have been "excused." Why you ask? It seems when the Superintendent of a certain county in Georgia is confronted with "Caleb's absences have been pre-approved with the principal and you don't need to fill any paperwork out" in writing, from his teacher, a month before we left for Orlando, helps...a lot! Up until we faxed him that little piece of paper he was ALL FOR turning us over to the magistrate judge. "My hands are tied, Mr. Jorek. I have no choice." sure did magically reverse itself. Oh, and they asked us not to tell anyone too. So...shhhhhhh!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

H1N1 and other bloggy thoughts

I am praying, hoping, and crossing my fingers that the flu or H1N1 doesn't come home with Caleb. It could kill Olaf and I certainly do not want it at home. Another little girl died today in Georgia from H1N1 and several people I know are infected with it. It really sucks to have a person in our home with zero immune system. Wash your hands people and if you are sick, STAY HOME! I don't understand why that is so difficult for people. People are so selfish that they keep their children in school, go to work with a fever, etc. THINK ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE BESIDES YOURSELVES!! I am keeping my children in the house as much as possible. The only child with any outside contact is Caleb. Praise the Lord above for homeschooling.

Speaking of homeschool, Camille is enthralled right now with anime. She loves it. She reads anime comic books, tries to draw anime, and watches anime on You Tube. She is certainly 13 years old and trying to get a photograph of her right now is like trying to take her to the dentist for a root canal. She is also fabulous and fun and my best friend. She is snarky and sarcastic and makes me laugh every single day. Every mom should have a Camille. I love her so much that it almost hurts. She is such a fantastic kid (not perfect, but fantastic!) and I am so blessed.

OIaf and I are going to Vegas in March as long as we can find someone to watch the children. (Hello? Cheri? Renee? Scott? Anyone?) I am so excited about that I can barely contain myself. Who wants to stay at my house? I promise Camille will do all the work, you'll just be here for emergency purposes. (See why I love that child??) I am trying to get him to take me to Rome too. We'll see...

Have you found me on Facebook yet? If not, get a life and find me...

Monday, October 05, 2009

Goodness gracious....

Me and my lack of blogging!! My family just got back from a two week vacation to Disney World. It was fabulous, but hot! September is not the best month to visit Florida unless you like temperatures in the mid 90's with so much humidity that sweat is pouring off you as soon as you step outside. We stayed at Saratoga Springs in a two bedroom suite that had a kitchen and washer/dryer. The children loved going to the pool. The Epcot Food and Wine Festival started while we were there. That is my favorite thing about Disney. We ate some great food and drank some great beer. The down side to that vacation is now there are charges pending against us with the magistrate judge for pulling Caleb out of school. Vacations are considered unexcused absences. I will keep you posted as to how that turns out. I could spend 30 days in jail, do community service, be fined, or a combination of all three. I guess when you put your child in public school they take away your parental authority and the child becomes a ward of the state. If Caleb didn't love school so much, I'd pull him in a heartbeat. When I get my court date I am going to call all the news outlets in Atlanta to see if they would like to come and do a story about this. I think it would be a great headline, "Coweta County woman sentenced to 30 days in jail for taking her mentally challenged son to Disney World." On another note, Simon absolutely loved Disney World. Small World was his favorite ride and we rode it at least a dozen times. He kissed Mickey Mouse and cried when we had to leave. He loved every single minute of it.

I am taking Camille to NYC for a night the first weekend of November. We are going to go see Wicked on Broadway. We are staying at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square. In case you didn't know, I was just in NYC in August. I stayed at that same hotel and saw Wicked. It was then that I knew I had to bring Camille back for a visit. It will be just she and I. I am so excited for her to see the city and walk the streets of New York with me. I hope it isn't too cold.

Gracie and Josiah are doing well. Josiah is in the first grade this year and still holds his pencil like he has a talon instead of fingers. He can read well and is progressing normally though. We won't start cursive for a long time. Grace is in the third grade and rarely asks for assistance with school. She doesn't like anything about school work and just does it because she has to.

I am fat. Heavier than I have ever been and apathetic to change anything. I know changing will be hard work and I guess I am too lazy for that right now. So I just buy my big fat clothes, drink my margaritas, and hope Olaf doesn't mind being married to a fat girl.

Olaf's pemphigus is under control although he still has a lot of lesions on his scalp. His prednisone has been lowered to 5 mg per day but his Imuran is still at 150 mg per day. He is still taking it one day at a time. That's the best we can do.

There you go. An update from the Facebook addict. Let's see if I can post a picture from Disney.