Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Love does too win...

Who cares what this one woman's opinion of gay marriage is? Seriously, what difference does it make if I am for or against it. I suppose I am a bit of libertarian on the subject...

" But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

Surprised? I live with a child who was. Why was she surprised? I am a conservatives, conservative Christian. So racist right? Seriously? Yeah, it was quite a discussion.

Me: "When you have friends over who are gay, have I been rude?"
She: "No."
Me: "Have I ever told you that you cannot spend time with someone who is gay?"
She: "No."
Me: "Have I hit you over the head with the book of Romans, highlighting words like 'abomination'?"
She: "No."
Me: "Did you  know I have taken care of and bathed, and held the hand of  more than one member of the    LGBT community?"
She: "No."
Me: "Do you know that I have friends and co-workers that are gay and that we love each other inspite of each other?"
She: "REALLY????"
Me: "Do you know I would rather you chose to be a lesbian than a liberal?"


Just checking to see if you were still paying attention....


In all seriousness, in recent weeks, on more than one occasion, a child in my home and I have had to discuss an unpopular stance. It was suggested that if they disagree with me, they would be "blacklisted" in our home. How sad I am that I allowed them to believe that. So there have been late nights on my balcony or in the living room discussing everything from gay marriage to abortion.

Am I against the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage? In the purest, conservative way, of course I am. I don't believe the courts have the right to decide what should have been a states rights issue. I also believe opening the door, even more, to the destruction of the Constitution, is going to harm our country. I believe the law of un-intended consequences will smack us in the national face...again.

As a Christian, I am a part of the group being called bigots. As a Conservative Christian, because I don't "feel" the same way as those who are supportive of the law, I stand on the wrong side of History. I shake my head at the PC-ness of our age. I suppose I would be accused of micro-aggression. I know that Love won about 2000 years ago when there was an empty grave. This is an opportunity to love deeper and with more Truth than ever before. Now I know there are those who will be insulted by that statement simply because I cannot be converted to their way of thinking. I understand that too. “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” ― St. Thomas Aquinas.  And I quote Thom  knowing he actively sought to kill and torture those who did not believe as he did....said the Protestant in the room. 

I've learned to shut up and pray this past year in ways I never imagined I would need to. I've simply asked my well indoctrinated children to know their source of information. Don't just take Tumbler's word on things. Understand the angle, be it a conservative Christian or a liberal Buddhist. Read everything from Mother Jones to Drudge. Let me quote another Thomas:


"Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." Thomas Jefferson 1787

Respect my right to descent not because I said so, but because I am willing to seek the Truth. God's word says to seek wisdom over all other things and that He will graciously give it to you in abundance. I give my children this advice, not to convert them to my way of thinking but because I know Him and I know He is to be trusted. It is not now, nor will it ever be, my job to convert anyone...even my own children. It is however my job to teach them to seek the Truth and trust that if I am proven wrong, it is to His glory. My glory does not matter. I give this gift to my children: Truth. Know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.

 

Monday, June 22, 2015

My moving up from Junior High....

Last year I blogged on learning in Junior High. Well let me just say, year number two taught me way more than I bargained for. In recent months,  I knew I was getting my pony-tale yanked by the Almighty. I tried to ignore it but it wasn't working. There was this huge problem with this job of mine as a school nurse....I LOVED IT! I mean, I loved it to my pretty, glued on toe nails, loved it.

I went to work and was needed (like no one at home needed me?) and I was good at what I did ('cause I suck at parenting? Am a lousy cook? Keep a crappy home? Okay, that last one was just to see if you were paying attention...) and I made people laugh (you know how serious we are in Schlusserdom, so nice change?) and I made people feel good about themselves( as you know I live to tear my family down?) and I wasn't lonely...at all (wait...that one. Yes, that one.)

It was nice to have someone notice my skill. It was nice to have someone NOT have heard all of my stories and to get to create new ones. It was so nice to be a grownup professional once again. It was all so nice....

So why am I leaving? Be it this school or five others, not being lonely at work was just what this ego, self, me, myself and I needed or at least wanted....so what.....

I don't think it is that my house is one commercial break away from a very special episode of Hoarders. I am not even sure it was that Maggie has stories to tell and I found myself not caring to hear them. It wasn't just that dinner was turning into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. No, there was this call, you know the one. The one that starts out as an inkling and turns into a hunch until one day, you sit in your car knowing what you have to do next.

Some not so nice events happened. But honestly, I think the Holy Spirit was holding me to my inkling/hunch/knowing:  "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13...yeah, that's what happened. 

There was nothing French in that temptation mind you, just being clear here. No, it was much darker than that: Me. It was my universe and it very simply orbited me. Now, I know that I am a nurse and so by nature, I serve...but because that is what I do, it served my ID...or whatever that part of my soul that looks only at me and my needs....oh wait...I think that is called sin. Yeah, probably...and I fell in love with it. 

Once upon a time I wrote about how family is never an interruption of ministry. AND my family was not...but my ministry, as nurse, was an interruption of my ministry as wife and mother, my first loves. I have had to be brutally honest here: I suck at doing it all. I mean, suck. I can honestly say, I never once left work at work. Nope, not once. 

Being an all or nothing kind of girl, I have no doubt that I still  have some growing up to do. I will work again. There are better ways to make more money in less time than being a school nurse...and for the first time in forever, I am okay with being lonely at work and even being alone at home. It is okay, not because I don't still love an audience (like that will ever happen!) I just don't need one to feed that ID thing. Funny that I didn't know that ID thing was a thing...until I did. 

Saying goodbye sucks when your heart doesn't want to say goodbye. But in the sweet by and by of it all, I have remembered that my heart is deceitful above all things as David reminds me. I can't follow my heart, it would lead me down the hall to my office, I would put on a pot of coffee, turn on my computer and ignore all that I had just written. 

So say goodbye I must, and I cry I will. That is okay, my eyes look great when I cry...(that was a me moment, in case you missed it) I didn't do my best, but I had a ball sucking at it and maybe it was just the reminder that my sometimes haughty-taughty spirit needed.  In the end, I think my Jesus and I have a few things to celebrate and I remembered that He is far too crazy about me to leave me to my own fleshy self.  I rest knowing that He has a plan and I am not planning on missing it for the lessor portion any more.

I am still crashing the Christmas party though...try and stop me!




                                                                                                                                                                                     


Monday, May 18, 2015

Hosta Roots!

 Last summer I acquired some hosta plants from Yonkers. Well I never got to plant all of it...mostly because there were some very big spiders living in it. So on the side of the driveway it sat. It sat all winter, in Poughkeepsie, with all the ice and all the sub-zero temps. Yeah, that winter.  When the snow melted, I thought I saw some green roots on that hosta but still left it sitting on the edge of the driveway. Look at what has grown, UN-planted.

It got me thinking that the expression that we should bloom where we are planted may be all wrong. Maybe we should bloom even when we aren't planted. Look at those roots! They are healthy and strong and produced such beauty. Maybe being transplanted and  not grounded does not mean that we don't have roots...Maybe we just aren't home yet. 

I have had this sense that I have not yet arrived at the place where I need to plant myself...and yet, I still seem to have some pretty good fruit...just like my Hosta. If they can grow like this without being planted imagine what they will do when they are...and just imagine what I will do, when I am too.

Blessings all,


PS if you are viewing this on your phone, my fabulous hosta picture may not load for some reason beyond my feeble computer brain....but it is really pretty on the computer! Sorry about that.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Normal and Typical

I fell asleep the other night with a memory on my mind. I was in my brother's room, it must have been summer because he had air conditioning and I did not...that was a very hot attack, my bed room. I was "talking" with the guy I was dating and a book caught my eye. I think we were in the middle of breaking up and I cannot believe I just admitted I had a man in a bedroom when I know my girls might read this...BWAH-HA-HA-HA! Oh, that was funny, sigh...they don't red their mother's blog. Where was I? Oh, right, boyfriend, break up, book.

The book had something to do with Adult Children of Alcoholics. When that present day Mr. Not-Gonna'-Happen left, I grabbed the book and started reading. I met myself in those pages and could not put it down. There was a list of character flaws that were particular to the ACOH (Adult Children of Alcoholics) and I found I had most of them. Some of them still come to mind but what popped into my head as I remembered that night was this one:

              "ADULT CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS GUESS AT WHAT NORMAL IS."

So wait, you mean not knowing what normal is, is normal? 

I had it happen again when I read the book, "Wild" by so and so, the one that Rease Weatherspoon did the movie for...yeah that one. The writer's mom had died when she was twenty-five. She struggled through her grief by partaking in lust and wanderlust and all types of self destructive behavior. She wound up looking for herself on the Pacific Coast Trail...found herself. Again, I discovered that all the things I did when my mom died were typical.

So wait, you mean I was typical too?

Normal and Typical. Wow. Part of me is thrilled to know that my brokenness is normal and typical in that I am not alone. The other part of me is a little annoyed. I thought I was special...but than again, Salomon told us this before..."The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Even my realizing this truth, is a truth that was already known before...Normal and typical.

Should that comfort me? Maybe. I think I will let it. Perhaps just knowing that my typical and normal life is extraordinary because it is I who lives it. My sin, my failures, my success, are all a part of the human condition. How amazing that He who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow already knows. Yes, that is a comfort. Each hair on my head is counted as mine, each freckle on my face is mine...and He says I am a one of a kind, even if my reactions are not. Hmmmm....

Besides my story may be typical and normal but no one tells it like me.

 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Shut up and pray some more.


 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

I was driving home yesterday and discussing with  God a why thing. It doesn't so much matter the topic, but it was a typical Maryellen-type-of-why thing...I have this habit of not actually asking God to explain Himself to me but rather letting Him know that I understand the why and He, therefore, doesn't have to come up with an answer. Nice right? I liked to think so. 

I don't like to question God's motives. Being God and all, I just assume He knows what He is all about and so I am suppose to just trust that unknown future to a known God (Yes, I combined a bunch of quotes there so I don't have to remember who said them.) and for the most part, it has worked out for me.  There was no challenge in believing Romans 8:28 because I did, for sure, believe Him.

Here in lies my newly discovered problem: I was getting antsy. I have waited a long time for Him to use those "all things" for the good. I had a definition of what "the good" is and He was not cooperating. I was patient, sometimes. But more often, I was Dad.
 
Don't just stand there...do something...even if it's the wrong thing...do something! (Eddie Brennan)
 If an opportunity was in front of me, I should jump in at it. If I know something, I should say so. If I can help....I should.  I lived out "The do something, even if it is the wrong thing"...not as recklessly as in my youth but still did quite a bit of the wrong things.

But what if, what if, my life was  just a gift for me? What if all of the good, the bad and the ugly, was just for me? What if, "the good" was just mine. Well that can't be it. That would be selfish! God allows things to happen to me so I can use them to help someone else! No way he wants me to just shut up and it keep it all for me....

          Here is the rest of what my heart KNEW for sure:

"Keeping it just for my good alone means it was pointless. If my life was just meant for me, just meant for me, it makes my life a waste. No way You would have let me survive what I have survived if it was just meant for me. Surely my life has more meaning than just for me! IF all of my life was just for me....what a waste of time, what a waste of pain, what a waste of....me."

                                                                       OR

Maybe, just maybe, it means that my doing something is in the shutting up, standing still, kneeling before the God of all. Maybe "shut up and pray" is my doing something, everything after all. Maybe being able to understand the pain someone is in, while in prayer for them is the only "do something" I am suppose to do. Maybe, the more I shut up to the world, the more useful I am in prayer....lets be honest, I gotta' talk to somebody about my day! Maybe, because He knows all the details of me, I can just come and intercede for so and so and the more I pray for so and so or such and such....the more I am blessed.  Maybe that is "the good" he has had waiting for me all along. 

I really did try to figure it all out for a very long time. I did want to serve Him....but mostly because it served me.  I sought out what made me feel most comfortable and doing something, not "just praying" has been my MO....no, it became who I am. But somewhere in the midst of a good marinade of pain, I began to pray...not the usual "help me to use this pain" but rather just asking Him to pour out His blessings on so and so or such and such. The more I prayed for people I honestly don't like, the more I loved them...even if I still didn't like them very much.  Sometimes though, the silence needs to go deeper and so the saga of "shut up and pray" goes deeper as well.

He promises to make us a new creation. In so many, many, many, many (you get the point?) ways, I am. Surely, the old has passed away and God is doing something new. When a  ghiacchieron (Italian for never shuts up) like me, can't help but shut up, He is up to something, so much so, I had to write about it...Oxymoron anyone?

Be blessed and shhhhhh.......
 
 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What I learned in Junior High with only two weeks left to go....

I may  have said it before, but even after 40 plus years, it is nice to finally be one of the most popular girls in junior high.

                                    Things I learned with only two weeks left to go...



I don't like going to school but I love my job.

Making my boss laugh is a worthy goal and easier than I thought it could ever be.

Only other people with dead mothers can play dead mother jokes. Trust me, it is a bonding thing.

People can still betray you...don't take it personally. It really is not you, it really is them.

Lincoln logs float when boys don't flush.

Laughter is contagious even more than the flu.

Ed was right, there is something funny about EVERYTHING.

I am not the only Mamma Bear.

People have already made up their mind. Don't hurt yourself trying to change it.

The practice of others in the past can only be undone by the Truth. It may take time, but it will still set you free.

Sometimes, even the most skilled nurse is helpless when only armed with band-aids and ice packs.

Secretaries are still the heartbeat of the school....they know ALL!

Manipulation is not that hard to pull off.

Having a secret nickname for EVERY teacher is funny.

Small souled people will try to use you, don't let them.

God is the God of all, even in places He isn't suppose to be.

I pray in school everyday...so there!

Wheelchairs can snap in half...it can happen.

A Health Office can be a little like Heaven....you need a pass to get into the Health Office and Jesus is your only pass to get into Glory....Okay, nothing alike. Thought I would stretch that one a bit.

Sometimes the only medicine needed is a listening ear and a hug. 

I can still be unkind in my heart even if my words don't say it out loud....Willing to be re-made...because I must be.

Being disrespected as the mall cop of nursing is not defining unless one lets it be. I know who I am in Christ~~~I can't wear my nursing cap to work because I am saving my scalp for the crown I get to wear in Heaven. Good to be a part of the Royal Family... No one gets to define you except your Heavenly Father...I thought everyone knew that. 



I am pretty sure I learned more than this but seriously, who has time when the fan on the computer has died and I am afraid to keep on it.

One last thing, Showing up to meet the One who is waiting for me EVERY morning, changed everything. His Mercies are still new EVERY morning.

 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Missing the old country...

Holy Week. Sigh....

Growing up Roman Catholic, there were rules I followed. I don't remember going to Holy Thursday mass as a requirement as a kid, much less Good Friday and we all but never went on Holy Saturday for the Easter Vigil. I think Mom went to some of it but it is not a clear memory.

What is clear to me are my late teens and early twenties when I sang in the choir at St. Mary's in Mt. Vernon. We would practice for months on end to be a part of the Holy Week celebration. It was nothing short of spectacular.

From Holy Thursday and the door left open on the tabernacle as we left the church in silence, to the humble Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday, to the endless scripture readings, lighting of the Easter candle, and spectacular joy of belting out "The Gloria" on Holy Saturday night. The sights, the sounds, the smell of all those magnificent flowers....No one does The Tritium like a Roman Catholic.

Truth be told, we were often slightly hung over for the Easter Sunday Mass because we all went out to celebrate the end of Lent on Holy Saturday night. There was this one time my friend Sue and I...never mind.

I  miss it. I miss knowing what to do on these Holiest of Holy Days. I miss kissing the cross on Good Friday at 3pm and feeling as though the day was perfect if it was pouring rain on such a day of solemn devotion. I once pulled up to the church on the hill as the Dolly Parton song, "He is alive!" was playing and thought I had just heard the most perfect song, for the most perfect moment...ever, especially from a none- RC.

I miss knowing what each symbolic element of the Mass stood for. I miss preparing for the Holy Days with each outfit....being a girl means preparing with a wardrobe: jeans were fine for Good Friday but not so much for Holy Thursday and certainly not for Holy Saturday....and the Easter bonnet was just short of the prep work for Easter Sunday.

I miss the package that is the Tritium and how it called one to look....look at the Cross, the agony, the pain, and eventually the empty grave. I loved the pride of being an extraordinarily good Catholic. I was so proud of it. My faith in Christ was laid second only to being the very best Catholic. Oh how I adored it all. I was very good at something and it was being Catholic.

Of course, there in lies my biggest failure you know. My denomination and all the rules, that I knew and understood by heart, had in fact become my god. The governing body of my faith, made me an excellent member. There was nothing I didn't love about The Church. I never believed that none Catholics were not going to Heaven....they just missed out on the fullness of the faith because they didn't have the saints and the sacraments. They (the left footer, Protestant types) were only getting a half a glass and you had to admire what they were doing with that half glass.

It has been well over a decade ago that I left The Church...maybe I left in the beginning because I wanted other Christians to share my faith with and I was living in an area that I could not find anyone to share Him with...Yeah, that had a lot to do with leaving. As time went on though I couldn't marry The Word with all of the Traditions. I found along the way that while I am excommunicated, so are most Catholics. Both the Council of Trent and Vatican II never reversed the teaching that unless you submit to ALL the teachings of The Church, you are already excommunicated. Think priests should be allowed to marry? You are out. Are you using even none-abortive birth control methods? You are out. Pretty sure you can tell God you are sorry for a sin with out the benefit of the confessional? You are out.

Last time I checked, the thought police and the birth control police of The Church are not standing  in anyones home, looking for a way to kick you out. The Church pretty much works on the honesty system. That system requires The Truth in order to function.

The Truth...there in lies the rub. I can't be Roman Catholic. Once in a while, my kids will wish we were because the traditions are so very beautiful. And we live in NY for crying out loud, just about the entire state is Catholic.

I have known more sold out for Jesus, Roman Catholics than you jan begin to imagine. I've also met some nice conservatives in the Protestant world. There are saved Catholics just like there are condemned Protestants. I've long realized that just because someone says, "Lord, Lord!" does not make them a Christian  in any way. You can go to daily mass and never encounter the living God just as easily as you can do every Beth Moore bible study known to woman and there is no proof you are believer.

So this week, I am like a man with out a country. I feel like an immigrant who longs for the old country, even while I know it is no where I will ever return to. I sometimes fear my children will return, in spite of the hard work it took for me to leave. I wish we Protestants had more ceremony with our Truth. Some of it was so spectacular. I felt like I belonged to a very important Body. Now, I just don't know what to do during the Holiest of Holy days. The kids want to go to the drive in tomorrow night to see Frozen and Captain America...it feels so wrong. But am I any more right to have them put on sack cloth and ashes on Good Friday?

There is not a conclusion to this post....I still don't know what the answer to my longing is, except to rest in Him. He is my all and all. He died on a cross for me? The worst of the worst. Me, a sinner who deserves nothing short of the fires of Hell...He died that horrific death, for me. And because He rose out of the grave...I am alive in Christ. All the trappings are stripped away and I am left with just a God who saved me.

Maybe being left with "just" that is the conclusion.