Thursday, June 7, 2018

Little Feathers: True North

Little Feathers: True North: Apologies to real navigators. Disclaimer- novice in action. In high school, decades ago, I learned that a compass doesn't really po...

True North

Image result for compass picture

Apologies to real navigators. Disclaimer- novice in action.

In high school, decades ago, I learned that a compass doesn't really point to the North Pole. It points to magnetic north, a variable magnetic field that is not fixed in relation to the earth's axis. You have to make adjustments in order to travel North. And don't even think about Astronomical True North, or grid north. Those tidbits of information have wiggled around in my brain all these years. Kind of like when you discover that no one is really in charge.

There are lots of distractions from the truth, and that is my analogy. There are lot of distractions from keeping true to my authentic self. Sorry if that phrase has become hackneyed. It works really well to describe my goal, so I'm risking some rolling of the eyes when I use it.

I used to be so sure of things. I didn't question anything, or any authority. My compass was pointed North, and that's all that mattered. That may be the way with most young people, especially those who have been given a sheltered and easy childhood. Or, it may be peculiar to me. Regardless, that surety was blown away, for me, on 9/11. I was young and immature during the Vietnam protests, or it would have happened then, I imagine.

My childhood was filled with heroes. Roy Rogers in his white hat. John Wayne. Zorro. Then there were the real ones: Rosa Parks, Amelia Erhart, MLK, John Glenn. And John Glenn again. Heroes were good people traveling due North. Toward truth and justice.

Then the black and white picture faded to shades of gray. Good people made huge mistakes. Including me. And nothing was quite as simple anymore.

If I'm honest, which authenticity demands, I can't glide along with the crowd, taking up trends here and there that fit the moment but not the journey. But I do. That pesky magnetic field has a strong pull, and sometimes I find myself spending long periods of time following some mixed bag or another. Uh-oh, more mixed metaphors.

Most people I know want to belong. They want to be in the know, savvy, etc. Because we get laughed at when we show our naivete or inexperience. But striving to live in a way that shows I'm cool is a diversion from my path. Plus, I'm not able to pull it off. My true self manages to peek through. So what I really, really want is to not listen to that siren call of the faux north. To listen only to the instincts that tell me who I really am. It's a goal. Like traveling True North.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Little Feathers: When the Student Is Ready...

Little Feathers: When the Student Is Ready...: I hope I can capture in words this Easter gift I was given today. Actually, the gift has been revealing itself for a few weeks now. But toda...

When the Student Is Ready...

I hope I can capture in words this Easter gift I was given today. Actually, the gift has been revealing itself for a few weeks now. But today a shift in perspective, a changing of the angle, as my great friend Mary says, let a precious insight sparkle like the very best light for my spirit.

Appalled by injustice and oppression done in the name of Christ, I have had a lot of trouble embracing the church for a few years now. I have wanted to apologize for, more than celebrate,the church on earth. This has caused the field of my faith to lie fallow, or sometimes downright dying. It has caused me to repeat, ad nauseum, all the things I can't believe about God. Some of the most troubling things are in the creeds and prayers of the church, and I have felt at turns blasphemous and rebellious when faced with dogma I feel was created to keep some in power and others under the thumb. Some in the club and some left begging at the gate. Many mixed metaphors, I know.  I know you will understand just what I mean when I say I have wept that crosses -meant as the reminder of the ultimate sacrifice of a creator who would go to the very gates of hell to call "home free" to every creature ever made, those same crosses would be used to strike fear into the hearts of those who found them burning on their lawn. That's the best example I can think of to tell you the trouble in my heart. We won't even go into the Crusades, the Inquisition, the treatment of minorities of every kind, the blind eye to predator priests, using scripture as a battering ram or weapon of exclusion, etc etc etc.

A few weeks ago we started going to a nearby church. It could be any church, most likely, but this particular one was chosen for me. Because the Holy Spirit keeps giving words to the minister there, words that feel like living water poured on that fallow field. Little phrases that catch my imagination, the most important part of my brain, to me. Not new information, just little drops of water at just the right time.

Today the crowning moment came for me when the minister was preaching, and talking about the women who fled in fear from the empty tomb. As he talked about them running back the way they had come, fearful and confused, I saw my own self with them. Because I don't get it. I don't get so much of it. And the contradictions have dealt me a blow that I has left me reeling, for a while now.

But as the sermon went on, God had something private to say to me. The gospel reading today was not about the ones who later came and saw Jesus sitting in the tomb. But my mind went there anyway, led by a God who loves me. And instead of the words from the Bible, when Jesus saw me looking into the tomb, he said, just to me, "See, I have already been every place your fear can go. I have been in that place already. And you will not go there alone. No fear is beyond me."

I still have a lot of trouble with aspects of the church. But those are really people problems, not God problems. I have been left this day with a peace, a heart for understanding that God is so much bigger than the tiny parameters the church has given God. I know this is nothing new. But the peace is new for me today. And I am grateful.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Little Feathers: Just The One Time

Little Feathers: Just The One Time: How did we get here? How did we get to this place of distrust, disrespect and lawlessness? One decision at a time. The one time we decid...

Just The One Time

How did we get here? How did we get to this place of distrust, disrespect and lawlessness?

One decision at a time.

The one time we decided not to let our child face the consequences of a bad decision. Because we wanted to protect them from disappointment or failed dreams. But we knew deep down, even then, that the only failed dreams are ones that don't belong to us anymore because we've sold out.

The one time we decided not to alert the retail clerk to an error in our favor. A little chink in our armor of self respect. But a chink non-the-less.

The one time we decide to jump on the bandwagon of dragging someone down. Anyone. Anywhere. Because mobs are always cool, until they're not.

The one time we get behind the wheel when we know we are impaired. There's just a little ways to go, and a cab would be inconvenient. There can be no finger pointing ever to someone else's bad judgement once we've made that rationalization. The difference between us and them? We arrived safely without killing anyone and they did not.

The one time we let a friend badmouth our spouse without letting them know that is stunningly bad taste. It doesn't have to end the friendship, but we do have to let them know that disrespecting our spouse is not okay. If we can't say it because we fear their reaction, we have made our choice.

The one time we continually watched (oxymoron, I think) a show where the people prove dominance of ideas or popularity by out-screaming each other. The cheapening of dialog starts with not letting someone finish their sentence. (I wish I had a nickle for ever time I've interrupted someone. Then I could send that money to a good cause and resolve, once again, not to do that anymore.) If we don't watch those shows, the money lenders, who are the enablers, will get the message.

The one time we called an elected official a derogatory name. Privately hating them is one thing, and I think we need to do a blood check on the level of hate in our 'stream, but demeaning them because they have a different point of view is another. We can say this is trickle down, starts at the top, etc. But we are not in charge of anyone but ourselves. Are we going to mimic behavior we hate in others?

The one time we fail to stand up for what we know is right, working for change, because we fear what the popular kids think. High school left a mark! Let's erase it. Who cares what someone else does or thinks if we know we need to be/act/talk/argue/ for something? This is opposite, in my opinion, of tearing someone down. It is building up what we know is good and right.

The one time we invented excuses for ourselves because the truth was too embarrassing. Lots of stuff is no one else's business, period. But we don't have to lie. Really. I don't know anyone who hasn't done this. Which is kinda my point.

The one time we let fear stop us. Fear of failure, fear of judgement, fear of losing our stuff. What we need to fear the most is the sellout.

I'm sad that we have come to accept mocking someone for their faith/size/intellect/talent. It's beneath us a nation. As a society. As an individual. I don't want to do it anymore. And since I'm the only one that I'm actually in charge of, I'm wanting to set a goal for myself to do the things I know are right. Just the one time. And the next. But let's start with just the one.

Sunday, January 14, 2018