To the Weak I am Weak

I have two blogs. One is public and the other I keep private. On this blog, My Soliloquy, I write about whatever is on my mind, and I rarely share it on other social media sites. I don’t share because this is the blog that I have given myself free reign to talk about whatever I want, and sometimes it is a topic that would offend some that I care about. I have felt it’s best to just type the words out, send them into the world, and leave it at that. It makes me feel good, and doesn’t offend any loved ones. I might just decide to share this post that I’m about to write though. I haven’t decided, but if you read this, and you actually know me, then I guess I decided to share it even though it then opens the door for my other posts from this blog to be read by those that I never intended to read them, but oh well.

This past week has been a tough one for most Americans. Whether you voted for or against the new president elect, your emotions have likely been stirred either by the results or by the reactions of others to the results. If you’ve been on social media at all, then you are aware of how rude and hateful people are being toward each other. Whatever direction you’re coming at our country’s current turbulent condition from, you have a formed opinion on it I am sure. I have. But where ever you happen to stand on the matter/s, you can likely agree on that fact that our country is horribly divided. People are not only not seeing eye to eye, but are in most cases I have seen, are unwilling to try and even look at each other in the face, and this is the problem because it then allows you to not see the other as a valuable human being. There are various reasons for upsets, but few seem to be willing to acknowledge any reason but their own. Some voted for one reason, and someone else voted for another, and because these two reasons (plus many more) oppose each other, people throw up their guards, and yell under their banners that they are right and that everyone else is foolish, idiotic, and plainly in the wrong.

Well there are some people who are plainly in the wrong. Those who have racist and sexists ideas, and who don’t like people who are different from themselves, are absolutely in the wrong. I do not believe that most of the country is like that though. I do however believe that the majority are just not hearing each other despite how loud everyone is yelling. If you’re yelling your views and opinions, then you cannot hear those of others. If you put up blinders that only allow you to see things from your perspective then you will only ever support further division. What our country needs is people to take off their blinders and take a look around them. Everyone needs to do this. Some way more than others, but everyone can benefit from trying to see from another’s perspective. And the people who should be leading this march toward understanding and unification are Christians. If a person truly loves the Lord, then they know they are suppose to love others, and loving does not involve belittling their feelings, making light of their opinions or experiences, and certainly doesn’t involve any hateful attitudes toward others.

The majority of my Facebook friends are Christians, and my heart was broken repeatedly this weak as I saw too many of them belittling those that they do not agree with, and do not understand. I have witnessed way too much “Christian hate.” Perhaps they think they are standing for what is holy and good. I don’t know, but what I do know is that Jesus would not be standing there beside them. Jesus did not speak with hatred, even toward those that he disagreed with. He did not take a stance and  then lob stones at those who didn’t agree. Rather he said blessed are the peacemakers. You do not make peace by creating war. Peace is brought about when people stay calm and listen to one another. Who is ever won over by yelling and name calling? Who lowers their guard toward the person belittling them? No one. Since when does unity come by telling the other side that they are wrong? It doesn’t. I suppose there are some, even “Christians,” who aren’t interested in unity, but Jesus was and the Apostle Paul was. Did you know that Paul said that to win people over you should become like them.  “To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). This verse popped into my head last night and so I read at least ten commentaries on it. The one that I felt explained this verse best said “Not in the sense of sacrifice of principle, but by the operation of a wide reaching sympathy, which enabled him, without compromising his own convictions, to approach all men from their most accessible side” (Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges).  Obviously Paul is dealing with converting others to Christianity, but the principle is the same. You cannot expect to win over someones heart (how they feel about things) if you refuse to see where their head is. If you want to be used as a tool to unify, and especially if you want to “win” people over, then you must act in sympathy and love like Jesus and Paul did, and see things from another’s perspective. Of course a white American born man can never fully understand the views of an immigrant woman (nor can any man fully understand any woman for that matter) but these people can listen to each other. These people can acknowledge the humanity and experiences of one other, and these things bring validation to a person’s emotions and reactions about any situation.

Obviously this post is mainly addressing how Christians should be behaving during these times, but every person, not just Christians, will benefit from shutting their mouths for a few minutes and listening to someone whose views they do not understand. I’m not saying you have to say you are in the wrong, but I am saying that you need to realize and then acknowledge that you don’t know everything. I certainly don’t.

I admit that I have not been perfect this past week. I have very strong feelings about what is going on. I have a few that I’m willing to share my heart with, but for the majority I keep my mouth shut because I know I will not change anyone’s mind by arguing. I did post a couple of comments on threads this week, but only because they had drifted from being political to “speaking in the name of Jesus” things that Jesus would never say, and I wasn’t able to let a few of these remarks slide off my back. I am trying to hear others out though, and I am wanting to understand where others are coming from. There are even those who voted the same as I did that I need to better understand because we voted the same, but for different reasons. We all need to listen to better understand, especially if we hope to come into a united state once again.

And So We Wait

I don’t do a whole lot of writing on this blog because most of my writing is to my mommy blog. I save this one for when I have something on my mind that I don’t plan on sharing with the rest of my social media world. I find writing as a great way to off-load some of the thoughts that fill up my mind.

This time it’s about conceiving. The getting pregnant kind. We’ve begun trying for the next little member to add to our family. Ever since Nathan was born we’d been planning on trying again at this time. I was very fortunate the first time around that it only took us two months to become pregnant. That means there was only the one month of disappointment when my period started and confirmed that I wasn’t pregnant. We’ve not been trying long at all, so I’m not overly worried about not being able to get pregnant. I have absolutely no reason to be fear that it will be hard this time around. I know in my head that we’re still months away from needing to think about it being an issue. It will likely happen just find without any added help. Yet, I am an amazing worrier. My already anxiety filled mind makes it all the easier to think about the ‘what ifs.’

I’m doing a pretty good job at keeping all the worries at bay though. They crop up, but at this point it’s still so early in the game that I can use reason to push them away. Trying to conceive is very emotional though. Exciting for now, but still emotional, even when there aren’t added challenges. And all the waiting is awful! You wait to ovulate, then you wait and hope to be pregnant. Then your period starts, and you not only have to deal with the monthly ‘ugh’ of that, but also the huge disappointment of knowing that there is no baby this time around. Then you wait to get through your period, just to start the whole cycle of waiting over again.

I take a lot of comfort in the fact that I already have a child. I have been very blessed and I know that if I were to never get pregnant again I could still feel the huge blessing I’ve been given in even having just the one baby. It’s very likely that I will have another baby though, and until then I try to enjoy all the time I have with Nathan. He is growing so quickly, and I know that these days of our three person family will only last for so long. Now is a special time of getting to enjoy one another, and yet still look to the future with excitement and anticipation for who will hopefully be coming along soon. And so we wait.

Dreams That Twist the Knife

I weekly have dreams that revolve around the same theme, and have been for a couple of years now. I was involved in the same church for around twelve years. From the ages of fifteen to around twenty four, I worked in the preschool that ran out of the church. I went from being in the youth group to being on youth staff. I was a greeter every Sunday for many years. I was on worship team. I preached in youth group and taught Sunday school. I knew everyone and everyone knew me. I spent more awake time at the church than I ever spent at home. I was closer to many of my church friends that most of my family. That place and those people meant the world to me, and I lost it all. Not in one fell swoop.  Just a little bit at a time. There were a number of causes, but the end result was losing my wonderful job, and sadly, some of my closest relationships.

These dreams I have are different, but the theme is always the same. I have my job back again. I have my loved ones back again. The hole that I have been left with is filled once more. It’s typically the same five people or so that I dream about, with random fringe friends thrown in. I have these dreams, and am so happy while I sleep, but inevitably I wake up, and am left with my sad hole once again. I figure I have these dreams so often because my subconscious wants to make sense of the loss; wants to right the wrong. Losing the church and the job are one thing, but losing some of the people that I let closest to my heart is a totally different deal. It’s something that shouldn’t have happened, and I still can’t make sense of why things are the way they are, hence the dreams.

Two nights ago I had one of these dreams once again. I was so happy…and then I woke up. At four in the morning my dream shattered and I lay awake for nearly an hour with a heart so heavy from loss that it literally ached in my chest. Why must my subconscious  torture me so much? Do these people that matter so much to me, not care that we’re no longer apart of each others lives? I wish I could just walk away and forget about them all, like I feel like they have with me. I know life is busy (well mine isn’t, but I understand that other peoples’ lives are). But even with a busy life, is it really that hard to stay in touch; to show you still care? I doubt that any of these people dream about me regularly let alone think about me during their awake hours. It hurts and it makes me sad, and these dumb dreams just twist the knife that seems to be perpetually lodged in my heart.

Pseudo Friendship and the Need For Social Media

So much of life is spent filling time instead of living it. Following this line of thought, social media springs to mind. How much of life is wasted trying to show off our lives? Look where I’m at. Look what I did. See who I’m with. See and think of me. See and wish you were with me. Feel sorry for me. Feel jealous of me. Look at me. Look at me.

That is what I feel so much of social media is. Despite this, I still use social media. I too am guilty of wanting to be seen. When I post of picture or say what I’m doing, I believe there is something in me that hopes that someone I use to be close to will see and think about me; perhaps even miss me. Is social media another way that we hope to show that we matter? Is it a way we try to make ourselves feel that we do? If we’re being watched on social media then we must be worth it.

So much of what I see on Facebook, or Instagram I couldn’t care less about. People touting opinions that I find foolish or ignorant. People sharing stories that only cause my already anxious self to have an anxiety attack if I linger too long. I don’t care about the inspirational stories, and I especially don’t want to hear about the newest horrors of this world. Especially not first thing in the morning. The pictures of cats and babies are not enough to lighten a heavy heart after I’ve seen the latest on the natural disasters, the crimes against life, and the hate of many for so many others.

Surely I’m not the only one that feels drug down by social media. My husband can attest to the fact that I say I hate Facebook just about every day. I’ve thought many times about giving it up, but I know if I do it will mean the finality of many friendships. I have lost so many friends, and the majority of those on Facebook are now only Facebook friends, but at least there is a sense of their still being there. I know I’m only trying to fool myself. If I haven’t heard from a “friend” in years, especially if we live in the same town, then is that person really a friend? In the days before social media, such people would be labeled acquaintances, but now everyone is a friend because a request was accepted. It use to be that a person had to actual behave as a friend in order to be considered one. Now they just have to click a button, and never give me another thought in their day to day lives. They will ‘like’ my announcement, or some big life change, but sadly the majority of friendships end there. I keep up on Facebook because it seems like the only way I will keep the majority in my life. If I were to delete my account I would never again hear of any of my once upon a time friends. Though this is sad to think about it is true. The other side of the coin is true as well. The other reason I keep my Facebook is the idea that if I were to delete it, I too would be forgotten by those that I secretly hope still care about me; still want to know what I’m up to. The ones who were once very dear to me, but are no longer a part of my everyday life; they see me on Facebook and at least for a moment give me a thought. I know it’s pathetic, but it is what it is. It is for these two faint grasps at the vapors of past friendships that I subject myself to all the stupidities and unpleasantries that come along with social media. To me, social media isn’t worth much, but at least it gives me the slight feeling of still mattering to those that still matter to me, and I can still watch the people that aren’t actual a part of my life anymore. Social Media is not true life. Social media is a pathetic attempt at attention that has been made to feel normal. I too am guilty as charged. I would like to be free of social media, but it would cause too much to disappear along with it.

Dump the Trump

I would not consider myself to be a politically active person. I vote and my involvement ends there. I like to be an informed person, and this means knowing what I can about candidates and issues to be voted on. As everyone in the U.S. knows, we are in the throws of wading through the presidency hopefuls to decide who best to put forth as the next president of our so called “United” States. It’s sad how obviously divided out disunited States are. The government as a whole have done a piss poor job for a while now, and I think we are in a pathetic condition as a country. I have my own views as to why this is, and I’m sure they vary from a many other people’s, but I know that we can all agree that we need a good leader to take the reigns of this out of control country, calm it down, and get it back on the right path.

I am registered as a Republican because I lean right a bit more than I lean left. Honestly I would be an Independent if they got to have more voting power. Like I said though, I am a Republican, but I am a Republican living in Portland, Oregon which is quite blue. Growing up here, I’d say  I am a easily liberal Republican. I practically ride the party lines, but not quite. I know of many Republicans who would not agree with me on a number of big issues. Actually we would likely not agree on what the biggest issues even are. Watching the GOP debate, I’d say that the Republican party is a little out of touch when it comes to what is crucially important to many. I’m not saying they’ve got it all wrong, but they didn’t even discuss climate change, which in my opinion should be up front in every leaders mind across the globe, but that is for another blog altogether.

I have yet to get a chance to watch the first debate, but I didn’t watch the front runner debate, and I have to say that I was left feeling slightly appalled. I wasn’t familiar with half the candidates up there, but now that I know who they are, there are some who it’s blaringly apparent would make awful presidents, and some that could possibly do a decent job if given the chance. If I had to pick one of those men right now to be president I’d be worried because I don’t know enough to make a confident decision yet, but I know the very first one I’d vote off the island and that is Mr. Trump. Why was he even up there? I’m not understanding why anyone is actually seriously considering that he would make a good president. I don’t even know where to start with this man. He doesn’t care about the country because this country is made up of many types of people that he apparently has little or no respect for. Some of the remarks coming out of his mouth make me drop my jaw in disbelief that anyone could behave that way. Surely no woman in their right mind would vote for such a man. Can you picture him as the face of the U.S. to the rest of the world? Can you imagine him in foreign diplomacy? He cares about money, power, and getting his way. Leaders are not suppose to take advantage of their powers, but serve those they are leading with said powers. This is something I believe Washington has forgotten. Allowing someone like Trump to buy his way into the ultimate power of our country would be a disaster. I don’t believe this will actually happen because no matter how bad off our country is right now, I don’t think it will fall that far. If it does I’m going to have to rethink a lot of things.

I could go on and on about the disqualities (I know that’s not a real word, but it fits) of this man, but they are all over the internet and easy enough for anyone to find. It’s not like he’s been trying hard to hide them. On top of everything though, Trump is an awful name. I wouldn’t judge anyone by their name alone, but when the person’s behavior makes it so easy to dislike them, it’s then easy to take that step; coming up with phrases like “Dump the Trump,” Trump’s a chump,” or “Give Trump the bump.” Mr. President Trump? I don’t think so.

A Grieving Grandchild

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It’s one-thirty in the morning and I cannot sleep. Insomnia and I are no strangers, but tonight our companionship is not frustrating me. My heart is too heavy to be frustrated by such an inconvenience. Tonight I am a grieving grandchild. My wonderful Grandma passed away today. We knew it was coming, and personally I was praying for it would come sooner rather than later. I know I will be writing more about my Grandma in the coming days, but right now I need to process and I do that by writing.

Two weeks ago, my mother and I took my son Nathan over to visit Grandma. I knew her health wasn’t doing great (it actually hadn’t been for nearly two decades at this point) but lately it had become obvious that she was winding down. I just didn’t realize how soon she would be done. We had a good visit with her, and I got to watch her enjoy my son (she’d been nagging me to have a baby every since I met my husband because she wanted to see me be a mom before she died). I am thankful that I listened to her, and had a baby while she was still here to meet him. I am also thankful for this visit because it was one of the last ones she had before having another stroke shortly after.

Grandma had been having heart attacks and strokes for nearly two decades, but she’d always been very strong and stubborn; always managing to pull through. On many occasions growing up I had been faced with the possibility of losing her,  yet every time she managed to get better. I knew this time was going to be different though. I knew even before this last stroke that I wouldn’t have her much longer. When I heard about the stroke happening I knew it was almost time to let her go. I believe I was ready, but that doesn’t make letting go  saying goodbye any easier.

As I typed out that term ‘letting go’ I didn’t like it so I scratched it out. It’s a bad term when it comes to the death of a loved one. Why would someone ever let go of another that they love? I’m never going to let go of my Grandma, but rather fondly hold onto every one of the memories I have of her. I am fortunate to have many many memories. Grandma moved in with my family when I was born to help out, and remained an important and active part of my life after she moved out. Her’s was the only home I would sleep over at as a child, and this I did regularly. I would often call her on the phone just to chat, and even when I was going to college not far from her home I would go visiting after classes.

Ever since I can remember conversing with her, I have memory of her telling me she hoped to see me get married and have children. I don’t know how many times over the years she told me this. I am so glad that she got to know my husband and child. She got to see who I grew up to be, and that makes me feel like the closing chapter of our time together had a complete ending. The thought of never hearing her sing, or never kissing her incredibly soft cheek again makes my insides knot up with sadness, yet I know this was a good juncture for our time together to end. My relationship with her was a complete one. I know as a child I filled her life with a lot of joy, and was able to fill it will joy right to the very end by bring my son over to make her smile. I will always love my Grandma. I already miss her so much.

That is all I’m going to write for now. Hopefully this page now holds enough of my thoughts to allow me space in my mind to welcome some sleep.

Surround Me With Books and I Smile

I am a true book romantic. Take me to a bookstore and you’ve likely won my affections. I would have happily stayed with the Beast if he’d offered me Belle’s library. I am one of those people whose perfect day is being curled up in a soft chair, with a warm blanket and a good book. Add the ambiance of a crackling fire, a hot mug of something, rain outside the window, and maybe a cat for company, and I am in heaven. Yes I love a nice book. I also love libraries because they let you borrow books for free! I am fortunate to live in a place where libraries are decently funded. I’ve always enjoyed going to the library ever since I was a child. Some of my favorite days included going to the library, getting a new stack of books, and then coming home to retreat to wherever my current reading nest happened to be. I have one nest in particular that I nostalgically recall to mind whenever I think of reading. It was behind the couch in the living room. I had taken a squishy red futon and some blankets and formed a cozy little nook for myself. I even had an afghan draped over the top to form a tent. This nook included a outside window to allow in plenty of light to read by. Curling up in that nook all warm and cozy with a book while it rained outside; this is what happiness was made of.

I went to the library yesterday to pick up a book I had put on hold. Walking back to the car with this new book in my hands, I felt a sense of peace. I’m unfortunately an anxiety ridden person, so to get this rush of peace was very pleasant. The odd thing is that this rushed stemmed from simply holding a book in my hands. I don’t know why books have this strong effect on me, but they do. There is just something so comforting in the weight of a book in my hands. The soft floppiness of a worn paperback, or that lovely ‘thump’ sound that you hear and feel when grabbing a hardback. And don’t forget the great smell of a book. These are all great things. I feel at home in a room with books on the shelves.  Some would say that it is the stories that a book brings you into that makes books so wonderful, and though I do not disagree; stories are wonderful, but there is more to it than that to me. I get just as happy when reading nonfiction as a do a good novel. I love the way words look on a page. I love the sound of a page turning, and the feeling of accomplishment I get as I progress through a book. Few things make me happier than being able to curl up with a book and read. Perhaps it is my introverted self being even more introverted as I withdraw into a book. In the pages of a book my mind is rejuvenated. To shut out the world and focus on the words before me is how I can feel at peace in the midst of an anxiety filled time. In a sense, books are a form of medication for me. Surround me with books and I smile.