Monthly Archives: January 2014

Tear and Dip

 

When 2013 started I was going to church each weekend. I couldn’t imagine I would stop going for several months, wrestle with where church belonged in my life and then return to find God to be so real for me in that building. 

For the last several months I’ve sat there asking ‘Why do you have me here God?’. Recently He’s been answering that question in very specific ways. 
 
Last Sunday morning I was asked if I wanted to serve Communion.
What the hell. Sure. Why not. 
 
I stood in the front with a cup of wine in my hands saying my version of ‘This is the blood of Christ shed for you’. I always try to mix it up a little to catch people off guard. I watched people. The orderly flow and people filing out of their seats around to the front, tearing bread and dipping into juice/wine and filing back into their seats. 

 

 
An hour later this flowed onto paper. 
 
 
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Tear and dip
 
Shuffling feet
The same path every week

Strangers fall
Into orderly lines

Tear and dip
The same thing every week

The body…
Bread I hold in my hand

Wine or juice…
Dipped gingerly into

Hearing words
The same words every week

Then one week
I stand. The wine in my hand

Saying words
Seeing rituals and rote

I wonder
Do I really remember?

I say words
Tear and dip. Tear and dip.


Open

ImageI want to stay blind
I don’t want to see
All these people
The world around me

If I don’t see them
Past what they say
To their hearts cry
Their hiding soul

I won’t have to answer
I won’t have to be
I won’t have to love them
To be You to them

I could hide in my corner
And not say a word
No one would know
But that is absurd

I do see them. i know
‘I don’t know’ is no more
No more hiding, pretending
My life-to be open


What ifs…

Yesterday, on my way back from lunch (my Tuesday women’s group) I tried to take a corner to fast and hit a telephone pole.

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I’m okay. Just sore from hitting the steering wheel and my neck hurts but nothing my chiropractor can’t help with.

The car is totaled. But I walked away telling the policeman that I’ll take it. My first accident at 30 years old, single car, no injuries.

That is the back story for this: shame. If i had…. If…. You could have…

The hours after the little single car accident were filled with miscommunication and confusion. I’m good when it comes to pressure and I stood there and laughed at the cold and sleet and men standing on the sidewalk staring at me (I stared back. They left).

But my own lies of ‘you could have….’, ‘if you had…’, and many more yell to be given attention. I want to think about going back and fixing and the ‘what ifs’.

Throughout the afternoon as I was making decisions and holding myself together the little voice in my heart was saying ‘I have this.’

The cost of letting go of the shame is completely surrendering to the God who whispers lovingly to me ‘I have you daughter. Trust this is me.’


Birth

This past weekend I heard several references to Birth. Not physical birth. The metaphor of birth. It reminded me of something I wrote a few weeks ago. 

I’m not the number 1 fan of book groups (though they do have a place of course) and online book groups seem to not work all that well. But in December I jumped into an online group discussing the book ‘Jesus Feminist’ by Sarah Bessey. 

Truth? I did it as an excuse to buy the book. I’m not sorry I did either. 

One of the questions was understanding the metaphor of birth and pregnancy connected to God’s story and this is my response:

This is crazy because I’m the girl you do NOT want to tell your birth story to. GROSS!! All my friends know this.

But I’m now understanding what this means. I feel this whole birth thing happening as I’m experiencing the pains of letting go and surrender and the amazing freedom/life/inner joy/peace/self discovery after letting go. It’s so painful you guys. My shit is all over the place… going back to people in my past and telling them difficult stuff, telling my parents about my life and the last few years, not hiding how I’m feeling and coming out with my addictions and my past… there are times I think I can’t do it.

But there is no choice. I can’t say no. It’s just pushing ahead, keep moving, knowing it has to end somewhere. And knowing it will be worth it.

Yeah. Birth.

I still don’t want to hear birth stories though. Anything medical will gross me out.

 

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Power

 If my satisfaction or happiness in life is dependent on someone else, I’ve given my Power to them and in essence given then control over my life.


Take me out of your box

Almost a year ago when I started writing this was an anonymous place to put my story. Later I put my name on it and it has now become a place for the things God is leading me through. It’s no longer somewhere to tell the story of my childhood. Every now and then I may tell parts of my past but my past is no longer the focus of my life. 

However I am part of online forums for people recovering from religion and religious abuse. This is written to you. 

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Take me out of your box

Almost a year ago my friend sat across from me and asked ‘How bad was it?’ 
‘It’ being my childhood. 
I looked him in the eyes. ‘Bad’. I left it at that. 
For the next 30 minutes he listened and asked questions as I tried to communicate the pain of my childhood. 

I know he will never really understand. But that’s okay. I know he’ll never be able to identify and I’ve come to be okay with that too. Trying to make someone understand my pain will never work or make me feel better. I’m just looking for someone to give me an excuse to not face my stuff, feel the pain and come to the place of letting go. 

There are people who have walked away from me thinking I was past help and a friendship with me would cost them to much. I look back and understand. 

The reality is that unless you have walked in my shoes you can’t understand my life. And if I insist that you must understand I will never heal from my past. Those wounds will be uncovered and recovered without healing taking place.

I’ve found that when people ask about my life (my job, relationships, church, and past) it is usually so they can put me in a box in their mind. Somewhere I’ll fit into their life nice and tidy. 

I’m not a tidy person and my past is anything but nice and tidy. This is confusing to many people and instead of owning that confusion and inviting me into their lives to get to know me personally people tend to transfer that confusion to me. If I’m not conscience of this I take their confusion (or frustration or annoyance) onto myself and internalize it. I try to explain and help them put me into boxes. This never works. 

Putting people into categories never works because in doing so we are only looking at similarities and differences. We are not seeing an individual (specifically created by God. Put into our lives to love and care for). 

Over the past few months it’s been interesting to both refuse to let myself be placed in peoples boxes and to see them do it anyway. Only to later stop mid-sentence in a conversation and realize I don’t fit into their box. Making me smile and letting them realize on their own that I’m not who they think I am. 

But then how do I explain my childhood to friends? 
It completely depends on who it is. If it’s a friend invested in my healing and who I feel safe sharing my heart I’ll ask them to be specific. Usually my childhood will come up in conversations over coffee or lunch and I’ll get to share more of my life. They will have taken me out of any boxes by now and are seeing me an individual. We’ll have some sort of relationship where there is trust and safeness.

These people are part of my healing process. They are usually close enough that that remind me of someone on my past and I’m responding or reacting to them out of my relationship with the person they remind me of.

Realizing and voicing this gives me a chance to work through my past and lets them experience me.

If it’s someone I don’t feel safe with or am not sure I want to trust I give a vague answer along the lines of ‘I grew up in a religious cult’. 

Experiencing people trying to ‘manage’ and ‘fit’ me into their life can be painful. It’s been painful for me to hear people tell me they understand and I know they don’t. But I’m learning to stop and just let them think that. 

In wanting to be loved and understood I need to stop and love and understand them also. They have a story and a past and while it’s not the same as mine that doesn’t make it any less real or painful. I’m faced with realizing that people cannot fill those deep longs (which when you get all the way through all the surface things usually ends up being loneliness). 

 


Hiding

 

Games are for children they say
But I play one with myself every day
I jump out of bed
See myself in the mirror
And remember that I’m not okay

So I hide. Oh I hide
From you
From them
From the world
They might see…
But mostly I hide from myself

I’m not afraid you’ll reject me
I’m not scared to be alone
Just don’t love me. Don’t hold me
Don’t show me you care.

I get up every morning in fear
That the walls in my heart might cave in
And you might really see
The pain, my agony, that I’m hiding.

If I let you in will you hurt me?
Will you laugh and mock the wounds of my past?
Will you look in my eyes – see the ones I despise
And then tell me there is no shame?

So I hide. Oh I hide
From you
From them
From the world
They might see…
But mostly I hide from myself

I’m not afraid you’ll reject me
I’m not scared to be alone
Just don’t love me. Don’t hold me
Don’t show me you care.
This hiding has felt safe for so long.

– Michelle Kohler

 

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If I hide then you can’t see me. You can’t see my heart. Both the pain and the delight that I don’t know how to feel. How do you feel something you know is good but is so strange and new that it feels terrifying? 

Recently I realized I’m no longer hiding my shit. That’s out there. Want to know? Just ask. 

Instead now I’m hiding that part of me that is getting that I’m so loved by God and people, I’m delighted in, I’m adored, and I feel it. And it’s such a new and scary feeling that I want to hide it (and myself).