Friday, May 20, 2011

water: my family tree

What defines a family? Taken from a website I frequent, I found a definition of the word "family" as this:
group of people who are generally not blood relations but who  share common attitudes, interests, or goals and,frequently, live together.
I would think that this means more to today's society than the more common definition of man, woman, and children, of blood descent, and who share the same biological line. Honestly, who do you go to for support, wisdom, a hug, and to share news? Is it your father or little sister? Or is it usually the ones that share common attitudes, interests and goals? I say the latter. That is definitely more so the case for me. 

Why is this? Why as adults do we generally bypass the biological connections and migrate towards our friends? I know for me, I have created a family of friends that support me, defend me, correct me, and most importantly, love me.  If love is what connects people, than that gives great reason as to why so many biological families fall apart: there is no love. 

Here is where I decide to either discuss why this is on my mind today, or discuss how great my friends are. One will leave me in a perpetual state of negative bewilderment, and the other will force me to meditate on the positive in my life. I choose positive. 

you are my Buddhist Bell. I smile whenever I think about you (which is quite frequently), I laugh at your messages on my voicemail, I cry when I feel your pain, and I love every minute I spend with you. I look forward to your hugs, your laughs, and your inspirational words of wisdom. Thank you for being you. 

you are one of the most beautifully talented people I know. Your passion for life amazes me. Your passion for amazement is alive. I know that every person you meet is touched by your generosity and beautiful nature, and I am so blessed to call you brother. Thank you for being you. 

you make me laugh like a child. That good ol' deep belly laugh, that resonates from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, tickling every part of my insides on the ride up. I haven't known you very long, but I know you well enough to share with the world that you are one of my closest friends, a sister. 
Thank you for being you!

dad, fellow piano player. Your sarcasm and cynicism are only coverings for the amazing person you really are. You have a heart of gold, and I feel so lucky that I am one of the few that know that. I always look forward to seeing you, basking in your political, social and theological wisdom, and walking away a better person, just because I was with you. Thank you for loving me, and thank you for being you. 

my dear, I miss you tremendously. It has been over ten years since I've last seen you, yet every conversation we have is like no time has escaped us. Even when we were kids we had an emotional and psychological connection that couldn't be explained, and I have long since tried to do so. You speak truth, you live life as if it is your only life to live, and you aren't afraid of who you are. Thank you for being you. 

Kurt and Bek, 
we were a unit at one point, and that memory forever will keep me in check! You guys are go getters, truly talented individuals, and amazingly beautiful people. I know if I were to pick up the phone right now, we would be on it talking for hours, laughing like crazy, and reminiscing about Uncle and LHB. It is because of the two of you, extending the invitation to join you on your adventures, I am who I am today. Thank you for that, and for being you. 

Where to start? You bring a smile to my face the moment I wake up each morning, and before I fall to sleep every night. You make each day brighter, each laugh longer, each tear smaller, and each day better than the last. I appreciate, more than words can express, how hard you work so we can live the way we do. I've never known another man who is as beautiful, talented, and passionate about life as you are. I am happy to call you my best friend. I am blessed to call you confidant. I am amazed to call you my love. I am so extremely lucky to call you husband. Thank you for loving me the way you do, and thank you for being you. 

I am a very blessed woman to have the most amazing people in my life. My friends. My family. You guys mean the world to me, and I would do anything for each and every one of you. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

water: finding the "O!" in GOD...

Finding The “O!” in God…

I was raised by Christian parents, as was my husband. My father was a pastor, as is my husband’s. So, many of our extended family members, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc. call themselves “Christian”. We are then labeled as “black sheep”, “prodigals”, or just “heathen” by being just plainly, who we are. Because we aren’t members of a local church, we drink, dance, smoke, and lived together before we were married. This may have something to do with the fact that there was a moment, in my early twenties (ironically, the same for my husband, although we were not in communication at that time), when I had an “O!” moment.

John and I met at Bible College. We were deemed as the “troublemakers”, “bad kids”, “there for the wrong reasons”, etc. It is all true. His reason for going? You will have to ask him. My reason for going? I was nineteen, a college dropout, longing for change, and my family was living in Memphis, Tennessee. Did I mention this Bible College was located in upstate New York? It was a no-brainer. Go.

The first inklings of my “O!” moment was there in the Adirondacks. “You mean, we CAN’T go to the movies?!” “Even though it is -16 degrees outside, I HAVE to wear a skirt to class?” Now, don’t get me wrong, I did choose this school. Found it, picked it out, packed my own bags and was out the door before I could think twice about it. But seriously, a skirt in the middle of winter in upstate New York? If I wore pants, did that mean I would spend a lifetime of eternal condemnation? Going to the movies was really going to affect my “crown” in Heaven?

This “O!” moment came mid-school year. I’m not talking about the delicious “O!” moment you get mid climax. No. This is an awakening moment. The moment when you sit back, relax, take a logical, realistic, and observant look at the artificial world of “church” and realize how everyone addicted to this lifestyle are really puppets of their own man-made universe.


Now you’re with me.

So what next? You have this “O!” moment and then what? You research. You ask questions. You engage in intellectually stimulating conversations that dabble in other religions and philosophies. Which then, in turn, cycles back into researching, asking questions, engaging in more conversations. An endless whirlwind of philosophical debates, investigations, and dialogue.

So far, I have found that those who ONLY know the “Christian” lifestyle, are either:
1. Oblivious to other people around them. These people have the mindset of “I am going to surround myself with other Christians, so I will not be tempted. I will not stray. I will not fall away from God’s grace. I will only read the bible (KJV, of course), and other ordained literature. I am a child of Christ!”

2. Openly deceiving themselves and others. Using their Christianity as a crutch. “I am a child of the king, so therefore, you must repent from your wicked ways in order to associate with me!”
Can we maybe try a little humility in all of this?

A recent stumble across a Wikipedia page (yes, I am addicted to Wikipedia) left me speechless. In a list of prominent figures, there are seven accounts of Buddhist men and women who have converted to Christianity. There are twenty accounts of world renowned men and women who have converted from Christianity to Buddhism. I am not saying that Buddhism is the way to go. I am not saying Christianity is not the way to go. I just found it a little strange that we are raised thinking that the only “real” religion is the way of the Christians. But, so it is for Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hindus, and Muslims. All these doctrines clearly define their religion as the only way to go. I may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but something is telling me that this cannot be true.

If you are complaining of a constant ache in your head, what do you do? You go see a doctor. Good job. What doctor do you see? Your primary care doctor? Maybe they will refer you to go see a chiropractor, a neurologist, a podiatrist or a dentist. Your chiropractor will find a disc that is out of place, your neurologist will tell you that your headaches are in reality migraines, the podiatrist will diagnose that awful ache in your head as a manifestation of bad arches in your feet, and the dentist tells you to stop grinding your teeth at night. In actuality, you have allergies. What do we learn from this little analogy? 
That wherever you go, that’s what you will find. 
If you look for “signs, wonders, and miracles”, you will see “signs, wonders, and miracles”. If you only read the King James Bible, you will only know the King James Bible. Who is to say that the additional books in the Catholic Bible are not true accounts of history?

So, I leave you for the moment, hoping that if you have not already had that “O!” moment, you will. 

I am a believer. 

A believer of love, hope, respect, and growing within myself, my loved ones, my neighborhood, country, and world.