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Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

grumpy days

via commons.wikimedia

via commons.wikimedia

In case you’re wondering? I have no magic cure for grouchy days. Those days when every chore you have to do looms like Everest, and even the things that normally bring you pleasure seem a pain in the neck.

You just muddle through. You do the things you’d planned — even if they aren’t particularly gladdening — and continue moving. You also take a moment now & then to check in: huh… still grouchy & blue…wonder what that’s about.

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Whatever you do, you don’t take it out on others. You try to remember that their own lives are often less-than-perfect, as well. That it’s a hot summer day, and even watermelon won’t completely fix it. (But word to self: it helps!)

You watch birds. You put the top down, if you’re lucky enough to have a convertible or sunroof. You turn the grocery trip you can’t stand into a foray into things you miiiiight like eating. Later, when you’re not hot & cranky.

So nope: I have no magic fixes. All I can offer is watermelon, birds on a hot summer day, and coloured pencils. Wind in your hair. Good music. They won’t fix things, but they do make time pass a bit less…darkly. Oh! And don’t forget ~ breathe.

Good luck.

 

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secrets, closets, and religious judgment

closet door2I have a dear friend who is, almost certainly, gay. We never discuss this — sexual behaviour isn’t a normal topic of conversation in most friendships! I worry that my friend has no partner, that my friend’s church and community are adamantly judgmental — in the most negative of ways — of gays.

To come out of the closet, for my friend, would mean losing most of the many communities to which my friend belongs. It breaks my heart.

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I grew up in a traditional Methodist household. We attended church on Sundays, Sunday school before, and youth group on Wednesday nights. I was christened as an infant, and baptised as a young teen. It’s what the children of my social group did — as did many many other American children.

But somewhere along the line, the four of us sisters refused the KoolAid that tied religion to hatred. When my youth group director said we couldn’t invite ‘those kids’ — the poorer kids from our school, the brown kids — I dropped out. My reading of the Bible didn’t include her narrow-mindedness. When my ostensibly Christian peer group shunned a girl because of rumours a boy spread about her — rumours that could not be true, as I’d been with her when he alleged ‘things happened’ — I stopped being friends with them. And wasn’t in the least saddened to do so: their talk was only that.

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the author's childhood Bible

the author’s childhood Bible

I’ve never understood how so many Christians justify their cherry-picking of Scripture. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover, and am starting over w/ a scholar’s version — heavily annotated w/ historical context and translation. It’s the text of our culture, despite what spiritual tradition I may choose to follow instead. So I’m familiar w/ Leviticus, the main source of homosexual-targeted hatred. And let me tell you: if you’re not keeping ALL of Leviticus? You’re cherry-picking. It’s pretty evident if you are: if you’re a man, and don’t have a long beard? Cherry-picking. Woman w/ short hair? Cherry-picking. Divorced? Cherry-picking. Eating shrimp or pork? Cherry-picking.

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In other words: whatever drives your fear/ hatred of gays, it isn’t Biblical scripture, or you’d be keeping kosher and stoning people.

My friend will almost certainly never ‘come out’ of the closet an ostensibly religious community has locked devout Christian gays in. To do so would be to ‘divorce’ the religion my friend is passionately committed to. It would mean ‘disappointing’ — a mild term, I’m sure — an entire network of devout Christian family.  All for… what? The possibility of a life-long partner? Face certain ostracism — this is not an issue evangelicals are kind about, too often — for ‘possibility’? I can’t see my friend gambling an entire life of family, community, & religion for a ‘possible.’

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via google

via google

So in this rainbow-hued week of supposed triumph, I am grieving. Because while laws will, eventually, change the beliefs of many, those changes will be too late for my dear friend. And that seems so very counter to the New Testament Jesus I loved as a child. I still remember judge not lest you bejudged. And let he who is without sin cast the first stone. And the Beatitudes, and the whole idea that Jesus was the new beginning. We were supposed to listen to JESUS, not the horrible Elijah, or the other prophets who still seem so full of anger & hate. Anger — in the New Testament, at least — was reserved for the money-lenders (bankers, anyone?). The Pharisees (the legal system). NOT average folks trying to muddle through their lives, loving as science shows they were born.

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Perhaps you don’t know and love any gay men or women. Perhaps no one in your family has had the courage to let you in on his or her private life. So perhaps ‘gays’ remain a term w/ no face for you. Let me offer my own face, made deeply sad by the plight of my dear friend. Who may well never know the love of two deeply committed human beings, bound by choice through life. Because of hate masquerading as a religion of love.

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a surefire cure for the blues

the author's

the author’s

Carrots?? Carrots cure the blues?? Welllll, not exactly… But a trip to the Farmer’s Market, a cast iron skillet, and an hour+ of prep time will. For sure. 😉

Dinner tonight is blues food — not the kind where you’re listening to the blues, but the kind you fix when you want comforting. At least for those of us with Southern foodways. You get out your grandma’s (or great-grandma’s, if you’re lucky) skillet, and you toss in some fresh-picked carrots (the small ones are sweeter). Slather them with olive oil (no measly drizzle here), sprinkle w/ salt & cracked pepper, and roast ’em until the little bites are crispy. The larger ones will be tender. And they ALL will be amazing.

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Cooked carrots are one of those things folks love to hate. Kind of like…broccoli. Or kale. And normally? They’re not my fave, although I don’t dislike them. But these — like roasting broccoli, or turnips, or darn near any veggie — are incredible.

There’s more to our comfort meal tonight (green beans & new blue potatoes — also just picked; fresh-pickled cucumbers; skillet cornbread…blackberries!), but only the carrots are beyond the scope of most human imaginations. :) (Who doesn’t love blackberries??) Which is a lesson (of course — you thought I was just rambling??).

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the author's

the author’s

Sometimes, it’s not the content; it’s the process. I read once there are very few truly ‘wrong’ decisions. There are only decisions inadequately supported. Carrots are like that. You can steam them, forgo seasonings, and you have mushy yucky carrots. Like bad baby food. But if you make a decision, and then enter into it w/ the heat & imagination to properly roast carrots? Follow through with the decision generously (remember the slathering of olive oil?). Consult your history (that cast iron skillet). And perhaps it won’t be so difficult to get down, as it were.

As for me? The blues are sooo much easier when it’s Farmer’s Market time. Comfort cooking to distract you, and all the goodies after!

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home again, home again…or, the quilt vs bad fondue

via google

via google

So after two afternoons of rental cars, two days of airplanes, and a packed day of looking at a house, we’re home. And boy — home seldom looked so ambivalent…

Glad to be here? Absolutely — the sheets are clean, animals are ecstatic we’re back, and I can cook! I immediately went out for the ‘necessities’ we need to replenish. You know: bread (oops!), milk (got that), coffee beans, and strawberries for strawberry shortcake tomorrow. When in turmoil? Cook. Because afterwards you get to eat it!

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I have a love-hate relationship w/ my home state. It is — as the meme shows — redder than red. And I’m about as blue dog as you get. Equity and social justice are as important to me as anything I can come up with. Whereas in this state? Oklahoma is far more about ‘free’ enterprise than equity.

via http://offshegoes2013.blogspot.com/2014/06/equity-vs-equality.html 6/22/2014

via http://offshegoes2013.blogspot.com/2014/06/equity-vs-equality.html 6/22/2014

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Have you seen this cartoon explaining equity vs. equality? Sure — you can give each girl one stool of the same size; that’s equality. But the girls are of different heights: for them all to be able to see over the fence, they need their individual heights (needs) addressed. THAT is equity — levelling the playing field.

That isn’t a priority in Oklahoma, I’m sorry to say. I’m even sorrier to note that it’s  not much of a priority anywhere else, either. It’s grown out of fashion, I guess. We want kids to test the same, despite poverty, violence, learning disabilities, malnutrition & illness. We want different cultures to be ‘melted’ into one pot (a metaphor I can’t stand). Me? I want a quilt top, w/colourful pieces of different sizes, fabrics, textures, weaves. I want it backed w/ something beautiful — here the metaphor can be stretched to make this American history, told truthfully. It shouldn’t (I can’t stress this enough) be religion. Or even language, initially.

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the author's

the author’s

This is an unpopular metaphorical platform almost everywhere these days. But I still believe in its appropriateness for America, and every one of our United States. And maybe in a new place, I can remember how many people do believe this. My hope is that a move will, as reflection is wont to do, remind me how much I love about my home state, as well. How beautiful it is the spiral dance of scissortails, the clouds of April dogwood. How kind & generous the people here can be. And that somehow, we’ll realise the possibilities that great Oklahomans like Will Rogers & Woody Guthrie saw in us.

In the meantime? I’m just home from the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I have to tell you: they’re awesome! And full of such unknown promise! 😉

 

Previous Posts

grumpy days
In case you're wondering? I have no magic cure for grouchy days. Those days when every chore you have to do looms like Everest, and even the things ...

posted 2:51:19pm Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

secrets, closets, and religious judgment
I have a dear friend who is, almost certainly, gay. We never discuss this -- sexual behaviour isn't a normal topic of conversation in most friendships! I worry that my friend has no partner, that my friend's church and community are adamantly ...

posted 2:02:52pm Jul. 01, 2015 | read full post »

a surefire cure for the blues
Carrots?? Carrots cure the blues?? Welllll, not exactly... But a trip to the Farmer's Market, a cast iron skillet, and an hour+ of prep time will. For sure. ...

posted 5:29:43pm Jun. 27, 2015 | read full post »

home again, home again...or, the quilt vs bad fondue
So after two afternoons of rental cars, two days of airplanes, and a packed day of looking at a house, we're home. And boy -- home seldom looked so ...

posted 9:58:02pm Jun. 24, 2015 | read full post »

transplanting
Today, as I listened to the housing inspector recite the (very small) flaws our new house has, I thought about change. About moving, about uprooting, about ...

posted 4:43:04pm Jun. 22, 2015 | read full post »

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