My journey to shoot for the moon.

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The Religion Contradiction 

Yesterday I attended a celebration of life service for a former co-worker. We were never particularly close, but friendly colleagues and I genuinely enjoyed working with her. We stopped working together, were Facebook friends, and lost touch after her cancer diagnosis; I did reach out several times to offer support for her boys (my boys are all too familiar with the “my parent has terminal cancer” situation and are actively involved in a support group for kids who are dealing with a parent who has cancer) and was gently told that she didn’t need it for her kids at that time.

Honestly, dealing with my own life situation, I do not have the reserves to be a dependable source of support for anyone dealing with significant long-term issues. So, while I thought of her (and her boys) often, that was the extent of my support. 
When I heard of her passing, I wanted to pay my respects and attended, with much anxiety, her celebration of life service at a local church. For the most part, I felt that the service did celebrate her life. The Pastor was visibly emotional during the service, the stories told were funny and described my colleague, much as I remembered her. It was emotional and I cried at the loss of a beautiful, passionate educator who touched so many lives.

And I was struck by the enormous contradiction being told – there was a larger purpose, a plan for my colleague. She trusted G*d and she felt that her cancer was a gift because it helped her see the larger purpose of her life. She wrote, the Pastor shared, that she felt extremely selfish that she wanted to stay on Earth, rather than receive her heavenly reward because what was more important than her relationship with him? 

I was raised in a culturally Jewish household. I have raised my children to be Freethinkiers and to come to their own decisions about their beliefs, but to be accepting of others. I have learned and grown from my desire to have my children determine their own understanding of the concept of a higher power, and my beliefs have evolved and changed as a result of their journeys. And I have experienced my own crisis of faith – and have tried on other religions to see how they feel. At almost 46, I do not feel any closer to resolving my beliefs than I was at 18. While I truly respect those who have different beliefs than I do, and am sometimes jealous of those who have faith in a higher power, have found acceptance within a community that believes the same things that they do and understand the purpose of religious beliefs, I cannot help but question.

We know from Mythology, that men created gods to explain events that they could not explain, in an attempt to make sense of their surroundings. How is belief in a single god any different? It is comforting to know that there is a greater purpose for our suffering, that there is an all-powerful being that hears and answers our prayers. That he forgives us for our mistakes (sin) and loves us unconditionally, if we accept him. But, if he loves us unconditionally and is all-powerful, they why have us suffer? Why are innocent children abused? People starving? For what purpose?

Yes, I realize that that the purpose is not to be understood or questioned, as that is faith. But why not? We are intelligent creatures, with extraordinary minds. We are curious, creative and resourceful. So, if there were a higher power, wouldn’t he (or she) expect that we would wonder and question and require some answers?

Why do we accept things from this higher power that we would not accept in other areas of our lives? For example, if a company claims that their cleaner will perform in certain situations and it didn’t, we would stop buying the product. We wouldn’t accept that we didn’t understand how the cleaner was supposed to work or that the cleaner worked in ways that we couldn’t see. Although this is a simplistic example, it follows the same logic – if a higher power doesn’t answer our prayer, why do we think that we are asking the wrong thing or that our prayers are answered in ways we might not yet understand? That there is some purpose we cannot see? We are intelligent creatures, but we cannot understand what G*d has in store for us? There is no logic that can explain that kind of thinking.

If I accept that G*d meant for us to suffer for a higher purpose, than I cannot accept that he loves us unconditionally. I have watched my children struggle and it result in understanding and growth. But to watch a child suffer, in pain and agony, that results in death – I cannot believe that any parent would stand by and believe that it was necessary. As a parent, I would take that kind of suffering away from my children, if I had the power to do so. So why would we accept that an all-powerful being would choose to allow us (his “children”) to suffer?

If we were to talk about a ruler that allowed this to happen to his subjects, there would be outrage, there would be a coup; people would rise up and demand justice. But from a higher power, we just accept that this is the way of things? It does not make sense.

As a result, I find that I am no closer to understanding than I was. I question organized religion and anyone who tells me that they know what I should believe. I question societal understanding of a higher power. And I haven’t even discussed questions of morality.

I do believe that my purpose is to be the best person I can be, here and now. I believe that I should do good when I can and touch as many lives as I am able. I believe that I should do these things, not because I am told to do so, but because they are just and right. I do not believe that there is anything beyond my life here on Earth. And you know what, that is ok because if I do it right, there isn’t any need for anything else.

I welcome your comments and responses to this post. Please remember I respect your right to voice your opinion and beliefs in a respectful manner, as I believe I have done so.

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Working to Feel Better

I haven’t been feeling well lately. I feel run-down and unmotivated. Depression is creeping, ever so slowly, back to the surface. A bone-wearying exhaustion mixed with anxiety (when is the next shoe going to drop?) has been an uninvited guest that has overstayed their welcome.

Anyone who knows me and really knows what is going on in my life would probably answer, “of course you aren’t feeling well.” And the truth is, I’m not surprised. However, deciding what to do about it has been complicated.

I’ve seen the doctor and my blood-work is normal. She and I talked about changing doses of my meds, but I don’t want to because we’ve tried that and the side-effects are not something I can manage. We’ve added some regular dosing of a med that I’ve been on “as needed” and I started that yesterday.

I’ve been taking supplements: Multi-Vitamin with Iron, Calcium, D-3, Fish Oil (1/2 the recommended dose along with a rotation of flaxseed oil and Omega 3) and additional Vitamin C. I know that I am supposed to get my vitamins from foods, and I’m trying. Some days I don’t eat “breakfast” until lunchtime and then eat dinner. I don’t purposely miss meals. It just happens.

And I’ve been drinking my water. Well, mostly. I drink tea and flavored water. I’ve been making fruit infused water (cucumber lemon/lime is really good) and 1-2 cups of coffee a day. Soda probably 3-4 cups a week (and not the diet stuff…).

So, what else is there to do? Exercise? Yes, I should be exercising. But I need to feel better before I can take that on.

The only thing I could think of was that I felt better when I was eating more vegetables. I had steamed broccoli and carrots a few days prior and I was craving more. I just needed to listen. Now, frozen vegetables are good but since I am the only one who really eats them, it seems like a waste to make them. I needed something that I could make ahead of time and then just have. I went searching on Pinterest. And I found some amazing ideas.

I latched onto Green Smoothies. Fruit and Vegetables…how could I go wrong. One trip to Sprouts and about $30 later – I was ready to go. First, I decided that I needed to go mostly organic so I didn’t have additional chemicals in foods that were supposed to help me feel better. That is going to be a challenge, but I’ll just do the best that I can.

Do you have a favorite Green Smoothie? Want to share? I’d love to hear from you.

Why I’m Furious with Robin Williams

I remember watching Mork and Mindy as a child and running around saying nanu nanu. I thought Robin Williams was a talented actor and admired him for his ability to make people laugh. He seemed like “one of us,” approachable. I also thought that it was really cool that we shared a first name. And with his death, the world is a little less funny and a little less bright.

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Tattoos and Piercings: What Would My Mother Think? Part 2

I don’t have a tattoo.  My husband doesn’t either, except for the ones he got for his cancer treatment, and in my book, those don’t count.  My parents don’t have tattoos.  When I was growing up my parents attitude towards tattoos was something akin to, ” Tattoos are for other people.  Not for our kids, who will go to college and be professionals.”  I’m very delicately trying to say, my parents thought that tattoos were “beneath” us.

This is a continuation of my post from yesterday.  If you didn’t read it, I would suggest that you check it out before reading this one.  You can find it here.

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Falling Behind

I’ve fallen behind on replying to comments! Please don’t be insulted. David had 2 performances on Saturday with Missoula Children’s Theater (Blackbeard the Pirate) – he was Blackbeard. Michael was doing lights. Then on Sunday we went to Warped Tour. I’ve fallen behind on laundry, dishes and more things that I care to mention. My foot is causing me some difficulties and I plan to take it easy the next couple of days.

I will be responding to comments and writing new posts (Warped Tour, Blackbeard the Pirate, and more) in the next several days. Please be patient.

Been Busy

Nothing is wrong – I’ve just been really, really busy. I haven’t gotten much writing done. I’ve been working on some crafting stuff and container gardening, cleaning and organizing. Posts to come in a couple of days.

Preview of What is to Come – Future Posts

It is an ambitious list – and I have 20+ Drafts in my folder that I hope to finish and publish.  We will see about how things really work out.  I’m also sure that I’ll find more things to write about as the summer goes on.  Let me know if any specific topics are of great interest and I’ll see about getting those written first!  Look for Cancer Update tomorrow.

Cancer Update

Broken Foot, Exercise be Dammed!

Crutches and Knee Scooters

Homemade Cleaning Products

Pintrest

White Board Dreams

High Hopes

Making Ice Cream Sundaes in English Class

Pay it Forward and My Sophomores

David’s DC Trip with the Chaparral High School Band

Book and Movie Review – Pay it Forward

Book and Movie Review – The Lightning Thief

Lessons Learned from Teaching The Lightning Thief

Can One Person Change The World?

My Dabbling in Homemade Beauty Products

Jeans Quilt

My Teacher Evaluation

My Boys and Dating

The Price of Unions

Book Review – The Zookeepers Wife

Book Review – Seedfolks

Lesson Plan – Caring Complements

The Fallacy of Market Value for Teachers in Douglas County School District

Diane Rativoch

Book Review – A Tune For Bears to Dance To

Holocaust Speaker

Vegetable Gardening

Lesson Learned – My First (Full) Year of Teaching High School

 

 

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