I have a really bad habit of storing stories and blog posts in my mind and never actually, you know, typing them. I also have several draft posts with a paragraph that was apparently supposed to jog my memory to let out the rest of the thought. That doesn’t necessarily work if you don’t return to it for a month or so… I feel such a sense of accomplishment and relief when I actually finish a post, followed almost immediately by a wave of panic and self-doubt. What if I overshared? (I almost certainly did) What if no one reads it? (I write mostly for me, but… I am publishing it on the world wide web, ya know) What if TOO MANY people read it? (PANIC) What if I’m not a good enough writer? What if my stories and made up insights aren’t good enough? What if I left out the punch line?? You get my drift.
Eh. I’m trying not to care. I am on a quest for authenticity. I am challenging myself to be my most authentic me. This has two parts, really: 1) Trying my hardest to live honestly, to show who is inside on my outside, answer questions truthfully, face my fears and doubts and joys and triumphs head on. 2) Attempting to change my inside to match what I want to show outside. This tends to be equally hard or harder than the first part. I’m a work in progress.
On this note, I’ve started attending church and I’m actually really enjoying it. I don’t mean to sound so surprised… But it has been a long time since I’ve actually felt like I was on the right spiritual track. I have dabbled in church, but haven’t really made the adult choice (as I have been putting off for awhile admitting that I am an adult and need to make that choice) to find a church home. Don’t get me wrong, I worship in my way on my own, and I’ve never felt far from God or doubted there is a God or really had an existential crisis in that vein, other than the normal existential crisis of WHY and HOW and WHAT DOES IT MEAN NOW, which I think is kind of essential to faith and life and the human experience. I was talking to Ben about my need to find a church with like-minded people, or, rather, open-minded people who are seeking to live in communion with the world, in communion with belief, and not at the expense of social justice and equality, as I know there are few, if any, people in the world who share my exact brand of faith, as we all approach it in our own way. That sounds awkward and lofty, but whatever. Point is, I asked Ben to help me with my “crisis of faith” and he scoffed at me and said, “It’s not a crisis of faith, it’s a crisis of practice at most.” He can be awfully profound when he wants to be. I ended up at First Presbyterian Church here in Enid, and I’m loving it. It seems like each week there’s a part of the sermon that sticks in my head and I find myself mulling it over and over (as I’m sure is the intention). The pastor (pastor? reverend? something. The guy at the front. Presbyterian speak is new to me.) has been going through The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Chapter 5. This week what’s stuck in my head is Matthew 5:37a “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” Seems easy enough, but too often it’s a “Yes, but…” or a “Yes, unless…” So, with that in mind, I am trying to fulfill my obligations in a timely manner, letting my yes be YES and not yes, unless I forget or yes, but you have to remind me ten times to actually get me to follow through. I’d like to be the kind of person that when I give my word, that’s that. No qualifiers necessary.
So, here we are! It’s February. My tiniest is almost seven months old and she can do very exciting things like clap and crawl backwards in short spurts. She has a tooth!!!!!!!! This is very exciting as Nora had zero teeth until after her first birthday. Nora is awesome, got her first hair cut, and tells me wonderful stories every day. I need to write more of them down. She is a spitfire, though I guess that’s what I ordered when I decided to combine my DNA with the husBen’s… I love her spark, I love her creativity, and I love her kindness.
Here’s the part about my grieving process, because I don’t feel right leaving something that’s such a large part of my life out of this post. It’s been six months (yesterday) since my brother passed away. I miss him every day. I still feel entirely robbed of a lifetime of his recovery and it seems like everywhere I turn there is someone going on about how great it is to have a brother and I want to punch them a little, but also I want to hug them and tell them I hope they never have to truly feel how important that relationship is… Because I think you only truly feel it when it’s a hole in your heart. I’ve been having these dreams where he’s there and he’s whole and he’s truly himself. I’m loving it, I’m so happy, then I realize… He shouldn’t be. I’m the only one who figures it out, everyone else is just going on like nothing is amiss. I pull my mom to the side and tell her how great it is that he’s back, but… How? What’s going on? Then I realize that it’s a dream and it will never be real and I will the ocean (which is always just outside wherever we are, somehow) to swallow us all up together so I don’t have to see anyone else realize what I’ve realized and my dream versions of them can just be happy, and the ocean obliges, and that’s that.
Okay, that was depressing. I’ll leave you with a little Nora story. So, as I said, the girls and I recently started attending church. Nora’s new to this whole thing and she and I are sorting out what that means for her together. She’s enjoyed it on the whole; she likes hanging out in the service at the beginning, and children’s time at the altar is her favorite, followed by the nursery, where she claims to have goldfish parties. This past Sunday during the children’s time, there was a little discussion of the weather, of whether the kids had a chance to play outside and such. My child, of course, waits until everyone is done talking and says, “Hey! I went on a walk with my mommy and my daddy and my sister outside. AND I have a new stroller and I can stand on it!” True, we did go for a walk that morning, even though she told everyone it was the day before… So then the pastor goes on with the story of the boy who cried wolf, finishing by saying his parents told him that story many times, to which my child replies, “My parents never told me that story! My mommy did not tell me that story!” and she stands up, makes her most judgmental face, and sends eye daggers to my seat in the back of the sanctuary. Oh, that child… Apparently I need to tell her more stories!