As a crappy Christian, I am not always motivated for the right reasons. For instance, I have always wanted to write. Ever since I was in 2nd grade and I discovered the beauty of Edgar Allan Poe. I shared "The Raven" at show and tell. There is no other arena where I fell as safe as the written word.
Fast forward to freshman year of high school. I had a teacher who hated everything I loved. She hated Edgar Allan Poe. She thought Gone With the Wind was "smut." For reals? And worst of all, I felt like she hated me and my writing. She even told me that as emotional as I was I would never be a real writer.
That put me in my place.
To this day I have wanted to be published more than anything. And to dedicate my book to the woman who said I would never have it. To go on Jay Leno and talk about how this woman who should have supported me pushed me down.
Right. Make whatever I write all about her. And what makes me even angrier is that maybe that was what she wanted. Maybe she knew to motivate me I would have to get really pissed off. And the last thing I want to do is make my writing all about "getting back" at a woman who may or may not have been in my corner. A woman I hope to never see again.
Bitterness and anger only really hurt me. I greatly doubt that this woman feels a pain every time I think of how awful she made me feel TWELVE years ago. (Dude, I feel old.) But I do. My stomach churns. My head hurts. And I HATE. And then I feel ugly. Hate is so ugly.
So I ask God to take it away. The hate for my English teacher. The hate for my grandmother who abused me, my brother, my father, and my mother. My father's sister for the same. My ex-boyfriend who took everything he could from me and used his 9 year old brother to break up with me. Because I am not big enough. I would hold on to these things and sit quietly in a corner forever just simmering with anger. Anger at the world for creating people like this.
But even though the world has its share of ugly people it also has its share of beautiful people. My grandfather who always told me to love Jesus and hold on to Him with everything because He was all that mattered in life. My best friend, Jackie, who makes me smile every time I think of her. My parents who support every dream I have. And last but not least, my husband who loves me despite all the crazy I put him through.
So yes, the world can suck. But if we turn away from that stink we can find beauty in twice as many things as the ugly. Because light will always win over darkness.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
A label put on those who would rather say, “Happy Holidays” than “Merry Christmas”, the War on Christmas has become a recent pastime for Christians to bash those who believe differently. While I strongly believe in putting the “Christ” into Christmas, I have to say that our Savior’s birth was never meant as an opportunity to attack those who do not believe in Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I agree that perhaps taking our money elsewhere when a company refuses to acknowledge our very holiday and will only speak of it in hushed plural tones. But you will not find me on YouTube declaring Banana Republic a bunch of godless heathens. (At least not for this reason. Thirty bucks for a white tee, come on!) The reason being? Philip Yancey said that “no one ever became a Christian because they lost the argument.” What is our point in all the ferocity? What person in their right mind would want to join in on this kind of activity? Trust me, I know that Christians are under attack. But truly, Jesus told us we would be. (John 15:18) So why are we surprised? Why should we have it any better than our Savior? We were never promised life would be cushy. We have been given great insight into our world and what is coming. Let’s act like we are at the very least familiar with the way the story will go.
Monday, December 17, 2012
One of the things that has been popping up in the media with the devastating shootings in CT is the question of mental health and its effect on crime. I hate this. Does ones mental illness cause one to commit crimes? It is likely. But roughly fifty percent of America suffers from some form of mental illness and I do not believe the crime rates reflect that even the majority of these are responsible for violent crime. Perhaps I am too sensitive. Maybe my mental state makes me that way. :-) However, I do feel attacked when the media, who shockingly enough do not always get it right, find someone to blame in the form of mental illness. There seems to be no synonyms. I am tired of writing "mental illness." So to my brethren of depressives, bipolars, and others out there, I feel you. Here is what I wrote the last time a major depressive episode hit me. Does this seem familiar to anyone else out there? Set me free. I am surrounded and there is no escape. How do you escape from something inside you? I feel heavy and weighted down. There is no joy, no freshness, no light, no life. How can I be free? Who can save me from myself? All I know is darkness. I fumble around looking for the way out. I cannot feel. I cannot sense others or their pain. All I can understand is my own hurt, my own darkness. All I know is I am not good enough, I am not clean enough, I am not worthy. I am completely disconnected from what is going on around me. I see nothing beyond myself. Everything I see is distorted as though I am looking through a foggy window. The anger grows strong within me. Why am I so angry? What is it that causes such rage? I do not know. It can come from the smallest of perceived insults, such as why the physical world does not bend to my wishes. Why does the outside world not bend to my wishes? Why cannot things simply go my way? Why am I a constant failure, a constant disappointment to myself? Why am I not strong enough, while others go about their days successfully, fully functioning? Why can’t I be more like them? Why can’t I be like those who know true satisfaction? Why can’t I see that perhaps their lives are not perfect either, that they struggle the same way I do. Why can’t I get up? Why can’t I pull myself up and shake off the dust of the old days? It is not because I don’t want to. Is it because I truly can’t? What is wrong with me? I want to be productive, successful. But I don’t know the way there. It is like a path that is hidden by the woods. If I pray hard enough can I find it? Is my faith so weak that I have missed it? I feel unloved, unworthy and unreceiving of the love of others. I feel like people do not see me for what I am capable of and therefore I am incapable of producing. Is it fair to blame others? Is this the failure of the outside world or something inside me? I know I do not struggle alone, but everyone is gone. All of my compatriots are in their own pits of despair and I cannot find anyone who feels the way that I feel right now. We are all alone because we choose to be alone. Perhaps if we wandered outside we would find that there are many others just like us – lost like us, hurt like us, in pain like us, and capable of healing. God is the only one who can take this burden off of my shoulders. He is the only one who fully recognizes my pain for what it is and appreciates how it affects my daily living. He is always there, even when I retreat from the world. God is my constant in a world that feels constantly in flux. Although the ground beneath me is shifting, God stands firm in His belief that He can do something purposeful with my life. If you survived that wandering thought train than thank you. Good night to you all, from all walks of life.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
I am somewhat hesitant to add more to what is being said about the shooting in Newton, CT. Better minds than my own have discussed the incidents in the Northeast and my words will not improve on their thoughts. But to ignore an event so huge feels wrong. But what can I possibly say? The truth is words will not heal the wounds of our brothers and sisters in CT. As Christians it should be a desire to react, to want to help. And sometimes, if I am honest, prayer does not seem like action. It can seem very passive. But truly, truly, when we pray, God acts. And God's action is so much better and so much greater than anything we can do on our own. God doesn't just provide words that calm or soothe, He is not just some spouter of clichés. God has the ability to see into the souls of each person, child, parent, teacher, etc. and see just what that person needs. And He can and will provide it. It has become the thing to do, to say "our prayers are with you" when a tragedy knocks on the door of someone else. But do we really mean it? Let us not just say that to Newton today. Let's really do it. Let's really keep the community in prayer throughout the day. And most of all, let's really expect our prayers to reach someone out there as well. With love to you all, Laura
Thursday, December 13, 2012
I learned in church this past Sunday that the command we are given most often in the Bible is to not fear. Well, I have failed over and over on this one. My biggest fear is failure. And when it comes to stepping out in faith and writing, the failure seems absolutely paralyzing. When I write I put myself out there for you to see and if you don't like it, if you reject it, you in turn reject me. And I just hate that. So I do nothing. Days go by. I dream of what I could be doing with my time. My husband buys me a new laptop to encourage me. He tells me to go for it. I use my new laptop to watch television on Amazon. Reality television. Other people living a life worth tuning in to see. Yet I am still doing nothing. So I made a commitment this week. I am going to say no to fear. As I have said many times, I know I won't always get this right. I know I will stumble. I may go days, weeks, without writing. But I will take a small step towards getting things "write" by no longer going months. Swell. I am making progress. And I want to restate my mission in writing this blog. I want to help those out there who are hurting. Those who struggle with depression. And especially those who have been hurt by the church. Because I know what it means to be burned by the most holy of people. And it does not feel good. But it does not mean that you have to be burned by God. People, Christians even, may reject you, but God will never reject you if you truly, honestly seek Him. And that is what I want to do, not just monthly, but every single day.