Enjoyed a fleeting moment of time with my son last night. I was finishing up the last of the Call the Midwife episodes available currently on Netflix, and he joined me in watching it.
If you haven’t seen it – it takes place in a poor district of London during the 50’s, telling the story of midwives and the nuns of Nonnatus House, a nursing convent.
There was a scene when two nuns were discussing the decline of girls choosing that particular vocation.
My son uttered “Good!” from the couch opposite to me.
That didn’t sit well with me.
“You realize that when you vehemently oppose or degrade another point of view or belief, you are impacting the validity of your own? People who are confident in their beliefs, don’t feel the need to protest so much.”
This began a conversation that touched on Religion and Technology. Our views differed – and that was okay. The dialogue was amazing.
I am not a religious person. Organized religion is not for me. But, having said that, I have respect for those of Faith. I find facets of most religions to be interesting and good.
We spoke of the benefits of being raised with something to believe in.
Of there being a place in the heart of a community where people came together. We spoke of those who do evil in the name of their God.
We spoke of community, humanity and family.
My opinion was that community, humanity and family was being adversely affected by it.
My son disagreed and started to say that my opinion was formed unfairly.
I told him my opinion was based on personal experience. I was reminded of this scene from Good Will Hunting.
“So if I asked you about art, you’d probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life’s work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that.”
I have traveled – not just googled pictures of other countries.
I have helped those in need, not just clicked ‘like’ or ‘share’ on a cause on Facebook.
I have seen world events unfold before my eyes in the Middle East – not just read an edited version of the story online.
I pointed out that most nights, we sit with our ipads and when there is a ‘ding’ we are distracted.
I am guilty of this.
I’m guilty of typing out a quick ‘Happy Birthday’ on someone’s Facebook page, instead of taking the time to remember for myself, shop for a card – handwrite my best wishes. Guilty of Instant Messaging my own son when he is just a room away!
On a personal level, I reminded him we used to play. Together. We used to go places and give each other our full attention.
He argued that technology has brought more people together – and I could not deny that. I also cannot deny that technology is fun. Technology gives us access to information. But at what cost?
We play alone. We learn from other people’s information.
Increasingly forming foundations for values, opinions, and beliefs not from our own tangible experiences anymore.
That scares me.
When I started this blog, I had hoped to have a place to process, purge, sort through such things as matters of the heart, my past and my unedited thoughts.
I started out telling only 2 or 3 trusted friends where to find it – then I went public online and after deciding I only have friends on Facebook that I trust and who know me, I then would share my links.
Mistake? Maybe, maybe not. But definitely I found myself editing.
I haven’t discussed Matters of the Heart – protecting the identity of people in my private life this past year. I haven’t gone deep into my past – protecting the identities of those involved. And I certainly have been editing my thoughts. As if I would feel I owed everyone an apology for having them.
I just can’t do ‘phoney’. I can’t. It eats at my gut and sticks in the forefront of my brain gnawing away at me.
Relatives and acquaintances have told me in so many words, that I think too much. I share too much.
It’s who I am. Who I have always been. Who I always will be.
I think those concerned with me sharing too much are the ones who have shared too much with me.
They needn’t worry. If my story line crosses over to someone else’s, I don’t feel it’s my story to tell.
But when it comes to me and me alone, I have to be authentic.
A friend posted this today and I laughed. So true.
I do love my life.
But find myself editing my statuses too.
I’ve had this self-imposed expectation of myself for a few years, that I can’t be ‘human’.
Always wanting (needing) to do the right thing – making living amends to myself and others for years of wrong choices.
Trying to be some perfect unobtainable example for my son.
I can’t do it anymore.
Not because I am incapable, but because it is not authentic and it is not healthy, spiritually, to deny a facet of me exists.
I am blunt and very forthcoming by nature. It is inherently who I am. If I edit myself, I’m not honoring that part of me. I’m telling myself in a round-about way, ‘that part of you is unacceptable’.
Unacceptable to whom? I’m fine with it. Why am I always worrying about what ‘they’ are going to think?
I seem to in constant battle with myself this past year or so. The care-giver and sensible me shaking her head at every personal desire. “That’s selfish” “That’s wrong” “That’s not putting others first”.
In a quest to be the best me I could possibly be, I left some of me behind.
I am not always happy. I have high-highs and painful lows – I feel to the nth degree and I love that about me!
And – shocking news: I want things. Not material things – but things that would serve to give me pleasure.
I want pleasure without guilt.
I want to be able to say “No.” I want to be able to say “Yes.” Purely based on how I feel about something and not how it effects the person posing the question.
But the battle wages on.
And it’s not a matter of ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ – it’s a matter of acknowledging that I deserve things sometimes too.
That being grateful for what I have and making good choices, doesn’t mean I should ignore the woman inside me who has needs that don’t sustain life.
And that they don’t make me bad.
They make me whole.
I find myself from time to time almost pleading Earths case to God.
I’ll share with you my nightly prayers. I always say “Thank you.” I always end with “God bless all those in my heart, on my mind and in the world, Amen.”
The meat of my prayers is usually me asking for guidance – praying for strength in areas I’m lacking.
Sometimes I pray for more patience, the increased ability to love – to be tolerant. I pray to know which path I should be taking.
When it’s a particularly sad news day though, when atrocities have been committed and we’re made aware of them – I don my humankind legal defense cap.
As if God doesn’t already know, I plead “God, there is such GOOD in the world too.” As if I’m afraid he’s going to shut the whole event down because of evil.
I have a favorite quote, by W.H. Auden.
“Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table …”
I love that quote. I love how the words feel coming out of my mouth – how the thought provokes – the simple eloquence of it.
And it, for me, is truth.
I watched a documentary this morning called “Hitlers Children.” (If you have Netflix, it’s a streamable selection. )
One particular storyline resonated with me.
It was that of Rainer Hoess – grandson of Rudolf Hoess.
He looked at photographs of his father standing in the garden of the family home on the grounds of Auschwitz. Other photos showed his grandfather in that same back yard.
Later in the documentary, he took a trip to Auschwitz – his first one.
One of the questions he pondered, while staring at a photo of his father standing by the garden gate was, how could they not have known – not have seen?
He was afforded entry into that same garden and stood at that very garden gate. The house was cleverly designed with no views of the crematorium – textured glass windows on the side of the house that might let some truth in.
The garden itself was surrounded by tall walls, offering only a glimpse of outlying buildings.
I wondered what it must have felt like to stand in that location. To know that your lineage included a monster. I didn’t need to wonder for long – when Rainer lost his composure, I did too. I wept on the couch with this man who was riddled with guilt for a crime against humanity that he couldn’t possibly have anything to do with.
During the tour, he agreed to speak to a group. He was nervous – understandably. At one point, a holocaust survivor, from that camp, wanted to shake his hand.
My already wet cheeks were wet anew when this old man took his hand and told him, ‘you didn’t do this.’
They hugged and my heart wanted to burst.
There is good.
There is good everywhere if you look for it – take time to avert your eyes from your problems and worries and choose to see it!
On a personal note, I have a friend, who takes care of not only her grandchildren – but her bed ridden mother and her disabled brother and reached out to ME to offer ME help to send my son to England! She is the epitome of selflessness to me.
She smiles and though she gets tired, she’s happy and grateful and is of service to others.
GOD! There is SUCH good.
I’ll be praying tonight to be a part of that good.