Another senseless tragedy has taken place in this world. There have been so many that it's hard to fathom what's going on. What are people thinking when they're killing other people? Recently 19 young girls were put into iron cages and burned alive because they refused to have sex with their captors. In Orlando, 50 people were killed in a nightclub because of how they chose to live their lives. These are horrible, senseless acts of hate. The Blacked Eyed Peas hit the mark with their question - Where's the Love?
Let me get one thing straight before I continue with this. I self-identify as a Christian. I am a Follower of Jesus. I love God. But I haven't always. In the grand scheme of things I am new at this Christianity thing. I do know this though... there are 2 commandments:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and
with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like
it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two
commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)
I want to go backwards a bit because I saw a Facebook post from a friend of mine where a Christian Pastor came forward with the statement that gay people should be to death. An Atheist group shared this post. Allow me to get this out there - I was an atheist. Five years ago I would have happily shared that post and agreed that all religions are cults. If you understand anything about this post, understand this... I have been there. I have had that way of thinking. I. Get. It.
In times of trouble and strife, as a human being, we want to find someone to blame. Some organizations make it easy by accepting the blame for horrible things that happen in the world. However, at no time, as a Follower of Jesus - Disciple, Christian, whatever you want to call me - at no time do I ever accept acts of hate against another human being. I don't care who they are, what they've done, how they live or what colour their skin is. There is no reason for hate.
Jesus already answered all of this. Love one another. What if they're gay? Love them. What if they're shooting drugs into their veins? Love them. What if they're constantly drunk? Love them. What if they're ideas and views are different from mine? Love them. What if they-? Love them. What about-? Love. Love. Love. Not hate, hate, hate. Not tolerate, tolerate, tolerate. It's simple. Love.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you,
so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you
are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35, NIV)
Do you know how Jesus showed his love to the twelve disciples? He washed their feet. In a time where washing someone's feet was the lowliest servant's job, Jesus got down on his knees and washed their feet. He became their servant. Sure it doesn't sound like a big deal in this time period, but it was a huge deal then. He showed love. He was love. He didn't pick and choose who to heal. He didn't say, "oh, she lives with a man she's not married to, I can't help her" (John 4:1-42) or "oh, he has leprosy, I'm not going near him" (Matthew 8:1-4). He helped and healed those that others wouldn't even approach.
Do you know what Jesus said about the men who nailed him to a cross? Who were about to take his life? The men who had whipped him, crammed a thorn crown on his head, beat him and then made him carry his own cross to where he would be crucified. There's nothing quite like carrying your own method of death around through a crowded area. Did he respond in hate? No, his last word were of love.
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing." (Luke 23:34, NIV)
I guess at the end of it all what I'm trying to say is this - I was an atheist and I understand your questions. I also understand, from my personal perspective, that sometimes all the research hasn't been done. I was in your shoes. However, not once in the Bible, am I told to hurt someone or kill someone. I'm never instructed to judge others for their actions or lifestyle. Only to love them.
Ok, so I did something really stupid today. I cut someone off in traffic. Yeesh. Did I mean to do it? Of course not. Did I want to do it? No! It's not like I was driving my car waiting for the next car to come near me with the malicious intent to jerk my car right in front of theirs. I wasn't like 'ooooo there's an orange Chevy! I wonder how they'll react if I just zip right in front of them?' It was an accident. Plain and simple.
Should I have been paying better attention? Absolutely! But the fact of the matter is, I had just left an appointment and my mind was somewhere else. Actually I was thinking of how nice it might be to be able to give our kids things with a little more financial freedom. You want to play hockey B-Man? Sure, we can afford that! Honey, you want to learn how to ride a horse? Well guess what, now you can!
After I did this and heard the tell-tale honk of a car horn I looked back and I saw a little white dog frantically running around the car. Oi, now I felt even worse. The driver didn't disappoint though. Arms flailing, big ugly angry face on, obviously yelling obscenities at me about how stupid I was. Hey lady, all I wanted was for you to see my 'Emmanuel.... Try church again for the first time' bumper sticker. It was a friendly invitation to come out to church! No?
The worst part is when you then have to sit in front of the person waiting at a red light. Which I'm sure I was now being blamed for. I could tell when it went from green to red and another onslaught of angry arm waving at my car ensued. Twice.
Nope my intention was to ruin your day and our vehicles. I'm an evil person.
Actually, I made a mistake and I'm truly sorry for it. I'd like to say it won't happen again, but it might. Who knows? I guess I'm an evil driver out to get your car... And your little dog too. My hope is that when this lady accidentally pulls in front of someone herself, you know since no ones perfect, the person in the car behind her is a little more forgiving. Because life happens, and we're all just trying to get by.
The other day was what I like to refer to as a "Depression Day". What does that entail? Basically it means that any good emotion I show, a smile, a chuckle was put on to make it seem like "I'm fine". My husband even asked me if I was alright while we met for a lunch date. He could tell something wasn't quite right. I'm quieter than normal and melancholy. Interesting enough, melancholy means a feeling of pensive sadness, typically with no obvious cause.
Depression days drain the life out of me. All I want to do is sleep and typically that's what I end up doing. That day I had to venture out for a birthday present and to pay for our gravel (I didn't know rocks cost so much!). I like to stay inside with the curtains closed and only my animals to keep me company. I don't want to socialize and will typically go out of my way, if I see someone I know, to avoid them. It's terrible.
Depression is such a soul sucking illness. I absolutely hate it. It's like putting on a show, a terrible, terrible show. I see myself as inferior and I can't find any good feelings in anything I'm doing. It's hard to shake this feeling that I'm no good.
Trying to process what I'm going through is equally as tough. What is it that started this? Did I miss my medication? Am I upset because of work? Did the kids do something or did I do or say something to the kids? Am I stressed out about finances? There are so many things it could be.
I feel stuck. I can't better my situation no matter how hard I try. There are no funds to go to school so I can get my social services diploma. I have been having a problem with a bad attitude at work and can't seem to right myself. I live next to the house I grew up on, on the road I grew up on but I mostly feel like it's just a reminder of how I believe my life was supposed to be. It's just showing me all the things that I've lost and all the things that I thought were going to happen but didn't.
Then I had this thought... If I focus on the past what am I missing out on now?
To those out there who go through this and battle depression, I may not know your exact situation, but I know how much it sucks. There is light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to reach out a hand. Jesus is already reaching out to you.
I was born to be a rock star. Secretly. In my car. Where no one can see me. Okay, so maybe I wasn't born to be a total rock star, but it's one of those things that people love to practice whether they can keep a beat or not. It is extremely hard to be a secret car rock star when you have an audience in the back seat though. Especially one that loves to talk loudly to each other during your epic drum solo of Meatloaf's famous "I Would Do Anything for Love". I mean come on, that song screams secret car rock star. Here's an actual conversation that happened in my "stage" this evening.
As a footnote here, we each get to pick a song we like that hasn't already been played so that everyone gets to listen to what they like and this (hopefully) avoids conflict. You can take part or not, tonight Aaron decided not to. He had more important things to do.
I finally get frustrated and yell into the back of the car BE QUIET YOU TWO!!! Okay, so maybe I wasn't that polite. Give me a break, I was jamming to Meatloaf!
Husband laughs and says "Yeah! You're interrupting Mommy's drum solo!!"
To coin an iconic late 80's early 90's TV Show, How Rude! He was supposed to be reading his comic book not watching my secret car rock star.
Ah well, what's a mom to do?
Lately I have been having problems getting to sleep. Maybe it's the baseball games and being so sore afterward. (Man! I really gotta get in shape!) Maybe it's everything that can happen during my day in the pharmacy. Maybe it's because there is a lot going on with people I know. Or who knows, maybe it's just the stupid mosquito near my ear. Whatever it is my mind is going a mile a minute.
Then I have this thought. What if I stopped focusing on all the bad/sad/upsetting and started focusing my attention behind me? What if I rolled over and started to change one thing in my life for the better? Even something great can be made into something better.
Let's face facts here. After a long day the last thing I want to do is show affection to my husband. Call me callous or insensitive but at that point in the day all my focus is on rejuvenating myself. I guess I'm just selfish. But am I alone? So many times I feel so stretched thin that I barely even have the desire to pour desire into my marriage. I'm already exhausted, and marriage takes effort. Oh goodness... I do sound like a terrible person. It's not my intention, I promise.
Lately it's like my husband and I are completely different planes. We're like room mates who pass each other briefly, talk about how the day is going and head off to the next thing. So maybe we just need to change our focus.
You know the saying, the grass is always greener on the other side? This is my attempt to find greener grass right where I am in my life.
BTW - I'm the one on the right, just in case you didn't already know that.