Monday, June 13, 2016

I Don't Get It

This is not going to be eloquent.  This is going to be bumpy and mostly gritty and a bit rambling.

Welcome to my brain.

Non-action has never equaled action.  Thinking, complaining, googling about buying shoes is not buying shoes.  There will be no shoes on your feet.  Your amount of shuffling in the airport security line will be less, but you will still have no shoes.

I am about to be 35.  Off the top of my head, I remember Columbine.  I remember Virginia Tech.  I remember Sandy Hook.  I remember Columbia mall in my own backyard.  And there have been many many other mass shootings, not to mention homicides, accidental deaths and injuries related to firearms in this country.  Like an alarming amount.  In 35 years.  My own 35 years.  That's a drop in the bucket of (let's hope) modern human history.  

And yesterday I woke up to Orlando.   I don't get it.

What I do get is that the issue is complicated.  This time it involves guns and marginalized minorities based on sexual orientation and possible religious beliefs and a presidential election.  I know nothing about guns.  I know nothing about motorcycles either and so I trust local, state and federal government to regulate their ownership and use.

I now live in a state, in an area, where I can drive ten minutes to the Great Lakes Outdoor Supply store and gawk at the entire back wall of firearms.  I assume I could just buy one if I wanted, but like I said, I know nothing about guns.  I can also buy baby chicks there, but I don't really know anything about them either.

I see a lot of "crunchy granola left democratic" type people saying things on social media that seem to make sense to me: Tougher gun control!  Ban the extra scary weapons! (not a direct quote) Don't pit the Muslim community against the gay community!  Love more, fear less!  Darkness can't drive out darkness, only light can do that!

These sentiments appeal to my Spirit-loving, divine-seeking, people-protecting, Jesus-following tendencies.

I see a lot of "let's make 'murica great again right republican" type people saying things on social media that don't seem to make sense to me:  This is a free country!  Guns don't kill people, people do!  An AR-15 is NOT an automatic weapon, it's a semi-automatic weapon that Americans like because it is accurate, it's not a gun problem it's a Godlessness problem.

These sentiments don't work for me.  Though I have no good reasons why, I suppose.  I am definitely not educated on gun laws, government regulations, politics and how to super annoy people on the Internet (though I could learn).

But I have felt my panties twist on this issue every. single. time.  I always try to see the multiple sides of situations (there is sadly usually only two sides clearly projected...I like 3 or more choices, please).  I understand pro-life AND pro-choice.  But with guns...I don't get it.

What I do get is that non-action never equals action.  And so I want to DO something this time.  I am going to DO something this time.  My heart is set on peace, love, unity.  My heart is set on God.  Not on man. Not on violence or fear or hate.  I fall off the wagon like the rest of you, but my days start new every morning.

So, internet, help me decide what to DO.  Join an anti gun violence group?  Write my congressmen (once I look them up)?  Volunteer or study to help those who suffer from this "godlessness"?  (meanwhile: where are all the calls, ideas, suggestions, legislation to help the people (or the people raising the people) who kill the people so they don't kill the people in the first place??)

Anyway, back to action.  I'll let you know when I have decided.  Maybe I will do them all.  Maybe I will do something different.  I invite your suggestions.  I invite you to join me.

And in the meantime...I will love.  Just Do It.  Remember the shoes from the beginning?  You can't wear love on your feet unless you ACT.  Buy into LOVE.  I promise the Creator of love will help you.

Grace and Peace, lovelies.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Let Life Pull You

A few weekends ago my family and I attended a wedding.  It was a lovely event: a joyous mass followed by a fun party.  But it did involve a lot of thought and planning. We drove six hours to get there the day of the ceremony and then six hours home the next day.  27 hours in Kentucky + 12 hours of driving +2 kids + 1 hotel room = tiring.

I'm pretty sure my parents thought our travel plans were nuts.  Even the lady at the dog kennel commented that we were brave.  (This from a woman who tends to 30 or more dogs a day and owns her own dogs, horses, cats and chickens.)

I arranged for the dog-sitting.  I packed the girls suitcase and mine.  I even made sure they had new (clean) white socks.  I sewed buttons on their dresses and mended a hole in a cardigan.  I even managed makeup for myself.  The bride and groom knew we were there.  We got to see them and hug them.  They looked radiant.  We even exchanged a few words.  But that was it.  Was it really worth all our time and trouble? Did it really matter that we were there?  The wedding would have gone on without us. Completely.  There were many closer friends and family among the 400 guests.

We may have been missed by a few, but not terribly.  We see the groom maybe once a year.  We met the bride once (well, it was a week at the beach so...five times?) And while they are certainly family and we love them very much it would have been understandable if we had declined.

But we didn't.  As soon as we got the save the date (our very first piece of mail in our new home) we knew we should be there.  We wanted to be there.  We were two days in a new state.  There were so many unanswered questions: Were the girls invited?  Would they miss school?  Who would watch the dogs? Should we stay two nights or one?  How long was the drive? Would we have our new licenses, plates and insurance by then? Miraculously, I didn't worry.  We just showed up.  We made it happen.  And yes, it was worth it.  Completely.

Really, it was serendipitous.  A few months ago Louisville, Kentucky was at least 10 hours away.  Now that we live in Northeast Ohio, it is a mere 5-6.  I am not sure if we would have made the trip from Baltimore. Those few extra hours in the car over a weekend add up.  But, we may have still made the effort to show up. To be there.  To show support to the new couple and celebrate with family.  To teach our children that marriage (and family) is a big deal and should be honored.  No matter how seemingly inconvenient or impractical.

In the end, after all of that, even though I thought I was doing something completely for someone else, it was me who got a lesson in a few truths: (isn't it cool that so often everyone benefits when we stretch ourselves?)

You can't experience things if you don't show up.  You can't show love if you don't do something.  So if you can you should.  Especially when the "appointments" line up with your priorities, your care for yourself, and build relationships.  Even if they require out-of-the-box thinking or out-of-your-comfort-zone venturing.

You also don't have to be all things to all people and all places at all times.  That certainly wouldn't line up with your priorities or self care which would only strain relationships. But, if you feel the pull you should respond.  Not the pull of guilt or duty, but the pull of the Spirit, the pull of the something bigger, the pull of the dance life is really all about.

Still, I tend to second guess, over think, over analyze and even "negativize" the mostly mundane.  That certainly rips the grace and beauty right out of my life.  But I didn't do that this time.  I rode the wave.  It was refreshing.  

So watch out Kentucky...I might just surf (or dance) my way back soon. :)

This is obviously what I look like when I go with the flow.  Don't you? Toodles!