I like Aha Moments. I’m an Aha Moment Junkie. I have them all the time, and revel in the ways my mind can become excited all over again about a new idea. And then another one, and another one. I’m like a kid in a candy store of thoughts. They’re all so sparkly and shiny and delicious.
Which is one reason I love to read. Writers say things. They put words together in ways that I wish I’d thought to arrange them, because sometimes, just the right turn of phrase changes everything. And Voila! You get your Aha.
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, when it was time to do my Tao Tuesday practice, I did something different. I read a chapter of the Tao written by some silly guys who revere The Dude from the movie, The Big Lebowski. They have written a book called, “The Dude de Ching,” with their own interpretations of the Tao. (They have a website which is awesome: https://dudeism.com/thedudedeching/ )
This week, we were looking at Chapter 76, which is about Flexibility, and not being hard or stiff. In the Dudeism version, there was a line that read:
Thus softness and limberness are attributes of Dudeism, and hardness and stiffness attributes of dipshits.
Already, I’d been feeling like my stiff-necked stubbornness and holding tightly to being right were things that needed softening, and some letting go, and some meditation and some release and relaxing. Now, I saw my struggle as me just being a dipshit, which made me laugh.
First, it was about my son. I felt like we knock heads because we both have things to say and want to be heard, and we both feel like we are right – about stuff that doesn’t really matter half the time – but want to convince the other, and we end up being stiff and quarrelsome, and I teach him to be that way, because I don’t want to back down. If I backed down, he could learn that backing down isn’t something bad or wrong or shameful, and he might let someone else in his little world have the last word, and not be the guy who always has to do that. It is so frustrating having to admit that every tiny thing that bugs me about my kids is something I’ve specifically placed into their psyches myself.
And then, it became about my upbringing. And my lack of gratitude. And the last many years of being angry at “The Church” – which has become this industrial complex far flung from anything I ever learned of Love or The Gospel or The Word that started it all, or the One who could calm the Seas, or walk on water, or heal, or restore, or raise from the dead. It struck me that what The Church has become has little to do with my own faith, or my own family, my own Pastor father and partner in ministry who is my mother. It dawned on me that my hostility toward the organization that is now in cahoots with dark and deadly politics has made me forget the work my parents have done – the visiting of the sick and lonely, the bringing meals to those who need nourishment, the compassion and encouragement, the Truth they speak, the Truth they seek and seek to Be.
And all the poetry I used to write, that started with a phrase from Scripture, or a verse whispered into my subconscious by the God I’ve always known – and how strangled my voice has become in recent years, because I wanted so much to spew hatred towards those who have corrupted what I knew, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it, because I couldn’t directly hurt my parents like that – and yet I’ve been hurting them all along by hiding under layers of anger, and hurting myself, and hurting the voice that wants to sing in me.
This week, as I was running errands, it dawned on me that I need to be incredibly Grateful for my upbringing and treasure the heritage I have, the parents who worked around the world, speaking to audiences large and small, staying up late around our dinner table to talk philosophy, theology and ” target=”_blank”>Narnia late into the night with seekers and with us, their small children. That in embracing all that love and laughter, is the start of healing. I can’t change The Church that has become. But I can appreciate what I know, what I was taught, and go to my parents to offer up what I can in a way of apology for trampling on their beliefs because I was angry at the way a bunch of Other People where marginalizing and destroying the fabric and beauty of belief.
Which brings me to Amy Poehler’s book, “Yes Please,” which I have been reading in hard copy, as well as listening to in the car via Audible, because I cannot get enough of her sweet voice. Yesterday, I heard her Apology chapter, in which she sat on something for years, knowing she had been wrong, but not knowing how to speak the words to make it better. She sat with shame and mourning in her heart, and let that grow and fester. I know that feeling. I sat outside my kids school, waiting to pick them up, tears streaming down my face as I listened to her share how her genuine apology finally transpired, and the reaction of the one she had hurt, and her response.
“Look at this woman. This beauty. What an act of grace. What a gift she gave me… That email changed me. It rearranged my molecules.”
I keep saying how much I want to be a cool, hippy mom. I want to not worry about things. I want to be a Free Spirit and all love and joy and forgiveness, and not so much harpy and stern and snappish. I think I try really hard, and try too hard, and end up getting stiff because my heart, for many years, has been gripped by anger, and not bathed in joy and grace. Gratitude is the beginning. Softness of heart, a yearning to make right the years of looking down my nose at people who still have faith, even with all the stupid stuff official Church keeps doing in the news.
Which brings me to One more Aha for today – It Has Never, Ever been about what The Official Church is doing. As far back as history goes – Official has been on the wrong side of things. They missed the arrival of their own prophets, their own Messiah, their own Savior because they were looking for it to be a different way, a different entrance, something worthy of their Grand Designs, and it was a meek and quiet stable that saw the Beginning instead. Being at odds with the Official Church is something that actually fits well with the Early Church, the Underground, the stuff I was raised hearing around our dining room table. All this anger has been so misdirected. My parents have never been part of the mainstream. They were always more on the side of the Rebels, the Followers of Jesus.
It’s Christmas-time. I feel like The Grinch – like my heart just grew three sizes today.
photo from here.