Let It Fly

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I don’t typically quote facebook.  It seems lame, to be honest.  But I saw this and it applied  perfectly to what’s been brewing in my head all week.  I did about two minutes of research on this quote, and found it’s written by an author of a book about relationships.  I know nothing of the book other than this quote and it’s description on Amazon.  But I don’t have to.  I just like what it says.  And that’s my point.

Recently, a Christian band named Gungor has been at the center of some controversy over lead singer Michael Gungor’s views on whether the creation story in the Bible is to be read as literal.  Churches have cancelled concerts, a large Christian bookstore chain has stopped selling their music, and the internet has, of course, allowed the free flow of opinions about Michael Gungor’s opinions to spread far and wide.

I’m here to add yet another opinion: people are allowed to have them.

I don’t have to agree with everything someone says to continue liking him.  Or to enjoy his art, to worship along with him, to go to his house, be his friend.  Or most anything else.  I don’t agree with everything my mother thinks, but I love her, I enjoy her, I learn from her constantly.  Even if she had what I thought was a whacky idea about something in the Bible, I wouldn’t ban her, or boycott her, or not sell her stuff in my bookstore if I owned one.  “Well, yes, but that’s your mother,” you might say. And she isn’t influencing thousands of people with her music, and by accepting your mom you aren’t aligning yourself publicly with a certain viewpoint.  But that just negates other people’s freedom to decide what they think.  That Gungor’s listeners have brains to be used and aren’t going to fall into a trance of agreement with anything the lead singer says in a blog post, if they even know about it.

I understand that some Christians might think Michael Gungor’s thoughts are blasphemous.  But if you listen to any of Gungor’s lyrics, you won’t find a single line that says “And Genesis is an allegory, not a literal depiction of events, la la.”  They say wonderful stuff like

I pray your glory shines

Through this doubting heart of mine

So my world would know that you

You are my strength

You are you alone

You and you alone

Keep bringing me back home

And

At the start there was love

And life began in Him

Creation falls, Creator gives

The promise of a better day

We are not there yet

Let it come, let it come in

Love is here, Love is coming

Heaven is breaking open

It’s hard for a Christian to disagree with that.  The members of the band might be thinking thoughts you wouldn’t have as they walk down the street or express them on their blog, but if you buy their cd you aren’t necessarily agreeing with them in full.  Just as I don’t agree with everything Beyonce thinks but I like Single Girls.  That song is damn good.  And you don’t have to agree.

“In the essentials, unity.  In non-essentials, liberty.  In all things, love.”  Another quote, this time from Rupertus Meldenius or St. Augustine, depending on who you ask, which also makes a lot of sense to me.  About Christians worrying about the essentials of the faith (Jesus) and letting the rest be up for discussion.  And for those who aren’t Christians, we just skip to the liberty and love part.  Because arguing about Jesus being the messiah with an “I’m right and you’re wrong” attitude does no good.  It just fosters more of the same, unless people actually calm down, listen and contemplate, and in the end either agree or let the other person have his opinion without hating him for it.  The connection above the argument.  Whether Christian or not.  These are good words to live by.

Everybody just needs to chill out.  Have discussions instead of arguments.  Even heated ones, if done in love, can do a lot of good.  I don’t typically write on controversial subjects, but I just can’t shake this one loose so I’m letting it fly.  Feel free to disagree with me.  I won’t hate you for it.

 

Thank the Lord I Found You

I’m one of those weirdo holistic medicine people.  For good reason:

When I was first married, at the age of 24, I felt awful all the time.  Physically, I mean.  After years of intestinal problems, in college I was given an endoscopy (tube down the throat into the stomach) and then given the diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  Not something you want to tell everyone.  Anything with bowel in it is a nightmarish self-descriptor for a college girl.  But there it was, and it was undeniable.  I lost 13 pounds one semester because of my irritable bowels.  Ate food, got crampy, quickly “processed” the food, and then needed a nap.  And my joints hurt.  And I felt foggy a lot (which makes my senior year 4.0 extra amazing, eh?)

My diagnosis was actually just a blanket title for something no one really understands.  The endoscopy showed that I didn’t have an ulcer, so they went ahead and called it Irritable Bowel. Which basically means nothing.  I had the same symptoms as half a dozen other illnesses that are just as nebulous.  There was no medicine to take besides Tums and no helpful advice other than “When it gets really bad you should just eat rice.  Good luck.”  For years I got no further help or actual care from my physicians.  I just came to think of it as the way I was.  Too bad for me.

Stress makes Irritable Bowel worse, so our first couple years of marriage (after moving to L.A., and getting a teaching job for which I wasn’t trained, and having no friends, and possessing no land line but only a cell phone that ran out of minutes during the first third of the month, and arguing with my husband all the time) I was eating plain white rice most of the time.

This is what I wish they would have said:

“Here’s the deal: you’re going to have intestinal cramps daily, sometimes so bad you can’t stand up; you’re going to have constipation, then diarrhea, then constipation, then lots more diarrhea; your joints will hurt, your brain will have a confusing fog around it; you will feel sad, either causing or because of the way you feel physically; you will wake up every day feeling like you haven’t slept in years; you will wish you could take a nap at all moments and you will be able to nap on any surface at any time if given the chance.  Concrete floor?  Yes, absolutely.  You will have very little sex drive when things get bad, which will be often; you will be bloated and think you’re fat for days, and then suddenly all will be well for a few hours and you’ll think “Wow, I got skinny,” and then you’ll get bloated again.  You’ll have acid reflux that burns your throat and makes eating most foods painful.  You’ll hold down full-time jobs during all of this, and you’ll exercise even though every joint and muscle aches even more when you do, and every night you’ll think some good sleep will help.  But it never will.  And you’ll just WISH YOU COULD BE NORMAL.

And then one day you’ll get pregnant and you’ll feel better. Even though you are throwing up or wishing you would throw up, and you feel really tired, and your round ligaments ache when you move, and you cry at commercials and your belly is being stretched beyond what seems possible, you’ll feel better.  Yes, this will feel better.  And then somehow you’ll be cured.  And you’ll realize how very bad you felt for so many years.  And you’ll never want to feel like that again.”

If my doctors would have said that, I would have gotten other help.  I did get some, from the kinesiologist that Marc had seen since he was twelve.  But only when we came home to Kansas for Christmas or a summertime trip.  But if I would have had the wherewithal to know I didn’t have to feel this way I would have done whatever I could to get better care.  Seen a kinesiologist where I lived, changed my diet, not accepted it as just the way I was.

I now know that people with an auto-immune disease often feel better when they’re pregnant.  That I almost positively did have an auto-immune thing going on back then.  That I could have been working on inflammation and diet and natural hormone support.  Yes, I am one of those people – a fan of homeopathic treatments, accupressure, and I like to avoid chemical-based medicines unless totally necessary.  My weirdo “nutritional supplements,” our voodoo doctor, as we lovingly call him, and my increased knowledge of my jacked up intestines are all Thank the Lord I Found You things.  They’re not my savior, and they aren’t perfect, but they sure do help.  Just as having enough money to pay for food helps me not be hungry, having the right care helps my body not feel like crap.  And I’m all for that.

So here’s to weirdo, non-western styles of medical treatment.  I’ll raise a glass of RepairVite to that any day.

 

Down With That

I just discovered Glennon Doyle Melton.  For those of you in as much of the dark as I have been, Glennon is the writer of the popular blog momastery.com, the author of a memoir, Carry On Warrior, and a public speaker.  My dear friend Becky perked me up to Melton’s existence.  “I’m reading a book that’s basically this woman’s blog posts all put together, and it’s really good,” said she.  “Oh really?” said I, thinking I should check this out since I’ve often wondered how one does that.  Makes blog posts into a book, I mean.  For (hopefully) obvious reasons.  So I grabbed my library card and tracked the book down.  And I discovered something amazing.  It was like reading something I’d written myself, but better.  Funnier, with less grammatical errors and a more fascinating past full of drugs and drama.  But the same heart.  The same themes of hope and living in its light, the same verbiage, the same willingness to let it all hang out whether it makes her look good or not.  The not being better, actually, because it demonstrates her humanity.  Even the same love of Anne Lamott.  I’m so in Glennon’s camp.  Like the tent next to hers, but with rain leaking in because it’s not made as well.

My reaction to this was tri-fold: first I was sad.  Everything I’m saying has been said, by a more successful person at saying things.  My story isn’t nearly as dramatic.  She’d been there, done that before I even got started.  Excellent.

Once that sunk in I moved on to feeling lame for wishing I had a more “dramatic” (i.e. difficult and painful) past to propel me to success.  Nice.  Jealousy over someone else’s hardships to gain good writing material.  I am a jerk.

Third and lastly I settled on feeling excited.  Like I found a small treasure.  Yes, it’s for everyone willing to read it – not mine to keep – but I found a person who thinks the way I think.  And that’s always good.  It’s the point of writing, really.  To express yourself and let the world find what it wants and needs in your words.  To connect with the rest of the people on the planet.  To participate in beauty-finding, hope-giving things.  Glennon, if I may call her that, and by reading her writing I think I may, is down with that and so am I.  As Ben Lee sings, we’re all in this together.  My tent may be leakier, but I’m glad to be camping near Glennon Doyle Melton, whether she knows I’m there or not.