Friday, October 4, 2013

Hard Stuff

Today some of the people I love most in the world are struggling, and I can't fix it.  I wish I could.  It's so nice when problems are actual concrete fixable ones, such as yesterday, when the driver's side window on my husband's minivan (yep, you read that right) fell into the door.  This isn't the first time that's happened, so we knew that 1) it wasn't a window problem, it was a broken bolt inside the door; 2) it could be fixed with 1 day in the shop and $265; 3) twice is way too often for the same thing to break on a vehicle, let alone three times.

I suggested we fix the problem by trading the 2004 minivan, broken window and all, for some other vehicle entirely, but my husband isn't there yet, and I totally respect that.  We keep talking about getting new cars, but the truth is, neither of us cares that much about what we drive, and despite the window issues the cars we have still run, and so we keep driving them.

Anyway, there are problems you can fix and ones you can only be a loving witness too, and today I'm stuck being a witness.  I find it ironic that I keep stumbling upon "struggle" messages today.  I just finished Malcolm Gladwell's brand-new book, David and Goliath, which is about underdogs and also about people who find strength through surviving adversity.  Then I read today's Gospel reading, that I now get emailed to me every morning courtesy of the University of Notre Dame, and it was all, "Woe to you, Bethsaida!" 

Then I went over to Momastery, Glennon Doyle Melton's blog, and got this (it's only part of her post, but I'm going to quote a big chunk because I love it so much:  Okay, it's not letting me post.  Don't know why.  It's seriously not even letting me post to a word document, so I'm guessing Glennon's got some kind of anti-copying mojo on her blog, so just go read it there.  I tried to find a single sentence to type out, to prove my point, but you've really got to read the whole thing.  Sorry.

Then I read today's post by the Yarn Harlot, by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and while it's a different take on stuggle and suffering, it still fits in. 

So, go.  Read.  Pray.  Or come hang with me if you want to.  I'll be here, wishing I could help the ones I love.
If you ask folks what their wildest dream is many would say: winning the lottery,  even though this is often the kiss of death for families. We want MORE STUFF- even though it’s been proven again and again that after our basic needs our met- more stuff doesn’t make us happier. We collect and hoard and hold on tight to our money- even though we KNOW that giving feels better. We want to be smart- even though happiness and intelligence are inversely related. We  trade our time for cars and fancy clothes and shiny houses and then we realize all we’ve gained is more stress and higher bills- and in the end – we just want all that time back. Stuff that tastes good makes us feel bad, but we eat it anyway. We say things that feel good to “get off our chests” and we feel awful about it later. We want to become famous even though we know that fame destroys. We are desperate for perfectly “typical” kids even though parents with special needs kids consider them the biggest blessings of their lives. We avoid poverty even though God promises us the Kingdom is there. We avoid heartbreak by any means necessary even though that’s where the peace and connection and meaning is. We act like we are perfect even though nobody trusts perfect. We really want to be loved but choose being envied again and again.
I  receive oodles of emails (from non-religious folks) saying: “Why do you think you’re so broken? Why do you wallow in brokenness? You are WHOLE.” And (from religious folks) I often hear: “You need more Jesus. Jesus is all you need.”
But for goodness sake. Jesus promises not to leave us ALONE, he doesn’t promise not to leave us HUMAN. And to clarify – I don’t want to be “whole.” I want to be busted up and beautiful.  While I’m still here, I want to be FULLY HUMAN.
I talk about my addictions because everything beautiful in my life right now came out of the ugliness back then. And still does. I talk about my Lyme disease because I didn’t become strong and peaceful until I learned to surrender to my weakness and mania. I talk about my intolerance and jealousy and sadness and neurosis because those things make me HUMAN and I think that being a messy hypocritical, busted up human is a brutiful honor.
I talk about my flailing marriage because ( and a year ago I’d have ripped your well-meaning head off if you’d predicted this to me) the truth is that my marriage had to be shattered before it could be pieced back together
- See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/#sthash.oYzv43BL.dpuf

If you ask folks what their wildest dream is many would say: winning the lottery,  even though this is often the kiss of death for families. We want MORE STUFF- even though it’s been proven again and again that after our basic needs our met- more stuff doesn’t make us happier. We collect and hoard and hold on tight to our money- even though we KNOW that giving feels better. We want to be smart- even though happiness and intelligence are inversely related. We  trade our time for cars and fancy clothes and shiny houses and then we realize all we’ve gained is more stress and higher bills- and in the end – we just want all that time back. Stuff that tastes good makes us feel bad, but we eat it anyway. We say things that feel good to “get off our chests” and we feel awful about it later. We want to become famous even though we know that fame destroys. We are desperate for perfectly “typical” kids even though parents with special needs kids consider them the biggest blessings of their lives. We avoid poverty even though God promises us the Kingdom is there. We avoid heartbreak by any means necessary even though that’s where the peace and connection and meaning is. We act like we are perfect even though nobody trusts perfect. We really want to be loved but choose being envied again and again.
I  receive oodles of emails (from non-religious folks) saying: “Why do you think you’re so broken? Why do you wallow in brokenness? You are WHOLE.” And (from religious folks) I often hear: “You need more Jesus. Jesus is all you need.”
But for goodness sake. Jesus promises not to leave us ALONE, he doesn’t promise not to leave us HUMAN. And to clarify – I don’t want to be “whole.” I want to be busted up and beautiful.  While I’m still here, I want to be FULLY HUMAN.
I talk about my addictions because everything beautiful in my life right now came out of the ugliness back then. And still does. I talk about my Lyme disease because I didn’t become strong and peaceful until I learned to surrender to my weakness and mania. I talk about my intolerance and jealousy and sadness and neurosis because those things make me HUMAN and I think that being a messy hypocritical, busted up human is a brutiful honor.
I talk about my flailing marriage because ( and a year ago I’d have ripped your well-meaning head off if you’d predicted this to me) the truth is that my marriage had to be shattered before it could be pieced back together
- See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/#sthash.oYzv43BL.dpuf
If you ask folks what their wildest dream is many would say: winning the lottery,  even though this is often the kiss of death for families. We want MORE STUFF- even though it’s been proven again and again that after our basic needs our met- more stuff doesn’t make us happier. We collect and hoard and hold on tight to our money- even though we KNOW that giving feels better. We want to be smart- even though happiness and intelligence are inversely related. We  trade our time for cars and fancy clothes and shiny houses and then we realize all we’ve gained is more stress and higher bills- and in the end – we just want all that time back. Stuff that tastes good makes us feel bad, but we eat it anyway. We say things that feel good to “get off our chests” and we feel awful about it later. We want to become famous even though we know that fame destroys. We are desperate for perfectly “typical” kids even though parents with special needs kids consider them the biggest blessings of their lives. We avoid poverty even though God promises us the Kingdom is there. We avoid heartbreak by any means necessary even though that’s where the peace and connection and meaning is. We act like we are perfect even though nobody trusts perfect. We really want to be loved but choose being envied again and again.
I  receive oodles of emails (from non-religious folks) saying: “Why do you think you’re so broken? Why do you wallow in brokenness? You are WHOLE.” And (from religious folks) I often hear: “You need more Jesus. Jesus is all you need.”
But for goodness sake. Jesus promises not to leave us ALONE, he doesn’t promise not to leave us HUMAN. And to clarify – I don’t want to be “whole.” I want to be busted up and beautiful.  While I’m still here, I want to be FULLY HUMAN.
I talk about my addictions because everything beautiful in my life right now came out of the ugliness back then. And still does. I talk about my Lyme disease because I didn’t become strong and peaceful until I learned to surrender to my weakness and mania. I talk about my intolerance and jealousy and sadness and neurosis because those things make me HUMAN and I think that being a messy hypocritical, busted up human is a brutiful honor.
I talk about my flailing marriage because ( and a year ago I’d have ripped your well-meaning head off if you’d predicted this to me) the truth is that my marriage had to be shattered before it could be pieced back together
- See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/#sthash.oYzv43BL.dpuf