God and I are fine
What’s that phrase? “The road to hell is paved with good intentions…”Well I don’t know what I think about the concept of hell, but that aside, this quote seems to exemplify an issue I have been experiencing lately.
Dear reader, let me ask you a question: if someone has to use the word “judge” multiple times in a letter to you, a letter that is to serve the purpose of reiterating to you just how much the writer is not judging you, what message would you get?
Maybe that sounds a bit convoluted. Allow me to back up a little…
So, as a child I was exceptionally religious. I was a born and raised catholic girl. “No sex before marriage,” blue skirt, white button shirt, church on Wednesday and Sunday; the whole shebang. In high school I attended, and later ran, every type of Catholic retreat I could get my hands on. Jesus was the lover of my soul and he was enough for me etc. etc. However, the church burned me, and some of the people I loved the most. And now, for multitude of reasons, I am no longer Catholic. As of more recently, I wouldn’t even consider myself Christian.
People who have met me recently find it hard to believe I was ever that girl. The opposite is true for the people I was raised with. It is difficult, it seems, for people to conceptualize that I am still the same beautiful soul ( if not more beautiful because I am more free) as I was growing up. It is difficult, shocking even, as I have been told, the night and day difference between who I was and who I am now. The reality is though, that I have always been the person I am now. I was always bi-sexual (born that way), I was always liberal at heart ( though my family and social situation did not allow for it), and most certainly, always an activist and curious about learning.
It saddens me that some people who once knew me, are unable to see how beautiful my life is now, to see how happy and free I am. I don’t need to be saved, or brought back to the church- nothing is wrong with me- I am not deficient- I am not lacking- I am perfectly me.
I was once on the opposite side of this story. I used religion to judge my friends and tell them they needed to return from their sinfulness. I did it with good intentions- but that doesn’t make it ok. Just like it is not ok now to send me a letter to let me know just how much you aren’t judging me. I don’t need your condescension ( but I do have some suggestions of where you can put it) .
Perhaps, my new life does not thrill everyone, perhaps it makes you uncomfortable- good thing it’s my life and not yours. Maybe we could all stop talking about how much we are not judging each other, and actually practice non-judgment.
I am all for everyone having their own truth- to the extend that it doesn’t infringe on the truth of another.
So, what I am saying is back off of my truth– it’s mine and it works for me, my husband, and my daughter.
One more observation: this letter I recently received, concluded with the reminder that the writer would pray for me. I found this off putting to say the least. Though extending prayers to someone may be done in kindness- it is first appropriate to ask someone if they would want prayers- or if they even believe in prayer.
I believe in prayer, but not in the conventional way. I believe in the power of good thoughts and of sending kindness. I also believe that the spirit of how something is said is even more important than what is said.
So, if you want to pray for me- ask me first. And if your prayers come with wishes for my conversion, or are doused in a fair amount of judgment or condescension- feel free to skip sending those my way.
Well, actually one more observation: I am becoming more and more aware of the words I use, and the words others use when speaking to me. One of the terms I have the most difficult time with, is the concept of being “called” to do something. I find it hard to believe that “God” calls anyone to say anything to another person out of judgement. I used to use this term in a self righteous way to push my truth onto other people. It took me a long time to see what I was doing. I think that saying that we are called to do something is just a way to hide behind God. Perhaps you think you don’t look nearly as mean if you say something awful in a nice tone because God told you to- oh wait- no you still do. If you feel the need to say something to me please have the courtesy to tell me yourself- I am not interested in what you think God wants to tell me. God and I are fine.