I am generally a happy person. I love to laugh, to sing, to tell and hear jokes…life is so good! I am a grateful lady. In fact, the first thing I say *every morning* after “Good morning!” to the hubby is “Thank you, God. For another day, and another chance to be my Highest Self”. When someone asks how I am, instead of “fine” or “good”, mine is “Grateful as always!” And then I try to *be* those things. I try to do better today than I did yesterday. And I strive to be grateful for every. single. thing.
And I am grateful. Grateful for a “day job” that, when combined with the hubby’s day job, pays the bills; grateful for children who choose to make a positive difference every day in their adult lives; grateful for a husband who lets me have a meltdown on occasion and still says I’m beautiful after I ugly cry. I’m especially grateful to know a Heavenly Father who loves each of us unconditionally.
I was raised in a Christian household, although I no longer subscribe to a particular religion. If you’d like to know why, it’s because I’ve read the New Testament. I’m not a scholar, and won’t participate in a “scripture battle” with anyone … but I know that Jesus taught LOVE and ACCEPTANCE, and that mainstream Christianity seems to be moving farther and farther away from that.
I’m used to hearing about “extremist” religious behavior; that’s always been a thing. When I was younger there were a few ‘preachers’, usually with a big audience, who cherry-picked the Bible to instill “faith” (read: “fear”) in others. They talk about a god who loves us unconditionally – as long as we meet HIS conditions – and then proceed to denounce those who don’t agree, say that “they” are evil (but God will save you if you do what *I* say!), and sentence them to Hell. I can’t be the only person who sees the irony in all of this. And when the beloved religion in which I was raised jumped publicly into the Exclusion (and political) fray, well, I had to leave.
I heard a story once where Jesus approached a man in a dream and asked “What have you done with My name?” The man thought and thought, went over a list of a few good deeds, but realized quickly that he didn’t really have an answer. And then his visitor was gone.
I don’t have an answer, either, except to say “I love You. I try every day to be like You. I feel as if I know You, and I am proud of that. I strive to love others as You love me (Some days are more difficult, but I genuinely try!). I try to forgive myself and others as You forgive each of us daily. I work to help You be as proud to be my friend as I am to be yours. I love You. Thank You for everything! May I give You a hug?”
I am tired. Tired of “Us and Them” Tired of “Fear means power”. Tired of hate being championed instead of discouraged. Tired of trust being destroyed by rumors instead of fact. Tired, in this age of information, of people choosing to believe lies instead of searching for the truth. Tired of people using my friend Jesus’ name to commit unspeakable acts of exclusion and cruelty. Do they really think that Jesus will return to a world in which He is not welcome? He did that once. Look how that turned out.
Did it ever occur to the people preaching about the “End of Days” that what they call prophecies might actually be *warnings*? Because that’s what I understand them to be.
So I’m going to live my days as if Jesus meant what He said: I’m going to love and forgive and do the best I can, making sure that I don’t lose ME in the process. I am going to continue to be a cheerleader for others who are also doing their best. I will celebrate your success. I will mourn your loss. I have chosen LOVE. I’m tired. But I’m here.
And who knows? Maybe Jesus will come and save us again. Based on what I know about the man, He appears to think that we’re worth it. He and His Father do, after all, love each of us UNCONDITIONALLY.
(NOTE: Unconditionally means you don’t have to do anything, they love you no matter what.)
As do I.