Monthly Archives: August 2013

Oxymoronic


Basking in  the sun
and gentle lapping of waves
while I work online

deeworkcanada

 

**a small ‘blip’ in vacation … back to fun/sun/sea/& ‘see’ 😉

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Church Doubt

This morning I went to church.  This is not something I normally do but I wished for a break from my brain.  I find it oddly soothing to participate in something so ingrained that I do not need to think.  I was brought up Catholic but I have not been a practicing Catholic for many, many years.  I’ve occasionally attempted to figure out what I am, what I believe, how I roll.  I laughingly refer to my religious ideals as Pantheistic Solipsism, an idea I have unabashedly stolen from RA Heinlein’s works.

Regardless of my religious leanings, I went to church this morning to get a break from my mind.  I was determined to be functional for this small part of my day while offering myself the peace and serenity of not thinking.  It was a spectacular failure.

I intended to visit the Catholic Church but did not remember the time and arrived late.  I walked down the street and found another church about to begin service.  Mentally shrugging my shoulders, I went inside.

It was an enormous church with colorfully stained glass windows; renaissance décor throughout the nave and apse; high, swooping ceilings complete in gleaming wood.  As I mentally cataloged the many points of beauty, service began.  The loud but technically inept musicians commenced and were presently joined by a number of unselfconscious yet spectacularly off-key singers.  In a discordantly cacophonous counterpoint, a small child embarked on a round of keening displeasure.

This is not the reason this service was a failure.

I went for solace and encountered a homily so pointedly relevant it cut through me like a knife.

Between the reading from Isaiah 5:1-7 and the sermon given by the pastor, I found not solace but heartache.  The sermon recounted a retreat, a bringing together of people wishing to pray, talk, and rejoice in their faith.

During retreat, the pastor chanced to be praying with a young woman who expressed her faith as something less than complete.  She was asking others to pray so she could go beyond her 90% certainty and believe with no doubts.  The pastor asserted that a 10% doubt should not be considered bad.  The doubt allows us to examine all the wonderfulness of our situation, to be thankful for that which we have.  The doubt allows us to be stronger as we turn away the uncertainty which attempts to wreck our harmony.

The contention was that everyone has doubts and that this is not awful.  It is difficult to have and/or maintain complete certainty about those things which we would love to be completely and unerringly certain.

From what I understood, it seems that complete certainty is not really the ideal.  The point was that a small portion of doubt can make the remainder even more precious.  The doubt gives us cause and opportunity to itemize the good, reflect, enjoy, and be thankful.

The caution is that you do not let doubt cause you to see or begin to itemize the bad in what you want or believe.  Do not let it create a wedge between you and your belief.  Do not allow the doubt to turn you away, piece by broken piece.  Take the reservations and use them to shore up and strengthen that which you already feel.

I came away thinking – which, if you remember, was the antitheses of my goal.

I did, however, think.  I think there is much truth here, that it is beyond difficult to believe in anything 100%, all the time.  Even those things which I like to think that I believe in totally, I sometimes question.  I do not like to show my doubt or give it much consideration but it does remain, in whatever small form, always a part of everything of which I can think.

I’ve not mentally come across any one thing that I have ever, truly, unshakably, undeniably been so completely certain that I never doubted.

According to the pastor, I guess that’s a good thing.

 

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Ripple Effect

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I find that I am beyond willing to put the needs and the desires of others before my own.  I inherently feel that if everyone is willing to put others before themselves, then the greatest needs will be met with the greatest amount of cooperation and abilities.

Perhaps this, which I consider my biggest strength, is also my biggest weakness.

I am not a saint.  I have a breaking point in this thinking.  I can put others ahead of me for unknown amounts of time, perhaps indefinitely, but only if I feel the recipient of my helpfulness, my benevolence, my capitulation is aware of my sacrifice and ultimately has my best interests at heart.  That is not to say that I am unwilling to help or do for others without recompense or even recognition, but long term or extreme acts of putting someone before all else need to carry with it not only the belief that I am doing the correct thing, but also the knowledge that the person somehow understands that I am sacrificing my own good will in deference to theirs.

This sounds egotistical and I do not mean it in that regard.

I am not talking about making sacrifices for some unknown persona, or for some finite course of action which will greatly benefit an individual or group.  What I am speaking of is the give and take of a mature relationship, be it friendly, business, cooperative, or (most importantly) between lovers.

Most everyone has experienced the boss from hell.  There are people in positions of authority that invite nothing but irritation, discontent, and derision from their underlings.  These are the bosses that have nothing but negative comments, orders, and complaints for the people working for them.  It is an uneasy alliance that does nothing to promote loyalty.

On the other hand, it can be a pleasure to work for the person who recognizes effort and hard work.  An offer of kinds words in difficult situations or compliments for outstanding achievements create a mutual feeling of respect and common goals.  These bosses may be demanding yet appreciative and the people working for them tend to respond well to their governance.

Personal relationships flourish in the same way.

A relationship is not about keeping score or detailing sacrifices.  Life happens and as it does, there will be periods where one person is the recipient of the majority of the mutual efforts or to whose wishes are catered to or granted more often.  There are needs of the individual as well as needs of the couple.  The balance can be off for extended periods of time – time in which one half of the couple receives the lion’s share of the resources.

A couple’s resources are many.  Resources can be financial and emotional and they consist of two people’s sum of knowledge, physical strength, and endurance.  When one half of a couple falters, there is another to share their strength.  When one requires help, they have a partner in life.  The term ‘helpmeet’ came into usage in the 1600’s to refer to one’s partner, helpmate, or companion.  Generally speaking, a helpmeet, or helpmate is just that, one’s partner in life, someone there through love and commitment and willing to add their resources to another’s for the benefit of each other and the common good.

Sometimes the resources of one partner outshine the other.  Sometimes the person behind the scene is making the cogs run smoothly, shoring up the flagging post, and helping the world continue to turn.  We should not only do our damnedest to help our partners (as well as others) but we should remember to recognize and appreciate their sacrifices in their quest for our victories.  I truly believe in the little things in life.  Smiles and sweet nothings, spoken love and silly secrets, small surprises and spoken thanks.  It takes just a moment of our time to remember each other, a few minutes spent to show our love and appreciation.  A small acknowledgement can make even the largest efforts seem not only worthwhile but ripple4 can generate a happy glow.  Like a stone dropped into the water, a surprisingly little thing can ripple outward to create something beyond spectacular.

I invite you to tell me of your helpmate and share your story of their sacrifice.  It does not need to be a major sacrificial act or something out of the ordinary.  Sometimes, the little sacrifices we make for each other mean the most and generate the biggest smiles.

Peace ~♥~