Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This time of year I feel so abandoned by the sun. 

Dramatic.  I know.  It’s true though.  I take winter personally.

I hate to be cold.  Hate it.  And I know that I’m destined to feel like this until about mid May.  Maybe even June.  Bummer.

I am already planning my future as a snowbird.  It might happen sooner than later, because Sweet Pea informed me tonight that she’s going to go to college in Hawaii.  Smart girl.  Why didn’t I think of that?


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Forgiveness has been thematic in my life lately.  It’s been the subject of no fewer than three homilies at church over the last several weeks.  It’s on countless Facebook memes, and there’s a new Matthew West song that’s not so subtly titled, “Forgiveness” getting a lot of play on the radio right now.  (That song just started right now as I finish up posting this.)

I like that.  I am so on board with not carrying around anger and hatred in your heart.  Forgive!  Move on!  Choose Love!  Whooohooo.
Sooo easy for me to say.  I have never experienced the loss of a loved one through someone else’s negligence.  I’ve never experienced betrayal in my marriage.  I’ve never been abused by someone who was supposed to love me, or experienced violence at the hands of another.  When bad things happen to me it’s usually along the lines of rude driving or poor customer service.  Yup.  Super easy for me to forgive the transgressions that happen to your average…boring…suburban mom.  (Thank goodness!)

But then again this is my blog, so indulge me a little introspection. 
I got REALLY mad a few weeks ago. (Details not significant.) So super mad that I was crying and shaking - quite frankly I scared the crap out of myself.  Fast forward 12 hours to me swallowing my pride and sending a sincere note of apology to the person I was mad at. (Not gonna lie, it was kind of hard to do.  I was embarrassed.  And probably still a little mad.)  Immediate reply, they were sorry too.  The huge wave of relief that swept over me made me start thinking about the other times in my life that I have felt justifiably angry, and whether or not I have experienced that same release of anger and forgiveness that I forced myself to experience this time. 

I would love to say yes.  And in a lot of ways I think that’s totally true.  I don’t hold grudges.  I can’t think of a single person that I feel anger toward right at this moment. 
But here’s where I think I’ve created a little golden loophole for myself.  Forgive?  Yes.  Forget? Nope.

I firmly believe that if someone shows you who they really are, you should believe them.  We would never encourage a victim of sexual abuse to invite their abuser over for brunch.  Even if that person was rehabilitated and sorry for the horror and havoc they wrecked in the victims life.  Which, incidentally, isn’t really a requirement for forgiveness.  We’re called to forgive even those who don’t deserve it.
So it’s perfectly acceptable to forgive someone, let go of the anger, move on, and still have NOTHING to do with that person ever again.  It’s not only acceptable, sometimes that’s the smart and healthy way to approach things.  Maybe it's not that drastic.  Maybe you just keep that person at arms length.  Forgiveness doesn't have to come with a full access pass to your heart. 

What I’m wondering, is if maybe there are a couple of instances in my life where I’ve created this self preservation situation to get around the whole forgiveness thing. 
So what’s the litmus test?  I’ve tried to conjure up someone specific to be the poster child for my quest for true forgiveness.  So I’ve dredged up some painful adolescent memories.  Mean girl crap.  I’ve got a face I can put on all that.  (Unfortunately.)  When I picture this person I don’t feel anger or hatred, or even dislike.  I don’t feel like I want anything but the best for her.  I am absolutely focused on how everyone grows up and changes, and maybe that person had horrible things happening in her life that caused her to act like that, etc. etc. etc.  Or maybe not.  Maybe she grew up to be an angry, bitter, entitled, nasty human.  Either way, I carry no ill will.  She is forgiven.  And if we never ever ever ever ever run into each other on the street for as long as we live, that’s totally cool with me!  J

So.  Um.  What does that mean?
This is the Matthew West song, just in case you need to hear that right now.  :)


Friday, November 09, 2012

I totally get that this ranty post is going to make me sound like an old lady.  I have these moments where I think to myself, when did I get so conservative?  When did I get so prude?
And then I remember that it’s not that I’ve gotten conservative, it’s that pop culture has gotten super skanky.  S.U.P.E.R. skanky.  Ugh. 
So here goes…
I am sick to death of not being able to turn on the radio in my car without having to monitor every song for language and content.  At first I did this for my kids.  It’s pretty mortifying to hear your 8 year old daughter singing gleefully about brushing her teeth with a bottle of jack, sippin syzzurp in her ride, or her Friday night escapades including a ménage a trois.  Not just mortifying, sad.  Seriously sad.  I do not want my third grader thinking that adult life looks like an episode of Jersey Shore.  I don’t want her to approach relationships with as much respect as you’d give two humping dogs.
But now, even when I’m alone in the car I turn the radio off.  I can’t stand to listen to women, relationships, marriage, and sex being degraded and demoralized in song after song.   I am not a nameless conquest, or a brainless set of boobs.  My relationships involve more than dysfunction, alcoholism, and sex with virtual strangers.  Being told over and over by artists too crass/stupid/young to know better that my worth in the world is directly related to how well I can shake my ass makes me want to pack up and move far, far away from pop culture.
I’m NOT overly conservative.  I’m NOT a prude.  But what happened to subtlety?  Moderation?  And having a modicum of respect?  Case in point, there’s that new Maroon 5 song “One More Night.”  The lyrics are vague enough that I had myself convinced it was more about a tortured love affair than a booty call.  Ok, maybe I wasn’t convinced, but that’s how I was choosing to interpret it.  I’m driving home from school with both kids in the car and the new version “feat. Cee Lo” comes on.  Have you heard this?  Don’t bother.  It adds about 45 second to the middle song where Captain Obvious spells out in detail how the whole draw to this otherwise hateful beast of a woman is the ease at which he can get into her pants.  Sort of another rendition of, “The B!#$% is Crazy But I Like the Way She @#$%! Me.”  (Yup.  That’s a real song too.  Aren’t we so proud?)  Thanks Cee Lo.  No, really.  We needed that extra clarification to really understand the crux of the message.  It’s so. much. clearer. to me now: Instant gratification beats emotional stability and happiness every time.  It must be fun living in your world. 
I have spent the better part of my 38 years on this earth wishing that I had enough musical talent to write a song.  Or sing a song (who cares who wrote it!) well enough that other people wanted to hear me sing it.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Wouldn’t it be an amazing gift to bring something like a new song into the world?  So CONGRATULATIONS  Florida, for using your unique talent to give humanity the blowjob song.  I bet your grandma is so proud. 
That song might have been the nail in the coffin for me.  My radio if permanently OFF of secular music.  We have two great Christian music stations in town that play contemporary, pop, and alternative music with a good message.  It’s not like the slightly whiny, ballad-y Christian rock of the 1990’s.  (No offence Michael W. Smith.  But I can only tolerate “Friends are Friends Forever” at sorority reunions.)  So from now on, it’s Air 1, or CD’s approved by me.  Taylor Swift, you’re in.  Justin Bieber, so far you can stay too. Katy Perry, I’ve got my eye on you…