So, where to begin... I've been awed by the response of this blog post. And I've also received a couple of private emails (not uncommon in blogland) regarding personal opinion and thoughts about this touchy subject. I received this one email in particular from a friend/reader the other day and it was late when I read through it. It was profound. I re-read it the next morning over coffee to digest it more. And then read it again before responding to her and asked her permission to publish it here. Her words hit me, on many levels.
Thanks girl, for writing me privately (and Bethany and Rhonda.) Mrs. J, you will soon have the power and will to publish your thoughts openly and without fear or regret. I'll highlight her thoughts that really hit home and gave me great comfort. I'm sure you'll find her writing to be as wonderful and articulate as I have. And the post goes to you, Mrs. J!
Typically, I would comment on your blog. But, unlike you, I have a hard time totally revealing myself so publicly for fear of being misunderstood. So, I chose to email you.
I commend your bravery. And, I understand your frustration. This is a struggle for me as well. Yet, I admire your willingness to see this as a mission/goal/calling to serve others. My grandfather used to say to me, "Don't do. Be." I know this makes me sound 85. But, it's something I have held onto. And, it's something that has helped me not glorify my material surroundings, but see them as a challenge to be an even better me! You struck such a chord with me when you were talking about the leader of the group at church and his philosophy of the more you do-the more you get. "Hell no!" I couldn't agree more! Our relationship with God or our spouses or our children comes from within. Sure, it may start with going to church as kids, getting those great seats at a game to see his favorite team when you first start dating, or making heart-shaped pancakes for our kids for breakfast. These "deeds" certainly start a relationship. They even keep it fun along the way. But, they are a display of something much deeper-our be-ing. Because we are compassionate, because we are sensitive, because we are caring, because we are mindful, because we are generous, because we are filled with His spirit, we do these things. The shit end of it all is that those in third world or war torn countries are also all those things. And, they still do similar acts of love for their loved ones in whatever way they can! More good deeds=more blessed-not so fast!
SO, the question I struggle with is are we "worse" than they are because we don't struggle in the same way? I don't think so. I think your struggle (and mine) is to be. Even with all the "things" around us-all these "blessings." I am NOT ungrateful. But, I know that my "blessings" mean that I have a greater responsibility to those without. I know that my insides better shine through even more because they can be easily shadowed by all this stuff and that'd be a shame! So, I choose to be. I choose to be in the present at every moment looking for the lighted path where my insides can shine just a bit brighter than my house or clothes or cute shoes. And, only when I am, through quiet actions, do I really feel that I am on the right path and living up to God's expectations of me and fulfilling His purpose. In my ever-so-humble opinion the compassionate part of you that shines through when you blog about Charity water is just as important as the passionate part of you that shines through when you blog about Twilight. Both of these are pieces of Him in you! And, again in my ever-so-humble opinion, you'd be restricting God's greatness if you only allowed one to shine and not the other!
OK-that's all the vomit I have. I hope you read this and can hear my understanding, my compassion for your hearts struggles, and my support of your bravery and ability to use this as an opportunity! I commend you to the n'th degree! And, I find myself, again, learning from you and being challenged by you to rise up to the occasion.
*this wonderful woman shouldn't have written any compliments to me, they're undeserved, but very humbling. it's truly amazing when we can help a stranger and they you*
To just "be." It's a hard one to swallow when you're confused. I'm still struggling with what that means for me. I think that it means action, to make more of a difference. I'll NEVER change the world, never expected to. I do put pressure on myself when I see a problem. And if I cannot solve it I start to internalize it and feel like a failure on some weird level. I get that. I don't need to feed the world.
It doesn't need to be all or nothing. Black or white, I can participate without being a charter member of greenpeace or a UN ambassador, right? There is a middle?? I can be in the middle.
Mrs. J, Thank you for the reminder to just BE. I will try to just BE.
P.S. You don't think for a second that I don't applaud her for giving me a pass and reason to be a Twilight addict, do you?? C'mon... She's Brilliant!