May 302012
 

 

 “He drew a circle that shut me out
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win
We drew a circle that brought him in.” – Edwin Markham

 

 

Jared  says:

I’m not so sure it’s brave to write a post that seems mostly meant for shock value and link bait. And just so happens to be on the hot button topic of the day….

 

 

Dear Jared,

Actually this post has been brewing for two years. I believe it’s my sixth post about gays and the Church . . . an issue that – hot or not –  is dear to me. I finally posted this essay in direct response to last week’s news story that had me in tears – about a preacher who said, from the pulpit, that gay people should be put inside electrical fences and left to starve to death. As I watched this pastor spew hate and fear, what hit me first was the calls of agreement and laughter from the congregation. What hit me next and hardest was my absolute certainty that there was at least one precious child sitting in one of those pews, knowing he or she was gay, listening to his or her preacher condemn him or her to death, and watching her parents nod in ascension. In the name of Jesus. I thought of that little one dying inside, knowing once and forever that she was not loved. Not by her God, not by her parents, not by her community. Learning right then and there that because of the way God made her, she would have to choose between loving who she was made to love and the acceptance of everyone in her little world.

I did not want to give the fearful pastor any more press by writing directly about him, but I felt strongly that for each action of fear and exclusion there should be an equal and opposite reaction of love and acceptance. And I decided it was my responsibility to use my platform to offer this reaction. I wrote this post for gay children and adults, just as one more piece of evidence that the tide is turning, and that there are Christians who believe Jesus loves them just as they are. And that these desperate, hate and fear filled folks who always seem to make it to the evening news, are the last, desperate gasps of a dying era. I believe wholeheartedly that soon, very soon, homophobia will be understood to be about as Christian as racism.

Jared, I already have a very large, loyal, and beautiful following and a second book deal with an incredible publisher. I am not into shock value or “link bait.” I’ve never even encountered the term “link bait” until you wrote it to me. I’ve never once advertised or promoted this little blog ANYWHERE, in the four years I’ve been writing it. My writing priority is not the growth of this blog, but my own personal growth.

I predicted I’d lose readers with yesterday’s post and I did. I predicted I’d receive hate mail and I have. The last twenty four hours have been very, very hard for me, as I knew they would. Posting this essay was a LIABILITY to my writing career, and I was advised as much. But the first post I ever wrote about this subject was titled “A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On,” and I meant that. I’d rather watch my writing career go up in smoke than stay silent on a subject about which I feel led to sing about from the mountaintops.

Jared- obviously, I’m not “right.” I guarantee that none of us is. But if I’m going to err, it’s going to be on the side of love and inclusion. And I’m prepared to have that conversation with my maker. I believe He/She/They know that I am doing the very, very best I can down here to find the downtrodden and forgotten and lift them up anyway I know how. We interpret and understand scripture differently. All of us do…every single last one of us does. To read or listen is to interpret.We do not see scripture or the world AS IT IS, we see it through the filter of who we are.

But if it helps- there is a scene in the Bible during which the disciples become concerned and angry because someone is trying to “drive out demons in Jesus’ name.” They say to Jesus, “We tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” Jesus answers- “Do not stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.” *

I might not be one of you – a “traditional Christian” – whatever that means. But I am not against you. I am just trying to follow the most important commandments- to love God with my whole soul, heart and mind – and to love my neighbor as myself. I am struggling and wrestling with scripture daily with my whole mind, soul and heart. I am considering that if I were my neighbor, if I were gay, I would want the option to love Jesus and I would want to know that He loved me, just as I am. And I would would want a straight, Christian woman to write the essays that I write. I would want someone from the “inside” to look at things from the “outside.”

And I write because although my position is clearly infuriating to many people today, I believe it will leave me on the right side of history. I believe what I’m doing is worth all this time and energy and difficulty. So I believe I am standing where God put me. Perhaps you are, too, Jared. I will not accuse you of anything less, nor attack your motives or heart or interpretations or understandings.

We do the best we can, in the name of Love.

I am a follower of Jesus, and maybe following looks different for each of us. Maybe some of us run and some of us skip and some of us mosey around and walk in circles for awhile and some of us take two steps forward and forty steps back. Maybe some of us just sit down and think for awhile, and come up with a hell of a lot of questions.

I believe that in my spiritual walk, I am allowed as many questions as I need. And I ask them and try my best to answer them here, because this is my blog, and my special place to think and pray and love and heal.

God Bless You, Jared.
G

 “If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.” – William Wilberforce

 

*Luke 9: 49-50

 

 

May 122012
 

For My Mama, Tisha

 

 

Never before have I been more excited to hit this blank page and reach out to each of you precious Monkees. This is because just like I love having written and having parented, I really love Having Flash Mobbed. PHEW. It’s done. Love Flash Mob Week is intense. Mostly for the Monkee “behind the scenes” Team – Lou, Sister, and Amy. Lou is the head of Monkee See Monkee Do. She is in constant contact with the families for MONTHS before the mob, then she and Sister execute the plan after the mob is done. Now they will spend hours upon hours haggling with van dealers to get the best possible deal for our beloved families. Their work has JUST BEGUN. Behind every magical thing is a hell of a lot of work. FAITH AND SWEAT. Kristi- I need that sign, please. Heard it in a country song, and it’s one of my life mottos. Reminds me of the tension we live in, the tension between working and resting, Being Still and Here I Am-ing! And/Both. Life’s gotta be And/Both. Faith and Sweat.

Anyway, this “team”- Lou, Sister, Amy (computer guru), Allison (creative cat), Liz (businessy person who knows letters like 403BC) and Melissa (head of international Monkee Tribes -coming your way soon! Do you have a Tribe you’d like to create in your community? We’re preparing the tools you’ll need to create your own Monkee group!) work SO hard and they work for nothing. I hope and pray that someday they WILL get paid for their Momastery work, but for now- I just send them bananas every once in a while, and they seem to stay happy. I just want to say THANK YOU, thank you, thank you to them. THANK YOU.

 

**Now I shall to reveal to you my secret motivation for Flash Mobbing. Hint- it’s not really for the recipients of our money and gifts. A little, but not really. Here’s what the Mobs are really about. Here’s a comment from Jenner:

I am embarrassed to admit that I usually don’t donate money. My family struggles so much to make ends meet that my excuse has always been that there was nothing we could spare. What little I could give would be meaningless. But momastery is changing me. It’s making me realize that I am not the only one out there who struggles. That we all need to stick together and help each other out from time to time. And that maybe that little bit that I CAN sacrifice might be bigger than I realize. So this time, I donated. And I must say I felt so much joy and freedom clicking that button. I think you’ve started something in me, Glennon. Thank you for that.  – Jenner

Jenner-
You just described  the magic of the Flash Mob. Because YOU are what this is really about.  It’s for the givers. It’s for all of us to learn how powerful we each are, how much we have to offer even with the little we have. We are all in bits and pieces and when we offer our bits and pieces -MASTERPIECES are created!!!!
Bless you – LOVE!!

 

That’s why we have the $25 limit. Because we want to emphasize that it doesn’t matter WHAT you give, just THAT you give.

Last week, I was so sick. I was in bed all day and barely had the energy to stand. I hadn’t seen my babies all day. At bedtime, Tish walked in to my bedroom and stood by my bed. I didn’t have it in me to say much, but I smiled, and hugged her big. And she smiled back and said “I love you, mama.” And then she left. I didn’t have the resources at that moment to offer her much, but I offered what I had, and it was ENOUGH. Enough to make a difference to her and to me.  I rested in that. What I have is enough to keep and enough to share. Even if it seems like I have just a little teeny bit. I just have to trust that what God has given me is enough for me and enough to share. I have to remind myself that these resources I secretly believe are scarce – love, hope, energy, money –  they’re really not. They’re renewable resources.

And so giving isn’t just for rich people or Tigger-like fundraising folks. It’s for all of us. Giving and receiving are not scary burdens, they are our purposes down here. Identifying our resources and letting them flow into us and back out…in and back out- allowing ourselves to be nothing but vessels of love and hope and energy, in and out. Accepting blessings and then letting them go . . . Not wasting the precious gift of energy by hoarding, by holding on too tight. That’s the stuff. Accepting blessings and then Letting them GO. Freedom. And when you start to trust this process, you become less afraid. Love casts out fear. What that scripture means to me is: When you let go whatever it is you are most afraid to let go , you learn the law of nature, God’s law of love, whatever you want to call it. It all returns to you ten-fold. It returns to you, in renewed hope or that power and joy that Jenner described. You learn that this is the LAW of this place we live in. Science/God same- same.  It’s just how things were designed.  Risk free giving. Everything inside of us or given to us is a renewable resource. For a perfect example- check this out.

And so we do these Mobs and we limit the donations because we need to remind ourselves that this world is OURS to change. Little by little, together. No offering, no matter how small is wasted. I’m not convinced that the SIZE of the offering has anything at all to do with its power. Remember the widow’s mite? Offer what you have. Sometimes, it’s a smile. Sometimes, that’s all you’ve got. And that is ENOUGH.

I think we get paralyzed by the needs of this world because they are so many and we think we can’t even make a dent, so we retreat. But we must remember the starfish story. A Monkee is walking down the shore picking up starfish and throwing them one at a time back in to the sea. An old woman walks up and says “Honey- You can’t possibly save all of them. There are thousands of starfish here! Millions! Do you really think you can make a difference?” And that sassy little Monkee leaned over, picked up a starfish and threw her gently into the surf. She looked up at the old woman and said, “I made a difference to that one.”

When people suggest that the world can’t be changed, I don’t think they understand.  Because “the world” is just how each person perceives the world to be. So didn’t we “change the world” for Claudia? For Mindy? For Jenner? Of course we did. When you change ONE PERSON’S beliefs about the world, you change the world. Period and forever.

“Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” Yes. And let us not forget, that the first person we do for is OURSELVES. We CANNOT spill out until we are filled. First things first. We must find a way to fill ourselves.  Read, write, sing, run, practice yoga, knit, pray, socialize, hide, go to therapy, buy some shoes . . . identify the thing that fills you up and do that thing for a while. Then you’ll be ready to throw starfish. And if your whole entire life, you just throw ONE starfish -that is enough. I am sure of it. If your whole entire life, you just throw one starfish -you have helped to heal the world, and I am certain that’s what we were put here to do. Not to FIX the world. Just to help heal it and ourselves, a little gentle teeny bit. And you know what- maybe you ARE the starfish.  And if you are- your job is just to make it back to the water. Or to allow yourself to be thrown.

 

So – Mother’s Day is tomorrow. The Love Flash  Mob was preparation for tomorrow.

Mother’s day is an easy day for me. I have a mother who is as close to an angel as they come.  She is by my side, literally or figuratively, every second of every day. She believes that there is NOTHING I can’t do. I have three healthy kids, so far. As far as mothering goes, tomorrow is uncomplicated for me.

But I have learned that for most folks, tomorrow is NOT uncomplicated. Because there are Monkees who have mommies that are gone. Or were never there. Or were there, but hurt them. There are Monkees whose older children are lost to depression or addiction. Whose young children are sick and not getting better. Whose children have died. Who have spent decades trying but haven’t had their children yet. There are Monkee adoptive mamas who lost their adoptions this year. There are birth mamas who gave birth and then offered another woman the ultimate gift and went home empty- armed.  There are Monkees who this very year, gave birth to babies who were already gone.

Mother’s day is brutal for many people, and I’m not going to be able to change that here. I’m just hoping that acknowledging it will help a bit.

I do want to try to explain my evolving definition of the word Mother. I am starting to understand that the word works better for me as a verb than a noun. Mothering is a choice we make, like loving is a choice.  We do not need to have given birth or to have signed adoption papers to Mother. To Mother, to me, means to nurture. To heal, to help grow, to give. And so anyone and everyone who is involved in the healing of the world is a Mother.  Anyone who tends to a child, or friend, or stranger, or animal or garden is a Mother. Anyone who tends to Life is a Mother. Tomorrow is a celebration of all the healers and hopers and lovers and givers and tend-ers.  In other words- tomorrow is for every single one of you Monkees.

And if your mother did her best but it wasn’t good enough. Or if she didn’t even try… I think you need a mother anyway. I think we all need one. And so I think what we have to do is create that mother, that one we always wanted and needed. We need to change her voice from critical and hurtful to encouraging and kind. We need to create that woman who loves us above all others, who will catch us when we fall, who will soothe us and tell us that It Is Going To Be Allright. We must find the most encouraging, loving, forgiving, adoring voice we can imagine and put it in our hearts. And then we need to practice listening for Her voice. We must check in with that voice several times a day until her voice drowns out all the others. If we have not been mothered well, we need to mother ourselves well. It IS hard, near impossible, but we can do impossible things. The most important person to Mother is ourselves. Let’s celebrate that tomorrow, too. Let’s celebrate the Art of Mothering  - tending to ourselves and those around us –  whomever those may be.

I love you, Monkees. Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for making dreams come true with me this week.

Love,

G

May 032012
 

*This one’s for Laura and her Sister. I forgive you, and I’m sorry, too.

 

 

 

 

“On Sunday morning, the gospel choir would walk by my cottage in their robes, singing Oh shout it out! The first time I heard them, I ran to the front porch in my bathrobe and started crying. They pulled children in wagons, their voices visible in the cool air. Every Sunday I waited for this.

All I needed of religion, I realized, was the beautiful sound of someone else’s faith.”

-Megan Mayhew Bergman, Birds of a Lesser Paradise

 

Sometimes, Love Doesn’t Win. Or that’s how it feels anyway.

Sometimes we desperately need a miracle that never comes. We pray, we hope, we believe, we KNOW and we are left empty handed and broken hearted. Beloved parents and sisters and brothers and children die. Where the hell is God? We hold up our WTF? billboard prayers to the heavens. We wonder why other people got their miracles and we didn’t get ours. When we hear people say that PRAYER WORKS or that LOVE WINS or that IT ALL HAPPENS FOR REASON, we feel, well, a tad homicidal. None of it makes sense. Anybody worth talking to will admit that from the human perspective, life makes no sense. As my minister friend Anna – who lost her husband in a car crash- would promise us,  it’s all just ABSURD. GREAT word to describe life, one of my favorites. ABSURD!

For twenty years I knew I would adopt a baby. I tried actively for seven years. Craig and I poured  our hearts and energy and time and bank accounts into this dream time after time after time. We never gave up hope. We trusted in God. We followed the signs. We fully expected miracles.  As you know, our third adoption- this time from Rwanda- fell through last month. We were so close this time that I could actually FEEL that baby in my arms.

After a few weeks of mourning, we decided that maybe our fourth baby would be biological. We talked to my doctor who said, in so many words  . . . “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MIND? You are chronically ill. You can barely take care of yourself. No. No, no, no, no.”

When we left I said to Craig: Hm.What do you think she meant by that?

Honey, he said. You know what she meant by that. Everyone in the office knew what she meant by that. She was YELLING.

Right. Optimism and delusion are sooooo close.

No adoption. No pregnancy. No miracle.  And we know, in our hearts, that it’s time to let that fourth baby go. I’m not healthy. It’s time to stop obsessing about that miracle- it’s time to take off our miracle blinders, and use our peripheral vision.

Because sometimes we don’t get our miracle, and that hurts like hell. But the way the world works is- if we turn our heads, we can still find one. We can share someone else’s miracle. We can enter into it and claim it as our own. It takes some work and humility and a STRONG WILL, but it can be done.

Look. I’m not going to get that Rwandan baby for whom we all prayed so hard. But turn your head. Use your miracle peripheral vision and CHECK THIS OUT.

 

 

Look at her. That’s my baby Sister. That’s my lobster. Who was crumbled on the floor, three years ago, with no hope, no GLIMMER of hope, facing a divorce that would leave the faith of our entire family in shambles.

She moved in with me after the divorce. I hung a sign on her wall that said, “For I know the plans I have for you says the LORD . . . plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

And we would both look at that sign, crying together in a Sister heap on the floor, and we would silently say to the sign, to God - BULLSHIT.  Just, BULLSHIT.

 

Now please look at her. Eventually . . . . after a while – she stood up off that floor. She trusted the absurd world again. She found her other lobster, John. He is as kind and as gentle and as strong as a human being can be. And he loves her so much that I can finally, for the first time in my life, relax. For the first time in my life, I KNOW that my Sister is cared for by a man in a pure, deep, forever way.

And now she’s seven months pregnant. We are having a BABY, MONKEES!

For John’s sake, I hope that the baby’s not Rwandan. But I’m not gonna lie- it’d be nice for me.

IT’S MY PERIPHERAL MIRACLE.  Do you see? I didn’t get my exact miracle, the one in my direct line of vision. But sometimes PERIPHERAL MIRACLES are even BETTER. Because you can love them and love them and love them but you don’t have to send PERIPHERAL MIRACLES to college.

I am so in love already.

We’re HAVING A BABY!!!!!!!!!

See. Still. Love Wins. Just gotta keep those eyes wide open and sometimes –  turn our heads.

 

 

Love you forever.

G