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I don’t believe in facts, or objective reality. They don’t independently exist. I am not impressed with your empirical evidence, or what the most recent research shows to be “true.” All this to say, I am neither an Empiricist, nor a Materialist. There are realities that we simply cannot fathom.
I do NOT believe in the scientific method as a valid way to arrive at TRUTH, though it is a very useful way to collect knowledge and information that leads to greater technology. Basically, our manipulation of nature increases our ability to manipulate nature.
Science is useful. It is NOT all-knowing. Yesterday’s big breakthrough is today’s embarrassment. (Trans-fatty acids, anyone?) And yet, over and over, the “facts” are presented to me, via advertisements, articles, well-meaning friends and family, as though they are unchanging and should somehow hold sway over my decisions.
I have never lived this way. I don’t intend to start now. The facts, and what is “scientifically possible” have just never factored into my personal reality. For better or worse, I live by Faith in the Unseen. So far, it’s worked out for me pretty well. If you want to change my mind, or to teach me, don’t bother with a list of statistics, because I will simply stare blankly at you, wondering, “who funded THAT study, and what are they trying to sell me, exactly?”
Research, not so very long ago, showed that women shouldn’t breastfeed.
An empirical, scientific approach to childbirth has us reporting skyrocketing c-section rates, and one of the worst maternal-fetal outcome rates in the developed world.
Studies once showed that smoking is good for your health.
Coffee has been shown to both save your life, and to kill you, depending upon who paid for the research, and whether or not they love coffee.
Frankly, science, or empirical evidence is subject to the will of the observer. I have taken quizzes and surveys in the fairly recent past that are obviously intended to manipulate me into saying what the researcher wants to report as statistically “true.”
A couple of examples, paraphrased from memory:
“Do you think that the UN should come on American soil, and rob us of our Second Amendment Rights?”
“If a man gives a woman an expensive engagement ring, and asks to marry her, in the hopes of having sex with her, is it sex for money?”
I’m not deceived by this rhetoric, and you shouldn’t be, either.
Have you ever noticed that scriptures, no matter what religion you adhere to, are written as stories? This world, and our life in it, is not a grand experiment. It is a love story. I choose to live life in the narrative; I live amongst miracles.
When I was 6 years old, my mother was murdered, in Canada, where I was a citizen. Her murderers produced a “Will,” leaving me to their custody. My American aunt and uncle fought for me, and were awarded “temporary custody.” I never went back to Canada, or those people.
As a child, I dragged one leg, then learned to walk crookedly, and finally, to fake a “normal” walk. My left leg, it turns out, was an inch shorter than the right. Due to forcing myself to walk unnaturally, I had chronic pain in that leg throughout my life. There were days, in college, that I just couldn’t face the walk to classes, and I stayed in my dorm. Eight years ago, a completely crazy-appearing evangelist from Africa prayed for my leg, and it grew. I felt it happen. And I don’t hurt anymore. I hike.
In college, my husband and I set aside conventional wisdom, and started our family our senior year. Our original plan, and the advice we received right and left, was to wait until we finished our educations, and paid off our loans. Today, and 6 kids later, we have never suffered want. We haven’t collected the toys that are advertised on television, but that’s okay, ’cause we don’t have cable, so we don’t know what we’re missing.
I have given birth to 6 children without a single medical intervention. I believe in my body’s ability to do more than even I think it can. My first birth was long, and complicated, and we made decisions that, according to a scientific view, should have guaranteed my death. (I don’t recommend those choices, but I am grateful to be alive.)
Almost 2 years ago, our marriage was in crisis. Today, we are in love, and more importantly, we are best friends, because we believed that we could overcome the statistics, and that WE were worth fighting for.
Today, I believe that I can be whole, and healthy, and strong. I believe that God designed my body to heal, and to overcome challenges. I don’t care what the statistics show. I don’t care that the science claims that my illnesses are chronic and progressive. My experience has taught me that I am growing stronger every day. I have no reason to believe that I will stop healing. I believe that my Creator knows better than the scientists, no matter how well-meaning those scientists may be, and that if I earnestly seek YHWH’s wisdom, it will be given to me, including how to be whole.
Your reality is not my reality, and mine is not yours. But we all want to believe that our truth is The TRUTH. I see this all the time with my children. Two children, in the same place, doing the same thing, at the same time, and having the same conversation, will remember it in two different ways. They are BOTH telling the truth, because our reality is not objective. MOST of what they experience is actually their own thoughts and emotions during the event. They will argue endlessly for their point of view, because to them, it simply IS. Like my children, I would rather die fighting, and believing, than laying down, and settling for someone else’s reality. I have the maturity, however, to realize that mine is not the only reality. Reality is BIG.
Please, don’t bore me with facts. They are too small. The Truth is in the Story.
Posted September 4th, 2011. Add a comment
There are two women inside of me. One is an overcomer, who fights her way over and through any obstacle to seize victory and joy, wearing them as a breastplate and crown. The other is a pessimist, a conspiracy theorist, who thinks that the universe and everyone in it is against her. Every day, I carefully choose to feed the Overcomer, and starve the Pessimist.
Some people make the opposite choice, becoming more and more negative over time. Sometimes I wonder if part of starving my pessimist means asking them to knock it off, or leave me alone! Our companions shape us; we adopt their language, and their mannerisms. We become convinced of their worldview.
I’ve eliminated several human black holes from my life. I can’t withstand their energy and faith-sucking abilities. Others are on the block, awaiting the axe, because they JUST DON’T GET IT!
Here’s the deal. Every day, I see, hear, meet people who are AMAZING. They rise above their circumstances. They embrace the blessings that are reserved for those who overcome. They love, they laugh, and they cry. They press on.
And every day, I see blessed, healthy, intelligent people who have EVERYTHING, and still complain. They make me want to tear my ears off so I can’t hear them, to gouge my eyes out so that I can’t read their incessant moaning.
I appears to me that happiness, gratefulness and optimism are reserved for those who have endured.
The most sexually well-adjusted women I know, women who helped me to see my value and beauty, have endured marriages that ended due to their husbands’ infidelity. These women have overcome. I salute them.
I know cancer survivors, and people who live with devastating, chronic illnesses, who push themselves to run races, to climb mountains, and to dance. These friends have overcome. I salute them.
I know couples who have endured seasons of virtual hatred, of dead libidos, of bankruptcy, of extreme illness, and loved on. These couples have overcome. I salute them.
When I was younger, I did job training and oversight for handicapped individuals, and learned that those who fight the hardest for a job appreciate it the most. I worked in an assisted living facility, and learned that grateful people age gracefully, becoming more and more beautiful. Joyful people don’t age. They ripen.
All of these positive people amaze me. I want to be this amazing. And I think I’m on my way. I DEMAND it of myself. Failure is not an option.
I am the ultimate optimist. I’ve seen how bad life can get, so I know how good it really is. I had a teacher in high school once ask me, “Why do you compliment yourself?” to which I replied, “Well, I’m certainly not going to wait around for you to do it!” I had already learned that she was not an optimist. One should never wait around for something positive to come out of someone negative. It’s pointless.
And in case you think I’ve never suffered, think again.
I’ve been abandoned, orphaned, exported, rejected, abused, molested, assaulted, manipulated, and scorned. I’ve been chronically ill, perpetually malnourished, and clinically depressed. I was raised in a graceless, fatalistic religion, and taught that I wouldn’t live past the age of 24, because the Anti-Christ was going to take over the world any day now, and then Jesus would come rapture us all away in the year 2000. I’ve been slandered, and libeled, and misunderstood. I’ve internalized others’ hatred, and made it my own. I’ve pondered the headache relief offered by a bullet to the brain.*
But I choose to remember the positive, and to make it my future:
I’ve been protected, hidden, imported, accepted, hugged, kissed, rewarded, pleasured, and loved. I’ve found the key to my health, and been given the resources and skills to turn it. I was raised in a religion that taught me to read the Bible, and it turns out that all that other crap isn’t even in there. I’ve been praised, rewarded, and unconditionally supported. I’ve had endless opportunities presented to me, because other people saw untapped potential in me that I couldn’t even see in myself. I have overcome, and my life is blessed.
Your life is what you make it. Your challenges are steps to a brighter future. So, don’t whine at me when your legs hurt. At least you can climb!
I am alive, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Every positive thing you ever hear me say is a battle cry. This is me, demanding victory of myself, of my God, and of the Universe. Every setback has given me new growth to attain. To whom much is given, much is required. I figure that if God made me this strong, then She/He must have a really big job for me to do. Here’s to taking on LIFE, and that MORE ABUNDANTLY!
* This is not a current issue, at all. And yes, I promise to make sure my doctor reads this. It won’t be news to her.
Posted January 5th, 2011. 6 comments
You have no idea what you have done for me. Your face is still lingering in my memory.
Regal, undeniably sexy, attractive even to me, you sat at my table. Your smile was knowing, your eyes had seen much. I wanted to sit at your feet, and soak up your wisdom.
Your shoulders were held back; your head was held high. You owned the room. Your clothing was subdued, yet spoke of quality, not fads. Your hair was softly curled around your smiling face. You had nothing left to prove.
All around us, young, vibrant girls of 19, and 25, perhaps, buzzed. Their clothing was the latest fashion. Their makeup was flawless. Their figures were without a roll or stretchmark. They looked one another up, then down, comparing. They fretted, smoothed, adjusted to hide each flaw.
And you smiled at me, knowing.
We were something beyond these children.
And your smile at me was an honor.
And you changed me.
You dear woman. I love you. I wish sincerely that I had asked you for your name, for your number. But perhaps I am wrong. You have done your work, here.
And you are not alone. You are joined by others, your fellow sages, who appear to me, silently, confidently, displaying the grace that comes with age and experience. I will never look back. Like you, I will age well, like a fine, red wine. My boldness transformed to richness and complexity.
Like Sophia Loren, and other gracefully aging beauties, you have given me a reason to look forward, not back. I cannot ever be those children, again. But someday, I hope to be one of you. I am eager for that day. The day that I, like you, become regal.
Posted September 28th, 2010. 2 comments
“Then ____________ was the best Christian, because he said that God just came and fixed it.”
This comment by my daughter, as we drove home from an “us girls” only shopping trip to the Paper factory, BOTHERED ME!!! She was telling me about a story that she and her classmates in a Drama class had made up, that day. She felt less spiritual than another child, because HE believed that God could just come and “Fix it.”
He’s the best Christian because he said that God just came and FIXED IT???? Excuse me?!?
So, I took a deep breath, counted to 10, and initiated a little talk.
“Shalom, saying that didn’t make him the best Christian.”
“No, honey. You see, God CAN just come and fix things, but usually, he asks us to do it.”
“Yes, honey. God can be the hero, anytime He wants. But God likes to let us be the heroes.”
“Is that why, in movies, they always show PEOPLE being the heroes?”
“That’s right! God being the hero, and a person being the hero is the same thing. God likes to make us the heroes.”
“That’s like Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, and those nice people, who hid those men.”
“You mean Rahab, honey. Rahab hid the Israelite spies, and it saved her life.”
“Shalom, do you believe that God could have hidden those spies by Himself?”
“Yes, he could. But what would have happened to Rahab, if God hid the spies?”
“She would have died, like everyone else…. And Joshua won the battle, and so did God.”
“Right. God is the hero, and so are we, when we obey Him. Why do you think God lets us be the heroes?”
“He loves us.”
He loves us, indeed.
I LIVE for conversations like this one.
My daughter has just been empowered. She sees herself as an instrument of God’s will. She believes that she is a blessing, and can be the hero. She will not sit back, allow Evil to triumph in her life, and wait for God to come and save her. I am teaching this precious woman of God how to bring the Glory of God’s Love and Will to bear in her own life, and by extension, in the world.
I will, I must empower women. I will release the feminine side of the Divine Image upon a desperate world that needs us. I will start with my daughters.
Posted September 15th, 2010. 3 comments
To write, or not to write, that is the question.
I am facing challenges (remember—challenges are opportunities to grow. They are good.) in every arena of my life. They are all hitting at once. I want to write long diatribes about each one, and how I feel about it, and why I’m right in it. But I really don’t know if I should.
My writing doesn’t fall into a vacuum. Experience has taught me that ideas have consequences. (Or, did I learn that in college?) Nearly every post I write moves someone, and changes how they look at themselves, and their lives. It reveals more of me, and leaves me open to both admiration and criticism. It is an honor.
I remember writing an article for my High School newspaper on the establishment of a “no wallet chains” policy on school grounds. It was a feature. There was no opinion expressed (Marianne Love did not put up with editorializing. Period. This is why I don’t write for a newspaper, today. I’ll say whatever I like, here, thank you very much. ), and yet the sudden availability of the information prompted a strong reaction on the part of the student body. One group of students chose to illustrate the absurdity of the new rule by chaining themselves together with a towing chain, and walking through the school hallways like a redneck chain gang.
They were hilarious.
Protests be damned, the policy didn’t change. The principal of the school, at the time, was a Californian import, who came to Sandpoint, Idaho (Population 5k or so, at the time) determined to prevent and eradicate gang activity. Excuse me? Back then, gangs were something we saw hinted at on MTV, in rap music videos. The potential for gang activity in Sandpoint simply didn’t exist. (We won’t discuss drugs, sex, alcohol or guns, though! We Sandpoint folks know how to party.)
I won 3 writing awards for the article, and was re-published in the Spokesman Review. But in retrospect, I was incapable of effecting ACTUAL change. I was just a kid, albeit a kid with a big mouth, and a lot of writing talent.
So, now, I want to write about education,, marriage, sex, guns and finances, and the ways that other people’s fear is visited upon us as law.
And I will, in time. But first, I need to take stock, and ask myself if I am, like that high school girl I used to be, just causing an uproar, and not changing a thing. Am I writing, when instead, I should be taking action? Or, is writing the action I must take? Is writing my part of the battle, or is there something more? And finally, how will publicizing this battle change it, and will that be a good or a bad thing? For now, I will say that there is much to write, and it would be a relief to bleed myself of some thought and emotion in that way. But perhaps the pressure cooker is where I belong, for now. And maybe, just maybe, my activism will be silent for once.
Posted September 14th, 2010. 2 comments
Getting by is NOT enough. Survival is not the goal. We were not made for comfort.
Physically, your body is either getting stronger, or weaker. Every day, you get up and make a choice between degeneration and rejuvenation. What’s it going to be? The comfortable path, the couch, the inactivity, will lead to one place: PAIN. Inescapable, inevitable pain.
Pain is the only means of avoiding this pain. Doing the uncomfortable thing, day after day, is the path to strength. Use it or lose it, as they say.
I’m not just talking about physical exercise, here.
Oftentimes, I see a cultural envy of happy and successful people. I see an overwhelming assumption that people living blessed lives have somehow found their “beauty” by chance. That’s not how it works.
Achieving greatness in ANY arena means rejecting “good enough.” Embracing an adventure means leaving safety behind. Claiming strength means giving up comfort. Reaching the summit of a mountain takes climbing, getting hurt, growing blisters. It means pushing past the comfortable, and forcing yourself to be more than you were yesterday.
To get what you really, truly want, you have to give up what you have right now.
To live somewhere better, you have to leave your old home behind. And you have to trust in God, and/or the Universe that, when you get where you’re going, it will be worth it. You can’t sky-dive with one foot still on the plane.
Who are you, really? Can you let him or her thrive? Can you force yourself out of your self-imposed prison? No one else has the power to keep you inside. If you are trapped by expectations and circumstances, you are the only person with the ability to change them. No one else can do this for you. And yes, you might have a fight on your hands.
Because when you grow, when you change, you begin to challenge others. It’s supposed to be that way. Now, I don’t mean that you should beat people over the head with your new revelations, projects, and beliefs. I mean that, when you show up in a room full of people wearing dependable, serviceable blue, and you’re wearing red, or blinding white, it’s going to draw attention. Don’t be afraid of the attention. Usually, the audience just wants to understand. Every one of us wants more than we have, more than we were yesterday, because we’re wired that way.
I never cease to be amazed by how many “fighters” and potential “fighters” are out there. Again and again, I share my vision, my goals, what makes me tick, and I hear stories of other peoples’ dreams. People “get” me. Often, it’s the people I least expect. My dears, you, and your dreams encourage me. Thank you.
The saddest conversations, to me, are the ones about the “Good Old Days.” I have no such days, because I am always reaching for something better, becoming something more. I don’t look back with longing. There’s a reason we aren’t born with a spare set of eyes on the back of our heads. We were designed to move forward.
When you refuse to grow, when you refuse to share, you rob the world of something that was sent here as a blessing. You, truly free, truly manifesting all that you can be, are here to change the world. Staying in your comfort zone is theft. You are robbing the world of the wonder of you.
To quote on of my favorite songs, the profound “Willing to Fight,” by Ani DiFranco:
“…’cause I know the biggest crime
is just to throw up your hands
this has nothing to do with me
I just want to live as comfortably
as I can..”
Where are you called to go, today? Who are you longing to be? What blessings hide within you, waiting to benefit the world? Are you willing to fight for them? How hard are you willing to work? What will you risk, or even leave behind to get there, to become that?
I’m building an army. And yes, boot camp is part of the plan.
To quote Ani one more time:
“…you’ve got your whole life to do something
and that’s not very long
so why don’t you give me a call
when you’re willing to fight
for what you think is real
for what you think is right…”
Give me a call, write me a comment. For what are YOU willing to fight?
Posted September 10th, 2010. 4 comments
For men, Life is a Locker Room.
Are you a Show-er, or a Grow-er?
Think about it.
Someone hurts you. What do you do? Someone cheats you. What do you do? Someone slanders you. What do you do?
Rolling over and playing dead is not the answer.
Standing up for yourself, and standing against abuse, whether physical, verbal, financial or emotional, is not a selfish act. Refusing to sit down, shut up, and go with the flow is not prideful. It is LOVE. Courage is love. Loving yourself spreads love.
When other people try to hurt us, in whatever fashion they choose, they are feeding an evil within themselves. Every strike hurts them more than it hurts us. When other people try to bully us into conforming, they are restricting themselves even more. The only way that abusive or hurtful people will ever be free is if someone says, “No more.”
Now, before you go quoting Jesus at me, let me explain. I am not advocating a “He hurt me and now he’s gonna suffer” mindset. “Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord, I will repay.” I am not going to stand between an All-Powerful God and His right to seek vengeance on my behalf. I’m not stupid. You shouldn’t either. Revenge is a murderous mistress. You don’t want to sleep in her bed. She will make you the evil you hope to combat.
But I see, over and over, Godly people allowing themselves to be wounded and cheated, because they are trying to “turn the other cheek.” Meanwhile, their abusers sink further and further into depravity. And other people suffer at their hands, as well. Because God’s people refuse to stand against evil, evil triumphs all too often.
If you’re allowing yourself to be a punching bag, stop it! Do you really think that your abuser is benefitting from your inaction? Is he or she becoming a happier, more whole person through hurting you? Is he or she learning to love and laugh and achieve true joy by bullying and slandering you? I think not.
For my part, I will no longer perpetuate evil by refusing to stand up for myself. No way. I will warn abusers (Oftentimes, they don’t even realize what they’re doing.), and then I will close the door, if I must, on hurtful people. If losing me is pain enough to drive them to repentance, then praise God. If a business cheats me, I will give them the opportunity to make it right, then I’ll warn people far and wide to avoid them if they don’t. If I am attacked by a man, he’ll never hurt another woman again, guaranteed.
The thought of allowing one more person caught in abusive behavioral patterns to continue in their depravity, without my doing whatever I can to put an end to their insanity, is abhorrent to me. I’m looking forward, to the next woman they meet, and I’m asking myself, “What’s my responsibility to HER?” It is great, indeed.
Posted August 16th, 2010. 4 comments
This post is a follow-up to my virgin post: Be the Bitch.
You’ve overcome your fear of man. You’ve embraced your true self, and taken her dancing. You insist on decent treatment for yourself. You go, girl! You have started down the path to true joy in life. Self-acceptance is key.
So, now what? Do we just revel in our bitchiness? Shall we sit around in smug self-satisfaction, sipping mai-tia’s and crooning bitter, feminist ballads? Perhaps not. Let’s not get boring, shall we?
The point of freedom is to make others free. The purpose of strength is to stand up for the weak. The point of a big mouth is to speak up for those without a voice. On the flip side, if we use our new-found strength to beat others down, to be unkind, and to take advantage of others’ fears, then we aren’t the Bitch, after all. We are the ones holding others down. We are monsters.
And monsters aren’t happy. Bitches are. The true path to happiness is to bring it to others. True joy must be shared.
So, my dear Bitches, use your freedom for good. Be an example of liberated joy. Take your down-trodden sisters dancing WITH you. Create spaces where women can be all they can be. Volunteer your time with organizations that help women to escape abusive relationships, or achieve personal growth.
As for the men, set them free, as well. Women who are fully alive draw their men out of their cycles of fear and doubt, as well. Show men the joy of womanhood, fully realized. Set their wives and girlfriends free, and they will thank you. As soon as they catch their breath, that is.
The Bitch who unlocks cages and empowers women to be all that they can be. A new superhero, perhaps? Let’s call her SuperBITCH! Got a better name? I’m taking suggestions.
Oh, be careful, little mouth, what you say.
Here’s the deal. God spoke, and the WORLDS were created. We are created in Gods image. What do you think happens when we speak?
Self-help gurus teach it.
New age writers publish best-selling books about it.
We fear it.
It’s the power of the tongue.
Tell your child that he is stupid, and he will think that he is. He will act like he is. He will give up on learning. He will BECOME what you called him.
Stand in front of the mirror. Tell yourself that you are fat. Get discouraged. Get hungry. Have a box of twinkies to console yourself. You’ve created your reality.
The laws of positivity and negativity are not some New Age Psycho-Babble. Scriptures ABOUND with the blessings and curses of parents over children, and their results. When King Balak hired Balaam to curse the Israelites, God intervened. Because, like it or not, our words have power. This power, it appears, is not just over ourselves, but others, as well.
I suspect, in fact, that if we truly understood the power of our own mouths, our own words, to affect change in ourselves, and the world around us, we would TREMBLE.
Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21
That’s a lot of power.
What are you speaking into your life, today? What are you speaking into your family members’ lives? Are you a fountain of Life, or a black hole of Death? It’s your choice.
“Telling it like it is” is not a sufficient excuse for speaking negative things into reality. Every person, and situation has two sides. Speak the Truth, with LOVE. Focus on the positive, and you will create more of it. Focus on the negative, and unfortunately, the same is true.
Think about these two sentences:
“He’s a loser.”
“He’s becoming a great man.”
Both could be factual. Whether the loser becomes a great man will depend largely on what words he speaks into his own life, and the words that are spoken into it by others. Do those words give hope? Do they speak life? Do they build up? Do they demand more? When we speak the negative, we accept it as the reality; we do nothing to combat it.
In the interest of harnessing the power of the tongue, and maximizing LIFE, we should choose our words carefully. And if we just aren’t yet in a positive frame of mind, perhaps it’s time to take the advice of a Disney cartoon. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything AT ALL!” When people insist on speaking death and damnation into our souls, perhaps we should tell them to stop, or shut the door in their faces. If Balaam is any example, it’s what God would do.
For my part, I choose to embrace the positive possibilities of life as though they were already my reality. I choose to speak the beautiful potential of others as though it were accomplished, already. And I hope that life and death really are in the power of the tongue, as I chant, “life, Life, LIFE! And that more abundantly!”
Posted August 10th, 2010. 8 comments