Monday, December 17, 2012

The Joy of Change

Yesterday, there was a meeting at church. Our church needs to change. Or die. Those are the choices. So there are people who want big change, some who want a little change, some who think it's time to let it go. I'm in the first category. Surprised? :)

The Christian church was born out of death and resurrection. If the apostles had said, "Oh well, that was fun while it lasted" where would we be now? But they took Jesus's message to go forth and heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the poor and visit the imprisoned, and they went with it. I'm rather sure they changed things up as they went along. We've been doing church one way for too many years, and it's not working any more. So instead of clinging to it, I want let go and rebuild. Not in the same way. Not in the same buildings. Not in the same anything, really.

My vision of the church in the coming years is a church of service to the community. Social justice in God's name. No one who joins has to believe. There can be so old fashioned worship services for those who need them, but no one need feel compelled to attend. Bible study for those who love the scripture. And all are welcome, to come serve the community or just be part of it. Soup kitchens, community centers, coffee shops that offer coffee by donation and a place to sit and chat with people, laundromats that let homeless people do their laundry for free. I picture storefront churches where people can come in, buy a book, chat with the minister about life, the universe and everything (42), where there's a cup of tea and a quiet room to get away from it all. Warm beds at night. Non-profit daycares and medical clinics.

And the name Jesus or God never needs to be uttered once, by anyone working at any of them. Because God will be there. They will know we are Christians by our love. Not our cramming of our theology down their throats. Because that's what's happened too much. We've misused God so badly that the mere mention of Jesus or God or even "holy" sends people running. And it doesn't have to be that way. The mere act of service can be our worship.

God's message to Christians to go and spread the Good News has been so badly perverted. We must stop with the message of intolerance for people who don't believe. We must stop talking about sin and Satan and Hell. We must stop doing our good works in order to try to convert anyone. In fact, we must stop trying to convert people. Because we're doing it wrong. If we want people to hear God's word through us, we have to stop being such assholes all the fucking time. We have to start being awesome, wonderful, beautiful, tolerant, accepting, generous, kind and compassionate people just for the sake of being all those things. Not because we're afraid of God. Not because we're afraid of hell. But because we love God and we love our fellow humans. Remember, that is exactly what Jesus said were the commandments in a nutshell. Love God. Love each other.

It's advent and yesterday was the day we lit the joy candle. Let this be the advent where a new Christianity is born. Let's rejoice in it. Let's have joy in our days, so that we're happy, joyous people. And when people see that and want that, we can teach them to love and be loved too. If they don't see it or don't want it, that's okay too. Because we'll still be happy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayers for healing

I was going to post something about the school shooting in my other blog, because I was having a hard time being remotely positive about it, and I want to fill this blog with love, not hatred. But I couldn't.

A deeply disturbed young man killed his parents, and about 26 other people, in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been (I was through there a few weeks ago). That's horrible. The survivors face so much grief.

I have a lot of hope for them. I am praying that they take this tragedy, and make it a defining event in their lives. Something that reminds them how precious life is, and how important every moment is. I am praying that they create peace for themselves again, and regain a sense of security that helps them through.

I'm praying for the shooter, the man so miserable that he could do such a horrible thing. May God have mercy on his soul.

I'm praying for the counselors, the police, the support people who will help all the people there. That they find inner strength, and create peace in themselves.

I'm praying for any remaining family members of the killer. His friends. The people who knew him when he was growing up. That they don't take on any guilt or regrets. Just learn from anything they might have missed or wish they'd done differently. Just learn. No judgments.

I'm praying for the American people. That they somehow come to understand that guns DO kill people. An unhinged man with a machete would have done a lot less damage. I hear so often, "This is not the time to make a political statement". But you know what, this is exactly the time. Because I'm not exploiting their deaths to get my political opinion across. Not at all. I care deeply about people, and very much want to prevent this kind of massacre from ever happening again. And that can't be done without restricting access to guns. It just can't. I know, I know, people love to say that criminals don't follow the rules anyway. But the people who do this kind of crime, they're not usually criminals until they do this kind of crime. They're not in gangs or part of mafias. They're ordinary people who snap. And if most ordinary people don't have easy access to guns if they snap, they won't have the weapons they need to pull off such a massacre. So my prayer is, "God, show people that in your dream for the world, there are no weapons. And show them how wonderful your dream is."

My final prayer is for healing. It encompasses everyone. I'm praying for healing for the hearts and souls of every single person affected by this. From the injured survivors right down to the person reading about it on the internet. Help us, God, to heal ourselves.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New information

I've had a bit of a hard week. I got some new information on Snap, my beautiful 17 year old daughter. She's got autism, which I knew, but what I didn't know is she also has non-verbal learning disability. I'm massively proud of her, now that I know what she's been facing, and how she's managed to do as well as she has. What's hard is that the gist of everything I've read is, "Parenting: Luna is doing it wrong". I know I can't really get too mad at myself. I've been doing the best I can with the information I had. But I'm also having a lot of moments of what if. What if I'd pushed harder with the pediatrician who told me I was spoiling her, and that her problems were entirely my fault? What if I'd insisted that my doctor refer us to someone else? What if I'd pushed the school harder to get her tested earlier? What if?! She's 17. She's got some of the issues the articles say will happen if she's not handled properly. And of course, she wasn't, because we didn't know. And there seems to be no information about what to do next. The expert advice is seriously lacking. And the information for adults with it is almost non-existent.

I'm getting much better at not worrying about what if. I used to really get hung up on that. But it doesn't help. Doesn't help me. Doesn't help her. And who knows what if, anyway? Maybe not a damn thing would be different. Maybe it'd be different, but not better. Maybe it would be worse. I don't bloody know. So I'm not doing that. As much.

And you know, I'm not giving up on her. Snap is awesome. Clearly. The fact that she's going to graduate from high school with her full diploma, with just the little support that she's gotten (tests in quiet rooms, extended deadlines, extra resource blocks, etc.) shows that she is amazing. And she's planning to go to college. Current plan is Camosun's university transfer course, with a transfer over to UVic's Women's Studies program in a couple of years. SO PROUD. I'm bursting with pride for her.

Doesn't mean she doesn't drive me crazy. She's 17. But I'm understanding her a bit better now, and that is really helping my happiness levels. It's much easier to be happy when I'm not holding on to judgements like "my parenting sucks" or "she's a lazy teenager" or "if she just cared more about X, she'd do Y". Um, nope. Turns out her brain is wired differently. And suddenly, it's easier for me to be happy with her. Isn't that interesting? Nothing about her has changed. And suddenly, I'm happier with her. Because I have new information? Sort of. The new information gave me what I needed to change my beliefs about her. But I could have done that without it. I could have just decided that she was doing her best with what she had, and been a happy camper. And I didn't see that until now. It's really kind of an awesome power to have. I can simply change what I believe about people, and be happy. What would it matter if I were wrong? What if my kid was just lazy and I decided she was doing her best? Would that mean I wouldn't still try to help her best be even better? No. It wouldn't really affect how I'd try to help her. It would only change my attitude toward it.

I'm going to try doing that with some other people in my life. Let's see how that works out!

Monday, December 10, 2012


"Peace be with you. And also with you." Those were words I heard at least once a week when I was growing up. And I never really thought about them. What does it mean to have peace with you? We live in a world where people kill each other over whose God is better, the oil in the ground, and soon I suspect, the water. I live in a country where we scream at each other on the roads, where a woman is on a hunger strike to draw some attention to her people's struggle, where there are protests asking the government to look into missing women, and where the gap between rich and poor is widening.

We are bombarded with advertisements telling us that we are not good enough, not rich enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough, not sexy enough, that we don't have enough stuff, and that the stuff we do have isn't enough.

So how do we have peace with us in this society of GO GO GO? And is it something we can have? Something to find? Or something to just do. Be peaceful. That's what it means to me. It's like hope. Hope just means I'll keep trying. Peace just means I'll be happy with what's happening around me, and work to make it how I want it.

How do I bring that into my life? I definitely am working on that! I'm much much happier with the kids, accepting them just as they are, and working to help them be everything they can be. Like every other parent. But damn, that's hard sometimes, because I let my hopes for them become something I'm hanging my happiness on, instead of just being a thing I'm trying to make happen. I don't need things to go my way in order to be happy. Imagine that. :)

And so I want peace to be with all of us. Let us all be happy in whatever situation we're in, and work our asses off to get what we want. It's wonderful to have wants. I want a jigsaw. I want to end world poverty. The former is rather likely to happen on Christmas morning (though if not, I'll still be happy). The latter probably won't happen in my lifetime. But what the hell, I can still work for it. If all of us do, it will happen.

So that's my prayer for the week. That I may be peaceful in my day to day life. That I remember that I don't need anything to be happy. I just need to breathe.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Holy holy holy. What a couple of weeks! I love Advent. I love preparing for Christmas. I love Christmas shopping. I love the lights. The trees. The decorations. LOVE it. And it's not even my favourite. Just wait until after Christmas! :)

Crackle. My sweet son. He's filling me with wonder and awe so often now. He's been so here. So with it. He's said Mama a few times this week. I told him to come back to the table. He said, "Nah". I jumped up and applauded. He SAID it. He said "Nah"! That's so awesome. And he's been playing games. He's been attending to me. He's been happy. He's even looking at books and turning pages on them (at the right time, no less!)

This. Is. Huge. Do you see how amazing this is? My son, my 6 year old son, who doesn't talk, doesn't play, doesn't doesn't doesn't... IS!

And Pop. Oh my goodness, Pop. Last Christmas, I put him and Crackle on Santa's lap and told Santa that neither of them could talk, that they both have autism. This year? Pop made a list. He wants new everything. New toys, books, puzzles, trains, dolls, shoes, new socks for his brother, new toys for the dog, a new microwave and kitchen for Mom (YAY!). Basically, he thinks new everything would be awesome. He talks in complete sentences. He has huge conversations. He introduces himself to people. He introduces new people who come to the house to his brother. He starts conversations about things he's interested in. It's truly magnificent.

And Snap has applied for college. She's looking at doing 2 years at Camosun and then switching to UVic. Her current plan is Women's Studies. Or graphic art. I am so proud of her.

Oh sure, they all drive me nuts some days. Like when Snap is calling me a bitch because I want her to go to bed at midnight on a school night, or Crackle is doing his screaming thing, or Pop is crying because I won't let him watch the Thomas movie for the 4th time today, or Buddy (the dog) is peeing on the floor because he has bladder damage. But there's wine for all that. :)