Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Tonight I was part of a small group talking about the concept of redemption. Particularly the concept that every experience we encounter in life has redemptive qualities if viewed in the light of faith.

Quite honestly, I struggled with the conversation. I held my tongue. I wanted to say, I don't know if I buy this.

Whether in my own life, or in the lives around me...there are experiences that are ugly. That hurt. That are tragic. I cannot see the redemptive value. Sure, one could argue that because of that experience I am more empathetic or I needed that experience to grow into the person I've become, blah, blah, blah....I'm not buying it. I'm not drinking the kool aid.

I think there are experiences in this life that have no value in and of themselves. Experiences that add pain or sorrow or hurt to our lives. Who knows what the value is 20 years from now? Who knows who we would become without that experience? To guess would be pure speculation.

How do you tell a child who was raped that perhaps that experience has some sort of redemptive value? It seems a pure slap in the face to me. How do you tell a child whose mother died in the bed with her that that experience is something that can be redemptive if only she lets God use that experience? It sounds so pollyannaish. So naive. So...just...wrong. It seems to me that saying that minimizes the experience, or perhaps suggests that we shouldn't acknowledge that evil exists, and at times invades our lives. It suggests that bad things happen to good people to teach them a lesson of some sort. So who chooses?

I'm not sure I can believe in a God who will choose to damage some people horribly so that they can see the redemption in the experience. I'm sure that the teacher didn't really mean that, but it seems a logical extension of the argument.

Perhaps it just hit too close to home. Or perhaps I'm having trouble seeing myself and my experiences as redemptive or worth being redeemed. Not sure.

To me, those experiences happened. They cannot be altered. I can only try to understand how I can move forward and not make mistakes because of those experiences. So that my life doesn't become a product of only the bad, but also the good. While that perhaps has value, the bad experience isn't what created the value.

This post isn't really complete. I have more to think about. And perhaps I need redemption more than I know.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back to the beginning

When I first started this blog, I called it "Now what?" because I was trying to figure out what was next for me - whether in my life, my relationships, my spirituality, my career, etc.

So, here I am, six months later, and I feel I've been living in the crossroads for sometime now. I feel my spirituality has been deepened and grown in new and refreshing ways. I feel more comfortable in prayer, and have started to develop rituals around my faith that make sense and make me feel more connected to God, to myself.

My marriage has effectively ended, and although that's a healthy thing for me, I'm still feeling pretty sad and uncertain about all of that. I'm having difficulty coping, and consequently I haven't told many people in my life about this development. I don't want to have to explain myself, and yet that's what I feel compelled to do when I try and tell someone about the divorce. It's complicated, messy. I can't say this area of my life feels any better. I hurt. It's tough. But I have a knowing that is different and new for me. A little bit of certainty I suppose.

My other relationships - friends, family...all are still complex. I find myself being more honest than I've been in a long, long time (if ever) with those closest to me. Still, I struggle with intimacy in relationships. I still feel slightly out of sorts. I discovered that someone in the court system found out about my divorce and felt it necessary to tell 10 or 12 others. That hurt somewhat. I didn't really want to be confronted about my relationship with husband by those I don't know very well. It makes it tough. People seem to want to know the whys and hows and what fors and I'm not willing to share that with the average person I know as an acquaintance. It's complicated.

As for my career/job/vocation...well, that's still very much up in the air. I'm enjoying my job more and more these days. Which is a confusing thing. When I started down this road I felt I was being called or tugged or pulled in a different direction, and today I'm not really sure at all about any of that. Perhaps I've had too much to contend with for me to really focus on that part of my life for now. Not sure, and not ready to make any decisions about any of it. Part of me knows that even contemplating a change in career makes me uneasy (to say the least)...but I'm ok with it conceptually. If it needs to happen, I can handle that, I'm fairly confident of that.

I'm still drawn to the river, and I'm still reading Women who run with the Wolves. Everytime I pick it back up, I am opened to something new. So, it is still important for me to look at from time to time. I'm still struggling to find some balance in my life between work, home, kids, life, etc. But, I imagine that will likely be with me for some time. Life is busy and full and wonderful in many, many ways. I feel cared for by many of those around me, and while that makes me nervous in some ways, it also brings a new kind of peace.

I recently saw a sign on the side of the road in a rural area that is known for its Mennonite population. It said "Prepare to Meet God." If my whole life could be a prayer... A preparation to meet God in every person and every thing that I encounter...imagine that.