i fucking give up

I think life would be easier if I believed all the stuff I used to believe.

That the world was supposed to be perfect until people fucked it up, but it can be perfect again one day.

That people want to do good but are messed up and in need of redeeming, and even the worst of us are capable of being made whole.

That there is some great source of redemption that will make everything and everyone ok in the end. (Except for those it doesn’t. And then those fuckers would fry forever while the rest of us – assuming I’m not one of the assholes who needed to fry – get to live in fluffy eternity being all nice and happy and worshipy.)

That there are such things as souls, and that some people’s souls are tainted, but most people’s souls are good and that the devil makes us do and say the shitty things we come up with, but that there is still some kind of hope for all of us.

That ultimately there is a loving supreme deity who cherishes all of us and writes our names in his hand, even the names of the stupid fucks who abuse children and animals and old people, who bully and taunt and stalk people online, who create chemicals and sell advertising and poison water and rape land and rape people.

That there is some kind of hope for this world, even if it is in the sweet by and by, and when the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.

Unfortunately I don’t believe that anymore.

Which sometimes makes for a very bleak outlook on life.

Especially when people are mean and spiteful and ugly and unreasonable and irrational for no good goddamned reason.

Especially when it seems all the good done in the world is constantly being challenged and undone by a bunch of idiots who can’t tell their ass from a hole in the ground and who don’t give a damn about anyone or anything outside their tiny little pathetic spheres.

Especially when it seems there is just no hope.

None.

I wish I wasn’t raised to be a nice person. Nice can be very debilitating. Nice can be a fucking chokehold on life, a creator of anxiety, a source of doubt, a governor on progress, a heart attack or stroke waiting to happen.

I want to believe that most people would like to be nice and good and kind. That most people have something redeeming about them. That maybe I’m not really as “nice” as I think I am, but that I am capable of being truly good, and that other people are, too.

But all it takes is challenging one idea – not even a BIG idea, just posting a suggestion on Facebook for how some small thing might be better – and boy, the trolls come out and pounce and accuse and ridicule and criticize.

And my thin skin made of nice veneer simply cannot hold up. Or out.

I wish there was Someone who could/would/should make this All Right.

I wish my influence could at least make a dent in the Right direction.

Once upon a time, faced with frustration and fear and sadness, I would have prayed and hoped and listened and persevered in hopes that one day everything and everyone would be Okay.

But right now, I fucking give up….

a million tiny doubts

On the way home from work recently, I saw a bad accident near my neighborhood. Apparently a truck cut across 4 lanes of traffic and a median, hitting several oncoming cars and ending up in the woods. I’m not sure of the details. I try not to be one of those rubber-neckers that stop to stare at calamity.

It is always shocking to come across an accident like this, especially near home. I immediately felt sorrow and empathy for everyone involved in the accident. Which is probably what caused another shocking event in my own car as I drove by the accident.

I crossed myself and said a prayer. Continue reading

finding hope and healing in new places and new ways

Been missing from the fray for a few weeks. End of school, travel and then my husband was in the hospital.

Yeah, that last part was definitely not planned.

He’s doing great now, but was kind of at death’s door without our even knowing it was that bad.

He was sick at home for a few days before we went  I dragged him to the hospital. When we got to the ER before the crack of dawn, they whisked him in, I explained the symptoms, they did some quick blood and urine tests, sent cultures out, and hit the infection hard.

E coli waits for no one.  E coli will take your ass down fast. Continue reading

Doctors aren’t god but thank them anyway (or, Where did The Great Physician do his residency?)

Once upon a time, I was the pray-er. Have an ache? I’ll lay hands on you. Have a problem? I’ll remember you to the lord. Have an illness? I’ll pray for you. Have a wayward child, a sick relative, a broken relationship? Give me a name and I’ll lift it up.

I believed there was power in prayer. I believed there was a God, that this God was tuned into what I asked for, and that He was kind of at my beck and call. My life hasn’t been perfect or without tragedy, but I’d say it’s more charmed than average. I attributed that to the “hedge of protection” prayed around me by my parents and family.

Lately I have found myself far, far from that belief. Continue reading

Ash Wednesday or Chiquita Banana Wednesday? A CrossRoad

Today is a conundrum for me. A day of decision. A day that leads to the cross for many is leading to a crossroad for me.

It’s Ash Wednesday, the day liturgical Christians recognize the beginning of Lent by going to church and receiving smudges of ash on their foreheads as they are reminded: “From dust thou art, to dust thou shall return.”

When I was a low church Protestant kid, I was mesmerized by the Catholic and Anglican kids who came to school with smudges on their foreheads, talking about ashes and Lent and giving up things and preparing for Easter. It seemed like a deep mystery, an ancient rite. My church didn’t have any mystery and was very suspicious of rites.

When I became an adult, I pursued the mystery, leaving my rite-less denomination for the smells and bells of the Roman church. My first Ash Wednesday was a really big deal. Getting smudged meant more than just “from dust to dust.” It meant I was entering Lent, which was the portico of my entrance into the church at the Easter vigil. When I would be a real legitimate member with all rights (and rites) and privileges. It was a very, very big deal.

I have always loved Ash Wednesday – the start of a period of reflection, of preparing, of forgiveness, of seeking holiness and searching for truth.

Now things are much different.  Continue reading

How To Pray If You’re An Atheist

Even though I am questioning everything I ever thought I knew about God, I am having trouble letting go of the idea that there is some kind of power in prayer. Maybe there is a God, maybe there isn’t. I don’t know. I have had many, many prayers that it seemed were never answered (or were answered “No” which I do not think makes sense). However, I have seen positive things happen after prayer. Maybe they would have happened anyway. Or, maybe there is a power in thinking and feeling and believing in a certain direction. I googled “prayer for atheists” just to see what was out there. Of course, I found hundreds of well-meaning (I hope) prayers written for Christians to pray for their poor sad atheist loved ones. And I found this post, a port in a storm, an oasis in the desert. While it has its detractors in the comments, I find it to be very helpful, if for no other reason than to confirm what I feel: something is going on when we spill it honestly. Regardless of where I end up, I don’t need to apologize to anyone for holding onto something called prayer.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/jerry-dewitt/2013/07/how-to-pray-if-youre-an-atheist/

Thought Catalog

My mother just called to give me some very bad news — a young relative had died early this morning. He was a man whose entire life was one series of life-threatening situations after another. He was born with severe birth defects. So, although his untimely death came as no real surprise, it was still shocking and heartbreaking to our family. He had overcome so many seemingly impossible health challenges that one more “medical miracle” didn’t seem out of the question.

For over twenty-five years I faced similar soul-shattering scenarios, but I had always believed that my relationship with God and my communications with him (through prayer) would carry us through any situation, no matter how painful.

But then I became an atheist.

So what does an ex-believer do when praying to a God you no longer believe in is not an option?

Admittedly, even though “nothing fails like prayer”…

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