Friday, December 21, 2012

Why G-d?

Why do I write "G-d"?

I found an article that explains it much more eloquently than I've been able to yet.

Read it here.

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's supposed to hurt.

Olivia Engel, 6
Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Josephine Gay, 7
Dylan Hockley, 6
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
Jesse Lewis, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
James Mattioli, 6
Emilie Parker, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Aviele Richman, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6
Nancy Lanza, 52
Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Rachel D'Avino, 29
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Victoria Soto, 27

Mary Sherlach, 56
Lauren Rousseau, 30

We spend a lot of time trying to stop hurting in our lifetimes.  Our friends yell at us, and we try to stop hurting.  We get rejected from our preferred colleges, and we try to stop hurting.  Our dogs die, and we try to stop hurting.  Our country is attacked by terrorists, and we try to stop hurting.  People storm into our schools, shooting our children, and we try to stop hurting.  But I'm writing to say that I think we're wrong.  I think it's supposed to hurt and never stop hurting.

The pain is how we know that we're still human.  The pain is how we know that these people mattered.  The pain is not something we should convince ourselves to get over.  We shouldn't desensitize ourselves to these things.  They should cut us to the core each and every time.

I've been watching the TV show "Everwood" lately, and I think that the character Ephram explains this concept the best:
"You know, after my mom died, everybody told me that I was gonna be OK.  That it would take a little time, but I would heal. Well, that didn't ever happen; not really anyway… What you’re feeling right now, Amy, it doesn't ever really go away — not completely. It’s not like, ya know, you’re gonna go back to being the person you were before they died — the person’s gone. It’s more like something inside of you breaks and your body finds a way to compensate for it. Like if you busted your right hand, you figure out how to use the left one. And sure, you might resist for a while because you’re pissed off that you have to learn all this stuff again that nobody else does. Eventually your body takes over and figures it out for you. And you’re glad. Because if it was up to you… you’d look at your broken hand forever and try to figure out what it was like before."
A broken hand, should hurt.  This terribly tragic loss should hurt, and there shouldn't be any shame in that.  We should mourn and grieve, and then we should take measures to prevent this from happening again.  If you destroy your right hand punching a wall, you're not going to turn around and do that with your left; you'll take preventative action.  We can't afford to keep punching the wall  We must come up with protective measures for our children.

Please visit People's website for stories on each of the victims.  Please hurt and grieve over them.  Please cry until you can't anymore.  Then please decide on the best plan of action to stop this from happening again and contact your congress representatives and senators about it.  If all we do is sit back and mull over the atrocity this depraved man committed, we're only opening the door for someone else to follow in his footsteps.  We must take action.  We must speak out.  We must not let these children die in vain.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sometimes, my own words just don't cover it.

In you, O Lord , do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord , faithful God. I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord . I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. Be gracious to me, O Lord , for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O Lord ; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! O Lord , let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol. (Psalms 31:1-17 ESV)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Honoring G-d with Our Thoughts

First of all, I want to thank all of you who have stuck with me, in spite of my sabbatical.  I just checked my December stats, and it is, surprisingly, not that much lower than usual.  You all touch my heart.

Now, on to the main event.

I want to talk to you about something that's been on my heart for about the past 6 months.  I mean, truthfully, it's something I've thought about a lot longer than that, but it's progressed to something that's been stressing me out lately.

I want to talk to you about Modesty and Respect.  This is such a big topic, and I'm overwhelmed at where to start.  So I'm just going to go, and I hope you will stick with me.  I'm not usually known for being succinct when I'm passionate, so I'll try to bold and enlarge the highlights for you skimmers out there.  Furthermore, if you want to read the posts that finally spurred me to write this, you can look here and here.  (Warning, they're also not short.)

Modesty has nothing to do with guilt. This was a big lesson for me to learn.  I may not have been the most Amish of dressers growing up, and I still am not, nor do I think I ever will be, but that is nothing for me to feel guilty about.  I didn't always believe that, though.  I bought into the lie that we tell our girls: "It's your responsibility to keep your brothers from sinning by dressing appropriately."  I'm sorry...What?  I want you to read that over again a couple of times, because, on first pass, it may be hard to catch what's wrong with this statement.  So read it again.  The more I read it, the more sad I become, because we've been deceived.  It is not our responsibility to prevent anyone from sinning.  I want you to read that very carefully.  Put frankly, it's idolatry to think that you can stop anyone from sinning.  There's only One person that can step in, change us, and turn us away from our sins, and that's G-d.  The issue of lust is a much deeper issue that goes beyond what any person is wearing.  I'm sure you've heard people talking about leaving room for the imagination in your dressing, while talking about how much they love sundress season a couple weeks later.  People who are going to lust are going to lust.  What a person wears isn't going to change that.  So let's stop pointing the finger at the dresser and start praying for healing for our brothers and sisters.

Which brings me to my next point.  Lust is not just something men do.  It feels like everywhere I turn, I see women gushing over pictures of topless men, or even men wearing less clothes than that, and, in some bizarre turn of events, this has been deemed "okay."  I can't help but be disgusted and deeply saddened by this practice.  If men were constantly posting pictures of topless or underwear-clad women on their Facebooks and commenting on how sexy they found them, the female community would be outraged.  We'd crucify them.  So I don't understand.  What's the difference?  But don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm immune.  If this is thrown at a person constantly, it's nearly impossible to stay above it, whether they are male or female.  I get that it's hard not to lust; believe me, I do.  If a man has strong hands or has paid attention to his upper arms in his workout routine, I'm having to work my hardest to keep my thoughts pure.

So what can I do?  Do I ask him, "Excuse me, sir, but would you mind wearing gloves?  Your hands are really distracting me from G-d right now."  No.  Of course not.  First of all, that's pointless.  Him covering his hands is not going to change the fact that my mind has headed down that path.  Him changing is not going to cure my indiscretion.  The only way I can stop my sin is by working with G-d to change me.

But that doesn't mean that we need to ignore the clothes issue entirely.  What it does mean is that we need to be dressing to honor G-d with our bodies.  G-d is judging us by our hearts, so I think that it is important to know your heart, even as you are picking out your outfit in the morning.  Why are you wearing what you are?  Are you thinking, "Oh, I'm going to turn on all the guys by wearing this outfit"? I think we can all agree that that is not honoring G-d.  You're dressing for men and your sexuality, making them the center of your thoughts as you're dressing.  I'd dare to take this as far as questioning if I dressed with the right thought life this morning when I dressed with one thought: "What is going to keep me warm?"

The most important part is that you're honoring G-d.  Honor G-d with your body.  Honor G-d with your thoughts.  Honor G-d with your actions.

I could keep going on down this rabbit trail.  I could double or triple the length of this post by bringing rape, assault, pornography and pedophilia  into the mix, but I think that at this point I've give you enough to go on to guess what I would say, so I'll leave that for another impassioned day.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Just so you know...

I may be taking a hiatus for a bit.  I'm tired, and I'm busy, and I'm stressed.... soooooooo that all adds up to "something's gotta go."  Just assume that my day was spent knee-deep in paperwork, trash, and sheet music, until I tell you otherwise.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

MOTh: Day 30

3 Gifts Astonishing
This one is going to be brief, not because I'm ready for this to be done (although I am... I'm ready to be writing about other things that have happened, and, apparently I'm bad at blog-multi-tasking), but because that which is truly astonishing cannot be explained.
  1. G-d chooses to save me.
  2. G-d chooses to use me.
  3. G-d will never abandon me.
Praise G-d from whom all blessings flow.  Alleluia.  Amen.