Archive for the 'religion' Category

A doula dilemna

I have a dilemna. Or at least I think I have a dilemna. I might just be paranoid.

Here’s the deal:

Remember how I told you that I have my first doula client? The lady who is due in April? Well, I initially met this woman at church. Yes, I know. I don’t go to church. But I did for awhile, last summer. My Dad is a pastor, and while I was on my big search for the ultimate truth, I attended his church regularly. My kids also attended a lot of church sponsored activities. This all came to an end a few months back when I finally made the decision that I am really truly not a Christian.

Once, while talking to this woman, she said something to me about how “the Body Shop supports gays.” At first I thought it was really strange that she would say something like that to me, considering that I have no qualms about homosexuality. But then I realized that she really didn’t know anything about me at all. Just that my father is a pastor and I’ve attended her church.

Last night, I spoke with her on the phone to set up a prenatal appointment. We got off subject for awhile and started discussing my recent move. To understand the conversation, you’ll need to know some facts.

-The island I live on is huge. On the north end, you’ll find a navy base. The majority of the population is conservative, Republican, and religious. There are churches everywhere. However, on the south end of the island, it’s a completely different story. One of the towns there is named “Freeland.” It was named this for a very specific reason. Back in 1889, “three visionaries formed The Free Land Association for the purpose of establishing a utopian culture where their communal socialistic ideals could be promulgated.” In other words, a commune. “Literally, in the eyes of its socialist founders, the land of the town was to be free for all people.” (These are not my words, which is why I have put them in quotes, although I am hesitant to site my source, since this will give away my exact location and hey..there are too many internet stalkers out there for me to be comfortable with that.)

So anyway, the south end of the island has kept up its reputation of being populated with hippies. Which is the EXACT reason I’ve moved here. This is my place. This is exactly where I belong. This is me.

Anyway, I’m on the phone with my client, and she says “You need to be careful over there. I’ve heard so many terrible things about the people, and what goes on in the schools and such.” I asked her what she meant and she said some things about “the area being VERY liberal” and the churches being sparse, empty, and dead.

Also, on her initial paperwork I had given her, she indicated that she felt that prayer during labor would be a great support to her.

I don’t even know how to handle this. I’m not a Christian, I’m not even religious, I’m as liberal as it gets, and I am certainly NOT going to lead her in prayer during labor. I have heard that many women choose their doulas based on their religious affiliations, and feel more comfortable with someone who holds similiar ideals and beliefs. She has obviously got the wrong idea about me, and I am afraid that these assumptions about my faith (or lack thereof) will eventually be revealed as false and she will be disappointed and feel betrayed or misled.

In a way, I feel that my spirituality is my business and it really shouldn’t matter. And yet, the last thing I want to do is upset this woman.

So what do I do? Do I find a way to tell her that I do not subscribe to Christianity? Or do I continue to play along?

Bibleland Halloween

Do you want to hear the funniest thing ever? I had planned to tell this story on Halloween, but with Animal’s birthday and the trick or treating, it got lost by the wayside.

When I was young, I wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween (pagan holiday that it is.) Instead, our church would try to make up for it by throwing a big party, complete with apple bobbing. A few times, we were allowed to dress up like Biblical characters and everyone would guess who we were. I have pictures of me and my childhood friends dressed as shepherds with staffs and robes and painted on beards and whatever those head coverings are called. I am in the middle, with a bedsheet covering my head and wrapped around my body. A sign hangs from my neck. It reads “I am not drunk.” I was supposed to be Hannah.

A few years later, I was 7 or 8, and I begged my parents to take me trick or treating. We were too poor to buy a costume, and besides, what kind of store was selling Biblical dress up gear? My mother had an idea and my father relented. Finally, I would be allowed to tour the neighborhood for candy. I remember the first house, the first door, my small hand reaching towards the doorbell. I was dressed in a long nightgown. My mother had cut dozens of leaves from green construction paper and attached them all over my gown with her sewing pins. They were scratching me everywhere. I didn’t care. I couldn’t wait for the treat. An old couple opened their door. “TRICK OR TREAT!!!” I yelled wildly, with a wide toothless grin. The woman smiled and said “Oh look! It’s a little tree!” I looked back at her, confused. “No,” I said firmly. “I’m EVE.” She was taken aback for a moment. “Oh, I see…..” she mumbled, dropping the candy into my bag. I think my Dad handed her a tract. I had never been more embarassed in my life.

We’re all pumpkins

Last night was Halloween, the third most exciting day of the year for my children. (Christmas Day wins First Place, with their respective birthdays trailing along in a close Second.)

I’m not really sure why they seem to like Halloween so much, considering that most of the holiday is spent complaining about what a mean and unfair mother I am.

For one, I only allow them to eat 2 pieces of candy on Halloween, and 2 pieces each day thereafter. Yes, I am kind of a freak about nutrition, but for the most part, I have a more important reason behind my candy-nazi ways. Remember how your parents used to tell you that if you ate too many sweets, you’d throw up? I have that kid. The throw up kid. He’s also known as Gutter Gut and Garbage Disposal. And he will literally eat and eat until he pukes. Usually in his bed while he’s asleep. In fact, I just got done picking puke chunks out of my dryer’s lint trap from the after effects of Animal’s birthday cake.

Secondly, I don’t allow any super scary costumes. I’ve discovered that for little boys, this is one of the Meanest Mom tricks in the book. They never stop complaining about it and I never stop explaining myself. I don’t think it’s cute, impressive, fun, or appropriate for children to be portraying themselves as violent or murderous. When I see an 8 year old walking around with fake blood about their mouth and a hole in the back of their head, or a demonic mask straight from the bowels of Hell, I really have to wonder. I don’t mean to go all Evangelical Christian here, but folks, there is something very wrong with a culture that has found it completely acceptable to dress children up as sick and twisted characters. So anyway, as usual, my boys pushed the envelope as far as they could. Tristan was a ninja, for about the 4th year in a row. (Ninjas have weapons but they only use them in self defense, competitions and artistic displays, right?) Aidan dressed up as an alien, and somehow managed to get me to buy him a battle axe, which he promised he was just using as “a walking stick.” And Rylan, sweet Rylan. I still have my claws in him. He was a lobster. We took him around to a few houses to trick-or-treat and it was so funny watching his face as someone opened the door and plopped candy into his bucket. A couple of times, he tried to walk right in the front door. (Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do after you ring someone’s doorbell and they open up?)

Afterwards, we went to a “festival” they were having at my parent’s church. The boys got to play all those cute little carnival games like the bean bag toss, bowling, and the game with the fishing poles. It was all very Polyanna. They lured the kids in with raffle tickets for big toy prizes and at the very end of the night, they instructed us to all sit down so they could call the winning numbers. Oh, but not without a little Bible lesson squeezed in to the night’s festivities! A man at the front showed us a lovely little pumpkin “so smooth and round and pretty”, and then cut it open and showed the “ugly, yucky, dirty stuff inside”. Just like us! It was bad. I had to walk away for awhile. When I came back, he was still droning on, and at least fifty 3 year olds were running around the place, screaming, on an obvious sugar high from all the candy that had been passed out. The man was really flustered. I had to smile.

The Ultimate Search for Truth Ends Here

My big, bad Ultimate Search for Truth unofficially began sometime in 2003, when I started studying Buddhism. I adore Buddha, but unfortunately, I had to dismiss the religion because I just could not bring myself to accept the concept of reincarnation.

In October of 2005, my search officially began. I admit that I only took quick glances at a few choice religions, including Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Catholocism. Being fair, I should have given them some more of my time, but I got stopped at “holy underwear” with the Mormons, “no holiday celebrations” with the Witnesses, and drinking Christ’s blood with the Catholics.

The majority of my focus this last year has been on Christianity. At one point I got completely twisted up in the circular reasoning and really confusing logic of Fundamentalists. I did eventually manage to claw my way to the surface for some air. I asked my Dad a lot of questions about Creation, the age of the Earth, The Flood, etc, and he pointed me towards a plethora of resources. It was a little more Science than I thought I could handle, but I think I did a sufficient job at grasping concepts. I got tripped up by Old Testament prophecies and a few other twists and turns. However, I have finally reached an end. Or at least, a pause. Obviously, I don’t know the truth. You don’t either. No one does. But I think I’ve found a good resting place. Without further ado, my conclusions:

1. A higher power exists. Of course I can’t prove it. I can’t even give you a rational explanation of why I believe. I just do. I have to believe that there is a Creator. Whether he has a plan, whether there’s an afterlife for us, I do not know. I just believe he’s there.

2. I believe that Jesus walked the Earth. Whether he was the Son of God…doubtful. However, the teachings of Jesus, the story, the miracles, the parables, can teach us important lessons about life. Everybody needs a little Jesus (minus the religion.) The one thing I really can’t handle about Christianity is “trusting in God” or that “he has a plan for my life.” I will trust myself. I have the power to control my own destiny. I have a plan for my life. I choose to make my own decisions to better myself and the world around me. Jesus can give me some good tips along the way, but ultimately, the power is in my hands.

3. I feel the same way about Buddha as I do about Jesus. However, I cannot believe in an afterlife. Sure, there may be one. Maybe I’ll be reincarnated. Maybe I’ll go to heaven. But to me, it doesn’t matter. I choose to believe that my short little lifetime is all that I have. Living an irresponsible, selfish, wasteful life will bring me a lifetime of unhappiness. I will reap what I sow, I will experience karma. But it will be here on Earth. Likewise, a life of gratitude, generosity and kindness will bring me peace, satisfaction, serenity, and happiness.

A few months ago I came upon a quote: “Religion is the human response to being alive and having to die.” How true it is.

We all need something to believe in.

“True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.” –Albert Einstein

Pigen, aka “Jesus”

Tonight, like every night, my children were ordered to the bathroom to brush their teeth. And of course, not surprisingly, an argument erupted. As usual, this argument stemmed from Einstein’s extreme selfishness. He refused to let Pigpen borrow his toothpaste. My mother finally cracked. She explained that she currently shares her house, her bed, her food, etc with Einstein. What would happen if she didn’t share? He would have nowhere to stay, nowhere to sleep, and nothing to eat. And very Einstein-like, he proclaimed that he didn’t need her stuff, he would find it somewhere else. “Well then!” my mom exclaimed, “You can sleep outside tonight. But you can’t bring your pillow or your blanket, because your mother bought those for you and she doesn’t feel like sharing either.” She then escorted him to the front door, scooted him out, and promptly locked the door and shut off the porch light.

Now, it does get EXTREMELY cold on the island at night. The wind whips up from the water and it’s just bitter, bitter cold. Nevertheless, I expected Einstein to stand out there in his underwear, shivering on the door step, teeth chattering and lips blue until one of us took pity and let him back in.

And yet, it took 4 minutes. 240 seconds and he was ringing the doorbell. But of course he still wasn’t admitting defeat. He said that he needed to find something he owned in his bedroom. And as he entered the room, sweet little Pigpen said “Here Einstein, you can use my pillow and my blanket.”

Now if that isn’t such a wonderful illustration of Jesus’s love, then I don’t know what is. It was Einstein that refused to share the toothpaste with Pigpen. And yet, Pigpen still felt such love for his brother that he was willing to give up his own comfort for the sake of someone else. Jesus was persecuted, beaten, tortured, and killed and still, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Amazing.

Now here’s the disturbing part. If I can see Jesus in Tristan’s sweet little soul, then who do I see in Aidan? I think I’d better get on my knees and start praying real hard that I’m not raising the Anti-christ. (Lol)