Monday, May 16, 2016

Thoughts on understanding

Over the past week or so I've read several blogs written by people of faith that have gotten thinking.  I'm not a person of faith, and generally speaking, I don't really like most people of faith.  I find them closed minded, bigoted, exclusive, and self righteous.  I understand these are sweeping generalizations, and I'm sure there are people of faith out there who are not like that.  I know a few of those people, and I appreciate them for who they are, but I also would contend that they're in the minority.  This leads to the question, "Why were you reading blogs written by people of faith if you don't like people of faith?" and that's valid.  But, I try to be a well rounded person, and I read a lot of things written by opposing viewpoints from my own because it's good to see all facets of this life we live.  Honestly, I've been reading one for years because I find the person so polar opposite in point of view from me that it's like learning about a completely different world.  And I think she's a bit nuts, so there is a pretty high entertainment factor to it.  The other ones I've read recently were from blogs that were not about faith at all, but about home renovation, or organization, or children with illnesses, and the faith just sort of came to the surface with recent posts.

The sad thing about reading some of these posts is when you find pieces of yourself in them, and realize that you probably still couldn't be friends with these people because the differences between you are still insurmountable, but you also see that there are connections.  Tiny little things that tie you to that person in some similar way and you think "If only we could grow that thread and ignore the rest of them", but that's not what life is like most of the time.  This morning I read a blog that was largely about missionaries and faith, but touched on being a parent.  Specifically, being a mom.  It talked about how being a mom is hard, and it's a big deal sometimes, and to ignore that really large piece of a person's life serves to make them feel isolated.  To make them feel they're misunderstood.  That hit me between the eyes.  It's so true, and I related so much to that one sentence.  It's what I've been doing for the past two years.  Trying to help people ignore that aspect of my life, which has just led to me feeling more and more isolated.  More and more misunderstood.  More and more alone.  Yet, I still try to help people pretend my daughter isn't a part of my life.  I hide her away when we have friends over.  I plan things for after she's in bed.  I clean up the toys as best I can.  I try not to talk about her.  I take a piece of myself, and I slice it off to appease people who don't "want to deal with it".  But, what that means is that people don't want to deal with me.  They don't want to deal with a huge part of who I am.  And while I never let my daughter be the dominant focus of anything, pretending she doesn't exist so that others feel more comfortable isn't fair either.  It's not fair of them to expect me to do that so that we can maintain a friendship.  I find I'm working so hard to make things easier for others to deal with, but they're not doing the same in return, and I have to ask how that's fair to me at all.  It's not fair to me.  So for others to feel ok, I have to feel isolated, misunderstood, cut off, alone.  When I read those sentences in this person's blog, I flashed to the many posts I've had on here over the past few years about feeling isolated.  Feeling alone.  Feeling a need for connection to other people that I used to have, but that seems to have died.  This person, who I will never be friends with, who I will never sit across from at a table having coffee, this person gets me.  In one sentence, they understand this piece of me.

The blog continued on about how those are the times she leans on her faith, and I started thinking about how simple life could be if I was the sort of person who could lean on something like faith as a foundation.  There has to be so much comfort in something like true faith.  There's comfort in the ritual of it.  Comfort in the sense of community that comes from it.  Comfort in the ability to feel like somewhere, someone else is always looking out for you and doing the right things for you for the right reasons.  Comfort in handing yourself over to the ritual and familiarity of faith, to turn off all of the voices sometimes and go on auto-pilot with ritual and repetition and to come out on the other side feeling whole and renewed.  I can see the appeal.  I just can't, personally, suspend my own sense of disbelief and skepticism to accept it.  I can't be a person of faith.  I've tried.  I don't think I necessarily want to be a person of faith.  But there are moments when I envy that trust.  That ability to feel cared for by a higher power when times get dark.  I envy those who can see everything as the plan a higher power has set out for them.  Personally, I look at the world and I see no plan.  I see happenstance, and inexplicable tragedy, and so many things that make me question how a divine plan could be out there working for the greater good.  There are days, though, when I wish I had the comfort of that belief.

I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make here.  These were just some thoughts going through my head after reading some of these things.  It's really just rambling of things to continue to think about.  And perhaps it's about me going through my own sort of learning as I read things by people on the opposite end of the spectrum from me.  That, no matter how much I disagree with the majority of what someone thinks, or says, or does, there may still be some small thread of understanding that connects the two of us, and if people in staunch disagreement can find that thread, maybe everyone would be better off because we'd be less apt to destroy one another over disagreement.

Just some thoughts.


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