Friday, October 17, 2014


Jeff and I will be married twelve years in April. I have known him since I was 20. I can hardly wrap my mind around the fact that I have known him for twenty years. That just seems crazy. We had a horrible night a few nights ago. The kids were being shits. Sorry. but they were. They wouldn't go to bed, they were whining, it was eleven at night and I was over it. Over being a mom, over being a wife, pretty much over being a human. We both lost our tempers and I basically said, "This is not what I signed up for!" and something to the tune of "This sucks". (The tune had some more colorful words). I went up to bed, and like many nights, due to my third shift schedule, awoke at two in the morning and after tossing and turning, went down to the couch and the television. The movie, "Before Sunrise" was on. I loved that movie back in college. I swooned for Ethan Hawke and all his grunge. I wanted to meet a cute boy on a train in France and fall in love back in 1997. Instead, I met a boy from Kalamazoo in a disgusting house in East Lansing and spent many years attempting to  "convince" him that I was the one. Eventually he did discover that I was more than a friend, that he was ready for a girlfriend, that he wanted to make a life with me. The greatest gift from all those "pining" years for me, is that Jeff and I became good friends. We knew each other. We were there for each other through some difficult times. When we started dating it was almost a given that we were serious about each other and we both knew we'd eventually marry and start a family. Life twelve years later is in no way anything what I expected it to be. I thought I would love being a stay a home mom, I could not imagine wanting a career outside of "mom and wife".  I really couldn't imagine experiencing any discontent. Oh, how naive and well, I will just say it, stupid I was. People change, circumstances change, life happens. But, through it all, I will say that even on the toughest days of parenting, marriage, and hell, sometimes even existing, I love that my husband knows me better than anyone in this world. He gets me. He knows things about me that I can't and won't admit. We talk about everything, even the ugly and raw parts of our personalities.Even knowing the ugly parts, he loves me still. What a gift, what a blessing. Sometimes I find myself longing for the "Before Sunrise" moments in a relationship.  The excitement of a new relationship, discovering things about someone you don't know. But, I realize that really that comes from wanting to escape, even momentarily from the sometimes mundane parts of our life. The cleaning the house, doing the laundry, making the beds, the homework, carpooling to soccer/hockey. This season of our lives can seem like it is all about everyone but us. But, at the end of the day, when I contemplate it all, it comes back to the boy that I fell so hard for back in 1997. That boy knows me and he loves me. He puts up with a lot of crap. He had given me three beautiful children and a blessed life. He knows me. I am so grateful to be truly known and loved still.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Church woes

Church. Struggling. Is that enough of a post? That seems to sum up how I am feeling about it lately. And when I say lately, I mean the past two years. I blame myself for much of my angst, as I feel my sporadic church attendance does nothing to help my conflicted feelings. I can't help but think when I am listening to sermons, "Is this what Jesus wants me to focus on?" I packed up the kids last Sunday and headed to church. Full disclosure insists I must admit it was mostly because Jeff had an all day hockey commitment and they were driving me nuts. The idea of having an hour break and meeting God seemed like a win win. But, as I sat there, listening to a sermon that I didn't really agree with, I thought, "What is going on?" It also happened to be communion. As I sat waiting for the my little cup of grape juice and bread, I thought about my Episcopalian roots. I miss weekly communion. I think there is healing and transformation that comes with partaking in the weekly sacrament of communion. Confessing my sins before partaking in the body and blood of Christ. It has always bothered me that the churches Jeff and I have gone to over the last thirteen years do not have weekly communion.I left church feeling more restless than ever.
The girls go to the Wednesday night programming at our church. They have a a family style pizza dinner available before hand. Last night, I sat with the girls and some "important" people in the church. I had the opportunity to observe their conversation about their opinions on people who don't go to our church. I said nothing. I simply listened and honestly, I couldn't have been more dismayed. There was a man also sitting at the table, who I did have a conversation with who once he found out I was a social worker at Bronson, disclosed that he used to a be a "regular".  He went on to say that he has struggled with substance abuse for some years but had recently found sobriety and God. We had a brief conversation but I made sure to praise him for coming this far with his substance abuse struggles. I know all too well from my work how hard it is to find your way out of the hallway of the Bronson ER. As the "religious people" discussed things around us, I couldn't help but find myself watch this man. He seemed uncomfortable with the words he was hearing. Maybe I am being too critical but I felt like much of what was going on at the table seemed very judgmental. Redemption can happen to anyone, anywhere. God can meet his people wherever he wants. It might happen at our church, it could happen at a Catholic church, a college dorm, a hospital hallway. If I had said something I think it would have been, "I wonder if God cares about the particulars?" I feel, more than ever, that God wants us to meet people where they are at. God wants us to help the least of these, the "hallway people". I think God wants us to meet with him weekly but I am not convinced he cares where it is. I realize I am contradicting myself in many ways as I spoke of my longing for a more traditional church experience earlier in this post. The longing for tradition but also identifying with the values of a particular faith. I guess that's where I am at. Conflicted. I have been making time daily to pray for my faith, my family, my marriage. Prayer always brings me closer to God and reconciliation. I am not sure where to go from here? I am hesitant to make a big change because my children do love our church and their programming. In many ways I feel that trumps my struggles. Where do I go from here? I am not sure. But, certainly seeking God daily can't hurt anything.