Monday, January 22, 2007

what does your heart say?

I am beginning to have an epiphany that keeps recurring in my life. Maybe I'm not using the word correctly, as I think that is a momentary realization-in my life the moments keep repeating themselves and the realization keeps happening each time. I did not understand how entrenched certain childhood teachings and miscontrued religious notions are until recently. I treat certain beliefs as the 11th Commandment, or maybe it is this one thing: self-sacrifice in any or at all times is god. Growing up with five siblings, and one with a severe handicap, it seemed the air I breathed to be willing to give up anything for the larger good. This is, in and of itself, an important lesson in maturity for a child and I'm not at all downplaying it. I'm glad for the things I learned as a child. It has made adulthood so much easier. BUT, here's the thing-self-sacrifice is not god. In fact, it can be the most destructive path chosen.

Now I am a Christian and take the teachings in Scripture at face value. This is right. But Jesus' heart and soul was for the people. The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath. You tithe cummin and mint and neglect the justice and mercy. Feed my sheep. Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone. He who is forgiven little loves little. There has to be a marriage of law-abiding and joyful living. There were no good words in scripture for those who denied themselves to become more holy. Jesus was classed as a drunk and a glutton by some. We do not achieve holiness by wanton self-denial. It is through obedience.

Lately as I've spent time reading scripture and been in prayer, the still small Voice inside seems to keep asking me, "What is your heart telling you?" I say to Him I'm willing to do whatever He wants, and the question is pushed back across the table, "What do YOU want?" I'm not even sure how to respond sometimes. It's never about what I want I think, but the Lord seems to be telling me that it is-life is about choices. I have wanted to take a vacation out West to visit a friend and my older sister. The old practical voice says too expensive, too time-consuming, think of a way to make it more efficient, you can't leave your family...but it keeps coming back to me, "What does your heart say?" My heart says more than anything I want to visit my friend and my sister. I'll figure out the cost, I'll do what I have to do. Yes, yes I want this. I keep thinking to myself, had I been more selfish about my son's time and company-had I been more aggressive in seeking him out, maybe things might have been different. But I never felt like I should cramp his style, and why would he want to spend time with his mother? Why indeed.


Blogger Salt Water said...

I like blogging. Possibly because it allows me to look outside my life and look into others. My normal life, truck driving, offers no such look. Yet, when reading ones blog, I often wish I had something brilliant to say in response. Today as usual I do not. Hopefully, as Bill Clinton often said, "I feel your pain" might mean something. I have two step daughters. I did well enough with one, and failed with the other. She would probably be better-off in prison. She is on probation, all the rules but no help living. I know my coming into her life at 15 did not help her, but I do wish I could start over with that girl (She is 37 now). She left home one or two months after I got there. It is not an option that makes sense, but I berate myself for not stopping her leaving. Anyhow, I guess we do the best we can and then punt. Thanks for your blog. Hope you don't mind people reading it for the purpose of escaping their own thoughts...

3:57 PM  
Blogger joannie said...

Not at all-that's the reason I'm here. Please don't blame yourself for your stepdaughter's choices, because they are hers. I went to prison volunteer training on Saturday with a friend. I shared on the way about my son, and she was very quick to come to my defense in the training when someone made the comment, "Inmates don't get good training at home". Well, some don't, but I have two other children and they are lovely kids. All of them are-but choices count. I'm glad you feel free to comment-it doesn't have to be novel-worthy prose. Thanks so much for your honesty.

3:32 AM  

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