Thursday, August 30, 2012


I believe things happen as they must.  Not the way G*d decrees, not for the best, not to teach us...simply as they must.  And as each second passes into the next, the only thing we can change is ourselves.

Friday, August 10, 2012

You Believe What?!?

I don't know how many religions exist in the world.  Hundreds?  Thousands?  The graphic shows a few of the major religions, but there's so much more than this, and within each religion, sects and cults and off-shoots and clubs of the like-minded. 

And each symbol and each division within that represents a way of making sense of the world, of understanding an essential story, a premise that explains the way 'things' work and why, and where they came from and where they're going and what you're supposed to do about it all along the way.

Each religion represents a reality, a version of the story, that is absolutely necessary, that is required for humanity to order itself, for us to feel safe or comfortable or certain.  Or if our religion, our belief, is in science or secularism or a-theism or a-gnosticism, that is, uncertainty and unknowing, then that is where our comfort lies.

I have no problem with not being able to pick the one right path.  I respect that each of us needs a path, and appreciate G*d's generosity in providing us with so many prophets, so many stories, so many ways to comfort us. 

I know what I need.  I need a story that works.  I need a narrative that gives meaning and purpose and intention to my life. I don't need the stories about suffering or sin.  I don't need the stories about severity or sacrifice.  I don't need the stories about martyrs or manifestos. I need stories about love and purpose and potential. 

But I know others need other kinds of stories.  So I respect religion, not because I believe what other people believe necessarily, but because I know the importance of belief.

The Creation Story

It's nice to think we can figure out the deep mysteries of creation - how we got here and why.  But, at the risk of sounding like a naturalist, not that that's a bad thing, every single thing in the observable universe, really everything we can actually know, moves in repeating cycles.  And it's the repetition of these cycles that reveals their perfection.

Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, seasons, years, birth, life, death, the seed, the plant, the fruit...all point to the perfection of repeating cycles.  And no matter how much I learn or study or explore, I cannot conceive of a creation story that makes more sense than this. 

I cannot conceive of a more perfect design than the seed carrying within it the potential future, needing only to be planted and exposed to the elements to bear the fruit that is its destiny. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I don't trust people.  Not really.  I don't trust their intentions or their ability to care for me or care about me, at least no in any way I ultimately value.  And I don't trust that they will care for my well-being in any sufficient way, and I am certain that I must always be responsible for this myself.

And I'm not a huge extrovert.  I like people and human interaction, and I need silence and solitude at least as much.  So my need for people is tempered by my need to be away from people.

Which is to say, ultimately, that I find intimacy complicated and confusing, and can never quite figure out how to be with someone when it doesn't feel, on some level, that it's at my own expense.

I wonder if others feel this way, or if this is some unique experience all of my own.  Because there certainly are those of us who need and crave and require intimacy.  Even when it is destructive and unhealthy and crazy-making.

My self-protective instinct is strong and kicking, more than just about anything else about me.  I'm not sure that's great when it comes to forging connection, but it's great for feeling safe, if a little isolated. 

I cannot look at the world without seeing the massive pain and suffering we inflict on each other, on ourselves, on the magnificent creatures of this planet and on the planet itself.  I have never been able to avoid the outrage of the reality of human existence, and it pains me on the most personal level that I am part of this, and that I am also someone who creates pain for myself and others.

But it is the inescapable reality in which I live.  Which I cannot reconcile easily with being open to love and trust and intimacy with the same human species that has used love and trust as weapons of mass destruction.  I don't think I'm so special that I will be the lucky one to be loved and not hurt, adored never to suffer.

Are we just supposed to try and try again to love and trust, waiting for someone with enough strength of character to overcome the worst of humanity that lives in all of us?  Is this the requirement of our age?  To be hopeful when all evidence tells us of a reality that opposes hope?

There are more bridal-themed shows on TV than ever before, but no evidence linking a fantastic wedding to a happy marriage.  Where is comfortable and content reality in the middle of this fantasy of relationships?  I saw a match-making show.  The match-maker said "love is not a game, but dating is, and you better learn to play the game."

What about those of us who don't like games of any kind?  Where does that leave the question of connection and intimacy?  Maybe it should be in the hands of family, friends and professionals, and we should stop letting our romantic hearts and emotions run away with us, certain that feelings are a real enough foundation to support an entire life that is far to heavy for that kind of support.

I have no answers.  But I don't play games.  I don't even like the People magazine crossword puzzle and I always know the answers to it.  So I try to reconcile "Say Yes to the Dress" with the awful stories of abuse and violence I see in the news every day, but I don't think it's enough to find a happy little corner of the world and ignore the rest.  I cannot ignore the pain, and I cannot stay immersed in it without it destroying my own ability to be of use.

So how close can I get and still feel safe?  Still feel like there's hope?  Still feel like things can be better?  I have no answer to that question just yet.