Posts Tagged 'Religion'

I’m Not Driving (The Beginning)

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I don’t know how it is with you, but things just seem to work out best when I’m not actively planning the outcome.  Don’t get me wrong…I try to be prepared for everything, but I don’t follow a rigid playbook.  I know quite a few people that need to be in control of every aspect of their lives, from the exact job and salary they require and the gender and spacing of their children, to the one and only acceptable shade of paint on their walls.  These people seem stressed out a lot.

Then there are people like Big Daddy.  He’s a good Catholic boy who goes to Church every Sunday, volunteers at the County Home for the aged, and thinks that there is a God up there that actually saved that prime parking spot on a busy Pittsburgh street just for him. 

I fall somewhere in between these two ways of thinking.  I’m happy to strive for something great, settle for something good enough, and work to make it better.  None of the things I would have wished for would have turned out as well as the surprises that have happened to me.  I do believe in the forces of good and evil, and I do believe these powers affect our lives.  I just don’t really think that God gives a flying fig whether we drive around the block 20 times in the pouring rain, although…

I know I’ve left you hanging for a while in my foster care saga of miscommunication.  Sometimes I forget that not all of my blog readers know me personally or see my Facebook status updates.  The perfect storm of miscommunication was countered with a freaky series of coincidences that may be indeed the work of Divine Providence.  I’ll let you decide.

We thought about the girls often while we were in California for my oldest son’s wedding, hoping that they were enjoying finally being in a home with their other siblings.  When we got home, we found a letter in the mailbox from Bonus Child with pages of colorful drawings for me and heartbreaking pleas to “Please write back Mom” and “I love you Les.”  It also included a phone number and return address, written no doubt by the foster mom, where we could reach her.  I had promised before I left to call Bonus Child at her new home as soon as I got back from my trip, and so I did.  Bonus Child seemed very quiet and withdrawn, but since I had never talked to her over the phone before, I figured perhaps this was just her normal phone etiquette.  I asked her if she was having fun playing with her brother and sisters, and then I almost threw up when she told me that she wasn’t there with them.  “What?” I inquired.  “Why not?  Where are you guys?”  I gasped, trying not to convey my panic and nausea.  We had finally come to grips with losing the girls, but only because we thought they were going to be together.  Worse yet, the girls had been led to believe they were leaving our home to go live where their brother was staying.  They believed us, they trusted us, and we were all lied to.  We had to get to the bottom of this!

After some sleuthing around on the internet, I realized that not only were the girls not at the home where they were supposedly being sent, it was not even in the same county.  I had at first thought that maybe they were transitioning her into the school district where she would end up staying (since missing 4 days of school was one of the reasons the county would not approve the respite that our new caseworker had found), but obviously, school was not a consideration at this juncture since Bonus Child had just been yanked out of a wonderful school with caring teachers and close friends into some totally strange school where she knew no one.  None of it made any sense.

Big Daddy went to our agency to find out what in the world was going on. They seemed to be as surprised as we were by this revelation although clearly at this point neither of us knew who to believe.  All we knew was the children were not with their bio family, and since they had been with us over 15 months and were thriving and firmly bonded with us, they belonged here until they could return home, if that time ever came.

I’m not going to lie.  After the stressful year we’d had, it was really nice being able to focus on ourselves.  We joined a gym, cleaned the house, slept in, got some big overdue projects done and went out to eat whenever we felt like it.  Our agency knew we were upset and said they understood if we wanted a break and would wait to call us.  Within a week, they were calling us with other kids needing a foster home.  Yeah, right.  Neither Big Daddy nor I were feeling the need to ever do this again.  We were emotionally drained.  We even thought how easy life was without the girls–even though we missed them terribly.  But the way it happened–allowing them to think we ditched them, lied to them, and abandoned them–gave us the drive to fight for them.  And we knew it would be an unfair uphill battle.

 

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The Last Frontier in Discrimination

I wasn’t taught to feel this way.  The concept of sexism wasn’t even really an issue in my household back in the 1960’s and ’70’s when I grew up.  Mom worked outside the home part-time.  Dad could cook.  There generally wasn’t a lot of stress over household chores because my beautiful saintly little Italian grandma came over every day while mom worked and gladly did most of the day-to-day chores and got dinner started.  She spoiled us with popsicles and nickles for penny candy.

The sense of unfairness started to build about the time that my younger brother got out of weekend dish duties once he was old enough to cut our small lawn with the push mower.  Dad said that was only fair.  But it wasn’t.  I would gladly have pushed that lawn mower out in the warm sunshine instead of spending all day Saturday cleaning up dishes after the never-done-eating brother and dad.  (Mom happily worked at the downtown department store on Saturdays).  I hate housework today for the same reason I hated it then.  It’s tedious, thankless, and endless.  At least if I had to cut the grass, it would be noticeable and it wouldn’t need done again for a few days.  I remember being so riled up about the unfairness of it all that one day I just grabbed the kitchen faucet and yanked it from side to side in anger.  My dad thought it was quite amusing.

As I got older, the women’s movement for equal rights affected me deeply.  I subscribed to Ms. magazine.  I fumed over the way women were marginalized and treated unfairly.  I know for a fact that I’m every bit as good and smart and important as anyone else in this world.  My gender certainly doesn’t make me less so.  Yet, women are still treated differently.  We’re very often paid less than men for the same work, passed over for promotions we deserve, and still end up doing most of the crappy thankless housework.  Just because we’re female!sexistsuperman

In many circles, women are brainwashed to believe that their gender makes them subservient and relegated to a preordained role in life, whether or not that’s how they personally want to live their life.  They are taught to hide their talents and defer their dreams and submit to their man, whether he is right or clearly wrong.  Then, lest their true sense of fairness and justice allows them to question this, they are quoted excerpts written eons ago in various religious texts by men who lived when only the strong (or subservient) survived.

These books often talk about how all men are created equal, and to be kind to your brother.  They mention how to treat your slaves and your women.  Today, in the civilized world, we abhor slavery.  We don’t treat our slaves with kindness because we understand that slavery is wrong.  And we don’t have them.  But women are still supposed to submit to their husbands, just like they were instructed to thousands of years ago.

Thankfully, in most civilized cultures, we recognize that discrimination is evil and insidious.  A person’s worth is not determined by the color of his or her skin or the religion they grew up with.  How crazy is it that it’s still acceptable to treat our very own mothers, sisters, daughters and wives as something slightly less important than the men in our world?  How can anything rationalize this discrimination?

The Heartland Has Heart

Iowa, somewhere in middle America (yeah, I’m quoting Adam Duritz), has surprised the rest of “progressive” America by becoming the third state to currently allow same sex marriages.

We expect this from Massachusetts.  And Connecticut.  But I think a whole lot of Americans were caught by surprise to see that the good folks in the heartland of our country opted for fairness over close-minded bigotry.

Marriage is a union between two people that care about each other and want to commit to sharing their lives.  Because they’re wired a little differently, why should gay people be denied the rights of married couples?  Just who are they hurting by wanting to make a legal commitment to the person they care about?  Seems to me this should create a more stable community.  Why should they be forced to choose between a life of celibacy or sex outside of marriage?

The way I see it, a big problem in this world is that some people think their way is the only way.  They force their values, and the beliefs they’ve been indoctrinated with, onto everybody else.  It’s a good thing to stand up for innocent victims that can’t defend themselves.  But there is no victim in gay marriage.  If you think your God won’t approve, let your God deal with them.  And live your own life the way you think your God wants you to live.  Which, I would think, is with love and compassion, and fairness and understanding.  Kind of like the good folks in Iowa.

What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace Love and Civil Unions?

Why is it so scary, or odd, or funny that all some people want to do is find a mate, create a nest, and be offered the same legal rights and protections under the law as offered to other members of our “free” society?  Monogamous relationships create stability in a society.  Polygamy is much more unbalanced and dangerous to a society than a homosexual monogamous relationship.  Single-parent households drain the public coffers since many of these people play the system.  Why not allow every individual the right to share their life and happiness with another person?  Many of the same people that don’t condone “shacking up” or promiscuity are the ones dead-set against same-sex marriages.  If it so offends the senses of these people to call this “marriage,” then by all means call it something else–such as “civil union.”  But everyone should be allowed to choose a partner and file taxes jointly, make life and death decisions for their partner, and be covered by their mate’s health insurance like every other married couple in America.

Live And Let Live…But Sometimes…

One of the most wonderful things about our country is, for the most part, we can all pretty much do our own thing. We can worship as we see fit, with a few exceptions we can spend our money on what we want, and as long as we’re doing no obvious harm, we can raise our family without interference. I have my own beliefs and value system, but I believe everyone has the right to process the world and live in it in a way that makes sense to them. Don’t bother me, I won’t bother you, and we can get along just fine. We can even be friends.

That’s why I kind of surprised myself when I just had to react to a blog I read. I’ve read many blogs that I may not agree with, but I can kind of see where the person is coming from. In the few instances where I’ve felt compelled to leave a comment, it’s always been a thumbs up or an agreeable comment. And I certainly didn’t want to disrespect these people. They MAY be very nice people. But their mindset is so sad, I just had to open my big mouth (so to speak).

I’m just browsing, and something caught my eye about calling your husband “master.” I thought perhaps this was a tongue-in-cheek thing, so I clicked on it to perhaps be amused. And this woman was dead serious, as were some of the respondents that the man should rule the household and the woman should happily “submit” to this nonsense. To their credit, they printed my response and I’m sure they will never understand my viewpoint because they see the world only in literal terms, in black and white. And I know many people think this way; sadly, these are not the only people out there that live like this. But here’s the way I see it:

First of all, if you want to take the spiritual view: We are all made in God’s image. And God is a spirit: a genderless, without-a-body spirit. Maybe some of these people feel better thinking He’s an ancient man with a long beard, but I think most of the population has evolved enough to be able to see things more abstractly.

Second of all, this is such a cop out. These chest-thumping men that always have to have things their way and so spew some Bible quotes so that they can bully their wives and children are living by the laws of the jungle. Whoever is physically strong survives, and the weaker must submit or die. Of course, in this country there are laws against this now, so they intimidate these weak-minded women with the fear of eternal damnation. Whatever happened to using your “talents.” Why should women hide their talents, defer to someone they know is wrong, give up on their own ideas, simply because their husband has a PENIS? In fact, I’m sure many REAL men will agree that the PENIS is often responsible for helping them make a perhaps not-so-brilliant decision.

And, to end this little rant session, what if you accidentally marry an asshole? I can see where a weaker woman may be relieved to leave all the decisions up to their husband–and vice-versa. But people marry young, and the true colors of a spouse might not show up until after the wedding. So, you’re stuck married to a mean, self-centered idiot who does not make good decisions, and yet he gets to run your one and only life, your chance to make a difference in this world, and worse yet, is responsible for the precious children in your lives–and you stand back and say “yes, dear.” The kids need shoes but go buy your fancy new car–or whatever makes this type of man feel like a man.

Okay. Enough said.


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