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Posts Tagged ‘acceptance’

I have learned so much from God that I can no longer call myself a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew. ~~ Hafiz

I read this quote recently, shared by a friend of mine who I think is quite wonderful — kajjajja. She always makes my brain go in to this weird orbit of thought… and this quote certainly did that for me.

I’ve been having some profound conversations with my kids lately — conversations that excite me and scare me and leave me hoping I said the right thing. Many of the conversations start with a question like this, “We’re Christians, right?”

At this point my heart usually skips a beat… these are the talks that are important to get right, these are the talks that lead to many gray areas and the gray areas usually are where all the good stuff lies — or so I read somewhere.

I hesitate… I breathe…

“Are you asking for a fundamental reason or are you asking for some type of clarification on your own thoughts?”, is usually my response.

Lately, at this point, the conversation usually turns to understanding differences in people — differences that mean we are all connected and we are all separated at the same time. Gray areas.

My children have been active members of their church for years, they attend youth retreats and youth events and bible studies and they feed the homeless and they collect clothes and gifts and food for those less fortunate. They read. They meditate. They ponder.

They tell me how they corrected someone when the subject of a mosque being built at ground zero that isn’t actually a mosque and isn’t actually being built at ground zero came up in a conversation. They tell me how they corrected someone in a conversation when a derogatory remark was made about a person who is gay. Then they ask me, “If we are Christians, why do we think so differently than other Christians?”

I hesitate… I breathe…

I don’t believe that a person who happens to be Muslim has a need to hate me simply based on the fact that they are Muslim and I am not any more than you should assume that I am a member of a hatred group because I was born and raised in the south — the deep south, where I know what it means to have a rebel flag flying outside of your business.

I do not believe that my friend who shares her life with another woman is any less of a good person based on who she fell in love with anymore than you should believe that I am full of good choices considering the fact that my own marriage did not pass the test of time.

I don’t need quotes from the Bible tossed out explaining why to me. I’ve read some wonderful things from the Bible and take away from it what I felt was important — the same as you and your quotes. But what really is the difference?

I guess my point is… how can we share a religious view if what I have read and heard and understand points me towards tolerance and kindness and what you have read and heard and understand points you towards exclusion and judgement?

I hope to continue to have these conversations with my kids, I hope they never feel compelled to stay silent when they know a situation calls for a voice, I hope they continue to learn that tolerance is always needed, that kindness is always welcomed, and that thinking is a great tool.

The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness. ~~ Dalai Lama

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. ~~ Jesus of Nazareth


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One of my children, (I will refrain from using names or ages to protect the innocent) has a recurring dream about Hitler. Yes, Hitler. We have tried to pinpoint what led to this dreamland interference… but, nothing stands out — no books, no documentaries, no school discussions. I know if some dream therapist is consulted as to what this dream means, he will say that Hitler represents me, the mother — it’s always the mother’s fault.

The list of things that we blame on our mother’s is endless: my clothes are too small, my clothes are too big, my hair is curly, my hair is flat, I missed the bus, I don’t like dinner  — endless.

But, we somehow manage to carry on.

I’ve decided this must be due to the thing known as unconditional love. We know that our children can blame everything that goes wrong on us and we will still love them, we will still come back to them, we will still allow them to blame us. Of course, until I was a mother myself I was on the other end of the blame.

In the 1950’s, autism was blamed on mother’s. I found this explanation in Wikipedia (What? You know you use Wikipedia too.):

The term refrigerator mother was coined around 1950 as a label for mothers of children diagnosed with autism or schizophrenia. These mothers were often blamed for their children’s atypical behavior, which included rigid rituals, speech difficulty, and self-isolation.

The “refrigerator mother” label was based on the assumption — now discredited among most, though not all, mental health professionals — that autistic behaviors stem from the emotional frigidity of the children’s mothers. As a result, many mothers of children on the autistic spectrum suffered from blame, guilt, and self-doubt from the 1950s throughout the 1970s and beyond: when the prevailing medical belief that autism resulted from inadequate parenting was widely assumed to be correct.

Can you imagine, a disorder as wide spread as autism blamed on mothers? As a mother, we really have some ground to make up. Or do we? Maybe this is our time to re-claim a guilt-free existence. To stop accepting the blame for all the world’s ill-fated ventures. To let the chips fall where they may. (Yes, I know — not going to happen.)

Today alone, I will be given and accept the blame for: my oldest daughter’s room being painted a color she no longer wants (yes, she picked out the current color just last year), my son’s unfinished book report due tomorrow (yes, he received the assignment two weeks ago), and my youngest daughter’s favorite pink Dora popsicles are all gone (ok, I do have to take responsibility for that one).

When my mother first became ill and moved in with us, she was in a wheelchair. If she needed to get up at night, she would call and I would come. This night, when she called out for me, I was completely in the state of disorient that can only be described as that lack of sleep when you first bring home a newborn and everything sounds like an echo. I raced down the stairs still in my semiconscious state and missed the last two steps. I slid down hard on my bum — it hurt. My mother immediately apologized saying it was her fault for needing my help. I laughed. She laughed. Why is it so easy for us to accept the blame?

I can still try to blame things on my mother. It’s her fault that the laundry I folded for her some nine months ago is still on the dryer, with no one to wear it. It’s her fault that her purse with all its contents is lying in the bottom of her closet with nowhere to go. It’s her fault I stare daily at that half empty bottle of perfume because I can not bring myself to toss it out.

At some point, I’m sure we all become adults and accept responsibility for our own mistakes, for our own short-comings, for our own happiness. To blame is easy, to accept is not. But, to move on is the key.

As the mother, I know I’ll be given the blame — as the mother, I know I’ll accept the blame. So, I’ll pick up paint chips for the bedroom, I’ll edit the book report, and I’ll go to the store for pink Dora popsicles. And, when Hitler makes his way back into dreamland, I will be waiting to chase him away. When it’s all done… I’ll get the hugs and the kisses and the love. Which is really what matters the most.

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