Contemplating God

On a recent drive, I finished listening to Love is the Way, Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times by Bishop Michael Curry. It was so comforting and got me thinking, contemplating God, religion, my church upbringing and how do I feel about all that now. I had heard Bishop Curry being interviewed on
Brene Brown’s podcast. His voice, Southern accent, Southern stories and his message of love got me interested in his book. I grew up in the Episcopal church. Even though I don’t attend church anymore, I appreciate growing up in this somewhat liberal church with rituals of communion, incense, and fellowship. 
How do I feel about all that? I appreciate the experience of the Episcopal church, although I can only remember feeling the presence of God there once. It was a Christmas Eve service at our church, St. James in Jackson, MS. My parents and my daughter attended. The church had invited the children’s choir from a local black church to join our children’s choir. As those precious faces looked out and sang Happy Birthday Jesus, I was moved to tears. This coming together of people who are not the same is where I see God. I didn’t feel him at any of my three church weddings, the obligatory Sunday morning services or in the priest office where I was sent as a middle schooler when my family was experiencing trouble. When the priest asked if I had ever masturbated and suggested I try it, I never went back for another session. Who knows where that might have gone. 

Attending a webinar with Kiese Layman and his auntie Rev. Carolyn Coleman, I witnessed love. Reverend Coleman reminds us silence is a great teacher, a great communicator. I have learned that during the past four years more than any other time in my life. She also reminds, until you learn to forgive the unforgivable, you don’t really know how to love. Recognize there are imperfect places in all of us, the grace of God covers us and calls us to still rise. With silence and forgiving myself, I am loving myself and others more and more. Someone recently said to me, “I can forgive you”. Those genuine words have brought a sense of peace and lighter heart. Although neither of us are church goers, God was felt. Ironically, some of those I know who are church goers and followers of Jesus are the ones I feel the most judgement and lack of love from. 

Krista Tippitt, On Being, Remembering Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks – Rabbi Sacks tells us we need to be enlarged by people who are different from us, not threatened. We should see that the welfare of others is linked to our own and is best for our own welfare. He wrote Dignity of Difference which is a radical proposal for reconciling hatreds. I’d like to think we can reconcile civilizations and our closest personal relationship and love will rule. 

How do I feel about all that? God shows up in all of us, in community, in nature, in silence, yes sometimes church. I believe most, if not all religions are trying to get at the same thing: love, and how to live in communion in this world. I believe our relationship with God is private. 

“Follow your dream, speak your truth” Rev. Carolyn Coleman

What I Got For You Today

This is what I got for you today, two writers from Mississippi, each had a piece published recently in Vanity Fair. This strange Southern land, rich in culture, strife, and story is still producing writers that will go down in history.

On Witness and Respair: A personal tragedy followed by pandemic

Mississippi: A Poem, In Days

Keeping it simple, WordPress has changed up it’s format. I’m learning but not very fast. It’s doesn’t feel conducive to writing. Stay tuned. Hope you read both of the recommended readings for today.  

People to follow, books to read, etc

I have suggestions for people to follow, books to read, etc for you.

If you don’t follow, Heather Cox Richardson, political historian and author, I highly suggest you do. (Thanks Wendy for suggesting her to me!) She gives a daily summary of the day’s news and weekly informative videos. It’s crossed my mind, she could be a part of online curriculum for high school, college kids. I’m learning history from her. If you aren’t on facebook, you may still be able to access her, give a try.
I have listened to her interview with Bill Moyers yet, but will: Bill Moyers and Heather

This week, I attended a webinar put on by Books Are MagicMichele FilgateKiese Laymon (who I seem to follow where ever he goes) Nayomi Munaweera and Brian Gresko all spoke in celebration of the paperback version of What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About. I can not wait to read this book of essays after listening to each writer. Gleaned some inspiration and writing tips from this webinar.

So much to read, so much to write about and fight for. Life is busy for the foreseeable future. I’ve got house/pet sitting the next few weekends. I’m cleaning for a family while they are out of town. Before the pandemic, I was nanny for their three year old twin boys. They feel like family. I’m having too much fun cleaning for them!
Could write more, but gotta get busy. It’s gunna be a hot one this weekend. Great time to clean out the frig to stay cool.

Don’t forget to stock up on stamps and send things to people you care about via USPS!

All writers, events, books are clickable links. Thanks for reading.

A Place like Mississippi

My connection to Mississippi as the place I was born and raised has been revealing on many levels as of late. I never felt like I belonged there. Most of the women had blond straight hair and always looked so put together. My hair was brown, wavy and frizzy and I didn’t make looking put together a priority. Like the chairs in my relative’s house that look great but are painful to sit in, there was pain. Any trauma experiences are and were brushed aside, as it’s too ugly to look at and uncomfortable to talk about. Hence, drinking, numbing. I was shamed by a family member for speaking about being raped by my first cousin. In listening to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Shout , I realize how much I suppressed and how unhealthy it has been.
Much of what Gillian May writes in this essay rings true with my own relationship with alcohol. I’ll be 3 years sober in August.
Alcoholic shame

I’ll continue on the path of learning and healing for myself and our world. This episode from Radiolab tells the story of Mississippi’s past, the removal of the Confederate flag and the search for a new one. Shout out to Kiese Laymon, author of  Heavy, An American Memoir and  Laurin Stennis
Radiolab Podcast: The Flag and the Fury

As always thanks for reading.