Sunday, April 15, 2018

Coming Out: The Magic Edition

So here's the thing. I believe in magic. I believe that most everything around us is magic. Magic not as an illusion that one learns to fool and delight others. Magic not as a cloak of evil one wears to accomplish selfish means. Magic as an energy that moves around in the air unseen. Perhaps it is the air itself.   Perhaps air obscures our ability to recognize the magic around us. Magic as moving with that energy to accomplish good in the world we are called to minister to.

In II Kings 6:17, "...Elisha prayed and said, 'Lord, I pray Thee open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

In a non-Biblical reference, you might consider the movie "The Sixth Sense," where at the end you realize a thing that had been obvious the entire time but you were not aware of, that even the main character was not aware of, is at the core of the story. IS the actual story. I myself have rewatched the movies many times with that new information in mind and seen more each time. The truth of the story is not changed, only the perception or the interpretation of events.

I know that the word magic has all sorts of meanings to people, ranging from fun and harmless trickery to powered-by-evil sorcery. But I want to reframe the word to explain my perspective to others. What if we replaced instances of "miracles" in the Bible with "magic," if not in actual word, in implication. Miracles are things attributed to our Creator that defied "natural" explanation. At the time, anyway....once a thing is explained and defined by scientific method, it moves from under the heading of miraculous (magic) to natural.

But I ask you...does the explanation, the moving from not being understood to being understood actually change the magical properties involved? I just don't think so. I think God made this universe so massive and so dense with mystery and wonder that a thing doesn't need humans to define it. It simply is. It is, without being understood, and it is after being understood.

Trees and plants were believed to have magical properties for millennia. One thing explained by modern science is that plant life creates oxygen. I gotta tell you, that's magic. I breathe out carbon dioxide and trees and my ivy and my rosemary convert it back into breathable, a breathable, life-sustaining substance. So eventually the process was figured out, written down and explained to children in elementary school. The gooey gel inside aloe vera cactus is great for burns. In times past, people turning to a plant for its healing properties in this way could lead to punishment for witchcraft. Now it's sold in bottles in the first aid department. Chewing on the bark of certain trees relieved pain. Now it's sold in little tablets as aspirin, and is also used to combat heart disease. I don't think these things are any less magical before they were put through studies and approved for marketing. God imbued his creations with all sorts of gifts and uses and yes, even powers. "Not verified by the FDA" does not mean a damn thing in the grand scheme of what is and is not true. 

So, I believe in magic. I believe it is God's power and energy (and I believe that power and energy are God) and that it flows in and through wherever it is welcomed. I believe God is bigger, more expansive, just more, than what is contained in the Bible. God is not confined to the records therein. Exploring the presence of God in other places and times is not evil.

Jeremiah 29:13 and you will seek Me and you will find Me when you search for me with all your heart.

Matthew 7:7-11 ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What man is there among you, if his son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish will give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more then will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

I always thought (and was taught) that that was about things, but what if it's about truth? I mean, Jesus said HE was truth, and the things he talked about always seemed to defy the personal or societal norm. I am seeking with all my heart to learn what is beyond what I've been taught. I am not looking beyond God for what is true, but I am exploring beyond what is recorded in the Bible for what else is true about God and His creation and His purposes.

This is causing a LOT of flak in my personal relationships. I understand that when I stray from what is solidly known about me, it's scary for others. But just as the truths about God are not affected by our beliefs and practices (or abstinence from certain beliefs or practices), the truth about me is the same no matter who thinks what about me.

And the truth about me includes the fact that I believe in magic. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Turning Points

Yesterday was my 50th birthday. I wasn't feeling quite up to par, evidenced by just an overlay of exhaustion. We got up and Paul made me this delicious breakfast, complete with fried quick-bread donuts made with duck eggs (he called them duck nuts.... thank God they tasted good enough to get past that image). Then we basically slept again, made an obligatory effort at fun in the guise of shopping and going out to eat, and finally came home and called it an early night.

A gift from my daughter-in-law....who truly gets me.
Truth be told, I'm not that enthused today either. Paul left for work about 6 am, and when I got up at 8-something to go release the ducks and gather eggs, it was a cold and windy MF outdoors! So it will take some real effort to make anything at all of this day! Right now I'm thinking through what's absolutely necessary and watching one of the Ma and Pa Kettle movies.

It's been a hellacious year. It's been a hellacious couple of years. The whole presidential campaign, awful enough on its own but for me following sequential losses of 3 of my dogs, then losing what I had thought of as real connection with parts of my family over POLITICS of all things.... I watched the TV and Facebook just explode with hatred and condescension where once there was love and tenderness. I felt the losses keenly, one after another, until I was just so near the bottom emotionally that I THOUGHT it was the bottom.

Then my uncle died. Killed his wife and then himself. The lowest place I've ever been, and that's no lie. I've been divorced 3 times, had a couple of break-ups that were greater losses than even the divorces. Been in wrecks, had kids rebel and separate themselves from me. But losing Brann Alan completely wiped off the last speck of dust between me and the bottom and made me ONE with the bottom. Opened cans of worms that have been wriggling around in the background for all the years I've been alive, and a few before that. An old family wound ripped open, a new rift trying to sort memorials and funerals and all that business between our family and that of my uncle's wife. Allies and enemies, and old hurts reopened while new ones bled. There were pieces of me everywhere. There still are.

Doesn't that seem just too damn depressing for a birthday post? I say it all to determine that this will be a year of rebuilding. I've realized I cannot rebuild what exists on the shaky ground of insecurity and pretense, even with those whose approval I crave. So I am and will be only me. I have no desire to pick any fight, and I don't rise to too many invitations offered as taunts. I will only be me. Effy Wild says, "My vibe attracts my tribe." So me putting out safe, shallow vibes was just surrounding me with shallow relationships that couldn't withstand the testing of hard times. 

Well I'm 50 now....and fuck that! God made me me. And that's who'll be climbing out of the well of despair I found myself in.

Many people I know well, including family, are very disturbed by the changes in me, feel betrayed by my rejection of almost all things church-approved, GOP-based, conservative-minded. It has been very painful to accept, that those who could know me now see me as such a stranger. Maybe even the enemy. At the beginning my son said I seemed "deeply conflicted" as if that were a thing I needed to fix or resolve, like an illness...but it described me so truthfully that I treasure the words. Another time he said I sounded like I was going off the deep end. I looked up the idiom and it may be used to imply crazy, but it really just refers to the deep end of a swimming pool, and I decided that going off the deep end just means I am willing to move into more treacherous waters, in my effort to seek and find the truth of everything. I hope that my stubbornness isn't the only thing I passed on to him, but my realization of how much more there always is to learn.

I feel like there are deep shifts and rifts happening all around, for the better AND for the worse. Guns are becoming a factor in disagreements and expression of unhappiness. Women are reclaiming their power in a way that isn't at all about castrating men. The religions and spirituality of the world are able to see each other more for what they are (thanks to the internet and more broad-minded television programming) and less for what our "church" or preacher or even parents tell us they are. We can see each other striving to find truth even while we can clearly see others trying to suppress it. The earth is moving and shaking and those loose, ungrounded beliefs that we built upon are falling into the cracks, leaving visible what really holds us together or tears us apart.

I'm a little bummed not to be in my 40's anymore. But hello 50. Are you ready for me?