From: Kathi |
Sent: Friday, August 18, 2000 7:43 AM
To: Rich Tatum [rich.tatum (at) tatumweb (dot) com]
Subject: Re: Sorry …
In a message dated 8/17/00 5:59:16 PM Eastern Daylight Time, rich.tatum (at) tatumweb (dot) com writes:
I, too, have been getting some work done! <grin> Oh well. Can't type and chew gum at the same time, I guess. How are things going? <grin> I figured it was something like that!
I'm doing well … well, pretty well. Grandpa peacefully and gently went Home Sunday afternoon. After months of being in pain, hospice reports that the end was virtually pain and drug-free, which is a miracle unto itself. But now, my family is so divided (and I didn't really know all the politics, til now) my father won't speak to my aunt because she won't speak to him and my uncle doesn't talk to the cousins and someone else who I've never heard of doesn't like Dad. And none of them have spoken to me in ten years or more, either. So there's not even going to be a funeral. I've been praying all week for the strength to call one of them … any of them … and I haven't quite gotten there … yet.
Which leads me to an interesting happening … Sunday night, we went to church, and I was going to go to the altar at the end of the service and pray about all of this. But as I started to get up, I sat right back down again and really felt that I didn't have the right to ask God for anything else. Got to earn it … you don't get something for nothing. And then I was amazed and ashamed at my utter lack of faith in that moment.
So I'm still processing that … :::shaking head::: I guess it's a matter of old habits dying hard. I have spent so long depending on myself (not to mention the aids of divinatory tools like astrology and tarot), that I feel like I'm on a seesaw sometimes, bouncing between a faith so overwhelming and a wonder if I've gone crazy.
So much has changed, so fast. Talk about an identity crisis! I've become one of the people I have sneered at for years, spending half of my time at church, carrying a Bible around with me, praying all the time. I tell you in truth … 95% of the time, it feels great … totally natural, too … like "before" wasn't the real me. But those doubts come once in a while, and I really get down. And all I can do is pray … and hope that this stage passes.
Rich, am I correct that most people don't experience radical change like this when they convert? Most folks I knew as a child did change their lives, usually over weeks and months … not overnight.
Not that I'm ungrateful … I strongly suspect that if I'd been left to my own devices, I wouldn't have gotten this far … if I'd gotten anywhere at all.
I have a strong suspicion that most of the problem is that I've dropped into Christianity without the essential framework. I've read the Bible before, but never with any sense of the real meaning. The only times I've picked it up in the last ten years was to prove or disprove a point to a door-to-door Jehovah's Witness <grin>. I know an awful lot (in fact, more than my mother in law, who's spent a lifetime studying it) BUT it's not internalized. Does that make sense? I'm finding that as I re-read passages I've read before, this time, it "clicks" and I have one of those "aha!" moments. So … here's an analogy … I'm in a racecar going at 200 miles an hour around the racetrack. I didn't start the thing, I didn't get it up to this speed, but now I'm here and it's wonderful! But I don't have the slightest idea how to actually drive it, and although I could read the manual, I have to drive it right now and not crash into the wall <grin> And although I've got a direct line to the Crew Chief, He doesn't always talk back right when I want Him to. Faith will get me through, but only if I can manage to hang on to it. So what do I do?
I did have an "aha" moment last night … something's been bugging me for a couple of weeks but I couldn't pinpoint it. I had this unsettled feeling. It finally (consciously) occurred to me that I am no longer an authority on my religious beliefs, and I am not a respected leader in the religious community who people turn to when they need answers. Wow. That's very scary to the big ego I would have sworn six weeks ago that I didn't have :)
I have an appointment for us to talk to our pastor this coming Wed. night. It's going to be hard to talk about some of this stuff with him. No one at chuch knows about my past religious beliefs (I've just told those who asked that I was "definitely not Christian) and I'd seriously debated not telling them at all. Most people don't have a clue about modern Pagan beliefs and react with fear and derision. I fear being judged before people even get to know me. I know that this is probably completely irrational, by the way … I can't picture anyone we know at church judging me for my past, and they already know quite a bit about my present … but the fear is there. <sigh> I've got to run … have a "situation" this morning with a staffer doing something she shouldn't <sigh> … I'll be around all day, though, if you want to IM me (if you have time! :)
On another note, I apparently missed, totally, that you and your wife are expecting! I found that information and the ultrasound pics on your website … how wonderful! :) I'm so happy for you both!
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The Sharpe Logs: email and chat transcripts with Kathi Sharpe, ex-Wiccan
© 2001 by Richard A. Tatum
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