Overcoming Bloglessness


Supernatural Ladybug

Ladybug

Ladybug (Photo credit: Susan NYC)

Dotter told me that Lizzy had been asking questions about death since Aunt Jody died; questions like I wonder what it’s like when you’re dead? Dotter told her it was probably like being asleep, only you don’t dream and you don’t wake up. Dotter’s husband offered his explanations too. Then they saw a ladybug. In the house. In December.

And Lo, they were amazed.

It was so weird because Lizzy is our Ladybug Girl, always finding ladybugs, and here we are having this deep, spiritual conversation, and a ladybug appears! In December!

Lizzy’s dad says, See… magic is everywhere if you just believe.

Divert! Divert!
Lights flash and warning sirens wail in my head. Don’t go there! Dotter senses my skepticism as the words are coming out of her mouth. Now she feels dumb telling me this story. “You’ll think it’s silly”.

I don’t remember how, but we veered away from this danger zone. I was trying to think of an acceptable response. Oh, wow?! Cool! I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I was just trying to wrap my head around what they were thinking.

Was she suggesting that the ladybug was some kind of Messenger from Beyond? Do they think Aunt Jody sent the ladybug? Because, if that’s the case, Yes! I think it’s silly. It makes for a cute story, but let’s think about more realistic explanations.

I recall the day Lizzy took me up to her bedroom to see the ladybug she was keeping in her doll house. Maybe the miraculous winter ladybug is still alive in December because it’s been living inside the warm house. Unless the ladybug was talking or texting or something extraordinary, I wouldn’t think it was a Supernatural Ladybug.

It reminded me of the Owl Seers. After co-worker Pat died, Ron told me that he and members of Pat’s family had all seen owls on their separate routes home from the wake. An owl flew low across the road in front of Ron’s car. What does it mean?! The owl-seers were elated! They believed that the owls were a sign from Pat. Maybe it was Pat, waving good-bye! They seemed to believe that when you die you get some kind of power over the animal kingdom and you can send critters on errands. Or maybe you can turn your dead-self into to an a bird and visit your old friends.

I wonder how that squares with their Christian beliefs? I suppose, if you believe in Eden’s talking snake and the talking ass and bears god sent to maul naughty children, it’s not that much of a stretch. Religion sets people up to believe just about anything.

Another True Story. Jay was walking to his car after buying some weed, when he spied a snake on the ground by the driver’s side door. He’d had a dream about a snake, and now there’s a snake by the car door! OMG! He made it into his car via the passenger door and peeled outta there. He was freaked-out by seeing this snake after buying the pot after having that snake dream. He decided the snake was a sign, a warning that he shouldn’t have bought the pot. He threw the baggy out the car window.

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in Oz. When Ron first found out that I’m an atheist he was surprised and said, “but you seem so well adjusted!” He thinks I’m the weird one because I don’t believe in gods or Messenger Owls.

I don’t mean to spoil your magic moment, it’s just that I look for factual explanations. I don’t feel the need embellish the real world with magic glitter-twinkle-sparkles.
The very fact that there is such a thing as a ladybug, an owl and a snake; and that the ladybug, the owl, the snake and you and I are all hurtling through space together on this weird, magnificent blue speck, isn’t that magic enough?


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Schismism

It’s an custom of the Blackfeet Indians; the mother-in-law does not enter her son-in-law’s tipi and the son-in-law does not enter the mother-in-law’s tipi.

This is now my custom too.

Dick’s been waiting for a reason to go all jihad on my ass. He’s been seething since his daughter declined to say Amen at the table.

A few weeks ago he phoned-in his verbal assault. He sounded red-faced on the other end of the line, yelling about how he’s been turning the other cheek all these years, accusing me of insulting him and his family and trying to influence his daughters. My “I never…” was cut off with his “Liar!” and then, before hanging up on me, he called me a “Fucking fascist”. A fascist?! What the hell?

It took me hours to calm my racing heart and stop shaking after the call. My husband wondered if he should try to talk to Dick. I voted nay. What’s the use, if he doesn’t believe anything you say? Let him have the last angry word. I’m glad I didn’t have the chance to say anything I’d regret.

Way to make the world a better place, Dick. Are you proud of your words? What a shining example you are! You’re the embodiment of everything I loathe about religion. You’re the epitome of piousness: intolerant, angry and vengeful, just like your god. Way to represent!

Look, I’m nice dammit. I don’t go around insulting people. I’ve never knowingly insulted Dick or his family. In fact, my husband and I have tip-toed around, careful to avoid key words that might set him off: words like religion, gay marriage, Obama, freethinker, indoctrination, gun control…

He just can’t stand that I don’t believe in god.

And I’m not foolish enough to try to secretly influence his children. They’re five and seven years old for cryin’ out loud! They can’t keep secrets. They tattle all day long. They’re just not viable Secret Atheist Agenda recruits!

So, now we have new rules. Blackfeet rules. I don’t call or go to his house when he’s home. I don’t even want to go there when he’s away, lest he appear unexpectedly. I don’t want to see him on my porch. My daughter and granddaughters and I will have our get-togethers without Dick. That’s fine. It’s not like he was adding any sparkle to my life.

The “fucking fascist” comment boggles me. Does he really think I’m a fascist or was it just another F word? Does atheist equal fascist in his mind? Do they say “fascist” a lot on Fox News? I can’t imagine how he makes that jump.

He has no idea who I am. The truth isn’t important to him. He makes up his own. He needs to believe I’m a fascist so he can be offended.

I sound bitter, I know. I am. My feelings are hurt, but I’ll get over it. Maybe writing this will help.


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Daily Prompt: Standstill

Upper Stillwater Lake

Upper Stillwater Lake

Daily Prompt: Standstill.

For a moment today, time stands still — but you can tweak one thing while it’s stopped. What do you do? Photographers, artists, poets: show us STILLNESS.

Standstill

According to the book of Joshua, the last time the sun stood still there was a terrible slaughter. I promise not to do that.

While the world is at a standstill, I’ll tweak religions into ancient history where they belong. Nobody will be hearing god voices that mandate death and violence. There will be no indoctrinating children, no teaching them to fear eternal fire. Nobody will claim to be acting on their god’s will or demand that others do so. We will not retard scientific progress with ancient mythology.
When the earth moves again, we’ll be evolved out of superstitions, the root of the violence and hatred we see in the headlines every day. 002


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Daily Prompt: In Good Faith

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Daily Prompt: In Good Faith.

Describe a memory or encounter in which you considered your faith, religion, spirituality — or lack of — for the first time.
Photographers, artists, poets: show us FAITH.

I Never Believed

The first doubts came with the first day of Sunday school. I remember the moment, singing “Jesus Loves Me”, unconvinced that it was true. I didn’t love Him and I didn’t like the notion that I belonged to Him.

I doubted that the Bible was the “Word of God”. I doubted that exactly 144,000 souls would be sucked up into heaven when The Rapture comes.

Doubts are the work of the devil, I was told. Don’t let the devil lead you astray.

I felt guilty. And scared. What’s wrong with me? Am I so weak? So wretched? I prayed hard. I tried to believe, but I doubted when I went to the altar at church camp and I doubted when I got baptised.

When I tried to teach my children the basic Bible stories, because I felt I should, they asked the same sensible questions I had asked at their age. I couldn’t give them the same unsatisfactory answers I had been given. I wouldn’t teach them something I didn’t believe.

After my father died, when there was no one left to disappoint, I acknowledged the fact that I am an atheist. I said it out loud.

“I am not a Christian. I am an atheist.”

I remember the moment. I was making the bed.

Little by little, I freed myself from the need for a supernatural experience.


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Daily Prompt: The Normal Anomaly

Daily Prompt: The Normal.
Is being “normal” — whatever that means to you — a good thing, or a bad thing? Neither?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us EVERYDAY.
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Anomaly

I am not normal.

I don’t talk to a god.

I don’t hear a god’s voice in my head.

I don’t have faith.

There’s something wrong

if you don’t believe in a god.

So we are told.


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Daily Prompt: Fantasy

 

The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .): a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?

I see no harm in playing the game of Santa Claus or pretending there’s a fairy that leaves money under your pillow in exchange for a tooth. But when a child starts having doubts and asking questions a parent should tell them the truth. It’s a game. We pretend Santa comes. He represents the spirit of giving. We pretend that a bunny hides eggs for us to find. The bunny and eggs represent spring and new life. Teach the history and origins of the traditions, but don’t expect the child to believe it’s true.
It’s cruel to deceive a child and tell them that something is true when it isn’t. But people do it all the time. It’s called religion.