Tag Archives: religion

Not Stigmata Girl

Summers used to be made of an endless string of days separated by a few different markers: trips “up north” to the mall, bible school, mushroom hunting, girl scout camp, and days in Susie’s pool. The early weeks of summer would be spent in the woods mushroom hunting as much as possible, and then the weather would get hotter and we would sweat in the pews while singing “Father Abraham” for the fifth time and we would sweat some more in a tent in the middle of a farm surrounded by hundreds of girls. But in between and after those moments, there was always the mall and the pool.

Tales from the mall with your mom and sisters do not make for that exciting of a tale. (Although the mall with my dad and my sisters often made for memorable stories–aka “YOU JUST PISSED ON A MEMBER OF THE US ARMY!”)

But tales from the pool . . . those seem . . . equally as boring.

But back then, during those endless summers of my youth, something weird would happen. And to this day I cannot explain it. Except I know this happened.

We would go to the pool a few times a week before we got our own. We would stay in the pool for hours diving for rings and floating and having tea parties and playing 500 and swimming as fast as we could from our moms as they would say “PUBERTY!” to drive us away.

When we’d get out of the pool to take breaks, sometimes we would jump on the trampoline. Or go see the cows. Or, for us “big kids,” go for four-wheeler rides. I often leaned towards the four-wheeler.

Adam would drive. I don’t know if it’s because he was a boy or he was (7 months) older or it was his family’s four-wheeler (yup, that’s probably it), but we would go riding through the fields and down by the crick and back and back and back. And I would hold on and not fall off–at least as far as I would remember.

But something would happen.

No, it wasn’t the magic of summer love. Puh-lease. It was Adam and he was like my brother and I say that with utter and complete honesty.

No, what would happen was this: after we finished riding, after probably fifteen minutes (I can’t imagine it being much more than that), I would look down and see the running board covered in blood. Always. We’d have to take a hose and rinse it off.

The culprits were my toes. No cuts, no wounds, no blisters, no sores. But bleeding, apparently through the skin.

Now, one thing is certain: had the bible school I attended yearly been not a Presbyterian one but a catholic one I would have surely believed myself to be suffering from the stigmata. Fortunately, my catholic fascination phase did not hit until high school. I don’t think one could recover from being the “stigmata girl” in middle school. And like I needed any weirdness to add to my plate. Puh-lease.

So I would bleed from the tips of my toes as we darted through the fields, the hot air whipping against my toes that had been tenderized from hours in the pool. Right through the skin.

And we just washed it away and hopped back in the pool.

After all, it was summer.

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Faith.

I don’t have to see something to believe in it.

I don’t need to see the proof written out before to me to know something is possible.

It’s a gut feeling; a sense.

I love the search for knowledge; I love asking questions to get a better understanding.

But sometimes you just got to step back and ask yourself:  “What’s wrong with not knowing everything?  What’s wrong with just believing?”

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Gotta Have Faith

(Have this video playing if you can–for the music–to help set the “mood” for this post.)

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Religion is something I don’t talk about often, but it is important to me.  I’m not a “bible beater” or a “zealous evangelist,” but I try to live my life adhering to the principles of “do unto others . . . ” and “live by actions, not words.”  And, all the while, remembering to have faith that there is good in everything.

The biggest theme I *try* to have running through my life is do not be a hypocrite.  Nothing irks me more than people who hold others to a different standard than themselves.  Or the person who stands so strongly against something they themselves are guilty of.  I understand not being proud of something you’ve done.  But none of us are perfect and it’s so much better to recognize that and use it as a catalyst to make ourselves better, or to poke fun at yourself for it, or to just own up to it.  Don’t be the first to throw stones at others for something you yourself are guilty of.  Don’t erase entire portions of your life–those mistakes have helped lead you to where you are today, whether you like it or not.

(Of course, I know I’m not perfect and have probably been hypocritical at times.  If you ever find me doing this, please slap me.  No, seriously . . . SLAP ME.)

Evangelism.  I’ve never been comfortable “selling” anything.  I know others will disagree with me, but I feel religion/faith/spirituality is something you should find for yourselves, rather than have thrust upon you.  Of course, I am speaking as a member of a culture where you can be exposed to virtually every religion if you wish to be.  I am not talking about sending missionaries to areas that aren’t exposed to other religions.  Education of other religions is important and people should be exposed to as many as possible so they can find what works best for them.

I like going to church, but don’t “belong” to a church and don’t go every week.  Or every month.  And sometimes I go full years without going.  But that doesn’t make me any less of a Christian.  I find that if I only go when I feel the urge to, the message ends up being something that really speaks to me about the reason behind having the urge to go (IF THAT MAKES SENSE).

I like learning about and being exposed to other religions and will never, EVER, tell someone their believes are “wrong.”

I will never ask someone to pray for me, but will pray/send good thoughts in the direction of those who need it.

Déjá vu, to me, is a sign that even when things aren’t going how you would like them, you are still heading in the right direction.  It’s a reaffirmation of faith.  And I accept that you might think I’m a little crazy for thinking that way.  ;)

Basically, I am all about thinking positive and being tolerant of others and forgiving of yourself (as well as others, of course).  I might mess up sometimes (okay, so a lot) but that’s part of life and you’ve gotta take the bad with the good, and sometimes the best lessons are the ones you teach yourself through experience.

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