October 13, 2014
Today I am hugely grateful for an early release from school (student-free day, professional development meetings).
I am grateful for the nap that ensued shortly thereafter. What an unusual gift a nap is for a high school teacher and a night owl. I had just been talking with a friend about the need for more sleep, and the health values of it. And then tonight I was talking with someone else about radical self-care.
These kinds of synchronicities keep arising, as they often do for me, and they often make me happy. Today I came across a blog post that reminded, “God’s not religious, but people are. God’s not out to control you. God’s love is out to free you and to transform you.”
And then another friend reposted Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “It’s your life — but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial. When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else or a community or a pressure group, you surrender your own integrity. You become, to the extent of your surrender, less of a human being.” (as seen on Brain Pickings)
These two quotes connect in my mind. Those connections may not be entirely clear to others, at least initially, so let me synthesize them. I grew up with the impression of a controlling God, and my circles of acquaintance seemed to support that notion. I have learned much in the past year. I have learned that I do not believe in a controlling God any longer. I believe God is in control; I just don’t believe God is controlling. That’s a vital difference.
Furthermore, I’ve learned that much of what I thought I believed…I don’t actually believe. They were someone else’s beliefs and (possibly mistaken) impressions. This process of figuring out what I believe has been nothing if not scary and interesting, interesting but scary. But I am grateful for the freedom and ability to do this process anyway.
(Incidentally, further to naps: I had the occasion, when I was traveling back East last week, to meet again a student I sat near in 1st grade. It had been years, possibly decades, since I’d seen him. He was a tall boy then and is a tall man now. I had occasion, upon this meeting, to recall that, during naptime in first grade, when we lay down on blankets or towels beside our little desks, shoes off, I would rub my stocking feet in his soft blond hair. I continued this practice until he told on me and I was ordered to desist. Fortunately, by now, I think he’s forgotten about it, and I didn’t take the occasion to remind him. To this day, however, I love rubbing my stocking feet on soft and silky things. These days only dogs and maybe one of the more patient kitties seem to stand for it any longer.)