We all know about Facebook, right? If you don’t use it, you know someone who does. Well, about a couple years ago, Facebook did this thing where they have a feature called “On This Day.” It’s similar to the social media lookback app Timehop but unlike Timehop which focuses on what you have posted on multiple social media sites on that particular day you open it, “On This Day” features just what you posted on Facebook.
This feature usually gives me a reason to go into my therapist’s office, sit in a corner and sob loudly but today, not so much. Yes, there was some depressing things on it like some Catholic Daughter stuff that turned out to be the biggest lie I put on social media, stuff with my mom, stuff when I was in my “spiritual midlife crisis” but today, it didn’t fully bother me.
Why? I guess I’m just in a different place.
For instance, I saw a post from 2013 where I said about how my mom was having half of her thyroid removed. Two weeks after I posted that, she would be diagnosed with thyroid cancer and would require having the rest removed. She got very lucky because the cancer was contained to her thyroid which meant no further treatments post-op but it reminded me of “Catholic Daughter hell” as I call it because it would be the first of three surgeries she had in my final year with that group and in all three, not one member of that organization gave a rat’s donkey, however, I was supposed to be the good friend when the chapter regent’s father had a heart attack and whined, “I don’t want to lose my daddy” on Facebook. Oh and people actually cared about her during that time which really reminded me of my own personal family because they cherry pick who to be helpful and supportive of too. It stung, I won’t lie but it didn’t bother me that much.
Then another memory had to do with my mom. It was from 2015 when she broke her wrist and had to undergo “emergency” surgery (emergency in quotes because the surgery was two days after she broke it). This was about eight months after she had quadruple bypass so it was a tad tough. Well, I was at an Episcopal church at the time and truth is they put her on the prayer list and all but there was issues there because the clergy left lot to be desired since the priest there was a bit cold and distant to me which if you ask me is the worst quality any man or woman of the cloth should have. We all know how that ended, right? Six months later I had enough of that attitude from the priest, got frustrated when a layperson who was facilitating a “study group” didn’t think I was at least trying to make an effort by answering the question, and the complete lack of any activity or religious education got to me so I left and became a Baptist in, ironically enough, the same church my mom is a member of.
It should have irritated me but it did not. Guess I’m in a better place.
Or maybe it was because I have had the best experience as a Baptist anyone could ask for. I mean, so far, I’ve gotten a lot of support from everyone during some tough things like my recent battle with severe anemia, there’s more activity, and I’ve been around laypeople and clergy that are just made of awesome.
Today was a turning point if you will. Since Easter I have done a Sunday school class where we read a passage of scripture that ties into a writing by the the Scottish evangelist Oswald Chambers in his book My Utmost for His Highest. A discussion then follows about the theme of both the passage and what Chambers has written. Today was one of those moments where I just wanted to go knock on the doors of people from CDA and also from that Episcopal church and be like, “I said something right so kiss my crippled backside.”
Here’s why. We were talking about the unknown and using a part of John chapter 16 where Jesus is telling his disciples that he is going to go away for a while and then they will see him again. I said that it seems that they didn’t quite understand what Jesus’ eventual modus operandi would be in becoming the savior and people were like, “She’s on to something.”
Then we went and looked at what Chambers wrote and he mentions John 14:1. This is when a discussion broke out about that. To that one, I said, “It sounds to me he’s saying this is pretty much an invitation for us to believe.” Again, this was followed by a “She’s on to something mentality in the room.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.–John 14:1
By the way did I mention that the senior pastor’s wife was in the class? You’d think she would have something to say about me being a crackpot but nope…she agreed with me.
And what was the 30-something (for the last time) who never did a Bible study until this year and had a complete lack of religious education saying on the inside? Well, I was envisioning the Episcopalians who thought I was stupid or trouble plus. the members of the Catholic Daughters who would scream at me because I didn’t understand something with the faith and I pulled my best tribute to Matthew Perry by channeling his iconic Chandler Bing character by saying the following: I win, you suck! I rule all! Mini-wave in celebration of me!
But what did I really do…I just smiled and was doubly happy to go upstairs to the service after Sunday school.
Full disclosure: I really needed that confidence boost because as I will discuss in my next blog (I swear, it’s going to be since I am going to write it later today or early tomorrow), I had a bit of a final showdown with someone from Catholic Daughters of the Americas and it really upset me.
But maybe we all have that Chandler Bing moment in our heads when we do stuff like this. I, however, see this as more of a victory because I spent close to 14 years in places where I was supposed to grow spiritually but was stunted because what I thought about something really didn’t meet what mortals expected.
For me, Sunday school was a huge challenge. It was something I wanted to do for a while now because I felt it might enrich my life (and make my blog more interesting) but I always feared it because of the fact that when I was a Catholic, the education was lacking because sadly it was all about dogma. As someone who tried to become an Episcopalian, it was lacking because the priest was cold, distant, and only cared about her more active church (I got that feeling) so you were left with laypeople who assumed everyone in the group knew about the Bible enough to skip actually studying the Bible or even tying the lessons into a passage (like my Sunday school class does) and it frustrated me to no end.
It frustrated me because despite having a learning disability, I managed to get a BA in journalism from a top-tier university in New Jersey (no, not Princeton). Yes, I became disabled to where I can’t really use it but I still got it and that was a challenge because I wasn’t even expected to graduate from high school.
But now with this and a few other things such as the Bible study I do once a week where I’m not treated like an idiot even though the one guy who runs it really knows his stuff (he went to a popular Bible based college in the area), I have realized that those Facebook memories are really nothing more than examples of the road I had to go along to get to at least this point.
Readers of my blog know that I always live by the quote made famous by Matthew Perry where he says that “Broken people don’t have to stay broken.” Well, I may be a long way from fully not being broken but I think this is at least a start to not being spiritually broken.
Don’t forget to be awesome!