Midge’s Mumblings:Journey Through Lent

I was not raised Episcopalian.  I was not raised to contemplate and meditate on my returning to Ash. As a youth, I learned about the fruits of the Spirit and did my best to live them.  I did not always succeed.  I realized early on that as much as I strived for perfection and believed I had to be perfect; I never was.  Gratefully, it wasn’t supposed to happen.  I know that now.

I have not spent time contemplating attributes that may weaken my journey and/or strengthen my walk in Christ.  Observing Lent is my chance to do just that.

I have recently been introduced to this season of Lent and it is a welcome addition to my spiritual practice.   I already include meditation and Spiritual readings in my mourning routine and I choose a path of love, compassion and kindness.  The more I learn about Lent, the more I am excited about going deeper into my walk so I can focus on attributes such as faithfulness, and humility, etc. which will enhance my walk in Christ.

On this first Monday after Ash Wednesday; the topic is humility.  I question whether I really am humble.  It is a question that I haven’t really ever asked myself.  Growing up there is usually a pecking order; Father, Mother, first born, second born, third born.  Even with our fur babies, when a new addition comes along we make sure the pack is clearly defined for our baby by making sure that going out, coming in, and feeding time is done is order of longevity.  That is to encourage obedience to the young whipper snapper!

That isn’t the same thing as being humble and living with humility.  I realized as I took this contemplative journey this morning that I may not be as humble as I would guess; or hope.  I find myself speaking up quickly when an answer is posed.  Do I think I have the right answer, the best answer, or am I just uncomfortable with silence?   I sometimes look at how someone does something and rush to show them a “better” way.  Is my way better?  Do I really believe it is better or is it just the way that I feel comfortable doing it?  

I remember feeling looked over and dismissed as a youth.  Perhaps in my evolution to find my place I swung too far to the other side by demanding to be heard; without realizing it. 

It has occurred to me that I really don’t know if I am humble.  I do know I desire to be.  So, this is my lenten journey.  To catch acts of pridefulness, to challenge myself to be more mindful,  to change how and when I speak and to claim a new humble way of being h

If you observe Lent; may I humbly suggest a book that is inspiring me.  A Spring In The Desert by Frank and Victoria Logue.

Grief is Not a Ladder…. You Are Doing the Work

Midge’s Mumblings on Awakened Hearts

Today I attended a funeral of a person I did not know; but I knew her life was important to her family, my Parish Family, and I knew that her life benefited children and animals. I wanted to be there to show my support and to honor a life well lived. The service was thoughtful and loving. The memories her family and friends told about her were funny and bittersweet. The room was filled with love and compassion. I found myself tearing up as the family walked in. I could feel their loss. I teared up as stories were told. I could feel their loss. I teared up when my own losses came into my heart.

I was there to honor this dynamic and loving soul, and yet, my thoughts kept moving into my heart where losses in my life are still bittersweet. Once again, I thought of my dad, who I loved, who died, and how our relationship never was the ‘Fathers Knows Best’ version. I thought of my fur babies that left this earth. I thought about our dear friend in Kansas who died suddenly and left such a hole in the lives of all who loved her; just as this loving soul from our Parish has similarly left in the lives of all who knew and loved her.

I attended the reception with all intentions of giving my support to the family; but was surprised as I found another kindred spirit that was going through their own trip down grief lane. As I listened to her story of loss that often stops her from being able to attend the funerals of others without her dear partner who could not attend; I heard her frustration at not being over her past loss yet.

I reminded her that there isn’t an, I’m over it ladder to climb, and that we all have to go back and grieve again our losses when we are confronted with the loss we are experiencing now. I told her that she is doing the work. That she is doing it right. To feel the feelings as they are and express them in the moment; that is the work. The work of grieving is long, hard, and continuous. It is never done.

I feel less pain about my dad when I revisit my loss. I feel more pain at losses that have happened recently. I still tear up when I think of fur babies who are not with me in physical form. I still tear up when I sit in the middle of a full congregation of people who loved this wife, mother, friend, co-worker, and parish family member because I know this pain and I feel their pain and loss as well as my own.

….and….. that is okay. Be gentle with yourselves my friends who are grieving. You are doing the work.

Coming Home

I am 60 years old. Most of my life I have been searching for; me. I started out so unsure of my own worth, my place on the earth, my dharma (mission, purpose, point of my existence) that I was always searching. I wanted to be a writer, a teacher, a nun, a missionary, a preacher, a youth minster, a talk show host; you get my drift.

What was I searching for and why couldn’t I find it? I remember that many of my ideas about how I could serve were quickly shot down with the opinions of those who love me.

  • Your stories are so gory I don’t think you can make money doing that
  • You can’t be a nun, you aren’t Catholic and Catholics are going to hell
  • Youth ministers aren’t paid so you’ll have to get married and then volunteer with the youth in your husband’s church
  • We don’t have female ministers
  • You aren’t famous so you can’t have a talk show

To the fairness of those who offered their opinions, some of those things were true. Women of my church growing up were not preachers and our churches did not pay youth ministers, my stories were gory, and I was not Catholic. (BTW, I never understood why nuns or Catholics in general were going to hell, AND I still don’t believe that is true.)

I know down in my core I want people to be happy. I want to make things okay. I want to make a difference. I want to inspire others. I want to serve in a meaningful way. I also know that I have a very innate need to have a deep faith and even when I was told being Gay would send me to hell, I still searched for my Source, Creator of All that Is inside of me. I still felt a disconnect and that there was still a piece missing.

My search took me to India, at the age of 18, to build a church in the town where our missionaries were stationed. Home sickness and dysentery and other health issues ended in me asking God to redial because I felt I had picked up the wrong calling!

I did go to our church school, Berkshire Christian College, and received a BA in Theology and a Teaching Certificate. The teaching certificate would pay me as I volunteered in a church with the youth. I did plan to be married by the time I graduated from college!

I used my certificate as a substitute teacher after over half the teachers in the state of Massachusetts were laid off when I graduated and NC was not hiring either when I returned home. I then went on to graduate school to serve as a School Counselor, a counselor for terminally ill children at Hospice, a mental health Therapist and a Therapist at a Private Practice.

Through all of that searching, I realized I was still searching for that deep inner knowing that God is real, that God loves me as I am, and that I am worthy to serve others in whatever capacity I am led to serve. I don’t have to be straight, I don’t have to be perfect, I don’t have to have all the answers.

What I do need is people who will love and support me in my search for the answers to my deep questions. To that end, after all these years, after being told I am an abomination for being Gay, and after having really bad experiences in churches, I have found my people.

On Sunday, February 9th, 2020 I will be confirmed into the Episcopal Church at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Asheboro, NC. I have stopped fighting, hiding, and ignoring that I have lived in hatred and fear of what has been done to me in the name of God. I AM reclaiming my faith, the God of my understanding, my questions, my doubts, and my RIGHT to be in communion with God, I have chosen a parish where the people of God also know I have the right to be there and understand that I was created to be Gay just like others are created to be Heterosexual, Transgender, Bisexual, etc.

I am scared and that is how I know that this is an ordained shift in my life. God never said the journey would be easy or without fear. Fear is usually a great indicator that the next step is going to be epic! It hasn’t been an easy journey and may never be but I will seek refuge in the knowing that I am chosen and I am worthy and I am Coming Home.

If you have struggled in your spiritual journey and/or have been told you are not going to heaven because you are LGBTQ; feel free to search for the FB group; Gay with God. Answer the questions to be seen on the inside. I’ll see you there!