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Shame and Redemption: Stops on the road to a house of grace
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Linna Heartlistener
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:40 pm    Post subject: Shame and Redemption: Stops on the road to a house of grace Reply with quote

Quote:
If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?


Some days, we just don't want to hear of "heavenly things," though!
Myself included.


But grace? This I know.

Some days, grace is exposing yourself enough that you get your leg caught in the divine "trap" and your flaws are exposed, the ill in your soul is made visible for all to see. There you are. Naked. Foolish. Pathetic. Beyond hope.
And you shrink as you wait for the blow to fall - and nail you, crush your spirit, and send you back to the little hole you'd made to hide your dirty, little, worthless face in.
But then your startled eyes fly open because none of that happens. You're faced with an unmistakably calm demeanour, and an "I'm so sorry" or an "I love you."
And suddenly something is shifted; everything is changed; you taste it: you are loved.

You are loved. This I know.
_____________________________

My story:

About three years ago, I had a big move. Moves are difficult. Lots of people shut down after a major move, it seems. Lots of women, at least. For months, I wandered around the house, doing precious little, mind boggled because I couldn't do anything right. With always the nagging question: "What's WRONG with me?"

Then I read about "fear of ones overstrict, critical conscience," a fear "…actually experienced as guilt," because "People who have an overstrict, critical conscience will condemn themselves for things God himself doesn't condemn them for."

Wait.
What if "the problem with me" wasn't about all these little piddling weaknesses where I was failing to measure up?
What if it was actually this cruel person in my soul, poised to lash out at me inordinately each time I stumbled?

Somewhere in there, I even cried.

Now I had an answer.
Or so I thought.
After all, I knew the problem.
Actually, sometimes knowing the problem only makes it worse.
For awhile.

Then one day we were driving to a tutoring appointment. We were running late; I'd been avoiding going, or avoiding getting ready to go, or avoiding mentioning that we needed to go.
I was driving; I was in the process of learning how to drive for the first time as an adult.

I ran a red light.
I screeched "AAaah!" and cringed as my husband reacted reflexively.
I pushed the pedal and finished zooming through.
I had just endangered the lives of my husband, and the life of my innocent one-year-old child in the back seat.
Not to mention the lives of people who I didn't even know.
I had just done this: I WAS undoubtedly "THAT kind of person."
I braced myself and waited for the wave of guilt and shame to crash over me.
I listened.
Nothing.
I flicked my eyes furtively over to my husband: "What? Why didn't you say anything-- you know what I just did!"
Calmly: "I figured you felt bad enough already."
A few seconds later, I realized what I was feeling - or what I WASN'T feeling.
The absence of wave. It wasn't crashing down onto my head, burying me, overwhelming me; it wasn't there at all. Such a strange sensation.

A few weeks ago, I talked to my mother-in-law. She talked about those times when we get paralyzed from doing the things we need to. You know the kind: "you don't feel like you can cook supper, or like you can pick up the phone, talk to anyone, drive a car."
Of course I knew, but with one exception: driving.

Grace is powerful.
Wonder of wonders that it can even be mediated by humans.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...i needed that today...
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful, Linna. Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did we miss this thread for over two months?

Wonderful, powerful, insightful content.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deer of the dawn wrote:
...i needed that today...


So glad it was good for you, deer! Smile

Thanks Cambo and SD, love to hear that!

As far as missing it 2 months... thank you. I was definitely surprised I didn't hear anything back at first.

...-BUT- I am glad you guys discovered it on the 13th. (kind of amazing, actually!)
...If you discovered it on the 14th, after my accident, some people might have thought it would be too awkward to talk! (like "does she still think this applies?" or "is she going to be thinking she's a person capable of such damage as has actually happened now, before her eyes?")

(Also, now that I feel good cause I've heard some positive feedback... if anyone has any "well, I can't quite condone this piece" feedback, or constructive criticism, you can speak now... post on thread or pm. Very Happy )
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The mother nodded: "Now I have perfect understanding. I have already experienced the worst. After this, there is no worst possible thing."

Amy Tan, "The Joy Luck Club"
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And now a little poem about something ordinary:

So many people --
Differing in race, age, and manner;
But most of them wearing sunglasses.


(If there's something that this poem plagiarizes, let me know; I feel like I've seen something like this somewhere before.)
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The girl said, "Do you see now?"

The mother nodded: "Now I have perfect understanding. I have already experienced the worst. After this, there is no worst possible thing."

Amy Tan, "The Joy Luck Club"
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love that. I almost want to see it pared down to a Haiku (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables) which is a perfect frame for an unexpected observation. Smile
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ahhhh... if only all our creativity in wickedness could be fixed by "Corrupt a Wish." - Linna Heartlistener

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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So many people
So infinitely diverse
Still gotta wear shades

Ask and you receive
Surely you've seen this lesson
Before, my dear deer?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just the beginnings, just stumbling around with the germ of an idea:

This Conversation is Not Happening

LotsOfLove_Mom: Hey, Dear!
JCGirl2019: Mom!
LotsOfLove_Mom: How are you?
JCGirl2019: Oh, pretty good.
JCGirl2019: Stressed.
JCGirl2019: And some of my friends are driving me nuts!
LotsOfLove_Mom: That doesn’t sound very good.
JCGirl2019: Meh.
JCGirl2019: I mean, lots of other stuff is good, like classes and I mean, lots of new friends, but..
LotsOfLove_Mom: Hmmm.
JCGirl2019: This whole gay marriage thing just makes us a ball of anxiety.
LotsOfLove_Mom: Oh. Well, we know it’s wrong, and we also know that we’re all sinners.
LotsOfLove_Mom: But that doesn’t always seem to help much, does it?
JCGirl2019: Right.
JCGirl2019: Well, the whole situation is terrible.
LotsOfLove_Mom: Yeah.
JCGirl2019: The social dynamic, I mean.
JCGirl2019: Everybody’s tense and flips out at each other.
LotsOfLove_Mom: Wow, is it like, you guys are having a conversation in the dining halls, or…
JCGirl2019: Oh. No. It’s mostly online.
JCGirl2019: So nobody gets what anyone else means, cause…
JCGirl2019: Ahh- gah! I hafta go to class now!
LotsOfLove_Mom: That reminds, me.. there’s this one word that I need to learn the definition of.
LotsOfLove_Mom: But you need to go now.
LotsOfLove_Mom: You can be like my consultant to put me more in touch with the culture. Wink
JCGirl2019: Ooh. But which word is it?
LotsOfLove_Mom: Oh, I’ll tell you later when we have more time and can really talk. Love you!
JCGirl2019: Tell me now, and then I can think about it extra. Wink
JCGirl2019: You know how what a word means can be a subtle and complicated thing that hasta do with how people use it in multiple contexts and all…
LotsOfLove_Mom: Yeah… but *I* want a context for when I ask you that; I don’t want you to think I’m ignorant.
JCGirl2019: Mo-ooom! You know I respect you a lot, and nothings gunna change that!
LotsOfLove_Mom: Yeah, but…
JCGirl2019: TELL. ME. THE WORD! I gotta go.
LotsOfLove_Mom: Well, okay, but it’s NOT that I’ve never heard this word…
LotsOfLove_Mom: It’s just people always talk like everyone knows exactly what it means.
JCGirl2019: MOM.
JCGirl2019: Come on.
LotsOfLove_Mom: But people mean
LotsOfLove_Mom: Fine.
LotsOfLove_Mom: The word is, “homophobia.”
LotsOfLove_Mom: I only hear it in a context when people are saying “homophobia is the worst problem,” or “homophobia isn’t real.”
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The girl said, "Do you see now?"

The mother nodded: "Now I have perfect understanding. I have already experienced the worst. After this, there is no worst possible thing."

Amy Tan, "The Joy Luck Club"
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm probably not the best person to offer feedback here, but I realized that when I promised, and I'm not going to back down.

My perspective (gay and agnostic) is so vastly different from the PoV that it's actually a little difficult for me to relate. Putting it into context - a girl at a Christian college? She's new there, first year?

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
JCGirl2019: This whole gay marriage thing just makes us a ball of anxiety.
LotsOfLove_Mom: Oh. Well, we know it’s wrong, and we also know that we’re all sinners.


This probably isn't what you're looking for, but:

My question(s) would be -

Why are the students anxious?
What effect do they believe gay marriage will have on their lives?
How is love wrong?

Wikipedia wrote:
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.



Linna Heartlistener wrote:
JCGirl2019: So nobody gets what anyone else means, cause…


I'm curious what the rest of that sentence would have been.

I don't think I have a deep enough understanding of the girl's feelings on the subject to know how she might approach the subject to her mother, and that would go a long way towards shaping my feedback.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorus wrote:
I'm probably not the best person to offer feedback here, but I realized that when I promised, and I'm not going to back down.
HUZZAH!

Sorus wrote:
My perspective (gay and agnostic) is so vastly different from the PoV that it's actually a little difficult for me to relate.
Nope, that is exactly the perspective I was looking for!

Sorus wrote:
Putting it into context - a girl at a Christian college? She's new there, first year?
She IS a first-year.
Secular college, though.
If she was at a Christian school... she might just be surrounded with people who are closer to sharing her beliefs. (or who pretend to share them! ...doh!)
Then she could avoid the controversy more.

Sorus wrote:
Linna Heartlistener wrote:
JCGirl2019: This whole gay marriage thing just makes us a ball of anxiety.
LotsOfLove_Mom: Oh. Well, we know it’s wrong, and we also know that we’re all sinners.


This probably isn't what you're looking for, but:

My question(s) would be -

Why are the students anxious?
What effect do they believe gay marriage will have on their lives?
How is love wrong?
They're anxious because they're afraid to enter the controversy, and they just wish it would go away.
many of them are anxious because some of their so-called faith in what the scriptures teach about homosexuality was not built on believing God but based on what's been called the 'argument from ick.'
they're afraid of social compulsion from their own tribe, AND from the opposing faction.

the daughter, specifically, is anxious because she fears her Christian faith is going to require her to speak against gay marriage sometime, BUT she believes that if she does that, people will hate her and not listen to her anyway, so then they'll be worse off than if she said nothing.
(So why bother?)

For the second question... most of the students probably don't have a very well-formed view on that.
And/or their ideas are wildly inaccurate.

For the third, my answer is:
I believe that the ideal for homosexual people is celibacy... but not just to make people lonely and miserable.
Celibacy linked to vocation... pouring oneself into others' lives to bless them.
Because none of us should be consigned to "a future fighting against Netflix’s automated episode queue alone in a dark apartment."
(No, I didn't think up that line myself.)
*deep breath* There, I admitted to my position on this.

Sorus wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational.



Linna Heartlistener wrote:
JCGirl2019: So nobody gets what anyone else means, cause…


I'm curious what the rest of that sentence would have been.

so twitterphobia is really not the right word for "a rational fear of twitter."

and I'm glad you spotted that ellipsis - yes, it is key.
the rest of the sentence: "cause they aren't really talking to each-other" or "cause everything people say gets taken out of context" or "cause it's the internet."

okay, I think I answered everything somehow or other... thank you, Sorus!
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
the daughter, specifically, is anxious because she fears her Christian faith is going to require her to speak against gay marriage sometime, BUT she believes that if she does that, people will hate her and not listen to her anyway, so then they'll be worse off than if she said nothing.
(So why bother?)


I would say that she needs to listen to herself. If she feels required to do something she's not comfortable with, there's a problem there somewhere. I don't think the answer would necessarily be surrounding herself with people who share her beliefs. It might make it easier in the short-term sense, but I believe it is possible to expand your view of the world without compromising your own core beliefs.

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
so twitterphobia is really not the right word for "a rational fear of twitter."


That's an interesting analogy, and I'm going to use it to cover a few things.

I've used the word ' twitterphobia' before to describe my feelings about Twitter. I've never personally used Twitter. My aversion to it is not strictly rational, and is based mainly on the sort of anecdotes that showcase it at its worst. I know that my view of it as a bastion of vapid, semi-literate narcissism is not entirely accurate, and I have no doubt that I miss out on a lot of clever and intelligent posts.

And wow, I really don't know how to phrase this without potentially putting my foot in my mouth one way or another, so I'm just going to run (or hop) with it.

I think people with limited experience with the gay community sometimes have difficulty seeing us as individuals. We're all different. We're all just people. In most ways, we're really not all that different from straight folks. We want the same things out of life - to love and be loved, to have families and connections and friends. It's so much more than 'out of straight peoples' comfort zone sex'. Heck, most of us find straight-people sex out of our comfort zones. But we don't obsess about it. We really don't spend any time thinking about it. Wouldn't try to make it illegal or wrong even if we could - why would we? It doesn't effect us in any way. If we're married or celibate or whatever, the world is going to keep turning. The sky isn't falling.

I think it is important to have debates with people who don't share my beliefs. Having knee-jerk reactions -"You're wrong because you think I'm wrong!" - isn't ever going to help anything.

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
and I'm glad you spotted that ellipsis - yes, it is key.
the rest of the sentence: "cause they aren't really talking to each-other" or "cause everything people say gets taken out of context" or "cause it's the internet."


And yes, that is very important. There are a lot of potential misunderstandings, and too many people who are too quick to take offense.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I strayed a little off-topic there - I'm prone to doing that.

Back to feedback mode -

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
LotsOfLove_Mom: I only hear it in a context when people are saying “homophobia is the worst problem,” or “homophobia isn’t real.”


"The worst problem" is a bit hyperbolic. As to real - yes. "Fear" - rational or otherwise - might not always be the most accurate term, but I think in most contexts it does exist on some level. I'm really not well-versed enough to debate the religious aspects. Fear that it goes against the will of God? I think it's open to interpretation.

On the human side, I can't really understand the fear that it will undermine the sanctity of hetero marriages. Straight people are 100% responsible for the sanctity/value/success of straight marriages. Our marriages will face the same trials and tribulations and general ups and downs and whatever because we have the same issues and flaws and we're really not all that different. In short - what's the big deal? What is there to be afraid of?

Again, I think that the mother's definition would be rooted in the religious aspect (though there may be some crossover), and I'm not really sure of the best way for the daughter to approach that.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure if any of that was helpful/what you were looking for.

Feel free to tell me if I should stop or if any of this is making you uncomfortable - I won't be offended.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First some of our conversation, and then in a minute I'll (hopefully succeed when I try to) add more of the story.


Sorus wrote:
...to expand your view of the world without compromising your own core beliefs.

This is the hard part.

also, now I badly want to use the "twitterphobia" analogy to support an argument of mine. Wink Maybe later.

Sorus wrote:
And wow, I really don't know how to phrase this without potentially putting my foot in my mouth one way or another, so I'm just going to run (or hop) with it.
One of us will probably experience foot-in-mouth syndrome sooner or later. :-\ ...hopefully we can draw on various resources we've got, though, and patch things up.

Sorus wrote:
I think people with limited experience with the gay community sometimes have difficulty seeing us as individuals. We're all different. We're all just people. In most ways, we're really not all that different from straight folks. We want the same things out of life - to love and be loved, to have families and connections and friends.

Well, you and I can both be glad: the timing for you saying that is right.
Just a few weeks ago, I would have heard that as you saying I'm a fool (to not know something so obvious, right?)

But a small army (20 people?) among the Christian gays have gone ahead: they've softened up my heart and unplugged my ears with their writing.
A man put forward thoughts like, "If I pursue this path of singleness, who's gonna take care of me when I'm old?"
Wow. Why didn't I think about that before?

Sorus wrote:
It's so much more than 'out of straight peoples' comfort zone sex'.
Psssht... I wouldn't say that's the most significant categorization: "outside straight people's comfort zones."

However, it IS a significant to mention as that's what many people are reacting to. :-\ I dunno what to say on that, though.

Sorus wrote:
Heck, most of us find straight-people sex out of our comfort zones.
I usually find straight people referring to the sexually-intimate aspects of their relationships outside my comfort zone!

Sorus wrote:
Linna Heartlistener wrote:
and I'm glad you spotted that ellipsis - yes, it is key.
the rest of the sentence: "cause they aren't really talking to each-other" or "cause everything people say gets taken out of context" or "cause it's the internet."

And yes, that is very important. There are a lot of potential misunderstandings, and too many people who are too quick to take offense.

btw, I'm currently planning to leave the ellipsis in the story, even though that is a potential source for (maybe just temporary?) misunderstanding!

Edit: changed some stuff in the part about "what many people are reacting to."
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The mother nodded: "Now I have perfect understanding. I have already experienced the worst. After this, there is no worst possible thing."

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna wrote:
First some of our conversation, and then in a minute I'll (hopefully succeed when I try to) add more of the story.
Well, I tried but did not succeed.
The internet or the forum was against me.
(Or maybe for me!)

After the delay due posting failure, I was forced to think, and then my content gave me pause.
...because it got real intense real fast.

The daughter immediately started reacting badly to the "isn't real" part of her mom's comment, talking urgently about bad things that had happened to friends of hers, and generally flipping out...

Whaddya think, should I give it a go, Sorus?
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The girl said, "Do you see now?"

The mother nodded: "Now I have perfect understanding. I have already experienced the worst. After this, there is no worst possible thing."

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you've got characters arguing inside your head, their story probably wants to be told. I've certainly had dialogues that deviated from their original structure - sometimes characters can take on enough life of their own that you're just along for the ride. It's not necessarily a bad thing.

You're not always going to be 100% happy with the end results, but if nothing else, it gets them to be quiet.
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"The lady's fate is writ in water."

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it wasn't diverging from plan... but now that it's written, I don't entirely like how the mom & daughter sound.
I mean, this next portion looks like I'm just trying to make them look bad:

JCGirl2019 Well, first of all, homophobia is definitely real!!
LotsOfLove_Mom :-\
JCGirl2019 It's a mess... Three of my friends were just wrecked back in HS.
LotsOfLove_Mom Three?
JCGirl2019 Yeah, and Janie tried to commit suicide!
LotsOfLove_Mom What?
JCGirl2019 Remember when she was in the hospital?
LotsOfLove_Mom Her mom said that was a gastrointestinal..
LotsOfLove_Mom Oh.
JCGirl2019 Yeah, of course she wasn't going to go around saying that it was a suicide attempt.
JCGirl2019 I mean, think of how bad that would be for Janie!
LotsOfLove_Mom But it wasn't necessarily only homophobia... I, mean, adolescence, and peers in school, and... also, I still don't know what it is..
LotsOfLove_Mom :-/
JCGirl2019 I'm just trying to make sure you know it's real and it's IMPORTANT!
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Sorus
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think it necessarily makes them look bad. They look like two people having a conversation that neither is very comfortable with, which is probably realistic.

I can't give much feedback on the context because there's a lot of ambiguity there - what happened to Janie, how were the other friends involved, what was Janie's mother's motive for lying about the reason her daughter was in the hospital?

I could guess - that Janie was in a relationship with one of the other girls and it ended badly, or that she came onto one of them and was rebuffed. I could be completely wrong.

Was her mother trying to protect her from the potential stigma that might surround a suicide attempt, or was her mother personally embarrassed over some part of the situation and trying to keep it quiet? (The second option reminds me of something that happened in my family, though I was not personally involved.)
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Linna Heartlistener
"The lady's fate is writ in water."

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorus wrote:
I can't give much feedback on the context because there's a lot of ambiguity there - what happened to Janie, how were the other friends involved, what was Janie's mother's motive for lying about the reason her daughter was in the hospital?
Guess I need to write more!

I was thinking of writing it as all three friends (not all of whom chose to reveal their same-sex attraction to their whole High School) were just plain tormented by their peers in High School... with subtly-cruel comments they couldn't quite deny.

I don't know... the other day it came flooding back to me the way I've seen people "joke" with someone, "Well you aren't GAY, are you?"
And then I realized, "Wow, whether the person on the receiving end of that comment is straight or is gay or bi but not open about it, that's a wretched situation!"

Do you think those careless words are a major source of pain & aggravation for gays you've known?
Or are people you know more like, "Meh; it's just people being idiots."
I'm thinking maybe there would be regional variation, but I dunno..

Sorus wrote:
Was her mother trying to protect her from the potential stigma that might surround a suicide attempt, or was her mother personally embarrassed over some part of the situation and trying to keep it quiet? (The second option reminds me of something that happened in my family, though I was not personally involved.)
Mainly the first, combined with Janie herself not wanting it too widely known.
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