Thursday, August 28, 2014
I stood, feet in the cool water, attempting to keep track of my five children and two of their friends as they climbed cargo nets to water slides galore. My husband, after retrieving a couple items from our tiny theme park locker, was off scouting rides and attractions to experience next.
Not far away from me stood a man, also keeping an eye on children. He looked in my direction and I smiled. I could have sworn I received a scowl in response, but couldn't figure out why so assumed it wasn't directed at me. His wife arrived at his side, and he started spitting hateful words not so quietly to her. "They are everywhere! You can't go out for a day of fun with your family without running into f***ing terrorists!"
Looking around to figure out about whom he was talking, I quickly came to realize it was me. Incredibly sensitive to the sun due to medications I'm on, I had draped a large light scarf over my head and around my shoulders and upper body, very much in the manner of my Muslim friends. I was taken aback. One scarf somehow transformed me into a terrorist, despite the fact that I didn't have a single gun. bomb, or even a mean thought aimed at anyone. All it took was a scarf to induce hate and fear.
I couldn't let the comment go. I couldn't let the man walk away without saying something. Words tumbled from my mouth as I tried to maintain my composure. "Excuse me, sir. I'm a person with a sensitivity to the sun. And I'm a Christian, not that that matters. I'm not a terrorist. Holding certain religious beliefs doesn't make one a terrorist, and neither does a head covering. If you think that a woman covering her head makes her a terrorist, you might want to be wary of nuns."
He stammered some sort of apology in response and said something about Muslim extremists and fear and you don't see people like Buddhists going around killing people which is why he is studying Buddhism and you never know nowadays. I asked him to please not judge anyone by their outer appearance nor their beliefs, but by their actions. And to google Buddhist extremism cause there are extremes in all belief systems. Then I walked away, gathered the children, and we moved on to more amusement park fun.
The entire interaction took maybe a minute, but I have carried it with me for weeks. One scarf worn a certain way and false assumptions were made. I somehow became, in at least one person's mind a symbol of fear; someone to hate. It's the instant hate that gets me. I can't wrap my mind around that type of hate. I don't want to be able to.
I feel blessed that I was able to respond with calm, kind words. And sort of sad he didn't seem to get my joke about being wary of nuns.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Our family is weird. I know this is common knowledge by now, but I honestly think our weirdness may have reached a new level.
My husband and I have a slight ... ok, more accurately a huge obsession with the tv show How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM). When he introduced me to the show, my husband wasn't sure how I'd feel about it, as one of the characters in particular is quite the womanizer. Somehow I managed to absolutely love the show and still laugh at it as we watch seasons 1-8 over and over while waiting for the final season to be released on dvd next month.
HIMYM could very well be a guidebook for how we don't want our children to pursue romantic and/or sexual relationships when they feel they're ready for such a thing. Perhaps Lily and Marshall's relationship might be appropriate - falling in love, being respectful and encouraging of each other's goals, and maintaining a monogamous relationship - but Barney Stinson's 200+ sexual conquests and Ted's sleeping with most of his girlfriends within the first couple dates are not our idea of healthy relationship models. Therefore, our children haven't seen HIMYM. They have, however, been subjected to HIMYM inspired humor, the ducky tie (a Christmas gift from me to my husband), endless HIMYM references, and general daily conversation about HIMYM (Genereal Daily Conversation!).
This has caused our fourteen year old to question when he'll be allowed to watch this epic program. He points out its TV-14 rating and his own age, so why not now?
Why not? Because there are way too many references that will go too far over his head for him to watch it now. He has work to do! He needs to get studying! We, in our glorious weirdness, have made up a list of prerequisites he must complete before being allowed to watch How I Met Your Mother. It includes, but is not limited to, such things as Doogie Howser, MD, Lethal Weapon, Terminator, Field of Dreams, Stand and Deliver, Happy Days, Die Hard, Stand By Me, Dirty Dancing, Top Gun, The Price Is Right, Dead Poet's Society, and much to my chagrin, the Weekend at Bernie's movies. He has already seen Star Wars, The Karate Kid, Crocodile Dundee III (it really does hold up!), Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Jurassic Park, and The Breakfast Club.
Now, in addition to his normal homeschool studies, Zachary has undertaken Pre-HIMYM, hoping to complete it as soon as Netflix allows so he can move on to HIMYM 101. If all goes well, my husband and I will finish HIMYM 109 beforehand, just in case the prerequisite list needs to be expanded due to season nine content.
So there you have it. True story.
Monday, August 25, 2014
All the world is made of faith, trust, and pixie dust. J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Sometimes I forget. A lot of the time lately, in fact.
It seems the more pain I experience, the more ill I feel, the less money we have, the more things are breaking down, the more I tend to forget to pay attention to faith, trust, and pixie dust.
I forget to take a moment or twenty to thank God for all the blessings in my life and ask for guidance and patience along life's path. I get too wrapped up in thinking about how much I have lost physically; in the feeling of once again falling behind in life; and in the realization that things can get very much worse for me, for us, quickly.
I forget to trust that things will work out one way or another. Worry about the future clouds my ability to enjoy the moment. The what-ifs corrode my happiness, eating away at hope until I feel I'm more struggling to survive than living.
I forget to let my children be children. Noisy children. Rambunctious children. Creative, awesome, adventurous children. Children who believe that life is all about faith, trust, and pixie dust.
All because I want peace and quiet. And to not think or feel or deal with anyone else or anything else for a while. Perhaps also because I want to solve life's problems now, instead of waiting for things to fall into place, and that just might happen if I could just get a moment of peace.
It's easy to lose track of the whimsy of life when you live with chronic pain or chronic illness. Too easy. Slipping into anger and despair seems so much easier. It certainly must take much less energy.
We forget it's just as easy and better for our health to laugh. Laughter, fun, hope, confidence that things will work out for the best, even though they may look bleak now - these are essential not just for survival, but for prospering despite life's obstacles.
And so I step out in faith that good things will come from all this; in trust that I am strong enough and weak enough and together enough and broken enough to get through this - all with the help of