Aj Was My First Pagan…

Let me tell you a story…

Once upon a time I was an addict. Jan 6, 2006 that changed.  The way I had changed was to find God. My finding included a bunch of reading the Bible and becoming very rigid in the way I saw the World. I was a very much “black and white” person in my moral compass. I was also a very rigid person with my beliefs. Yeah, the sense of humor and basic kindness were there but, there was also a lack of patience and a general sense of frustration. I was an a$$ and enjoyed it. I thought I was being loving…and was not…

A few, 3 years, later I met the lady I would marry in ’10. Truth be told, she was and is more “rigid” in the way she thinks. It is a part of her, given the rest of the construct that she is, I live with it. I love my wife without condition. As my father says, “we all have our flat sides”. I have mine and she her’s.

‘Nother year passes. There is a stupid Facebook game, MafiaWars, I used to play. It is PvP and typically forces personal conflict. I am GOOD at conflict. It fit my desire and enjoyment of my ability to be a sarcastic bully a$$hole. Because of that, I bumped into a Lady named Aj. She is, her word, a bitch. She says she’s good at and enjoys it Given that, it makes sense that we would bump heads. We did. We also became friends. *editorial, yes, if you spend enough time tapping on a Wall and messages, real friendships happen on Fb. Pen pals are also friends*

Other year has gone by. I make a snarky post paraphrasing Monty Python, “burn the witch”. It was just me being a smart a$$. Kind of a semi-random vent in, what I thought, was a safe direction…Aj replied, “some of your best friends are witches…”

Hunh? Wait a sec. What are you implying? You’re not a CHRISTIAN lady? You’re one of those weird people that believes in (fill in the blank) practices? No. That can’t be. You don’t seem crazy. You’re NORMAL…just like me…

The thing is, I had known her for a year. We had gotten the start of becoming “close”. I had learned to trust her judgment. She had become a female friend I could go to for advice about my wife. *forgot to mention, at 47 I had never been married. My wife is my first one. In fact, first marriage for either of us. Very single…* She had started the path to becoming my best friend…and the she tells me “that”…and it “boggled my tiny pea brain”. It rattled my world. How could I trust someone that was one of “those”? Those people are CRAZY. She can’t be. She’s normal, damn it…

*sigh*

Aj is normal…for her. I’m not Pagan. She is. I “get” some parts of Paganism. Some have zero appeal to me. That’s fine. I’ve asked questions, a lot of questions, and tried to understand and realized it really doesn’t matter. Her beliefs are hers, not mine. In some ways, she’s a better “christian” than some of the Christians I know…I digress…

In the conversations that followed, we both came to the realization that we were becoming, and welcoming, best friends. *I had some time off of work due to pneumonia and a leg injury so, we had a lot of time to talk* I think she was the one that said it first. I was thinking it and leaving the thought unvoiced because I didn’t want to presume that my “best friendship” was unwanted or unreciprocated.

You gotta understand, I can, and want to, be very rigid in what I think is “right and proper”. I like being rigid. It feels safe. The ex-addict in me craves safety. I need things to fit into boxes. Everything has to have its place in the order of my world. Aj shattered that order and those boxes. Blew them to tiny bits…

This blog is a direct result of my chance comment. The fact that I am willing to unbend is attributable to her. Her openness and willingness to be unashamedly and unreservedly open with me and put up with all my questions have been a huge part. The fact that I had to realize that just because she wasn’t Christian didn’t make her evil also plays a part. Her compassion toward me made all the difference. She could have said, “just another damn Christian that’s gonna hate me” and didn’t but, rather, took the time to try to explain…over and over…what her path was, made, forced me, to change my views.

I had two choices, accept all of Aj or reject her. I love Aj. She’s my “best friend that is not my wife”. I knew that was possible before I knew she is Pagan. It became a reality afterward. The point being, if she had hidden, we probably wouldn’t be close. There would always be some distance between us. She trusted that I could, and would, change or she would reject me. I am entirely grateful to her for taking the chance and making the time to teach me.

I am not the person I was four years ago. Aj teaches me…sometimes by putting a long distance boot in my a$$. I am a work in progress…we all are…The posts about love and LBGT Rights and Religious Freedom are her “fault”. They really are. If she had never “came out” to me, I wouldn’t have unbent. If she wasn’t willing to look past my anger and desire to take quick offense and see something in me, I wouldn’t attempt to learn.

Aj is brutally honest. She has the same quick temper that I have. She just expresses it as exasperation toward “willful ignorance”, mine. She does not tolerate my tendency to put myself down. She just won’t let me. As a result, I either grow or reject her, not just her words but, her. I’d rather cut off my hand than reject her. To do that would mean I have to close off a part of my heart that has been recently opened and is growing. I like the part of me that has, over the last 4 years, learned to love. I like the patience I’m still learning. I enjoy the fact that, by becoming more open minded, it has expanded the groups of people I’m willing to know. I could never go back to who I was. That would mean I’d have to turn away from Aj. Not gonna happen. Besides, who could I tease, and be comfortable doing it with, about being “topless”…in the Jeep? *grins*

She’s more comfortable in her own skin than anyone I know. I am entirely comfortable with her.

I have learned to “adapt”. I can not bring myself to consign her to Hell. She is not Christian, and the morality I was raised with, does not apply. By her lights…and mine…there is nothing wrong with the way she lives her life. It is a very short step from there to my own heresy. It didn’t take but that realization for me to figure out that my rules do not apply to everyone. My rules apply to me. As she says, her beliefs do not include the concept of “sin” and, as a result, sin doesn’t apply. I agree. It’s a Christian concept and applies to Christians…not Pagans.

She made me question my entire construct and she didn’t even mean to. I suppose me being a Heretic Christian is the outgrowth of that. I no longer question who or how someone loves. I am not a “universalist” but, I can not believe that Aj is going to Hell. Her heart is as pure and true to itself as any I have ever seen. THAT heart does not deserve the fate that “conventional” Christians would assign to it; I will not.

Anyway, once upon a time, there was a very rigid man…no longer…

Aj was “my first Pagan”. She came out to me…and that has made all the difference.

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