friends

Other…

I was talking to a friend. She called herself “other”, meaning “different”…

It occurs to me that we are all other. I mean, even the people we think are “same” aren’t. How could we be? As far as I know, there are no cloned humans with exactly the same experiences. We might share a gender, political views, religious views, and sexual orientation but, even then, we came to those spots inside our own skins…

So, why did this idea of Other stick in my head?

It is because of this…We need to protect other. We need to appreciate the Otherness of those that are other. Gaaaaack, this seems so obvious to me. We will never be able to fully understand any human. Hell, we don’t even understand ourselves. Anyway, *sigh* to not protect Other, we fail to protect ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with not being the same.

Current society thinks Other equals Dangerous. If your political views differ, that person must be a threat… I suppose I could go down the list but, y’all get the point…Jumpin’ Jimmeny Christmas and The Easter Bunny, being different doesn’t present an existential threat.

The next part of this thought is, how do we develop and mature our own views if we are so hidebound that we refuse to listen to difference? If am so unwilling to listen to dissent and become so defensive of my own views that I refuse to admit the possibility that I could be in error, odds are that MY views are less valid than I think. Perhaps it’s just me but, I do make mistakes and continually look for holes in what I think and my personal philosophies…and adapt when some Other shows me error or invalidity…

*****

Other is also a trap when you apply it to yourself…

“I am Other and they’re all the Same so, they couldn’t possibly understand me…” That’s what a kid says to their parents and a 20-something says to someone in their 50’s…Not realizing the oldsters survived what they are living. I know I used the section up there to point out how we’re all different but, which in this case doesn’t mean “please disregard”, in quite a few ways we are the same. We all started out pooping our pants. We all want whatever form of “success” we deem. We all want to love and be loved. We will all face the same end…

…and not to drop into “politics” because I have avoided making any indication of any “political” view I might have…

…Our parents survived the Cold War. *I was born in 1963*. Their childhood was filled with above ground Atom Bomb testing. Their parents were the generation of WWII. The parents of kids today, are children of the Viet Nam Era. The World has been filled with “threats” to us since before the Dawn of History…

We, humanity, will survive and adapt. It is our nature to do that…

*****

Other, hunh? Celebrate it.

Other, hunh? Protect it.

Other, hunh? Ignore it.

Other, hunh? Learn from it.

Other, hunh? Yeah, and Same…

Crossings…

Once upon a time…
Some people were wandering in the wilderness. They had been seriously lost. They had wandered for a generation and had begun to believe that they would never find their way out. Finally, they got to where they could see where they were going. They could see the goal that they had begun to believe they would never reach but, there was a river in the way. That brought their dreams to a crashing halt but, their holy men prayed and they were given an answer from their God. He said, “I will make a path through the water and you will set monument stones where you walk that path through the river.” They agreed. They had the leaders of their tribes set those stones in the middle of the river where they had walked on dry land. Then their God closed up the river over those monuments leaving them unseen except for in the memories of the survivors…

Now, no matter what happened, they couldn’t cross back and they couldn’t disregard the importance of honoring the monuments their God had instructed them to place. They didn’t know what the future would hold, only that their past was closed to them…

Our lives are like that. Sometimes we face obstacles that seem unpassable. We get to the edge and don’t know what to do. We can see where we need to be, it’s right over there,but, we can’t see a way to cross to it…and then something changes…

I was faced with one of those places recently. I have had issues with trusting people, with believing that they will remain true to what they say. I have friends that have helped me get to the edge of the river by showing me that THEY could be trusted but, that was hard won, like the journey leading to the river. Still, I wanted to keep my distrust because it’s safer that way…and something happened. Just like in the story, one more person came along and changed things. They changed it by trusting me first…

The story shows, to me, a bunch of other things…

It shows me that, once crossed, we can not go back to our past…

It teaches that, although we fear the river might close up and swallow us, it is better to cross and begin again, no matter our fears.

It also lets us know that those crossings aren’t done alone. They asked their God for help and crossed with each other…

We don’t always see those crossings. Sometimes we look back and realize we did cross.

Sometimes the milestones and monuments differ. Some are places in time. Others are locations or objects. The most important are the people that help us and we keep them in our memories and hearts forever.

In the end, the best monuments are the memories of the times that a person neither pulled or pushed but, took our hand and walked along side. They are never seen but, exist to this day.

I have my Stones. I do them Honor by both remembering them, they are with me always, and not going back to who I used to be.

Don’t Use Those Words Again, Please

Ok, I’m having one of those moments when I need to say something in public to random strangers…I need to make sure that, by saying in public what I would say in private, that my words are not so easily dismissed.

I have a friend that I’ve written a few blogs for or about. I have no need to lie to her or pander to her whims. There is zero monetary or personal gain for me from telling her things just to make her feel better and, besides, that isn’t me. I have told her things I am SURE she didn’t want to hear. So, when I compliment, it is the absolute truth…well, there is my own bias which could, perhaps, color my subjectivity…

So, let’s begin. Do you do things that concern me? Yes and we’ve talked about them at length so, there’s no need here. Are you perfect?

Are you perfect? Nope, but, not one single human is. Yes, you are able to be opinionated and angry at times…just like every other human on the planet…

Now, for the reason, I’m writing. You say things that I wish you wouldn’t. You describe yourself with words that make me sad. I’m not a sad person by nature so, when I am, there’s a good cause…

Lately, you have used the words “slut”, “whore”, “easy lay”, and “fat” as descriptions of yourself.

*sigh*

I don’t know how to convince you that you are not correct. You are just not correct.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying sex. Period. That you do doesn’t make you an object. It makes you human. Those first three descriptors are words that make me think that you think of yourself as an object, an item to be used and discarded. You are not. End of story.

You are also not “fat” or any other negative. You do exercise. You swim, run, and row. You are in good physical shape. You might argue that you could be in better shape. So could everyone. I’m thin as a rail because of an accident of genetics, not because of anything I actively do.

Maybe you believe my rebuttals to your words or maybe this will make my point better…

*remember the part about no free compliments, remember those words when you read these*

You know I never had kids and you don’t fill that spot in my world, for two reasons. First, because being called “daughter” has bad connotations to you. Second, because you aren’t in that spot. You are a trusted and loved friend. Having said that, if you were my daughter, I couldn’t be prouder of you.

Do you realize what you’ve done?

You were smart enough and brave enough to leave an abusive relationship at a great cost to yourself. You have realized you made some mistakes and are taking steps to quit them forever. You see and confront your demons every day and push them farther back into their cage. You have not judged ME for what I’ve done, let me share my demons with you, and helped me face mine while dealing with your own. You have become, without intent, one of the people I trust…and you know how rarely I give that.

Those words that you use about yourself, please don’t. Those mistakes you think define you, you aren’t them. You are defined by your triumphs…not your defeats.

When the haters and the voices judge you, remember my words, not theirs…My words will tell you that you do have worth. They will say that the PERSON you are is valuable. That your soul is untarnished. That you are needed for something that isn’t tangible, your mind. That the world is a better place for having you in it. That, just by existing, you make me smile.

My words will tell you that you do have worth. They will say that the PERSON you are is valuable. That your soul is untarnished. That you are needed for something that isn’t tangible, your mind. That the world is a better place for having you in it. That, just by existing, you make me smile.

Like I said up there,those words you said about yourself,  please never use them again. You are not them. Not before, not now, not ever. I may not be objective but, you earned my subjective view.

I may not be objective but, you earned my subjective view. To me, you’re irreplaceable.

 

I Don’t Care

I have a thought wandering around. I hope it makes sense. Follow along and see if you can read what I really mean…

“I don’t care” sounds harsh, and it can be. It can mean apathy or disdain. It can mean a lack of concern for another human…

“I don’t care” can also be the kindest words you can ever say to another person…

I don’t care…what you did in the past.

I don’t care…who you were.

I don’t care…that you made mistakes.

I don’t care…what you see…

I care that you survived. I care that you are someone else. I care that you grew. I care that you exist in the World. I care, and I am glad, you invited me in so I can say, “I don’t care what you, or anyone else, thinks. To me, you are valuable and loved”

Perhaps, we need more “I don’t care…”

Grouchy Rainy Morning Musings

  1. Yeah, it’s me again. Not sure why, just here. I was thinking, always dangerous, and found some stuff in my head. I’ll probably forget some of them so, I’ll try to get the things out that need to be and hope for the best…
  2. The line between doing the right thing and over the cliff is this thin *holds up two fingers pressed together*. Don’t cross that line when you see it.
  3. I hate WalMart. I mean, really despise going in there.
  4. Your past doesn’t define you. Only your actions going forward.
  5. People are important. Said it before. Will again. It’s worth repeating. That doesn’t mean everybody is important to everyone but, someone is to every person. Find them but, be careful.
  6. *gratuitous bedroom comment* If you judge people by what they do in THEIR bedroom, when you’re not there and it isn’t your’s, then you open yourself to have your most private space judged…and no one can survive that test. Bluntly, who or how someone f**ks is none of your damn business unless they make it yours and, if they give you that trust, by telling you, don’t be a mistake they made.
  7. If your partner doesn’t make you laugh, you made a mistake because, that means they are either too stupid to make a joke or are too concerned with themselves to spend time on you.
  8. Partner is the operative word in 5. A relationship is a team sport. Both have to have the same goal. If one does and the other doesn’t. the former is a parasite and the latter is a host.
  9. You are what you eat *grins* Do you want to be tasty bacon or compost?
  10. We all have insecurities, failings, and weaknesses. Every human does. Find someone that doesn’t feed your insecurities, point out your failings, and pull you down when you’re weak.
  11. When someone trusts you, you have two choices, return it or run. Don’t be their mistake.
  12. I believe in love at first sight. I also believe in friends at first sight, It doesn’t happen often but, when it does, when someone accidentally “fits” like an old comfortable pair of jeans, cherish them as if you had known them for years and don’t question that it happened.
  13. Don’t wish your life away. It’s gone in an eye blink.
  14. Politicians suck. Yours are no better than mine. They ALL suck.
  15. There are hard words loyalty, duty, honor. They are worth trying to live up to.
  16. Have faith in something greater than yourself that is not human. Yeah, some kind of Divine. Doesn’t have to be mine but, ignoring that there are things we don’t understand and believing that we know everything means we believe we are God. We aren’t. The Universe is big and full of unexplained Infinities…
  17. Help someone. Just that.
  18. It’s ok not to be happy all the time.
  19. There are three words I NEVER use casually “love”, “hate”, and “friend”. If I say one of those words to you or about you, it has depth and meaning far beyond just letters on a page.
  20. Even bad days have moments when you can laugh.
  21. If you tell someone you’re going to do something, do it. If you had no intention of doing it, you shouldn’t have said anything.
  22. Backspace is your friend online. Not everyone needs to know you disagree.
  23. “No” is also an acceptable answer.
  24. Having people for friends  that are different from you is better than having ones that are the same. Sure, there need to be common values but, if they are the same then they are clones. Clones are boring. Life’s too short for boring friends.
  25. It’s ok to make mistakes. Repeating them and expecting them to not be mistakes the third or fourth time around isn’t.
  26. It’s ok to be angry. Some things are worth being angry about. It’s not a bad thing to have a temper, it has uses. Just don’t live there. Sadness is the same way.
  27. Lists get old and I’m forgetting stuff, so this is probably all for now *grins* I’m an old grouch but, that’s fine because I’m also a nice guy that likes to laugh and be sarcastic. You have two options dealing with that, take me as I am or walk away. Either is fine.
  28. Oh yeah, forgot and remembered. Don’t expect people to change for you. If you found them that way, it means they wouldn’t change for someone else, what makes you think you’re going to be any different?
  29. Last, love someone…and yourself…both are needed and both are had.

That’s enough for now. I think this list is for me. It’s also for someone else. It’s also for anyone that happens to read it and finds some musing that fits their need. Steal it at will or ignore the arrogance that thinks there’s something of worth in here. Your call.

Wandering Around in My Head, or Coffee and Gratitude

*grins*

Have I mentioned that the inside of my mind is an odd place? Yeah, I suspect more than twice…

I write about people. Sometimes FOR them. Sometimes TO them but, always about them…well, not really to me…unless you count talking to myself typing as “to” me. *grins* *sigh* In the old days, before the internet, I used to write this stuff out on paper…then throw it away. Long conversations with “someone” of just myself…that I wanted people to read but, never shared. Now I just put in on WordPress. *grins again*…*sighs again*

The thing is, they all have something in common…well more than one, gender comes to mind as a second but, that doesn’t matter…crap, more than one that does matter but, that’s for further down the page…they challenge my perceptions. They make me push the limits of what I think. Not all in the same ways or directions but, all push the edges farther from my nice comfortable middle.

It’s funny, in a way, the people that push me away from that are the ones I want closest, to keep a spot for, if they want it or need it, deep inside, away from the edges. Someplace safe…just while they have made that bigger by making the boundaries expand. I suppose that’s why there’s room for them to begin with? When the borders expand, their center becomes larger…and MINE does, too.

They kick my complacency in the head. They give me two choices, accept them the way they are, unapologetically the way they are, or don’t but, if it’s “don’t” then don’t waste any time sticking around. I stayed.

Maybe that makes me a glutton for punishment…or it makes me smart…

I love them for that.

See, the other thing they have in common is that I love them exactly for themselves. Each unique one of them.

There are 7 odd billion people on the planet. There are 4 that I’m talking to…

Ladies,
You are wild and wonderful, wise and brilliant. You, each one of you, are unique…and precious. You have caused growing pains and with them, growth, my growth. You have made the space for yourselves bigger and by doing that, made me bigger. I didn’t know I needed you when you wandered in but, can not imagine being me without you. Thank you for letting me into your worlds. Thank you for being in mine. I may not spend every second of the day thinking about you but, every day I spend some seconds. You make me think “it’s good to be me”. I hope, that in some way, I’ve been able to give you back the tiniest fraction of what I’ve gained. You…and my wife…are what make my life worth living.
Love,
Miller

*****

Cheap, free, advice, you don’t have to let everyone in but, someone. Trust an old grouch with “issues”. People are the only gift that’s of any importance. Everything is just something you buy.

 

Embrace

Embrace.

That word eliminates fear. It’s hard to be scared of a hug. The warmth of arms wrapped around you and the feel of another heart beat.

Sometimes a hug is just a thought. It’s a quiet prayer in the dark or a memory of a voice. It’s thinking, “that’s my friend and I love her”.

Hugs keep my monsters away.

Different

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been a long couple of weeks. There’s a thought rolling around in here. I’ll try to get it to germinate and come out the way I want it to…

We don’t have to do something to support it or the people behind it. Where this is going may start with this example. A friend, Shelby, loves Halloween. I don’t. I REALLY don’t. Among other things, it makes my nightmares worse. What I do support is Shelby. She takes a huge amount of pleasure from that holiday. As another Pagan friend told me, it’s like Christmas. As a result, I have been collecting and posting a Halloween Album on FB for her. *editorial, FB is a weakness of mine. go figure* I am enjoying watching her reaction to the daily update and seeing the pictures she likes. She realizes that I am doing it for her and appreciates it. I hope this makes sense. My enjoyment is coming from the person behind something I don’t enjoy…and is giving me a reason to enjoy the holiday myself…

We are conditioned to believe that we must be in opposition to difference. “If you aren’t with us, you’re against us.”

I am not gay, yet Z is. Not only do I not oppose her, I encourage her. I want her to find companionship and love. I hope she does kiss girls. I’ll always support her and her life. I also am not Pagan. I’ve been taught that because I’m Christian, I MUST oppose my Pagan friends. The thing is, I don’t. Why should I be against the faith of some of the people that are dearest to me in the world? I want Aj, Kelly and Shelby, and the rest to enjoy and find meaning from their faith.

I watch and talk to and trust those Ladies. They, and their lives, are parts of what I count on for support in mine. I find that I need them as examples of faith and love. I see that they are unashamedly themselves. They are open with their beliefs and their lives. Those things are worth respect. Those things, the specifics, are also not my path. So what?

That’s the point I’m trying to make. Don’t look at the differences, look at the person. Don’t judge them as wrong because they do things that you do not. Look at the character and the life, see the Human living it. Different doesn’t equal wrong. It merely equals a perspective that is not your own.

I’m going to cheat, here. I’ll quote a FB status I wrote the other day and end…

“I have friends that are gay. I love and treasure them. I have friends that are Pagan. I love and treasure them. I am neither and, yet, they love and treasure me. Getting along with people that are “differently normal” lets us find people we love and treasure. Who doesn’t need more of both?”

An Unexpected Post…So I Cheated…

I have an unexpected day off so, an unexpected post…

The Muse is off with her kids for the end of Summer Fun. The Surrogate Muse is doing family stuff. Aj is working. I’m on my own and staring at a blank screen…again…*grins*…I think I’m going to cheat. I wrote some “rules” that are really the way I do stuff, just written out. Maybe they make sense. Some are generalizations. Some apply to me, alone. Some are just the way I process information…

*****

1.   Having something greater than yourself to believe in is important.

2.   Be fair in your dealings with other people.

3.   Do not believe your own bulls**t.

4.   Be sparing with the loyalty you give and, once given, do not be disloyal.

5.   Tell the truth to yourself and others.

6.   Everyone has their flat sides.

7.   Being generous is fun.

8.   Being surrounded by nice folks is better than being surrounded by exciting folks.

9.   Adventures are for kids.

10. Laugh at yourself.

11. Love someone.

12. Treat people with respect and dignity.

13. All politicians lie.

14. Different people do things differently than you do. That should not exclude them from the people you love. If you exclude them, it is your loss. Some of the finest people I know do have made choices that I would never  made. I am a better person for having them in my life and would be much diminished for having kept them out.

15. Some days you will be a complete jerk. You will pay for those days.

16. You will never understand women unless you are one. I am not.

17. It’s ok not to see eye to eye with your spouse on the little stuff like politics.

18. It is not ok to disagree with your spouse on the important stuff like faith and money management.

19. Never ever disrespect your spouse in public or private. If they were worth marrying, they deserve your respect. Teasing is not the same as disrespect.

20. The most beautiful woman in the world is the one you look at and see “forever”.

21. Be good at something.

22. Your spouse is not your servant. Your spouse is your partner.

23. Your emotional energy is not your own unless you are single. If you have a spouse/partner, your emotional energy belongs to them.

24. There are two people in the world that you have to keep happy. They are your spouse and your boss. You are not the third.

25. Having an active imagination is important. You have to practice to keep it that way.

26. Be a goof sometimes.

27. Be serious only when you have to.

28. There are two times of the day, on the clock and off the clock.

29. It is not all about me. In fact, what I want matters very little.

30. Don’t stress stuff you can do nothing about.

31. Different views and different ways of doing things do not make people evil. It makes them different. Being evil makes people evil.

32. What people do in their own private lives, if it does no harm to children or violence to anyone, is none of your business.

33. Protect the rights of others. Particularly protect the rights of folks you disagree with.

34. Don’t spend money you don’t have.

35. Show public affection for your spouse. Tell your friends how much they mean to you. Someday, you’ll be dead and then it’ll be too late to do it then.

36. You’re gonna argue and fight with the people you love. Fight fair.

37. Be grateful for what you have.

38. Have friends that are women, if you are a guy. That way when you screw up with your wife, they can tell you exactly how bad you screwed up. Also, women aren’t afraid of hurting our male ego’s, so they’ll be more honest with you.

39. Make damn sure your wife knows that you have the friends in 38 above and realizes that she has zero reason  to be jealous of them.

40. Never ever give your wife a reason not to trust you. DO NOT EVER. This is not a conditional, “I wish I hadn’t gotten caught” thing. It is a moral absolute. Never break the faith. Period.

41. Put the seat down. Your life is easier for it.

42. Put your dirty dishes away and help fold the clothes.

43. If you have places in your past that you can never go back to, stay way away. Doesn’t mean not to revisit them in your mind to remind you why, but to stay away from the edge. There was no water in the pool the last time you jumped in, there isn’t gonna be any this time, either.

44. Read books.

45. Study failures so you don’t make the same mistakes. Study successes so you can figure out what they did right.

46. I am a big boy. If I screwed up, I’ll take the heat for it.

47. At some point every day, I’m gonna screw up.

48. Aches, pains, and headaches happen. Being in pain is not a good reason not to get on with the business at hand.

49. Do not live as an angry person. Anger is easy. Anger is also counter productive.

50. Do not let emotion rule your decisions. Think about them when you are calmer. A knee jerk is only good in the Dr’s office.

51. Don’t depend on other people to take care of you. They have themselves to take care of.

52. There is NO provocation that justifies violence toward women. Not one single reason. Not even “she hit me first”. If it gets that bad, leave. Period.

53. Related to 52, I reserve the right to leave.

54. If you hurt my wife, you’ll be dead and I’ll be waiting for the cops to show up.

55. I know a bunch of people. I like a bunch of people. I depend on very few.

56. Be a team player.

57. Hate is a bad thing. It should be reserved for the truly despicable. Dislike, on the other hand, happens all the time.

58. Life is fun.

59. I had no idea there were this many d**n rules.

60. When I was a kid, I thought I could do whatever I wanted when I was an alleged adult. I was not correct.

61. Sometimes, you look up and realize that your closest friends are people you never expected to be friends with.

62. For me, some of the people I’m closest to I will probably never meet in person. That doesn’t mean they have any less value to me.

63. I’m a homebody and like it that way. My house is dark and quiet. It has the woman I love in it. Home is safe and secure.

64. My wife is my best friend.

65. Some of these are specifically about a few people. I hope they see these and realize that I am talking about them.

66. I’ll add more to this list.

67. They did not teach mind reading in school. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt and do not assign motive without input from them.

68. Think for yourself. Fact check. Draw your own conclusions. Do not assume that everyone that says they are an authority actually is one.

69. Don’t be afraid to be wrong and admit it. Just don’t be wrong about the same thing twice. Find a different thing to be wrong about.

70. Minimize your hypocrisy. It’s ok to have views that conflict with others of your views. It’s not ok to have views that conflict with your actions.

71. Don’t be a Christian and have “Stone Him!!!” as your first response. If that were the case, we ALL deserve to be stoned.

72. Appearance is over rated. What’s inside is more important.

73. Male vanity is just dumb. If we were supposed to be good looking we’d have been born women.

74. Discomfort or minor aches are not a good enough excuse. You’ve been cold, wet, hot, tired, sore, itchy, or whatever. Eff it and drive on.

75. There is no excuse for not being on time unless you are on fire or bleeding. Early is better than late.

76. No one cares how well you did in high school or college. What matters is how well you did 5 minutes ago.

77. The reward for working hard is more hard work.

78. You can not control an other person. The only person you can control is yourself. Clean your own side of the street.

79. I am not responsible for trying to figure out how anyone other than my spouse thinks. I can not do that either.

80. The retarded wildebeest at the at the back of the pack is the one the lions eat. Don’t be a retarded wildebeest.

81. *added 8/22/2015* My friends and loved ones are of many faiths and orientations. I love them more than I like you. Given the choice, I’ll be on their side, every time. If you are homophobic or anti-whatever-their-faith or insulting to them in any way, you’re gone. No argument or discussion just removed from my world. I need them. I don’t need you.

*****

I wrote these over a period of some months and my life. *grins* I hadn’t really revisited them for a year and a half. I looked at them again, today, and realized I needed #81. Other than that, feel free to comment, critique, or suggest additions…Thanks for following along…

 

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.