Sunday, January 25, 2009

love, dignity, and judging

The snowman we made at the outskirts of Yosemite National Park, California
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

I composed a blog post in my mind earlier this morning and now I think I've forgotten everything I was going to say. Seriously. Crap.

Oh yea! Now I remember. (I sat here for like 5 minutes drawing a blank! See maybe I did have a cerebral infarction after all...) Anyhoo... After my divorce, I had to take off my wedding ring and I wanted to replace it with a ring that would remind me of my commitment to God. When I was browsing the Portland Saturday Market back in 2004 I think, I bought myself a simple ring that has three intertwined bands of silver. It reminded me of the trinity - how three things can be both three and yet one. And so I wear it on my right hand, ring finger.

When I was in a grace group session last fall at my church (a 12-week group that is part of the Open Hearts Ministry, helping men and women rise above the various forms of abuse we've faced in our pasts - covering shame with grace) one of the lessons changed the way I view that ring. Our leader was talking about how no matter what has happened to us in the past, or what we have done in our own lives, that God gives us a ring of dignity. She was speaking metaphorically but it really hit home, that every time I look at that ring, it's not about my commitment to God, because that just leaves me feeling dismayed at the ways I fail and fall short. But that ring tells me that I am a woman of dignity regardless of my sin and my mistakes and my human failings, because God is on my side - that God is FOR me, that God will never leave me, that God is good, and God is love and God is truth. All these things came back to me because I'd taken my ring off and set it on the table, because it was bothering my hand. When I saw it sitting there later, all these thoughts flooded me.

Sometimes I fear making decisions or being myself because of the way others judge me, especially other Christians (though to counter this fear, I tend to boldly be myself anyway just to make a point!). But I believe we should not judge others because you have not walked in their shoes or seen the world through their culture and experience and life. You see only a slice of their life - this moment in time. Only God sees the whole show, and knows the heart inside and out from beginning to end. I don't know why these thoughts came to me as I was looking at my ring, but they did and I felt I needed to blog them. Someone out there needs to read them. I often make one mistake after another in relating to people and in my own life, but one thing is for sure, I am loved by God always, always, always (and the same goes for you!). And we should love each other in their imperfection as beloved perfect children of God also. Hate the sin, love the sinner! And another thing is sure, I'm committed to learning how to love God in response, and that means how to love people better.

With that in mind, this quote came back into my life yesterday. I had shared it with a friend a while back and now she shared it with me - in a random sort of way. I think I'm going to print it out and put it on my mirror (I have a collection of a few quotes and Bible verses there).

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than it is to relieve the pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.
- Mother Teresa

And the other quote that came to mind I have included on this blog before, but I will do so again: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

Last, I have been thinking again about one of my favorite positive influences, SARK or Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy. She writes wonderful inspiring books using color markers! Her posters are often on pediatrician's walls. Check out her website, Planet Sark. I don't know why but I started thinking about her today and grabbed her book Succulent Wild Woman: Dancing with your wonder-full self off my bookshelf and started thumbing through. I subscribed to her free e-newsletter. I could use some of her positivity. Also check out her online journal - Sark Journal. It's a lot of fun! I'm adding it to my blogroll. Below is one of her posters, appropos right now with the stress over my hospital bills, and the economy in general. I keep hearing of friends losing their jobs. Things can be scary, but somehow so far I'm trying to not let it become a primary focus. I may gripe about it but I don't think about it constantly. Like Trish said to me, water the things you want to grow! I need to plant some money and water it! :)

You are safe!

Savie and Sam about to go to homecoming dance. This was to their private school homecoming for basketball. So grown up!


Chirin (Daline) said...

My goodness, they do look all grown up!! Beautiful children, beautiful mother.

Words showing us how to come back home where we have everything we need to nourish ourselves and to cultivate those qualities we crave to embody. Thanks for sharing what speaks to you, what brings you back to the divine you!

Bittersweet Grandma said...

Just caught up on my blog reading. Wendee, I'm so sorry of what you are going through. Talk to you, soon. G.

Unknown said...

Thanks Daline and G for sending the love. Daline I love what you wrote. I recall an Alanis line where she questions why she is still looking outside of herself... I need to listen to all her CDs today and find what song that is!

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendee,
I just happened to come upon your blog today. I found it very inspirtional, thank you for sharing. I am someone who needed it today.

Unknown said...

Anon - I'm so glad you found something here that inspired you! Keep coming back! I love comments, and I love to know that what I ponder in my crazy brain of mine connects with other kindred spirits out there :) Lots of love and light!

Trisha said...

We appreciate your support of SARK! Have you seen the launch of SARK's fabulous new affiliate program called SARK SHARE (SHARE stands for SARK's Happy Affiliate Revenue Earnings).

Check it out here:

If you post an enthusiastic word about SARK’s Awesome Anytime Adventure in at least one online location between now and October 31, you’ll receive an exclusive invitation to a LIVE Virtual Vacation with SARK: a telephone gathering on Thursday, November 4, in which SHARE Team Members will get to gather live with SARK to explore new adventures together! (The call will be recorded if you can’t attend live.)