ignorant faith

There are a lot of holidays around this time of year.  A lot of them have to do with faith. These are the dark days.  The darkest day of the year, the winter solstice may very well be the inspiration for most of these holidays.

It so happens that I am having to write about faith for my latest book. The loss and reuniting with faith. Which is not so easy. In my case, faith had been an old friend that hurt me.

Faith was faithless.

Except that’s not really possible. The problem was all the other voices. I decided that it was not faith, it was not God, which had failed. It was all the teaching I’d received. And when I reached across the chasm with my little finger like the Sistine chapel, I touched faith again. I found what I was looking for, the tiniest bit.

Readers, stick with me. This is a story from my perspective, and yet I think it is more universal once the whole thing is done.

I wanted more and more. It was not as simple as when I was a child. I was a mature 19 now. The stories and their interpretations did not work in my life. Here is what I wrote yesterday for my book:

I still didn’t trust preachers.  I wanted to read the Bible, but I knew the whole thing had been “explained” to me and explained wrong. What was God really saying? How could I see through the mask of lies that covered these pages for me?

I picked up the bible my parents had bought for me a few Christmases ago.

Some Bibles were red-letter editions, printing the direct word of God and Jesus in red ink. “Let there be light” in Genesis was written in red. “It is finished” in the gospels, when Jesus died on the cross, was also red.

If I only read the red, just the words that God himself had spoken, maybe I could trust those to uncover the truth.

That is indeed what I did. It turns out that it is nonsensical to read direct quotations out of context, so I took the easy way and read the whole gospel. All four of them. Again and again. They’re not that long. For weeks on end I read the gospels. They’re pretty short. These words again and again. What did they mean?

Why did Jesus keep saying: “He that has ears let him hear”?

Everybody has ears.

I was still mad, in my young righteousness, at the preachers who had messed this up for me. And I didn’t trust them, ANY of them.

But I was sick to death of the gospels, and I needed more. It took a while, but I jumped off the high dive into the rest of the New Testament. Despite St. Paul’s very very black mark of teacherhood, I decided to give his letter to the Romans a try.

The very first chapter of Romans, has this:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Launch out of the chair and start pacing and ranting!  RIGHT THERE AND HELL YES! Those preachers and pastors are indicted by the very gospel they preach. Yes, I KNEW the wrath of God and heaven should be sent down on these terrible people.  He says it! God’s qualities are clearly seen and understand from what has been made. They are WITHOUT EXCUSE.

And there is more: God is understood by what has been made.

That makes perfect sense. If the world was spoken, in red letters, into existence, then all of creation is God’s word, on par with this Bible. They are the same.  It is all God’s word.

God can’t contradict himself, or he’s not really God right? So if I see something that doesn’t make sense, it is because I don’t understand it. On the Bible side, OR on the creation side.

This was big. It was certainly lifting the mask that had been laid over the pages of my Bible. I had to understand this, all of this better.

I had a prayer and bible study habit for years. After this new understanding, I wanted it. For two and a half years I barely missed a day.

And then.

I had read the New Testament over and over. But in that long of a time, it was getting repetitious.

I was 21. I loved God. And I knew one thing: from the tips of my crazy hair to the bottom of my feet I was nothing but ignorance. Down to the molecules and the space inside them I knew nothing.

At least I knew that. My times reading and praying were great. I loved the closeness to God of those times. I still hung onto the idea that God is everywhere and in everything.

So why did I only feel this intensity of his presence during my prayer times?  I wanted to kick down the walls of this prayer closet. I wanted out of the closet.

It was clear to me that my ignorance was keeping me back. The Bible had given me what it had, but the rest of the world was something I needed to study. I needed to address my ignorance with greater intention.

I stopped. No more. No more reading and prayer times. The world and all that was in it would stand as revelation.

Hello world!

Here we are at the holidays again. It’s a religious time, it’s a traditional time. There is the underneath, the “true” meaning of Christmas or solstice or any other holiday. And there is our history and all the things that are said that lay on top of the truth.

We take the time to intentionally think of one another about now. Gratitude and lights and gifts. Truth and faith and hope come up too.  We sing together.

What is the point of the big story I just told you? This very personal experience I just shared with more than a hundred people?

Am I less ignorant than when I stepped away from studying the book? I would say my ignorance is more nuanced now. A richer, more experienced ignorance.

It is ignorance with stories. Stories like the one I just told. I tell it for the holiday. Not because I think it is so important. But because I think it will stick in your head, and some part of it will help your holiday musings about faith.

If it’s not helping it’s in the way

So my job is in the medical field. And I very seldom have to do actual medical things

Today I got to spend time looking at a new technology in an emergency room.
Nobody wants to go to an emergency room. Well that’s not true some people do. Some people work there

Today I worked there

A woman came in and maybe she had a stroke. Her family was there and they were worried about her. She was a little worried about herself too

I was so worried about her and her family. When she described her symptoms I started to wonder if I was having those symptoms. I thought oh this is me having an empathic reaction

I realized I could do nothing to help these people. Other people were doing everything to help them. I asked myself “is my empathy helping these people? ”

No it was not.

So I decided to stop. That feeling was not necessary and in fact it was hurting me

I may use that question in other areas of my life

Timing is everything

Here is a tale of synchronicity.
This morning call upset me very much. I was overwhelmed with the question . And I also felt like what ever my purpose in life was I was surely failing to see it and to perform it

Jessica asked who wanted to speak up. I wanted to but the only thing I wanted to say was what are you trying to do it to me with this question!?

I did not say that. I kept quiet perhaps I should have said something but I felt overwhelmed

She said you cannot fail at being you. I was trying very hard to believe that and it is a struggle

Look for synchronicity

Look for the signs that the universe is rising up to meet your needs and fulfill your wishes

There are new signs posted on the highways right now.

They used to read “click it or ticket” now they say “minor accident move over to the shoulder’

The comedian and podcaster Adam Corolla has been ranting that we needed to change the sign Before I started taking Jessica’s classes, I listen to Adam carollas podcast a lot.

Now they have changed the signs! When I noticed this, I thought I wish I could hear what he would say about this. Of course, right now I am not listening to entertaining recordings I am listening to jesss class every day

. I had to change from my personal comfortable car to the company car to make another company trip . The radio was tuned to KROQ and Adam Corolla was talking. Right that minute I got to hear him take credit justifiably for the change in the signs

How perfect is that! As Jess would say.

Not only is it synchronicity that I had my little wishfulfilled, but it’s also a good example to keep speaking your truth and knowing what needs to be known
The world aligned to Adam Corolla. It can do it for me


we took veronica to the nutcracker today.

It was a big deal. She liked it, and handled it better than oliver.

She had to miss her nap, and it was quite a challenge to sit through it. But she was a champ.

Unlike Oliver, she did not declare that it was here turn tomorrow.

The nameless longing

What is this thing? What are the edges of it?

what a soft-edged word, dream. I am dreaming of the knife in my belly that wants this like a hunger that hasn’t been satisfied ever

Maybe this is the time it will get satisfied. Maybe this is the first bite of a very very big meal to feed that hunger

When I take the soaring over california ride, I love it, it is beautiful. But the scene  that makes my breath catch and my heart pound is the airplane zooming past over the desert





I want that! and NOT on an individual level. Not only on an individual level. I want to raise monuments. I want to collaborate to land on the moon or make a system or

there is is

the scope must be broad. it will require more than me. It will require money and machines and systems and communication and collaboration and cooperation

It requires courage and decisiveness and focus over time. It requires vision and persistence and sticking it out when  people don’t agree and don’t support it. I also requires standing against people when they actively try to chop me down at the knees in all the cruel ways that people viciously attack visionaries.

I’m not trying to expand consciousness. I’m trying to set up a national interconnected telecommunications system. Words like mother earth and father sky are never going to come up in my sessions.

But I am doing something new on the face of the earth, really really about to do something that no one has done before.And I want it so bad it can keep me up at night. That copper, that fiber and the army of mostly men in slouched khakis to make it all work all the time

i have to be sure and confident and focussed to do it, shutting out all outside voices. I know it’s ridiculous to compare myself to Mandela…But he had to shut out all the people who said he couldn’t do it too. And like him, I was NEVER NEVER supposed to be able to do this. And I won’t do it if I don’t stick to my vision.


The Adult Section

There were three constants in my teenage life: home, church and the library.

I so very well knew the basement of the Wasilla library. I actually lapped the young adult section, reading books I forgot I had already read.

There was a much larger adult section on the first floor. That section scared me. ADULTS read those books. I had to be a grownup to understand THOSE books. Also, adult probably meant R rated. Sinful. My well-catechized conscience warned me against falling into sin by choosing a book in that section unguided. One day I would be old enough.

For now, I told myself, for now I would stick to my section. There were plenty of good books in the basement.

Most people know of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Some people know of the sequels to Little Women–Jo’s Boys and Little Men.

She wrote a lot of books. I read ALL of her books our library had. Little Women has a semi-convincing romance in it. I loved Laurie, and had nothing but disappointment in the German professor Jo chose in the end.

My favorite romance of Alcott’s was Rose in Bloom. Sequel to Eight Cousins.

The boy cousin who captures Rose’s heart (how weird is it that she is allowed to love and marry her cousin? did that to the tension of their romance? the story did not think it taboo), that boy cousin is found at a pivotal moment reading Emerson.

Rose is impressed with him, calling the author Grandfather Emerson. She heaps praise not only on Emerson’s writing but also on her cousin for being so wise as to read it.

Aha! Here it is!

My navigation of the library had to be done by dead reckoning and reading the stars. Since I had no one to suggest to me what to read next I had learned to look for book suggestions inside of the books I was already reading.

Does anyone else remember that one of the sisters in Little Women was reading Ivanhoe in the first chapter?

I read Ivanhoe after that. It was a steep climb. Nonetheless, I wanted more.

So when Rose says Emerson is worth reading, I went UPSTAIRS. I had a new book to read!

He was hard to find. My selections in the children’s basement didn’t need the Dewey decimal system. I’d heard of it, but now in the ADULT section, I had to use it.


Then I opened Emerson’s essays. And where do I begin? What topic should my 14-year-old self start with?

My friends are very important to me: Friendship

It starts with a poem. Skip that. Get to the point. And here is the opening paragraph of Emerson’s essay on Friendship:

We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken.  Maugre all the selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether. How many persons we meet in houses, whom we scarcely speak to, whom yet we honor, and who honor us! How many we see in the street, or sit with in church, whom, though silently, we warmly rejoice to be with! Read the language of these wandering eye-beams. The heart knoweth.

The words each had a meaning I could recognize–most of them anyway. It’s just, in that order, and in the way he used them, I couldn’t recognize them anymore. It was familiar that he said we should rejoice to be in church. The rest was incomprehensible

Every fear that I was not old enough to read things from the adult section was realized.

Emerson. He wrote essays on topics. Essays? Who writes an essay? And on these topics? Why?

I returned the book after the three weeks. I was chastened and knew my attempt as hubris. I did not belong in the adult section.

Then last week, a former high school English teacher (angelic tribe! How I have loved every literature teacher I have studied under. My time at university at last acquainted me with such beings) brought up Emerson–specifically the essay Self-Reliance.

Finding the free Kindle version, I now read this essay so simply and quickly. I see these words:

Insist on yourself; never imitate. …That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him… Where is the master who could have taught Shakspeare? … Shakspeare will never be made by the study of Shakspeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.

At the time I first found Emerson, all hope and daring was out of reach. As Emerson says, it was too much to dare and to hope of find greater books that the shelves in the basement.

I’ve learned a few things since then. One of them is to trust myself to find the right books for me. Now I am a grown up and I read his words like Deja Vu.

Which is sort of the point of Self Reliance. I could quote him, but then again I won’t. I can use my own words.

Each person needs to trust his or her own self. We do know, or we will know, what is true and beautiful in the way that only we-each individual- can know it. Our lives and our art is such that only each individual can express.

So it’s best to get to it and not give too much respect to other people’s opinions.

I have a relationship with Emerson that is exactly what I would expect of my life. It started out very constrained. And my life isn’t over. He and I need to spend a little more time in conversation now that I’m better able to appreciate him and my self.

Disneyland pirates

Veronica had long said pirates were too scary.

But yesterday she agreed to go on the pirates of the Caribbean. Ride. And then she wanted to do it again. And a third time

The second time while we were waiting to start I said. “Look at those people eating in the restaurant. Don’t they know there are pirates?”

She yells to them “Watch out! There’s pirates!”

No one paid any attention

She yelled it two more times. They needed to know!