Monday, October 26, 2009


Life slowly returns, seeping into my body.

Why does it seep? Shouldn't it just overflow us and overwhelm us? Shouldn't life just overpower us?
But no, it's all about seeping and slow flows!

All the same, I'm doing better and younger son is doing better. Trusting God. I must really catch up on the psalms. Tomorrow (Deo Volente) I begin again with finishing them. Ah, am in a word-play mood it seems.

  A couple of days ago, I heard a wonderful testimony and was really touched by it just downloaded it from  an an australian website. A woman telling of her ordeal with cancer and how she had to forgiveAnd as she spoke, a great anger and resentment came up in my heart. And it was as if all the anger I had against pious sounding Christians just came to the fore. It was as if God was saying to me..."You really have to deal with this anger, Carole. It is important. Very important."

 I realized that Onion is about my bitterness -- oh this poor book! I had wanted it to be light and quick so I couldn't become too attached to it, but no!!!! It has to go and take on my issues! Honestly, this is the same thing that happened with Wind Follower. i put aside my ten-year and going novel and decided to whip out Wind Follower which i'd been working on for seven months. I figured I wouldn't get too attached to it. Next thing you know. So now, onion...a book written in three weeks...and now all these issues. And worse, I'm actually loving this book. 

So seeping through its pages are my plaints such as my bitterness against pushy people who tell folks what to do, against Christians who say stupid platitudes that they haven't thought out, against racists, against so-called normal  folks who pride themselves on how normal they are.  

Anyway, I really have to work on this issue of bitterness against Christians. (Actually, it's probably against all mouthy people who consider themselves spiritual because Buddhists, New Agers, and even "spiritual atheists"  all seem to have the problem common to all mouthy people: they think that if they had your shoes to wear they would wear it better. It's some weird comparative mode thing we humans get into.)

And of course I have to work on it in the book. I so feel God wants me to work on this. For Gabe's sake. For my sake. To work on this unforgiveness will help unblock my healing. But really I have to work on it for that is what God would like me to write about. We must take care of our health, Rabbi Hillel says, because the world may need us. And I totally believe the Christian world needs me. Sounds arrogant but I do not think any other Christian but me could have come up with Wind Follower. The typical christian would've wanted to avoid the sex or wouldn't have honored pagan spirituality as I did. And the typical christian would've made it way more preachy than I did. Now, in Onion, there is this weird balance of religion and teen sexuality and a love for the outsider. Modern Christian literature is not good with the outsider status. They just aren't. (Not being arrogant speaking the truth. I mean everytime some Christian tells me she's going to write outside the box, I'm tempted to say: "But you don't know the size and shape of the box. You won't write outside of it." And bingo, as I predicted, the book falls into that weird dichotomy modern Christian lit tends to fall into.)  Plus Onion has the anger issues. 

The weird thing is that Job was spiritually okay until his friends showed up. If his friends hadn't attempted to "comfort him" with their platitudes, he probably wouldn't have gotten so bitter. From the time we humans learned the knowledge of good and evil, we have learned to see the evil in other people. Once that happens, both the offended and the offender have fallen into trouble. The spirit of legalism -- the law-- leads to the leaven of the Pharisees which is this is right, this is wrong. It leads to criticism. But in the offended person, it leads to bitterness and offense.  The bait of Satan is offense. Offense occurs when we tell someone they are not doing something according to our knowledge of good and evil. Cain was offended. Job was offended. I have been offended. The ability to see the wrongs in other people is just as bad as lust...and so many people who spout platitudes think they're comforting when what they're doing is adding offense.  As people under grace, we have to avoid giving offense. And we have to avoid anger and bitterness when others offend us.

So...yeah, adelante! really fine-tune it in Onion. I totally, totally revamped the ending. Yeah, weird, weird. But I figured I am a lit major and an arrogant little bitch...and arrogant little bitches just don't write certain kinds of endings. I had to write a more devastating complex ending. Will see. Am trusting God to make me perfect this little novella. I want it to be lovely. So yeah, my anger and snippiness will be in the thing...but also -- I hope-- much of my loveliness (of which I have much.)

Off to bed.


Satima Flavell said...

That sounds like an awful lot of shoulds and oughts and musts, Carole! I've found they are sure sign that I'm not yet ready to let go of whatever it is - anger, resentment, bitterness, wanting.

FWIW, I sometimes find it useful to remember that my anger is not hurting the person I'm angry with - it's only hurting me by raising my blood pressure and causing health problems! So I focus on loving the person I'm angry with instead. If I knew what had brought them to the place they are at, maybe I'd feel quite differently. And if I'd walked a mile in their shoes, maybe I'd feel as they do.

"Hatred is never driven out by hatred, but only by love," said the Buddha. A nice way of looking at the golden rule, I think:-)

Got caught up blogs. Wil answer your email later!

Carole McDonnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carole McDonnell said...

Hi Satima:

This platitude thing gets tiring. Because A) Platitude-giving is more about someone's arrogant need to say something wise than it is to actually enter into the pain of the person they're giving the platitude to. B) Platitude giving is one person saying that if they walked in your shoes they would behave differently. It's a comparative mode thing and it says "Look at me! I have walked in your shoes and look how good I'm being." and C) the person speaking the spiritual platitude doesn't really see the pain of the person to whom they are giving advice. They are seeing an opportunity to show off their spiritual wisdom and how further along they are on the road.

Very hard.

That's a nice quote from Buddha. St Paul said, "Overcome evil with good."

Yes, alas...a lot of oughts/shoulds/musts. Definitely a sign I'm not ready to let go. But I must let go because the musts have to be obeyed at this time cause I want Gabe and me healed. And Jesus said unforgiveness blocks prayer. So even if I can't do the musts on my own, the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives within me and is changing me and enabling me to do the musts.

Yes, am trying to focus on loving the persons I'm angry with. Jesus said to bless them that curse you. Am not sure if walking a mile in their shoes would make me feel differently with them. After all the situation is pretty much about them not walking in my shoes. Very hard to commiserate with someone who is cruel to one's disabled son. I try my best to love them, though. I pray for them. But I know that when I had only one child that child was healthy. And I didn't criticize or mock at people with sick children. So if I know what it's like to have had healthy children -- before I had a sick child-- I think I've already walked in the shoes of the people who are ready to attack disabled children. All the same, I still pray for them.

The essential problem is basically people's need to give advice and platitudes. Humans like thinking that if they had walked in someone else's shoes, they would basically wear those shoes better. For instance, people who give spiritual advice and say stuff about having a sick child. Or people who give spiritual advice about how to deal with hurt caused by people who give spiritual advice. It all comes down to the basics: If I had your particular spiritual problem, I would handle it better because I'm so in tune with what my spiritual master says -- it doesn't matter if the spiritual master is Jesus or Buddha or whoever. It's just the human need to tell someone else what to do and to compare one's self to that other person.
to forgive someone like that. -C

Satima Flavell said...

Nah, I can't wear anyone else's shoes better than they would wear them. They would pinch just as hard as the ones I've got, I fear, maybe harder. And that might be where the learning would come from, if it were really possible to do it. The thing is, we're all suffering, and my thinking that my suffering is worse than yours, or different from yours, is fruitless.

For me, at any rate, realising this simple fact - that we're all suffering - helps me stay equanimous when someone says something hurtful to me or to someone I love. Can't always do it, of course, but like you, I'm working on it:-)

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