I find Christianity so very appealing.
I know now, today, why.
Today I am feeling so very guilty. I want that lifted. I want to take it back. I want a do over.
Tonight Hot Dog pulled some attitude on me. It's not new, it's been growing, especially recently. This has been a hard week. This last year has been hell. He has not been getting the attention and direction he needs from his mom. I fell down on the job. Now it is a challenge to get us back to where we need to be. It's hard on both of us.
So, when he pulled his attitude, I ignored it and kept on reading the story I started. When I wouldn't do what he wanted he said "Then I might as well not have a story". I told him I was sorry he felt that way. I put away the book, moving on to the next bit of our bedtime ritual. He was beside himself. "I take it back. I'm sorry!" I accepted his apology and told him we'd do better tomorrow, but that there would be no more story tonight. "This can't be happening. This is just a bad dream!" He was frantic, bargaining with me, promising me everything he could think of to get what he wanted. I know the feeling. I wish I didn't.
I know that he wasn't really talking about the loss of his story this one night. I think it was about the loss of his grandpa last week. I think it was about his mom having cancer and cancer treatment last year. It was about all the awful things that have happened that we can't take back, that we can't undo.
That's a very human feeling. I wish I'd never had it. I wish you hadn't, but I bet you have. There are moments when you realize that something has changed, changed forever, and there is not. one. thing. you can do about it. That moment when your innocence is stolen, you parents divorce, a parent dies, violence damages your body and spirit, a friend dies, illness forever changes your health, a child dies ... Even worse are those moments you cause yourself, doing something that can not be undone, saying something you can never unsay, or worse, not saying what was in your heart, and then it's too late.
In those moments I've said "NO. This is not happening. This is just a bad dream. I take it back. I'm sorry. I'll do anything. Fix it! Change it back."
But it can't change back. It never can. It will never be the same. There are somethings we can't change. No amount of sorry or begging will fix it.
That's when I long for Christianity. I long for forgiveness and Grace. I can see the appeal of someone paying my penitence with the kind of pain I know I deserve. I feel the desire for a way out, a path towards redemption. I want to feel secure that it will all somehow, somewhere, sometime, work out and be better.
I've had a Jesuit priest tell me I'm a Christian, and a Baptist minister tell me I'm not.
I don't really care if I am a Christian or not. I honestly don't think that if there is a god(dess) s/he will care what color my religion is or isn't.
I'll tell you what I do believe.
I believe that we don't get a do-over in this life. We get one life, to live each day. At the end we get our death. The value of our life will be decided by the love we've given away and those who are able to pass it on. If we want it to be better, we have to keep trying, in the here and now, to make it so.
We are human. We will fail, but we must keep trying anyway.
I held Hot Dog while he cried. I told him I loved him. We talked and I rocked him to sleep. I did not read him his story. I feel awful about that. Yet, as a parent I know, he needs to learn -sometimes sorry can't fix it. It's important to do our best to not have to be sorry.
When we are sorry, when it can't be fixed, it's good to have a shoulder to cry on and to know we are loved - human and fallible, and loved.