Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Well bless your heart!"

This was a blog post I started on and realized if I published it at the time, it might cause a "swarm of trouble" so it lay in my archives for quite some time.  However, now that I have closed the Facebook site down, and do not get as much traffic if you are just reading MY OLD BLOG this is for you!

Here in the South, we all know when someone say "Well bless your heart!" they do not really mean it.  They mean something really awful are as dumb as a "box of rocks", you are "off your rocker", or "you are a b*tch!" but my mama raised me to be a lady so I won't call you any of those things.  I have always hated when people would not state their mind; but find that with age comes some wisdom and I find that the tool of "Bless your heart!" is enough for people to understand what I mean.

Just recently, I went through a whole month of "Well bless your hearts"!  I find that now that I am Clergy it sort of forces me to say this phrase and bite my tongue in ways I would have never imagined before.  Two years ago I refused to do it; but as my sojourner Terry Riley would say..."How is that working out for ya'?"  It was not working out for me.  People say they want the truth, but to be factual they really do not.  People want you to say what they want to hear; or to "cushion the truth" in a big ole' barrel of sugar.

Now I hear what you are saying!  You think this is not being honest and almost down right lying, but I am betting you as sure as I can raise an eyebrow from what little experience I have had at the Clergy job; that you really do "attract more flies with honey than vinegar" and it does not hurt your teeth to bite down on a peppermint and smile when answering someone that rubs you the wrong way.  Yep, I am human people are going to rub me the wrong way.  They will ask me things that you would probably not ask normal critters because I have pink hair, I'm pagan, I dress in vintage clothing, and I am a minister.  I mean I would probably ask me weird and intrusive questions also if I met me...why not?  What do you have to lose except the other person being snipey!

I am asked if my hair is real, people pull it and want to touch it all the time (this really makes me feel intruded upon but I cannot say that can I?). I am asked about my tattoos (did they hurt?), about why I moved to Memphis (was it to follow a man?), what my religious orientation is (I find this rude coming from a stranger), and then when they find out I am Pagan/Wiccan/Witch  then it's on.  I am asked everything from "Anton Levay Satanist questions" to how do we get married, and how do we raise our children.  I usually tell them I get married in swamp water with bat wings, and raise my children in the seventh level of hell...(no just joking).  All of these questions I got asked before I was Clergy, and then I could say..."None of your business!" and walk away...but now, I find myself taking a deep breath, pasting a smile on my face and saying..."Why we get married like anyone else the ceremony might be a little different but then Muslims and Jews get married traditionally also right?"  and I find myself explaining and sharing with people what I spiritual path.

Now how you can explain this turn about, I have not clue other than the Gods must have a hand in it...but it has happened.  I find that the love I had explaining to only Pagans my path I also am sharing with everyone else that wants to ask...and ask me they will.  Now do not get me wrong I still do not want people asking about my "sex life" though they still will and I really do not like "people saying things about me to my back that they would never say to my face" but I will be honest with you all of these things happened before I was Clergy and now the only difference is how I handle them.  So I am going to share with you a few things that are practical that I was taught and have come to live as Clergy that I am working to integrate into my life better but sometimes still bungle.

1.  Always listen.  This seems obvious but really is not; you would be surprised how many people just want you to "notice" and "pay attention" to their feelings, hurts, accomplishments, woes, new relationships, epiphanies.  What does it cost to listen?  Nothing, nothing at all.

2.  You are human, be kind to yourself just as you should be kind to others.  This was a hard one to me, I could be kinder to other people and give them more "breaks" than I ever could myself.  However, I find that apparently I thought that being Clergy meant I would instantly be "a better human being" only to find I am the same human being trying to be better and I will "make mistakes".  Everyone does, so if I can love and comfort a stranger or member in the our Church why would I not "love and nourish" myself?

3.  People come to people for advice this does not mean they have to take it.  Yep, this one is hard people will come to you as Clergy and to you the answer is as obvious as the nose on their face.  Heck, if they knew the answer and their way was working they would not have come to you would they?  Well, you will find that most people have to attempt to work out the same issue (me included) several times before they get it.  Most people will ask you for advice on the same issue over and over again not taking your advice over and over again...but eventually they will get it.

4. Patience ain't only a virtue it is half of life...waiting.  You wait in a line at the bank, you wait in a grocery line, your child waits in line at the cafeteria, you wait for a raise or promotion at a job, so why do we have such a hard time waiting for an answer to a prayer or a "solution" to something that has bogged us down?  Why do we give up on people, including family members, when if you plant a seed or become pregnant with child you know it is going to take almost a year to see a harvest...Why not accept that answers, and solutions do not always come fast .  In fact if you are asking for a BIG solution it is going to take some time; take a deep breath and do not tap your foot realize that the answer is on its way to you!  A door is opening somewhere, and PEOPLE can change for the better!

5.  You are not naive to have faith in people and in concepts.   I cannot tell you how many times I thought my husband was "naive" for always believing and seeing the best in people; but I have found over the short amount of time I have shared with him that he is mostly right.  Humans are wonderful!  People generally do want to do good, and if given the opportunity to shine and do just that they will.  Yep, that is right not only do they come through but will step up...I have seen it happen in our Church and in our Community and those are things I never knew until I became Clergy.  As for concepts, like "peace" and "reconciliation" and "acceptance" and "forgiveness" I have also seen these all play out on the physical plane within a record time of three years and I never would have thought these ideas would have been applied to me and others in such a clear simple way...but they have, so what did I know?

6.  Admit you do not know everything, but stand strong and do not buckle on what you do know.  When working for other people you have to know what you know, and admit what you do not.  You will find that outsiders or people within a group will challenge the whole dichotomy of things but while that is okay you cannot let people "walk all over you" and that is what truth and acceptance is all about is it not?  Admitting the "truth" you have seen, experienced, found, heard, or brought back into this incarnation...(while also acknowledging that in others) is being strong and why you have been chosen to be the leader and what makes you a leader so stand there; don't let another person determine for you your truth.  Do not worry if people, tell you "No, you are wrong.  Or no, it can only be done this way."  Nothing at all not even truth, can be done, or seen only one way. I can tell you after, studying ethics and philosophy for over four years that there are many ways but "wrong" really isn't one of them.  Depending on the culture, generation, gender, and politics is where we get this word from.  Do not even apply it to yourself exactly...wrong for you might be right for Sally and Bill!

7.  If people say "why bless your heart" smile back and say thankyou.  No, do not say something "one uppish" "sarcastic" or angry back it will not do any good any way just will prove to others you are a person that is a little wonky.  Do not try to jump through hoops, or do relay races for people that do not "get you" or "what you are about".  Please do not play that game!  I have done it; and it did not work out at all.  In the end they did not like me any better; and I did not like myself for having done it.  Even if it is just "an experiment" to see if shifting and changing and trying something different might be who you are...and you return to the self you used to be that is great!  BUT never ever let people, a community, family members, or friends put peer pressure on you to be ashamed of your weight, clothing style, makeup or not makeup choices, lifestyle choices (as in your sexual preferences which should be sacred and secret), hair styles, what you read, what you do with your spare time, anything at all to do with your music choices, or how you present yourself in public.  I say this because all my life, people have done this to me to some extent and it is not cool and has absolutely nothing to do with what kind of character I posses.  So "let them bless my crazy heart" cause who I am is who I have to be; and remember to honor this in others also.

Remember, life is a journey ( no not a game, destination, or race), be patient, not stating right away what you are thinking is a GOOD thing most of the time, and when you need to stand your ground, then do it...being a doormat is not what you were born to be! Know thyself, know your truths, and be proud and open and honest to share them admitting when YOU DO NOT KNOW.  Believe in others, because it is nice when people believe in you.  Do  not get upset if people do not listen to you and act right away sometimes they heard you, they just did not get the "wisdom" until life gave them the experiences to process it. Lastly, be kind to yourself and others remembering if you do not listen (truly attentively listen) then how are you going to learn or help others when you need too?


Thank you for the gift of your time, and for letting me share some wisdom that I have learned the hard way.

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