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Goodbye to the old gods
Last night we lit the big fire out back and burned everything from 8th grade. It was the summer solstice, the longest night of the year, and L has officially said goodbye to all that. He named all he’s leaving behind, all he’s taking, and we danced around the flames.
Music: The Beach Boys.
I was supposed to be somewhere important this week but my anxiety kept me home, filled with regret and worry that I’d given in to fear over love. Last night I was grateful to be home. It was the warmest night we’ve had all year and the bugs haven’t caught up with us yet so we were able to sit outside comfortably until it was late, toasting marshmallows and singing. The neighbors’ pond is full of croaking frogs and when the croaking got louder than our music, we knew we’d fully wrestled all the life from that longest night.
I’ve been writing. Fiction, essays, memoir. And now this blog. Or newsletter. Or whatever it is. For years I’ve been writing sermons, and while I don’t miss the stress of that Sunday morning deadline, I do miss being forced to sit at this computer. So the plan here is to publish something, at least weekly. The theme is Life.
You may know I am some things: parent to L, partner to W, caregiver to and child of M. I also keep company with two dogs, three bunnies, six chickens, and a whole host of wild birds. I love being outside in the Pacific Northwest forest that surrounds me on the island I call home—walking, working, cloud watching, star gazing, foraging for plants and Spirits. All of this keep me from my computer and living my life. So if I miss a week, you’ll understand.
I also keep company with the Holy, though we are sometimes in a mutually cantankerous mood. But I still believe in God. Serving as a minister in a Unitarian Universalist fellowship for three years, this felt taboo to admit. I tried to be honest and say it in all the ways I could without making the atheists look at their watches, excuse themselves politely and leave the room. I have my own atheist at home who heard all my sermons first, and if he got what I was trying to say, I called it good.
But this is my blog and I won’t be trying so hard for the middle way between theism and atheism. A confession: I have a picture of Jesus right next to my bed. Woah, feel that sense of freedom!
I wrote a sermon once called Letting Go of God. The title was meant to lure in the atheists. I’m not sorry. The gist was: I still very much believe in That Which is Holy & Sacred, That Which Surpasses All Understanding, (or what I once called, the Holy Wingding—font obsessives unite) but the old ideas hold us back. All of that which is attached to the word God (the trope of a loving but judgmental guy in the sky) keeps us from experiencing what really is Holy & Sacred. And I promise you because I know, that which is Holy is still out there, among the chaos. Despite everything, grace abides. But we seriously have to transcend the bullshit in order to find it.
God is dead. God remains dead. We have killed him. Long live God.
Last night we killed another old god around the fire, which is one of the best ways to do it. Gather all the papers (that old god loves papers), set them aflame and speak aloud all which is over and done, all you refuse to bring with you into the next season of life, all the pressure and expectation and stress and lies. Let it die. Be free.
And then name and claim the god who survives the fire, the god of what is true. Name and claim your truest truth.
What is true? Its details are different for each one of us but one essential thing remains:
We are here, we are loved, and we can heal.