Monday, December 31, 2012

Les Misérables

I know you clicked on my blog post expecting to see another review of this epic movie, but I think you may end up a little surprised as it’s not going to be that at all.

I spent three hours of the Sabbath yesterday watching this movie.  Coincidentally, I used to spend three hours at church every Sunday, but learned far more about love, kindness, forgiveness and mercy yesterday than I ever did at church.  For the first time in many years, I was inspired.

I think there are far too many Javerts in the world.  I think there are too many people who are more concerned with justice than mercy.  I see Javerts when I see protests against gay marriage, I see Javerts when there are death threats against girls who just want to wear pants to church, I see Javerts when I get passive aggressive comments on pictures where I’ve worn tank tops, or when I get messages from acquaintances telling me I'm not worthy because I hold an opinion contrary to the one I'm supposed to have.

There is not enough mercy in this world, there’s not enough love.  And particularly there’s not enough love and mercy in religion. I think that most things written before the four Gospels and most that’s been written since are poor interpretations of how Jesus wanted us to live.  I think religion and God have become man’s way of justifying greed, lust and selfishness.

Now I’m not saying that religious people are corrupt, there are wonderful people and there is truth and kindness everywhere.  I’m just saying for me and for my family, the church is not it.  The focus on Sundays is what to believe, what rules to follow, how long my skirts should be so I can get into heaven.  The focus is on dogma and not behavior.  It made me too judgmental, too much like the Pharisees, too much like Javert; concerned more about the law than about love and mercy.  

I read this brilliant comment regarding the movie, "If you asked the bishop and Javert what the believed in, they would say the exact same thing, and yet look how differently they lived their lives."  I and many others have entirely missed the point of religion.  

My friend Kari said it so well, “I think that love, pure unselfish unconditional love is the most profound and yet simple way we as humans can lift ourselves to a morality and connection with others; that is the closest thing to the concept of “god” that we can achieve.  Love is my god.” 

For that reason, my husband and I will be raising our children without religion.  No I did not say that we will be raising our children without love, compassion and morals.  That’s not it at all.  Religion does not have a monopoly on those things.  What I mean is that we will be raising our children without dogma.  As Javert and the Bishop make it clear, it's not what you believe, it's how you live your life.  We will be raising our children and teaching our children how to have compassion for people who believe differently and do differently than them, and how to love, because to "love another person is to see the face of God."

Let God serve justice, let us dole solely in mercy.

So in this New Year, my goal is to live more authentically, with more kindness and mercy to people.  I hope you can extend the same kindness and mercy to us as we pave this new pathway, as it was not a decision that was made lightly and not without many tears and prayers.  

And for the first time in many, many years, we are at peace.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

PSA for Pinteresters

I know that there are 1000 different things to do with empty rolls of wrapping paper.

But seriously, just throw it away.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In Defense of the Elf

I've been reading all over the internets* lately accounts from fellow moms who refuse to allow the Elf into their homes, and then go on to justify why it's such a horrible thing and teaches our children bad lessons.  The worst I read was from here:  

If you need an elf to address your child’s behavior, you are not doing your job.

Wait, what??  Yeah, she really said that.

There's a big part of me that thinks these anti-elf crusaders are just burnt out moms who don't need another thing to do at the end of the day.  I get it, I do.  I am a hot mess.  I do everything 3 days after I should.  Bathe my kids tonight?  Maybe...probably...I guess I didn't do it last night, so sure.  But definitely by tomorrow night they'll get a bath.  Feed my family?  They're hungry again??

But don't come up with these crazy ideas about why everyone else sucks because you don't want to participate in a fun little tradition that doesn't have to take more than 2 minutes at night.  And don't say he's creepy because he does exactly what Santa does, what Jesus does, and what The Police do (sing with me -every breath you take, every move you make...)

So yeah, our elf Cookie dyed our milk green a couple of nights ago.  I barely remembered to move him as I was getting into bed and had to jump out and finish it.   This was after I had already packed lunches, locked up the house, ran the dishwasher, put the last load of laundry in the more thing at the end of a long day. 

You want to know why I did it?  To hear my kids laugh.  To see their eyes light up with the magic.  That two minutes I took to jump out of bed created a memory that will last a long time.

And he's not without any benefits -
No one in my family laughs like this at 7:30 in the morning.  Like ever.  The elf has shaved an entire 20 minutes off of our morning routine because the kids jump up, get dressed and run downstairs to find him.

The magic of Christmas that kids experience is only alive for so many years; and whether it's through reading Christmas stories each night, decorating Christmas cookies for your neighbors, staying up late to listen for Santa on Christmas Eve and sprinkling reindeer food on your lawn, or welcoming a little elf into your house for a few weeks in December; if you don't let your child share in the magic that is Christmas, you're not doing your job.

* I know the plural form of internet.  I do.
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