Tag Archives: Church

Are You Scared?

I wish I could describe to you all in most perfect words what is going on inside of me. I wish I could explain to myself what is going on inside of me.  Truth is, friends, I don’t know, and I am more than okay with it.

I was doing a thing last week and I was asked a question.  The Person looked me in the eyes and asked me if I was scared.  There was no hesitation in my answer; I gave myself no time to think about it.  “Terrified.” I told them.  I was.  I didn’t think that it wouldn’t be a good answer, because who likes to admit to being afraid.  That question stuck with me and has been replaying often in my mind, over and over.  

I gave the Person some additional information after answering that I was terrified.  I told them my fear is why I was there.  That when I think about things and if they scare me, they are most likely worth doing.  Now that I have had a week to think about it, I think it may have been the answer to everything lately.

I. Am. Terrified.

I watched “The Way” with K yesterday.  It’s a movie about a man who travels Camino de Santiago.  Maybe about a month or so ago, I discovered this and brought it to K.  I told her we should do it; we decided in 7 years because that would be the next holy year and it would give us time to save and prepare.  We watched the movie and there was a line that got me (the whole movie got me, but right in the beginning, I knew it would impact me).  It was simple.  “You don’t chose a life, you live a life.”

The walk could be done for religious reasons, or personal.  It could be none or both, but I hear it changes you.  There have always been things I planned, things that may not have happened, or things that didn’t quite happen the way I had planned them, but this cannot be one of them.  It’s almost like a calling.

I can’t tell you every story of my life, because we don’t have enough time, and I don’t think you would want to know everything, but I know the day that I lost my religion.  I was in a bind, as I usually end up being in, and was faced with one of the most difficult choices of my life.  I knew I was standing at a moment that would pave a road, and I wanted an answer, a sign.  I wanted something to help me make my decision.  I went at night, in the rain, to the closest church.  I wanted to sit in the church, have a conversation with God, ask for help.  The doors were locked.  It’s hard even as I type this, friends.  It’s so hard.  I felt alone, and abandoned.  I felt that my answer was in those locked doors.  God had turned away and told me I couldn’t go into His house anymore.  

I made my choices; I chose my life.  I didn’t walk back into a church for 8 years.  Goodness, I was so afraid.  I was afraid I would be struck down, or that everyone would know.  They would all know that I was turned away on a rainy night and branded.  They would give me looks, and tell me to leave.  I had Girl2 with me.  She was the only thing that could have gotten me back into a church.

They didn’t kick me out, look at me funny, or shun me.  I nervously sat through, waiting for the moment to come where it would happen, but it never did.  

I honestly don’t know where I stand with it all now, but I can tell you that I am having a strong sense of life change moments lately.  The decision to plan this walk is one.  My weekends being spent having more life; it may seem small, like small things, but I am reconnecting out there in nature.  I told K she was the only one who I would be able to make the camino with.  She is the one who would accept my silence, just as she does when we are caching.  I can have my inner moments, and she gets that.  When I have been out there, on the trails, in the woods, I am reconnecting with myself.  I say I am caching, but I really am breathing in the air, seeing the trees, listening to the river.  I am finding peace and myself.

I don’t know what I believe anymore.  I have my logic, and it serves me fine.  I can’t help but think there is something though.  There has to be something out there, that puts us in places, at the right times.  That something silently guides us along, watches our mistakes, lets us learn our lessons.  It puts the people in our lives, and also takes them out of them.  There has been so much lately that seems like things are happening and rather than be a spectator, I need to be in it.  I need to stop choosing my life and start living it.  It may be small things, like spending the morning out in the woods, or taking a weekend for the beach, but it is really me saying that it’s time.  

I am scared.  It’s hard to take those steps, to face your fears.  I remember when I was little and watching The Neverending Story.  Atreyu reached the Southern Oracle and he had to face himself.  I couldn’t understand how that would be such a big deal, how it could be hard to face yourself.  Oh, was I wrong.

K and I were talking to The Boy, and he had made a comment on how he wanted to have his life figured out at 20.  We laughed, not at home, but rather at the fact that we were probably once young and thought we would have everything figured out at 20.  I am less than one week away from 37 and I am nowhere closer to having it figured out than I was 17 and sitting at her kitchen table playing cards. 

I honestly don’t know how this all comes together, friends.  It’s one of those days that I can feel it; the mystical strings pulling me along, the sense that there is more meaning than what I am doing now.  The sense that I need to reconnect to myself and make changes.  I need to be connected, not just to myself, but those I love as well.  It isn’t enough to go through the motions, you have to be present, to make memories.

I am terrified and that’s okay.  I am giving myself permission to make mistakes, to learn, and to live.  I am living my life and giving myself permission to not beat myself up for the things I don’t have control over.  I am going to start mentally and physically preparing for my road ahead.  I may even start to accept the fact that maybe I am not as shunned as I believe myself to be.




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Peace Be With You – BINGO!

I have a confession.  I love bingo.  I really, really, do.  I love all sorts of bingo.  Online flash bingo, money bingo, candy bingo.  I used to think bingo and I had a connection defined by fate.  For the last couple of years we would go to a campground on my birthday weekend and rent one of those fancy campers.  Every year on my birthday the theme for the campground’s weekend activities was “Bingo Bonanza”.  Crazy, right?  It is fate!

You would think for someone who is so connected to bingo would win at least one game, right?  No.  Dear friends, I kid you not, I have never once felt the joy of yelling out “BINGO” in a crowded hall.  I get ahead of myself though.  Let me begin with Wednesday.

As you know, it has been an interesting week.  I had crazy, drama, D&D session on Sunday; crazy, drama, marriage talks on Monday; Tuesday was normal, with the exception that I was in THE WORST PAIN OF ALL TIME!  I blame being a woman.  Wednesday wasn’t too much better, but K and I had told my mom that we would attend bingo with her. 

Mom helps out with bingo on Wednesday at one church and Fridays at another.  She is serious about helping out at bingo.  I started to think about it, bingo is a popular pastime at church, so bingo must be God’s favorite game too!  I mean, if most of God’s houses have special nights for bingo playing patrons, this could be a good conversation opener.  Like, “Hey, God.  It’s been a while.  I thought we could chat for a bit about our favorite game, bingo.  Afterwards, do you think you could help me with my life?  Oh, hey God, you missed B9, they called that a while ago.”

She picked us up at my house and full of anticipation, I leave for a ride in the death van.  Anyone who has ever been in any car with my mom operating knows they better buckle up and start praying.  She doesn’t understand simple things, like braking, when she is driving.  I started texting my goodbyes while we were on our way, and asked her at one point if she wanted me to drive, but that wasn’t happening.  We made it, safely, and I went out to embrace my first time at bingo.

You see, I have never played in a church hall.  I have never played in the casino.  I have only ever played in school, online, and at the campground.  I wasn’t prepared.

Tables, as far as the eye could see, were set up.  There were tables with “Reserved” place cards, people already sitting at most.  There was a kitchen and free coffee.  FREE COFFEE!  This really was my place!  God was listening and he was here and he brought me FREE COFFEE!  My step father was already there and had saved us some seats.  K and I wandered over to the free coffee table, looked over the kitchen menu, and decided it was time to get our bingo cards. 

This. Was. Crazy.  It was one table with about 6 people sitting at it.  You went to the first guy and handed him $2.  He gave you a instant win ticket and a raffle ticket.  You go to the next guy and get the package cards.  This was like a booklet of colored bingo cards, probably like 6 different colors.  This was $4 a book.  Then you go to the next person and get the winner take all game, pay them and move on to the special game, then move on to the next special game and then the quickie.  Hand monies, move to the next.  I was so confused.

K went to the Friday night bingo with my mom, so she was a pro.  We went back to our table, and there was someone else there who told K she didn’t want to sit there because she plays “a lot of cards”.  Basically, she kicked us out and we went to the table behind us.  This was my first clue that bingo was not going to be filled with people who were just happy to be playing the game.

There was a lot more work to this bingo then I had remembered from my other days.  You had to tape the like cards together, you had to do the starting game that was already lit up, you had to get out your good luck charms, bears, ticket holders, have a sandwich.  People were coming in and setting up their spots.  You may not know this, but apparently whatever seat you sit in becomes your forever seat.  There may not be names at the tables, but there should be.  When K and I tried to move to another table they pretty much stared us down and pointed to the only two chairs that could be available.  This was a long table.  Another woman came in and sat next to me, there were oodles of space between us and she commented that it wasn’t enough space.  You begin to feel shunned.

At 7, it started.  The caller took her place and silence filled the room.  Monitors came on to show the balls being drawn.  People got serious.  Brows furrowed, dabbers dabbing like the wind, you could hear a pin drop.  You start to get close, dabbing, looking at your tickets, watching the numbers needed dwindle down.  Just 4 numbers left, 3, ohmygoodness it’s 2 numbers!  At this point you start to think and plan out how you will call your bingo.  Will it be triumphant BINGO!  Will it be softly said with the hand raised?  Will you jump up and proclaim it for all to hear or hunker down and not make eye contact?  It is high stakes, people!  This is not your 4th grade bingo!

What really surprised me is how angry people get while playing bingo.  This is God’s game in God’s house!  You would think that it would be peaceful and neighbor loving!  Oh no, it isn’t.  When a bingo is called you can see it in everyone’s faces.  It is all the negative emotions you can think of spelled out on these faces.  People who sit across from you are now your enemy, looking over from the sides of their eyes, sizing up your bingo sheet.  When it is called, there is a low murmur that runs through the crowd, some still looking at their sheets, checking to see if maybe they can cash in as well, or hoping that it was a false bingo.

I love to people watch and this may have been my most favorite of experiences.  I want to keep going back and just watch.  You wouldn’t think of bingo as high emotions, but oh, it is.  It is serious business.  I didn’t win, not a single game.  I think I came close once, but close only counts in horseshoes friends.  I have given up any hope of ever winning bingo, which means I can just enjoy it without really feeling that anger and disappointment.  I will eventually learn the crazy kite, the jail bars, and the postage stamps without having to stare at the screen or have to draw it out on my sheet in pen so I don’t get confused. 

On flip side, I did get to see people coming together; families sitting together, friends catching up after a busy weekend.  You could tell for some that this was their social environment; people were happy to be there, happy to see others.  I liked spending the time with my mom, and K.  It has been a long time since I have been able to do anything with my mom and this may be the thing that we can do.  It’s also nice to see her in her element, not just as mom and grandma, but as her.  She is a caring person with a huge heart, and it never shines more than when she is out socializing.  It’s nice to hang out with K as well; we seem to have this old lady thing about us and the things we like to do together.  Bingo may make some people mean, but it is still love to me, which is maybe why it is God’s game. 

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