Tag Archives: michelle church

The Winter That Would Not End ~ Michelle Church

The weather here in North America has been nothing short of surprising this past winter. Maybe if I’d checked the Farmer’s Almanac I totally would have seen it coming.

My friends in the Northeast were pummeled, humbled and frozen by the wrath of the angriest weather gods, while those of us on the west coast enjoyed what was the mildest winter in years. There were days so blissfully temperate I thought I’d gone to heaven.

Just yesterday I saw a picture of one of my friends celebrating the opening of the lovely gardens near her home. She did so in the snow. Spring has sprung, but perhaps only technically, depending on where you live.

And so it goes most years. We are at the mercy of the weather, we are caught by surprise, by the fickle nature of existance.

One of the benefits of getting older is that regardless of the weather we may be experiencing in the moment, we’ve come to recognize patterns. We might be freezing our toes off and barely able to remember what the sun looks like, but we remember it. We recall it fondly and we know from experience it will come again.

The last few months before Mr Dreamboat returned from Rock & Roll Camp were simply grueling. If my life had been expressed in the form of weather, it was the coldest and longest winter on record. Apocalyptic even.

As the days until his return shortened and we were advised of his release date, there came a time when it was almost impossible to believe that he would ever return to me. Winter, it seemed, might never, ever end.

Once I realized I had these feelings I simply took myself through the logical process of it all. As crazy as it sounds, I sat myself down, not just once, but every time my faith began to fail, and remembered that every single year of my life there has been a July 23rd. Not once have we skipped that date in all the years I’ve been alive.

This year would be no different.

As sure as the sun is to rise, as sure as spring follows winter and July 23rd rolls around every single year, the things with which we struggle, they too will wane. It is a gift that is sometimes hard to remember, but is ever so.

Spring has sprung quite a lot early here on the Young Family Ranch. Every day when the sun shines and the trees blossom, I am caught up in the delight. And as sure as it has come to my house, no matter what you might be feeling in this moment, it will come to yours too.

Like, share, comment, tweet and “Be still and know…”

Michelle Church ~ Guided By Movie Quotes

I like movie quotes. A movie with pithy dialog will always turn my heart the way an emotionally manipulative movie never could. I cried when I saw The Notebook, but I’ve watched Oh, Brother. Where Art Thou? probably a dozen times and quoted from it a hundred more.

Princess Bride is another remarkably quotable movie. I’ve even heard other movies quote it. “Wuv, twue wuv…” Now that’s some pithy dialog.

When I think about exactly what it is we’re doing on our go ‘round this earth, a quote from that very same movie often pops in my mind. “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

A survey of those brave souls coming to the end of their trip through mortality showed the number one regret was sacrificing themselves for others opinions of them.

Boom. That.

I do not think life means what you think it means.

It’s a precious gift to have a go at life. You should look up the statistics about it. You are a rare and lucky being to have the opportunity to take a breath of the sweet, sweet air of the earth’s atmosphere.

The question is, what are we using those breaths for? Are we moaning and lamenting? Are we sacrificing our beliefs for what others expect of us? Or are we expecting others to sacrifice for the beliefs we have for them?

I don’t know what the answer is for you, but I think I do a bit of all of it every single damned day. Think of me as a Recovering Sacrificer for other people’s opinions.

When I get my turn at the pearly gates, I am not at all convinced of what the questions there will be. I have a sneaking suspicion God doesn’t affiliate with a certain religion.

And so I look at my life and what to do with it, I think it’s not so much about what I don’t do, but more about the good I make, the love I spread and the kindness I use to spread it. It’s not a race, a challenge or any sort of competition.

Life, in my humble estimation, is an opportunity. It’s not a challenge to BE good, but to MAKE good for ourselves and for others.

Now go out and make good choices, bring about good things, share good posts, tweet good messages, make good comments and love, love, love.

Michelle Church ~ The Human Animal

What DOES the fox say?
What DOES the fox say?

We humans are a funny sort of animal. While I’m no scientist, I know of no other species that works so hard to attain, become, persevere, achieve and often takes neither time nor effort to simply be. Simply enjoy. Simply have joy.

I admit up front that I am a major player in this ill advised game of never enough, always on the prowl for the bigger accomplishment the thinner waistline and even the higher level of spirituality. I am only human. Just like you.

However, some of my views have changed. It used to be that I looked at spirituality in a very linear sort of way. Kind of a direct line to heaven sort of system. I believed if I walked a particular path in a very distinct way and checked specific boxes, then! I would be spiritual.

I whole-heartedly admit I was not the girl in my high school seminary class (it is exactly what it sounds like) who was defined as “the spiritual one”. By my own estimation I was not that girl but I’m sure a rudimentary poll of my classmates would get you the same information.

Even later in life when I actually had achieved certain levels of liturgical “success” some people were confounded over it. “You?” a not so well-meaning friend asked me. At least I knew where she stood.

But I’m not so sure I realized where I, myself was standing.

Back then I retained my youthful notion of what a “spiritual” person looked like and how they behaved. While there is nothing wrong with studiously pouring over the scriptures and meeting specific requirements, being able to quote sacred text is not the end of the journey, though we humans might want to define things that way. You know, just so we can have clear lines drawn. Simplify things.

Today, I would no sooner suggest I be given a position of authority in church any more than I would have years ago. But I will admit that I now see myself as the “spiritual girl”.

My definition goes far beyond the finite description my friends and I held in high school. The difference is, I am now willing to simply “be” where I am. I understand that “becoming” is the destination, and I am so much happier to simply be human, to be a spiritual being having a human experience and to embrace the imperfections inherent in a very funny sort of animal.

Like, share, breathe, comment, tweet and be well. Exactly as you are today, my spiritual friend.

A Perfect You ~ Michelle Church

I was raised in a religious household, and choose to remain so today. I like that it’s a conscious choice now. It feels right for me and I also respect whatever it is you find right for you. Organized religion is a sticky wicket as it is “the will of God” so to speak, and it is administered through very flawed humans. What are you gonna do?

One of the messages I feel I didn’t receive – And here we will make a side note and mention that I’m not saying it wasn’t sent, only that I didn’t receive it. I mean to throw no one under the bus – but one of the messages I didn’t receive was that we are good enough, lovely enough, perfect enough and acceptable to God “as is”, today, no changes necessary. You be you.

I’m a total believer in self improvement, high standards and personal course correction. Yeah. I’m down with all of that. But it seems to me that one of the high points of having a relationship with God is to find comfort, safety and acceptance in it. Otherwise I could just hang out with mean girls instead of pray, right?

If you really take a look at it, if you give it a bit of thought, your choices and mistakes and varying paths and ups and downs and ins and outs and pains and colossal failures and glorious triumphs, they are all a part of this experience. And truthfully, I don’t think we’re supposed to have shame in any of them. Ever.

We’re just having an experience and we neither strengthen nor diminish God in doing so. He’s bigger than that. At least mine is. I can’t speak for yours.

But just in case you’re wondering, and if you’ve made it this far into the post, I suppose you probably are, you’re good enough today. You’re perfectly imperfect. You’re on a path. You’re having experiences and you’re doing it just exactly right. Relax. Take a deep breath and feel that. Feels good, eh?

This sabbath day, I hope you feel rest. I hope you find peace in your spiritual practice and, perhaps more than anything else, I hope whatever you believe, you’ve chosen to believe it. All by yourself. All on your own. And I hope it fits you like a custom fit robe and a matching tiara.

Amen.

Michelle Church ~ On The Road

I am enjoying a warm and sunny visit to Southern California. Mr Dreamboat and I are staying at a lovely place here in Newport Beach and have traversed the coastline, looking for swap meets and sights. We have been successful.

Image
Unknowable faces from a swap meet.

One of my favorite things about travel, perhaps my very favorite thing, is people watching.  Surely I am not the only one who looks into the eyes of an old woman, carrying groceries I would never select off of shelves of unknown markets, and stand in wonder of the life she leads. I mean, I really wonder about it. It is not unlike being carried away by a book, only the truth is never revealed.

Mr Dreamboat and I have eaten at elegant restaurants and we have explored swap meets and estate sales. The people watching has been fabulous and the purchases unique.

What strikes me the hardest is that whether it is through books or from traveling or simply by sitting on a bench and quietly watching strangers pass us by, or even being held in the arms of your lover, we can never truly know another human being. We might see glimpses of who they are, but never the whole person, unplugged, no artifice at all. It is impossible.

Yet we continue to try. We are compelled to attempt it the best we can.

ImageWhat I like best about travel is that even when I come home, for a short time I continue to people watch, even though it’s my own people. And the travel has reminded me what is unknowable and that in the end, we are all unknowable and un-judge-able, except to an equally unknowable God. He’s the one. Not us. Not ever.

We are each, simply, lovable.