TO CELEBRATE THE OCTOBER RELEASE OF MY BOOK THRASHING ABOUT WITH GOD, AND TO EXPAND THE CONVERSATION BEYOND MYSELF, I HAVE ASKED 31 BRAVE PEOPLE TO SHARE A GUEST POST WITH THE THEME OF #IAMTHRASHING. THESE ARE PEOPLE I HAVE PERSONALLY DIALOGUED WITH, PEOPLE WHO I KNOW HAVE RISKED A LOT TO WRESTLE WITH THE HARD STUFF THAT COMES WITH SPIRITUALITY. OUR FAITH MAY NOT LOOK LIKE YOURS, BUT WE WELCOME YOU TO THE DISCUSSION.
I have to say honestly that when I read Mandy's message asking me to write an #IAmThrashing post, I immediately withdrew. I said to myself, "I'm not a writer, a blogger or even sure I understand the request." I put down the phone and decided I would sit with the request without panic. I am a listener, a teacher a sponge for the stories of others. Then, I thought, "This gut instinct to run from this is the precise reason why I am so attracted to Mandy's writings in recent months." So, I will do it, even though it makes me nervous and slightly uncomfortable. That's the beauty right!?
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I haven't considered myself in relation to Christianity in so many years; I am not even sure how to say what I would say about all of this. I also am under the impression that so many in Mandy's network and so many of Mandy's readers are coming from a "Christian place." I do, however, see very clearly that Mandy's message isn't to make these distinctions. They are my distinctions in my thrashing. So the following is something I came up with to generalize my point of view. (Which isn't entirely absent in the influence of my Christian past.)
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Contextually, I will share with you that in the last 15 years I have devoted myself as a Social Worker, sitting beside complete strangers in their true suffering and in balance, as everything winds up being, their true joy. Since 2007, I have been working in hospice care, gently guiding and accompanying others in their final stage of life as we know it. This, has changed me indefinitely. I am, as colleagues have called me, an "Angel of death." In the most spiritual way possible.
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Today, for me, true spirituality is not in "knowing" or believing faithfully in something that is clearly defined. It is being with the "not knowing." Being open to all that is gifted to us as human beings while in this conscious state of living. It is an understanding that God is in our joys and our sorrows, our suffering and peace, our confidence and doubt, adventure and solitude, our love and sorrow. We are God, God is us and that has to be enough. We our bound together by this commonplace regardless of how we define it. So for now, I sit with this gracefully and I thrash...peacefully, believing that anything I hold true today may be upside down by tomorrow.
So that's it. I have stories for days to express how I've gotten to this place today. I'm not sure the specifics matter. The truth is, for me, the thrashing never ends. The answers only bring more questions because there really are no answers. There is no end game, no finish line, no "getting there." It goes on and on and builds and everyone I've ever met feels it on some level and copes with it in their own way regardless of definition or rules or boxes.
Emilie lives in Arizona with her partner, Jon, and their dog Jane. She is amazed by the beauty and vast diversity of human spirituality shown to her in her work in hospice care. She is, for now, inspired by the unknown and comforted by "not knowing," in her own spiritual journey.