Every Day, Forever

Last night I prayed.

Super weird, I know. I didn’t even tell my Boyfriend about it, I felt so weird.

But I did. I prayed.

I was laying in my bed, tossing and turning (which is pretty much every night for me). Then I just thought, “Maybe I should pray.”

I didn’t pray for sleep. Although, that probably would’ve been a good idea to add in there. I prayed for my relationship, for my Boyfriend. That we be together and safe and strong. I haven’t been feeling unsafe or weak or insecure in the relationship, I just suddenly wanted to feel like Someone had my Back on it.

I cried while I prayed.

I didn’t want to pray aloud at first. I think I always thought it was dumb, talking at nothing. But in my head, I kept beginning my prayer over and over. It didn’t feel like enough. It didn’t feel like He heard me.

So I prayed aloud. And I cried while I prayed. I told Him I would Try–that I wouldn’t promise to be on the Righteous Path, or what have you. But that I would Try to have Faith, and to be and do Good.

It felt good. It felt Powerful. I think I’m going to pray tonight, as well.

And maybe every day, forever.

-HH

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Icosahelpme

My friend Cameron wrote about the girl she was in high school not too long ago, but I (as usual) was late to the game reading it, and only got to it just now. I really liked Cameron’s post. She talked about her edges being softened as she opened her heart to God. It made me feel good reading it.

There aren’t a lot of things that make me feel good, right now. There are moments, yeah, and days, even, where my edges don’t feel rough and my brain doesn’t feel like it’s going a thousand miles a minute. But I feel like I keep trying to climb my way out of a hole that I’m actually, accidentally, digging for myself, somehow.

So there’s that triangle of balance that’s not actually a triangle, right? Where the expectation is that you only have to balance Social Life, Grades, Sleep–but the reality is that you have to balance Family, Friends, Relationships, Grades, Money, Sleep, Health, General Ability to Feel like a Person. I wish life were as simple as a triangle.

It’s probably something more like an icosahedron.

I keep trying to find a thing that feels like it can create balance. Right now it feels like if one thing is wrong (and something always is) then I’m turned inside out, or sideways, or backwards, or upside down. Nothing feels small. One thing feels…colossal.

I remember this feeling from high school. This burned out, End of World feeling. I remember being stressed about my grades, my future, a boy, friends, family, my body, money. I remember thinking that One Day I was going to be not quite an adult yet, renting a house with like seven of my friends just off campus, going to class, kicking ass, and taking names.

I guess that’s why I need to quit daydreaming because One Day is Now, and it’s definitely Not That.

I’m not saying that Now is bad. I love my Boyfriend (so much, it’s kind of gross). I love my friends (they aren’t plentiful–but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality). I love my family (I’m going to be an aunt!). I love my classes (which sounds like a lie–but I really, genuinely do). But I still feel like I’m missing something.

It makes me wonder if Jesus is the answer, the way Cam talked about.

And I shit on my Boyfriend about his religion, a lot. So I’m sure when he reads this he’ll expect something harsh or rude or insincere.

Because frankly, religion makes me uncomfortable. The idea that an Omnipotent Being is Judging me is terrifying. Mostly because I’m already pretty busy judging myself. Likewise, I think the rules are dumb. I don’t think any God will love His children any less for not believing in him. What a narcissistic dick, amirite? But, further, I don’t think any God will love His children any less for loving someone of their sex, or for not identifying their Sex with their Gender, or for eating Meat on Fridays during Lent. I don’t think God gives two shits about whether or not you come up to me and talk to me about Him, I really don’t. Because you know what I think God cares about?

I think God cares about how you made me feel when you walked away. Or how you’ve made anyone feel ever.

I don’t think God cares about things we do that don’t actually hurt people. I think God’s got bigger fish to fry, if you will. Like perpetuating Love. Like perpetuating Happiness. Like perpetuating Change. I digress.

My God doesn’t really fit the mold of any religion I know. Every God I’ve heard of has these arbitrary rules. Every God has this Black and White way of looking at things: Did you follow all the rules? Heaven. Did you break any? Hell.

But if God made us, then doesn’t He know we’re not Black and White Creatures? Does one action really define a person?

I hope not. I am not a bad person, by any means. But that doesn’t mean I’ve always done good things, either.

But I don’t think stealing a rubber pencil from the library in elementary school means I can’t kick it with the Big Guy Upstairs. That’s just me, though.

-HH

God is Love, Apparently

So there’s this video circulating the internet. It’s a three year old girl answering questions provided to her from her mom.

“Last question,” the faceless voice speaks. “What is love?”

She’s quiet for but a moment before responding. “God.”

The mother stop-starts. “What?”

“God.” The girl says again.

There’s silence. My boyfriend, with his arms wrapped around me in bed as we watched the video, quietly responded. “Wow.”

I couldn’t see his face, but I could hear it in his voice; there were tears in his eyes.

The video finished playing in the background, but I got caught on his visceral response.

Before that moment, I have always rolled my eyes at videos like that. Always groaned at people’s sentimentality and dramatization of faith. Before that moment, I was not a person who entertained  ‘God.’ My resolve on ‘God’ was always firm; ‘God’ did not exist.

For the first time in my life, watching him respond so quietly but emotionally, I had a thought I have never had before.

I want to know that. I want to know God’s love.

It made me feel weird. Mostly because I meant it.

It took  me over a week to say that to my boyfriend. And even then, I don’t think I said either of those sentences aloud. I was not ready to discuss those feelings.

Last night we got into it a little more. My Boyfriend, a Proper Catholic, responds to my question of, “Why do you think God gives us cancer?” with “I think cancer is something we have to deal with because of Original Sin.”

And–no. If I’m going to have a ‘God’–if ‘God’ is going to be real–then my ‘God’ isn’t going to be the kind who decides that twelve-year-old me has to watch my grandfather’s body decimate, be in so much pain that he cannot remember who I am or how to function on a basic level, all because Home Girl Ate the Apple.

“My God will not play favorites.” I declared. “I have to believe that my God is not involved in every day life, because if he is, then I have to believe that everyone is being helped. And because I know everyone isn’t, I have to believe he isn’t helping anyone.”

“He helps you because you ask for it,” My Boyfriend argued.

“Do you decide only to help someone because they ask for it?” I countered. “Do you only open the door, return the twenty dollars, grab the heavy boxes just because someone asks for it?”

I waited. He didn’t respond.

“No. You don’t. You help regardless.”

Later I asked if he was mad at me for arguing with his beliefs. He shook his head. “I just feel like I don’t have the answers you want.”

I laughed. “You don’t really have answers at all.”

I guess I’m okay with that. I think, maybe, part of this is figuring out that I’m trying to find the answers that work for me. That faith isn’t ‘One Size Fits All.’

In case you were wondering, the video ends with the mother in tears.

“Why are you crying about that?” The girl smiles.

“You blew me away with that answer. I asked you what love is and you said ‘God.’ God is love. Oh my word.”

Oh my word, indeed.

-HH

P.S. I know I’ve been slacking on the writing. Balancing Boyfriend, Schoolwork, and Fraternity without dying usually means my default De-Stresser is Sleep. But writing this felt good. Hopefully it’ll come back to me.

A Lot of Food, A Lot of Thoughts

My Boyfriend is Catholic.

I don’t mean that in the way that I say I’m “technically Catholic” when people ask if I’m religious, or in the way that I explain my religious identity as “Catholic, if you squint.” Which is to say I was baptized Catholic as a baby, and only step in churches for funerals–and am very, very areligious. In fact, I’m borderline anti-religion. That’s a discussion for a different post, however.

When I say my Boyfriend is Catholic, I mean he’s Catholic. Went to private Catholic school, prays before he goes to bed every night, says grace, knows all kinds of Bible related shit that I don’t. He comes from a big family (he’s one of eight), and wants a big one of his own. He’s pretty politically apathetic. He loves Chemistry.

We’re very different, he and I.

In terms of people I ever thought I would date, he’s actually the polar opposite of everything I thought I wanted in a significant other.

But still, in the words of my Brother-In-Law, I’m Sprung.

For all of my adventurous drive, stubborn personality, inclination to argue–I’m a Settle Down kind of girl. I don’t want a chase, or a game, or to Find Myself First.

I have always Known Myself.  I don’t like games, and I hate running. I like stability. I like having someone to come home to, someone who looks after me. Not because I am incapable of looking after myself, but because that’s how I build trust with someone–by letting them be the person who cares for me, by letting them see all my Broken.

I thought having so many differences would cause problems. And even though we’re only a month into the relationship, I sat him down for a serious conversation (on a park swing, because I can never be too serious) a few nights ago.

“I don’t want to get invested in this relationship just for us to break up three years down the road because you love Jesus and I don’t.” I expected him to laugh, or at least look uncomfortable (he usually does when I bring up religion), but I felt listened to. As I always do with him.

So we sat, and swung, for an hour, and talked. About our hypothetical children, and how we wanted them raised. About why I’m not religious. About why he chooses to believe which things within his religion.

I could tell he hadn’t thought about this–religion as a whole–nearly as much as I had.

“People use religion as a crutch, or for hope, or for a light when they feel lost. I never felt like I needed that–not from religion, at least. I always got it from my faith in people. I don’t think it’s wrong to believe in a God,” I told him. “I think it’s wrong to not want to be Good just for the sake of Being Good–and instead being such just because God said so.

“Just some food for thought.” I finished.

“That’s a lot of food,” he responded.

“Well I have a lot of thoughts.”

I thought the conversation would’ve made things worse for us–more tense, or awkward. But I felt closer to him. I think it was good for us. And maybe it was weird to have such a conversation so early in the relationship, but I felt it was necessary.

Later that night we were at a restaurant.

“Do you believe in fate?” And he nodded. “Meant to be’s?” And again. “Forever?” And still.

Of course he does, I thought. God Bless the Broken Road, and all that jazz.

“I do too,” I admitted. “I don’t like to admit it, because I’ve got a pretty cynical reputation to protect.” And he laughed, which was the goal, but I continued. “But also I’m secretly a romantic. I love the idea that there was someone on this Earth made to be your other half.”

I realized that maybe being with someone who runs parallel to you (i.e. what I used to think I wanted in a significant other) is a lot less fun than someone who runs perpendicular. That maybe Balance is also about Exposure, and Compromise, and Forgiveness.

That maybe Forever isn’t a cliche if you take your time and use your words and Love until you can’t anymore.

-HH