I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Removing Stigmatizing Language Part III: Heeding Godde's Call to "Holy Adventure"

Growing up, my dream was to be a concert pianist and then to be an opera star-I was going to be The Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute!

I took both piano and voice lessons and I was well on my way when emotionally unsafe collegiate surroundings triggered my already misfiring neurons to cause me to fall victim to severe mental illness.  Did I fall sick with severe mental illness, because Godde needed a way to put me on the right path?!

 Not my Godde, because my Godde is not one who manipulates!

 Instead, I believe that Godde mourned with me when we realized that I was too sick for performance art. (Eventually I will get around to reading my copy of God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse by Slajov Zizak and Boris Gunjevic, which I believe will shed some light on this topic.) And so, my Godde gently urged me towards other doors that might be more beneficial and more loving to myself and others as we dealt with this new information.  I do not believe in a Godde that is omniscient, but rather is wise and full of compassion.  A "wise" person is humble and knows they do not have the answers to life and so Sophia, I believe, is the same-She humbly lifts us up when we feel we have failed, She grieves with us, and yet reminds us of who we are-Her loving children, perpetually loved and called on to better ways of being.

As both Godde and I worked on accepting my situation, Godde continued to urge me towards different callings.  Since my Godde is not a manipulator, She has to continually present me with different opportunities as my life changes for me to choose.  Did I misinterpret previous God's Call?  No, but my circumstances in life changed as they do for us all.  Besides, at the core of this Mystery, what does Godde really call for us to do anyway, but "to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8)  That's it.  That's all.  It is up to us to trust our intuition and grab on and hold on and believe that whatever the next right thing we tried to do was following Godde's Call for us at the time whether it works out or not.

When I realized that I am too anxious to perform without music I felt resentful and cheated for a long time.  "Why has Godde given me mental illness when it disrupts pursuing my passion?" I would cry inside.  Gradually I came to realize that I wanted to use music to help people and believed my Call was to become a music therapist and work with the elderly-most likely as an activities coordinator at a nursing home.

  How cheated and like a failure I felt when my mental illness caused me to have to quit music therapy school!!!  

But my Godde is a Godde of Redemption and I realized that when I started to see ways in which my schooling helped me in life after all.  Imagine my surprise when I was informed that I did not even need a degree to be an activities coordinator at most places and that my two years of music therapy school were an advantage, not a hindrance to my dream!  Now I am looking for a job as an activities assistant and I plan to work my way up to that of an activity director of a nursing home-at least that is my dream, my following of Godde's call in my life today.

But my journey with mental illness has shown me that that plan may need to be changed as soon as tomorrow.  If it does, is it because I did not have a good grasp of Godde's Calling before?  My Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) training urges me to get out of that all or nothing thinking pattern and move instead into a faith where I embrace the fact that there are no sure answers, that Godde's Holy Wisdom in all of Her glory offers me not a comfort based on surety, but based on the knowledge that we are loved and that we are Enough. I can have a new calling without debasing, degrading or invalidating the old one.  They are both true, for they were and are both the legitimate responses of the Divine to my circumstances at the time and in the present.

Let us be willing to let go of our need to label and instead dive into Godde's Mysterious Power and trust that as long as we do the next right thing, then we are where we are supposed to be-in serenity co-creating with Godde.   I will leave you with these words from Bruce Epperly's book, Holy Adventure:
Divine wisdom called each one of us into existence and invites us to choose our own adventures as the world unfolds in surprising ways each new day.  Our everyday lives are part of a multibillion-year cosmic adventure that is still evolving in our ongoing partnerships with the Holy Adventure that we call God" (9).

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