Twitching by the ocean or, why believing in god would be useful!
My anxiety levels are so high right now that I think it’s a small miracle that I do more than lay on the floor twitching. It doesn’t matter how much I “know” that self-care is of the utmost importance and that I shouldn’t skip the gym, I should eat more and better, and it is okay to sleep. The reality is that those things go completely by the wayside during these “end of the quarter, three papers to write, 100 pages to grade, kid’s science project, kids’ sports, kids’ emotional well-being, kids’ homework, kids’ eating, sleeping, dentist, and that’s just today” times. The reality is that it takes ALL my energy to do all of those things, doing them well is semi-optional, and doing me is, well…not. Last quarter, or maybe at the beginning of this quarter, I wrote this post about being present. This is my public admission that I’m not doing that well at all and I’m no longer sure I even know what that looks like.
So after a frustrated moment this morning when I snapped at kid number two (and yes I know this happens, but really, it happens WAY too often and I’ll be the first to admit it), I decided that I had better take my butt to the bluffs and see if I could find a little inner peace so I can get through today. It’s not exercise or food, but….
I got out there and sat silently looking at the waves and the birds (and the surfers) and realized that I just feel really out of control because I can’t single-handedly cope effectively with everything that is going on in my world in an effective way. I do need help. And I thought to myself that there’s something about being a graduate student single mother of three teenagers that makes me understand why it’s so useful to believe in a god. After all, if you believe in a god that sees everything and wills all that is to be, then you can rest knowing that a) you can’t help it because it’s supposed to be like that, b) there’s someone out there who cares and will help you, c) it will be alright, if not now, then in the afterlife. I can see why people who are stressed too the maximum and feel no control over their lives would be completely committed to such a belief. I mean, if you are out of control, then at least knowing that someone does and eventually you’ll be okay because this is the way it’s supposed to be, has got to be somewhat helpful, right?
But I don’t believe in that kind of god. Sitting there I was thinking, what do I believe? I do believe in the 7 UU principles, but they serve as a guide for relationship and action. They don’t provide me with a belief in an all-knowing, all-powerful god that will take care of me, or at least who has willed what is to be. The closest that I can come to believing in something else out there is through belief in “the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part”. I am part of the ocean and it is part of me. I am part of the seagulls and the pelicans and the little birds that scurry along the shore, running with the tide. There is something bigger than me – there is all of us. I can’t pray to it and it isn’t going to fix anything but it does ground me. If I can be present there, with that vastness that is all of us, then surely I can be a little more present in every other little interaction with my girls, with my work, and so on.
To be continued…must go hold office hours and write something academic.