UU Mormon

Archive for November 2009

I was moving even slower this morning than last week (still with that headache, three weeks now).  Didn’t make it at all.

NinjaBoy was deeply disappointed.  I had to apologize several times and promise to do better next week. He really wanted to go. “Now what am I going to do today if we’re not going to church?!”  It threatened to become a whiny tantrum.  How cool is that?!?

Butterfly said it was fine, but she looked disappointed too.

We’re going to be having a late Thanksgiving due to Horatio’s work schedule, so there’s a question about what to do on Thanksgiving day.  NinjaBoy wants to have a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving — pretzel sticks, jellybeans, popcorn, and toast.  He is a finicky vegetarian who eats no Thanksgiving food.

The church sponsors a Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter; you’re supposed to make a dish and drop it off at the church first thing in the morning to be taken to the shelter.   So I’m thinking we’ll cook some real Thanksgiving food to take to that and then eat toast.

After a 12 day migraine and a so far thoroughly crappy weekend, I had a little trouble getting moving this morning.  Got out of the shower and discovered that it was time to go — right then.  I went out in my bathrobe with my dripping hair and said to the kids, “Will you be heartbroken if we don’t make it to church today?”

Now, based on every other occasion when I’ve suggested skipping church (back when we went to the other church), I expected an enthusiastic “YAY, NO CHURCH!”

Nope.

NinjaBoy said, “Well, I want to play Playstation, so if we can’t go I guess I could play more. But if we go, that would be good too. What holiday are we doing today?”

Butterfly said, “What if we just get ready as fast as we can, and maybe we’ll be able to still get there for some of it?”

So at the urging of my children, I got ready for church.  And we weren’t even that late.  And I nearly cried at how cool it is that my kids want to go to church, and we feel happy when we’re there, and we talk about what we learned. Together. *sniff*

I never imagined I could love Sundays.

NinjaBoy remembered what holiday they learned about today — Holi.  This is awesome… It’s a Hindu festival where people throw colored powder or colored water at each other.  Music, bonfires, squirt guns, and cannabis milk shakes.  What’s not to like?  (Pot wasn’t mentioned in class, I found that bit on Wikipedia.)  NinjaBoy said little kids get to drink alcohol and then go knock on people doors and throw dye on them.  w00t!  In class they threw confetti at each other, but they only drank water.

Butterfly said her class talked more about beliefs and they pretty much all believed in science and nature.  Sounds like her kind of crowd.

In the worship service the minister talked about mercy as kindness put into action and as compassion practiced.  It hit me that the only source on earth for mercy, compassion and kindness is… us. Me.  I feel completely inadequate to describe the minister’s amazing sermons, but I always leave them with my mind opened and a desire to be better.

After the service Butterfly helped out as a parking lot attendant.  She got to wear a reflective vest and use a walkie-talkie.  That was pretty darn cool.  She did a good job too.

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I was so cranky going to church Sunday morning.  We were probably the only people in the world, I thought, who could have a whole extra hour and still be late.  But it turned out plenty of people were late.  And I learned that the way to get a parking space is to be on time.

And it was raining and it was cold and it was muddy.  As we were walking down the hill to the RE building I was telling my kids about my previous post and how I should be focusing on those little things that make me happy instead of how grumpy I was with the weather and being late.  “At least I’ve got boots on,” I told them.  “At least I’m warm. I’m not wearing a dress and pantyhose.”  “Or carrying a big heavy bag,” my daughter offered.  “And you don’t have to teach a bunch of rowdy kids.”  Okay then. I admitted I was glad to be where I was.

NinjaBoy rushed into his class without saying goodbye or noticing me leave and I went off to the worship service, which was in memory of those who have died in the last year, and was essentially a concert of Fauré’s Requiem.  It made we want to join the choir, or get my flute out (and have it repaired).  Everyone was invited to light a candle for someone who had died, and there were many many candles lit and many tears.

Once again when I went to get NinjaBoy he couldn’t tell me what holiday they learned about.  He said they made patterns with colored powder (or colored rice, in this case) and ate “cow cake,” which Butterfly and I decided, upon sampling NinjaBoy’s leftovers, tasted of butter and coconut.  He also said that for this holiday you clean your house, and if it’s clean enough then the goddess  (he told me a name, but I can’t remember what it was) would ride to your house on an elephant.

Sound familiar to anyone?

Butterfly’s class talked about different religions and philosophies — Christianity, Humanism, Buddhism, and Paganism.  She said the class agreed that humanism sounded plausible, but she felt that if humans are all there is, the world is in REALLY BIG TROUBLE.  She does not have a high opinion of human nature.

I told her my opinion that people are slowly getting better, and if you look at history things are a lot better now than they ever were before.  There may be hope for us yet. I’m not sure she was convinced.

She also said that now she doesn’t have to believe what the LDS church teaches, she’s not sure what she does believe.  I’ve heard it said that kids her age need concrete beliefs, they need the black and white.  So now of course I’m wondering if I’m doing her a disservice by not giving her that.  But to give her a religious belief system beyond right and wrong ways to treat people and behave… Well, I couldn’t do it without lying.  I can’t tell her how the universe works and whether there’s a god and what happens after death because I don’t know and I don’t believe anyone knows.

What I can tell her is that while I don’t believe anyone knows, I think what matters is finding a way of thinking and believing that helps you live a better life, but that it can be different things for different people.  She needs to find what gives her peace and strength and helps her want to be a good person.

I don’t know if it’s enough, but it’s the best I can do and still be honest with her.