Lessons From Childhood

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt on 05/29/15: “Childhood Revisited.” Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

A child is like a sponge because he or she absorbs the good and the bad around them, from kindness to meanness,  open-mindedness to racism, patience to impatience, you name it. Even though we are all born with certain genes and traits, we unknowingly observe and learn how to become people from family, friends, teachers, caretakers, neighbors, etc. Me and my dog

In my experience, I learned how to be loyal and hardworking from my parents but I also learned that staying in an unhappy relationship is ok because that’s what they did. After a few unhappy, conflicted relationships as a young adult/college student, I learned that they are wrong, and that things can get complicated. I learned that people often don’t care  or pay attention if your feelings are being hurt by other kids because “everyone gets teased.” As an adult, I have learned that people with that opinion are either narcissistic, a bully or some similar variety of maladjusted. I learned that honesty should be the best policy but sometimes can be held against you, yet you should be honest if possible so you rest with a clear conscious. I learned that you should see the best and worst-case scenarios when you dream and make plans for your future. I later learned that, if you make a plan A and a plan B, you can reach your dreams while avoiding the worst-case scenarios and still getting close to your best-case scenario… Most importantly, you should go for IT, even if it means you work your way up and out of a Podunk town to the big leagues. I learned that parents love you (ideally) and although they mean well, they are not even close to having all of the answers. You have to learn from their good example and bad example, and find positive role models to guide you if your family can’t.  I also learned a little later on that you can’t choose your family, and sometimes you need to keep your distance if they are unhealthy, toxic and detrimental to your freedom and well-being. Chrellie with  Brother and Paternal Grandparents

I wish that I would have embraced my differences and that I would have realized that I was the special kid that my paternal grandparents told me that I was. I sometimes wish I would have punched just one bully from my wonderful Roman Catholic grade school because the teasing that teachers didn’t address would have stopped. I would have gladly taken the punishment. I wish I would have moved on and taken my own path sooner than I did because I held on too long to friendships that had grown apart. I am glad that I was an avid reader and writer, and that my family and paternal grandfather took us to zoos, museums, and to the Grant Park Symphony. I’m glad they taught me how, to get around Chicago. I absorbed a lot of great memories, and the rest made me the unique person I am.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Faith

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “In Good Faith.”

My faith has fluctuated throughout my life. I grew up Roman catholic, then lost touch and have, over time, found a comfortable level of faith-based beliefs and independent spirituality. I believe in God and that He gave us free will.  I believe that miracles can happen. I believe that we sometimes face challenges that help us learn and grow. I believe that He can intervene in life but I am sometimes confused how it all works, the why and how of it, and I don’t believe that He saves close parking spaces.

I recognize times in my life when I got a favor and I was clearly given a hand, if you will, though I struggle with faith in other situations. I had an alternator go out while I was driving on a city street but I was able to keep the car running long enough during a brief red light to turn a corner, turn into a business parking lot and park the car in a towable parking space before the car completely shut off. I believe that I was kept safe in a situation that could have gone wrong. I was a on a two-lane street with no street parking available, my panel was not lit and I had no idea of the speed I was going. If the car stopped in the middle of the street, it likely would have resulted in an accident. This car presented me with other similar situations and I was protected each time, thank God. I also believe that God has helped me through some tough times.

I struggle with faith when it comes to bad things repeatedly happening to good people and the suffering they endure, seemingly while bad people carry on with minimal consequences. They somehow manage to get sympathy, justification for their bad behavior and, in some cases, multiple chances for redemption, while others get the book thrown at them for the smallest of infractions. I am told that they will “get theirs in the end”, that “God’s justice is not the same as human’s justice”, and that “everyone deserves a second chance.” Yes, and I am familiar with the Holy Bible’s stance on this  in Matthew 18:21-22 NASB.

“Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

I get that we are all human and that we will have our day of judgment to answer for what we have done in our lives. I am even sympathetic to the plight of the wronged and abused who were not taught a better way and committed horrible acts but I believe that they still, in many cases other than severe mental illness, made a choice. We are all held accountable for our actions and the choices we make, especially as adults. I believe in forgiveness and its power to free us, yet I also believe that our forgiveness of others can be taken for granted.

I believe in free will and I believe in divine intervention, but I often wonder how God decides when and when not to intervene. Why does He intervene in some situations and not others, especially a situation of magnitude? Or did He try to intervene and the people were willful, preventing a different outcome? I contempt this as I see terror attacks, wars, crimes against humanity by companies, countries and individuals, oppression, child abuse, and a world in which the most basic human freedoms are being restrained and struck down by powerful individuals working for the supposed “greater good”.

I have faith that there are good people who care about others and about what is going on around them, and I have faith that they can make a difference by speaking out, helping and educating others and by just being honest, decent human beings. Maybe God is using them as instruments to fight back against the evil order at work. Although I try to be a realist, I remain optimistic that life can get better, even as I see signs of life getting harder, and that humanity can band together to fight for true good – freedom, liberty, healthy non-genetically modified food, clean air and water, self-defense, self-sufficiently, an end to wars and power struggles, true healthcare rather than sickcare, individualism and respect for our likenesses and differences. We all need to have faith.