Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Riding on the Clouds

I distinctly remember gathering with fellow first graders in Mrs. Beitler’s classroom to watch a 1986 Big Deal Space Event. (It turns out this was probably the Challenger fiasco. I have no recollection of the disaster ending, so the teachers must have been on their toes. Or I simply blocked it out.) My six-year-old self knew it was exciting stuff, but men had already been on moons. For the entirety of my life, in fact.

I’ve read from more than one author that the fact that God did not live above the clouds was a discovery. “We went to space and God was not there.” I shrugged it off the first time, but the second time I let it simmer. I asked a friend. Wait. You mean people were disappointed and confused when we found that outer space isn’t heaven? I’ve never known the greater atmosphere to be anything but the domain of moons and planets and less gravity.

When we discovered something new about our world, from my perspective, we learned something new about God. My 1980’s-kid self doesn’t completely grasp the challenge of simultaneously holding both truths, because both truths have always been evident to me.

Does anyone know how this shift in understanding was accepted among the most literal readers of the Bible? Was it a government hoax for a while? Did they believe that Neil was a used car salesman?  Is this why JFK was shot?

I don’t mean to belittle the belief systems of those who grew up pre-Neil Armstrong. (Because this includes basically every human being in history, save the ones born in the last 40 years. Slight majority.) Actually, I’m confident my generation will come across a shift in interpretation of the Bible with a magnitude equal to God’s change of address. How will I deal? How far in will my heals dig before I relent that perhaps we weren’t supposed to read the poetry so literally?

How did these space-not-heaven conversations go down in the generation that had to deal with it? What bridges were built to pave the way to acceptance? How many people let go of their faith because they found out it had been in an idea about God and not faith in God?

We’re raising a generation of God-lovers in a constantly expanding world. I’m hoping to arm mine with a worldview that can take what I may deem as unfathomable that they can accept as basic knowledge. The goal: they won’t need to toss the concept of God in order to hold evident truths of the universe.  So, what does it mean to have faith in God and not only the ideas about God we’ve been taught? Can we know the difference? Do we need to?

I have too much hope in the world God created to believe we’ve reached the end of opportunity for exploration. There is so much more to discover. The bigger the universe, the bigger God becomes to me. So how do I instill a faith that expands with our revelations?

New with Tags

It’s yard sale season, the perfect occasion to score a new-to-you anything. Sometimes you can tell the set of golf clubs has been well-used and the owner is exchanging his “starter set” for a better brand. The best finds, however, are the NWT (new with tags) items. These are the things purchased with the highest intent. Maybe it’s some sort of ab gadget or an entire Bowflex lifting system. A set of pastels with the one included canvas missing. A 10-year-old snowboard which kept its sheen thanks to an expensive case and little time on the slopes.

Garage sales, be it the online FB version or the old fashioned stop-on-the-side-of-the-road sort, tell the stories of our best intentions which fizzled.

In talking to a friend about wanting to rediscover her artistic talents, she revealed she missed pottery. She wanted to buy a wheel and a kiln to rekindle the habit of creating. I asked her if she ever took a community class when it was offered, or spoke with the local art teacher about getting access to materials before taking on a costly and space-consuming attempt.

“No, I just figure that if I have the things in my home, that I’ll use them more often. It’s so much work to try to get to a class or a studio.”

I anticipate my friend will become not a potter, but an owner of a potter’s wheel.

Not to dismiss the need for the appropriate gear before setting out to try a new hobby, but our garages tend to give us a glimpse into our society’s approach to change. We try to better ourselves by buying something for ourselves. We mistake consumption for transformation.

I heard once that any problem that can be solved by throwing money at it isn’t a very interesting problem. I believe the theory to hold true as it pertains to our personal growth. If a bigger budget would make you the person you wanted to be, I’m just going to say, you won’t be a very interesting person.

Money, and subsequently, stuff, makes things easier. We like easy. But rarely does easy equate to good. Quicker? Easy can do that. Cheaper? Easy can get behind that one, too. Easy cannot give depth, however, or longevity. It doesn’t bring about change that lasts.

The writer who will lock herself in the closet at 5am with pen and paper when a laptop isn’t available is a writer. The gal with the Macbook Pro sitting on her desk with a few scribbled notes about the next big book idea is an owner of a Macbook Pro.

The guy who laces up in the middle of winter because he needs to get in 10 miles is a runner. The guy with brand new Under Armor fleece lined compression pants sitting in his drawer owns nice running gear.

We are not a sum total of our stuff. Our character is revealed in how we live. As Annie Dillard said, “How we live our days is, of course, how we live our lives.” What we keep in our garage, basement or closet has only the smallest influence on those things.

Moms of Little League, Huddle Up

Ladies, come in close and chat. I’d like to toss this out there before the first at bat, so everyone knows I’m not reacting (or over-reacting, depending on the critic). If I mention this now, I’m not pointing a finger at anyone, I’m only tossing it out the wider public. (Also, this is not just for the ladies. I simply know that in 2/3 of American households, the women do the grocery shopping. Gents, you’re welcome to the conversation.)

Now, can we talk about the event showcase of the post-game snack?

First, the drinks. I just have to get this off my chest. We do not need to balance the electrolytes of an 8-year-old who spent 2 hours standing in right field on a chilly May evening. Can we please stop believing the marketing that Gatorade has ingeniously embedded in our psyche? These are not high performance athletes, they’re children. Water! Water is the choice of athletes, even the top tier ones. Water stations are by far more popular among the race routes I’ve encountered.  If you really feel the need to go crazy, maybe a juice box could suffice because at least it came from an actual fruit.

Please, my friends. Don’t be fooled by the commercials. Drinking the fake-sugar, fake-colored glorified kool-aid does not make a kid a better athlete, any more than dressing him in Under Armor amplifies his performance. If we’re going to drink the stuff or wear the stuff, let’s do so in the name of enjoyment and not be driven by this idea that we can buy stuff that makes us into who we want to be.

And also. (Yes, there’s more.) I’m all for a good celebration. Life is precious, so please commemorate the occasions. I don’t think we celebrate (truly celebrate) enough in our culture, mostly because we’re too busy to slow down and savor life’s beauty. So do things to remember significant events – please. This may mean cupcakes or champagne or slightly more expensive attire. Do it.

AND. When something happens twice a week, this is not a “special occasion.” This is a schedule. Your turn to supply the post-game snack is not a celebratory event. It’s a treat the little guys can enjoy, but doesn’t require confectionary genius. Personally, I think a Hostess cupcake goes overboard. Can we try a few orange slices? For those to crunched for time to do any slicing, a whole cutie works just fine. For those Pinterest moms who just need to make it their own, make some sort of edible joy out of peanut butter, celery, carrots, raisins, bananas or apples. Get as cutsie as you wish. But can we all aim for food that is grown, not made in a factory? You’ll spend the same $7 on fruit as you will on a package of snack-sized Doritos.

Ok, team. Here we go: another season. If we work together we can give our kids a delightful experience of chasing catching fly balls, hitting home runs, and celebrating hard work. But it doesn’t have to be a freaking birthday party after every single game, twice a week, for a month and a half. Let’s actually encourage their physical health by filling them with the nutrients they need to grow  instead of the sugar treats disguised as something more.

I feel better now. Love to all. See you at the ball field.

 

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