Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: decisions (page 1 of 4)

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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Forgiveness for Whom?

I try extremely hard to not speak on behalf of God. Instead, I’m inclined to report on what God didn’t say. The ways that holy scripture can be twisted for personal benefit is endless, especially to an audience who has such little understanding of the culture to which it was originally written (a BFD, in my opinion).

So when prominent Christian leaders make big public statements, I hold my breath. On the one hand, we need their wisdom. I have my own personal favorites and when she or he speaks, I listen and absorb. I try to filter and use my own wisdom, but I know I’m never perfect in that regard. Sometimes I trust because I’m not at the point of being able to sort it for myself. And that’s okay. But Big Christian Leaders may not always keep this in mind. In fact, sometimes it is exploited.

Now that several Big Names have asked the Christian public to forgive Trump, I feel compelled to offer a warning; a reminder about what forgiveness involves.

Forgiveness is rarely about the offender. It’s about the offended. To be clear, Trump hasn’t asked for forgiveness. He doesn’t feel he did anything wrong. So we’re not offering reconciliation because his heart has softened and he realizes the error of his ways.

Often, forgiveness arises as a means of freedom for the one forgiving. It’s a weight you don’t have to carry anymore. Sometimes, we have to forgive and forgive and 10 years later you find you’ve picked up that same baggage and accidentally started toting it around with you again. It’s a conscious decision to set something aside for the sake of your own heart.

Jesus challenges to us to forgive in a limitless supply, because in forgiving others we lean into our own forgiven state – and vice versa. Often we feel more compelled to forgive once we realize our own forgiven-ness. Freedom begins to define us, rather than the smallness we feel with guilt and hatred. And the more you forgive, the easier it is to forgive again.

When you forgive someone, you’re freed from their actions defining you. This does not give license to the person to continue to hurt you. You can forgive someone, set that weight aside, while not inviting the behavior back into our lives.

The church has a terrible, nasty history of using forgiveness as a means of holding its people in situations that are unhealthy. “You need to forgive” – especially when in context of Jesus’ words that we will only be forgiven to the extent we forgive others – are weighty words. No one wants to feel un-forgiven, so the threat of a heavenly withholding can push people into corners.

Church leaders have used this logic to keep women in unhealthy and even dangerous relationships. Some pastors have been quick to tell the woman that her job “as a Christian” is to forgive – and while forgiveness is a godly goal, it is not synonymous with staying. Forgiving doesn’t give him a right to do it again. You can leave, and forgive. 

So when these leaders are pleading for a man’s forgiveness, let’s be clear: it’s for the sake of their own conscious. They’re looking to rectify their hearts with what they know to be wrong.  It is not synonymous with staying. It doesn’t require we go back.

If Trump followers want to forgive and move on, that’s the work of their own hearts. And it’s a good work. Forgive away, because the world needs more of it. But please don’t be convinced that such work requires you support the continued work of the forgiven, especially when the forgiven person has made no indication of change. There’s no evidence that it will be different next time.

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Poison

Yes, dear children. That man was sick. That stinky pile over there, where the bugs swarm and the dogs sniff, remains evidence of his sickness.

No, young twenty-something. There’s no need to lie or cover up. He didn’t have the flu.

The simple truth is this: too much of anything in this world will poison you. 

Last night, for this man, it was drink. It probably happened to many people, with the holiday and all. But it’s easy to point out someone else’s poison and label it bad, wrong, evil. But abstaining from alcohol won’t help you if your poison tends to be carbs, shoes or a growing Swiss bank account. You can give yourself a little pat on the back for shying away from the brown bottle, but it won’t heal your soul of its own tendencies to self-medicate.

Honestly, our numbing agents are relatively powerless until they’re mixed in to our souls. In and of themselves, the contents of a bottle, a shopping bag or a wallet have a neutral effect. They simply are. Until your soul attaches meaning to them, gropes for them in the midst of heartache or jealousy or hatred. Then those potions become poisons.

First it affects your body. Your body is the first line of defense. It’s where we feel, where we experience, where we synthesize what is happening in the world. And when you let in too much of anything, your body is the first part of you to tell you it’s too much. Listen to your body.

The poison will also begin to effect your mind. Your thoughts go toward it in the light of day and in the deep of night. Beware, sweet child. When you find your mind saying, “if I could just have one more…” then you’re probably being poisoned by your own hand.

Sadly, it will settle in your soul. It doesn’t make you an evil person. Our society tends to believe that a poisoned soul is the result of poor decisions and a lack of fortitude. No self-control, self-sufficiency, self-respect. I have trouble believing the exaggerated versions of our own struggles can be so other.

Fear not, my children. For every poison there is a remedy. Our sicknesses of self can be healed. The most common antidote is freely available and widely popular: love. Love for self, love for others, love for God, love for the created order.

Many old farm houses came equipped with 2 water sources: a cistern and a well. I imagine we all have within our souls two deep reservoirs. One is more like a cistern, catching whatever comes in. When it goes sour, it takes some work to return it to health. We use this kind of water for flushing and rinsing, maybe watering the garden. Another place in your soul is rather like a deep well. The water there is pure, good for drinking. Incredibly, it can meet the thirsts of others. The key to a good well is to dig deep.

You can spend your days trying to fill the cistern. Or you can put your energy into digging the well deeper. With every loving action and every generous intention, we drill another meter closer to the source. God put a well of love in you, an unlimited supply from which you may draw forever. If you find it running dry, perhaps it’s because you’ve been going to the cistern instead of the well.

When you start seeing evidence of poison, it’s not because the well went bad.  You’re simply living off of what you put into the cistern. Get to the well, my children and keep digging until you drink clean water.

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