You can blame it all on someone

I guess it’s the season for annual checkups. We’ve been to the vet several times this month. The cat doctor said Opal gained a pound. I told her it was because of Covid. The cascading effects continue rolling in—so I’m sure I can keep blaming it.

What’s the alternative to casting blame? Ownership. Wouldn’t it be nice to have free agency without responsibility? Makes me think of the teen years when you have more autonomy than ever before. You can sleep off bad living instead of paying for it physically, and most things don’t go on your permanent record. Your parents are trying to let you make your own decisions, but they still fund most, or all of your life. Also, you get to glare at them because they don’t have a clue. Everything is their (or their generation’s) fault.

My mom once shared a fun mom-ism. “You can blame me for everything… once.” That means with the knowledge comes ownership.

I love how this song reflects the mother-heart of God. Even though a mother can’t fulfill the promise as much as she may want to. Click the image to listen to “Safe in My Arms” by Plumb on YouTube.

My sister shared another. “I’ll either pay for college or therapy.” That probably depends, though, on whether the parent can afford none, one, or both. I used to like the joke because it was liberating to acknowledge that I would screw my kids up no matter what I tried. Parents are really only shocked and devastated to find out that they didn’t create a more perfect garden to cultivate chillens than God himself—if they actually thought they were doing everything right.

I once read on a 20 something’s insta that you should work on your own issues before you have kids. Unfortunately, I don’t think you could discover half your issues until you love a helpless someone who isn’t guaranteed to love you back. God’s love never made more sense to me.

We always insist that kids are “so resilient.” But then spend 7/8 of our lives unpacking what happened during the first 12 years. Usually, blaming parents and insisting how we will/are/could do it better.

All of my children have been adults for a half-dozen years now. It doesn’t bother me when I hear about something I did in their childhood which was ignorant or wrong. I think I can handle it because, if they are telling me about it: (1) they have processed that it was wrong (2) and why it was wrong (3) I get to hear how they are choosing to move forward, and (4) it gives me a chance to apologize. That is, after I take a half-minute to wallow in pathetic, self-absorbed remorse for yet one more way I failed in life. It’s weird how I can feel remorse for so much, make it about me, and yet be in awe of the adults they have become.

Raising my kids in a religious environment seemed like a possible parenting fail after we experienced so much church hurt. A church split drove my family of origin away from corporate worship during my teen years. So, when we experienced wars and rumors of wars in the body, we stuck it out when it might have been healthier to find a different church. We just have hurt, not religious trauma, which is devastating and shouldn’t be tossed around like all the mental health phrases we abuse.

One book I found during Covid freed me from some of the burden of our choice, though. It’s titled Confronting Christianity by Rebecca McLaughlin.

Because her intended audience was her educated, unbelieving friends, it’s intelligent and provoking, not simple and patronizing. I will say that I hurt someone when I sent them this book because it is non-affirming. (As a same sex attracted author, she is thoughtful in her stance.) I did not consider that most often we see issues polarized with only two options.

In the first chapter, she lists seven reasons to challenge the question, Aren’t we are better off without religion? Each of the seven are inherently part of religious practice. Each benefits us socially, mentally, physically and emotionally, almost like a miracle drug. The book will have an explanation and research citing. I’ll just throw out a blip for each one, loosely based on her words.

  1. It is more blessed to give than receive. Studies show that volunteering, caring for others more than yourself, helping others, and financial generosity have both physical and physiological benefits.
  2. The love of money disappoints. Increasing it won’t exponentially increase happiness. The only time it really affects your mental state is when it eases poverty.
  3. Work is good when it is a calling. If we put our heart into our work and it means something personal toward a larger purpose—we’ll have greater satisfaction.
  4. We can learn the secret to happiness in all circumstances.

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    Not weird fake-happy, but a discipline which gives us a psychological immune system.

  5. Gratitude can change emotional and physical symptoms in your life.
  6. Self-control and perseverance helps us thrive. Your ability to practice them directly relates to your ability to flourish.
  7. The ability to forgive changes your mental and physical well-being.

She writes, “But while it is impossible to explore all the relevant data, there is compelling evidence that many individual and social goods arise from religious participation, and that Christianity in particular is well aligned with the findings of modern psychology. Does this alignment prove that Christianity is true? Certainly not!… But the positive effects of religious participation on our mental and physical health should give us pause before we buy the claim that religion poisons everything.”

You don’t necessarily need to go into a church building to practice these things. We’ve certainly been trying from our couch for a handful of years. We have a community of believers that we regularly spend time with, but there is a difference in the building. I can’t say the difference is always beneficial or necessarily biblical, but it is very first world, so I’m used to it. Hebrews 10:25 doesn’t specify how big the gathering should be. Sometimes I feel the pull for the corporate experience, though. Occasionally, I want to be back on campus with people I don’t know well.

Online church, accessible from our trailer in McCall this week, makes it too easy to stay away. I blame Covid.

3 thoughts on “You can blame it all on someone

  1. Kapri Walsh says:

    In between raucous laughter and a sense of conviction for the words written here. Thank you for allowing God to use you to frame truth in a way that both challenges and uplifts me!

Thanks for joining the discussion!