Monday, July 11, 2022

The Best Wrong Decision I Ever Made ~ Monday Mimisms

I grew up Methodist. 

Then with great dramatic flair, defected and migrated to Baptist in my teenage years, much to the dismay of my mother.  I thought the Methodists were too calm about Jesus, you see....didn't He deserve more enthusiasm? Hellfire preaching reigned down on my pencil head for awhile (which kept a sassy teenager on the straight and narrow) but I couldn't reconcile fear and control with a loving God, so I left for a tamer more sophisticated sanctuary down the street. I was wrong.  Pretty soon I got the left foot of fellowship from the rule-oriented Southern Baptists ("You ask too many questions, Little Lady," said the Preacher) which sent me sprawling into the Charismatic emotionalism I thought I craved - something to finally legitimize the happiness of Jesus in my heart. But all things charismatic aren't good for you (in sooo many respects) so, I took a wild and rebellious non-denominational turn. 
You know I had to. 

 I consider that bumpy ride to be the best wrong decision I ever made. 

 It was just the right stirring of freewheeling open-minded spirit filled services I needed; but soon even the non-religion became too controlling. I didn't like spoon-fed congregations and admittedly, conformity was stifling. I decided to untether myself from the box of denomination and follow my own knowing of God - the one that led me away from hellfire and into the Presence so many years ago.

I consider that disobedient ride to be the best right decision I ever made.  

Do you see the Trinity Tree?
   It was the early nineties. 

I sang on Christian TV,  enjoying music ministry travel in  different denominations and venues, honing my craft. It ended when a Southern Baptist preacher told me to sit down ("Little Lady") because women aren't supposed to speak in the church and made a racial slur in my presence. Read Mimi and The Baptist Men if you want the dirty details.  
I took a step yet another direction.

The nineties were spent going deep into myself on a spiritual level, reading controversial books (probably now banned!) and studying. Seeking. On a secular level, I earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance.  I became secure and happy in the knowledge that while none of the past experimental detours served me -
all of them served me.
There was truth and beauty in all. Even hellfire purifies.
 I learned to find my own path
my own voice
my own peace

You can argue all day with a person's theology, but never with their experience. 
And I've always wanted the experience, the Presence, the Peace, above all.
Which brings me to this man, symbolically standing under the shelter of a tree.
My brother on his baptism night 2013

The phone rang this week.
"Prayers are love for one another," he said. 
My brother's words succinctly encapsulated the simple truth I'd been trying to articulate in my long-winded way all these years. He called to tell me that our younger brother has liver cancer and would soon need surgery. He wanted to make sure we were committed to praying for him. We made a pact to cover him together with healing prayers. I would let him take care of the physical support and I promised to lift him up so that he can lift him up, like a prayer ninja in the background. What else can I do? I asked. 

"Prayers are love for one another," he repeated.
Here I sit today on my porch in the trees, wearing all the scars of the great wars fought in the churches of my past. I can see a Trinity Tree (one root, three trunks) to my left just behind a set of wooden chimes as I listen to The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) recorded by the late and highly revered Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh and having a little talk with Jesus about my brother's healing. 

Scripture refers to wisdom as a tree. As a Christian I might describe a 3-pronged tree as Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I find strength and meaning in that symbolism. You might see something else entirely, but when I pair the healing properties of sound from the ancient Vietnamese chant with the wooden chimes ringing on my porch in the mornings, it's perfect harmony.  I am reminded that they were carved from a tree. They reverberate the earth's wisdom by design.   

A walk with God teaches me to hold onto the True Vine (John 15:1) where my Father is the gardener.  Master Thay teaches me to go home to myself.  It is the same difference, as my dad used to say. 

Both are Peace. Both are Love. Both are God. 

Be a chaser of peace.
Listen to the bell

Photo credit: Mimi Lenox
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Mickey's Musings said...

A thoughtful post I enjoyed.
Now I am thinking :)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Mimi, as always, your words resonate. My path diverged from rigid organized religion in my early years, to a wide-ranging spirituality which finds some truth in all faiths (usually misinterpreted by humans), to my own relationship with the Creator, most often found in nature. I hope your brother receives exactly what he needs, from all sources.

Mimi Lenox said...

Hi Mickey - Thanks for reading me today. I hope you've had a good week.

Mimi Lenox said...

Sherry - We have similar paths and backgrounds. Thank you for your kind words and positive thoughts about my brother as well. Have a good weekend.

The Gal Herself said...

"Prayers are love for one another." That's beautiful.

You and your brothers are in my prayers.

Mimi Lenox said...

Thank you, Gal.

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