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Pondering... Flexible



In the house where I grew up things were black and white, left and right, no tolerance for aberration. I chaffed under that repression, it simply wasn't me.  
 
In reality I was a good kid, didn't party, did well in school, volunteered as a candystriper at the hospital and nursing home, and was chosen as "Betty Crocker Homemaker of the Year".  That one was a laugh, it certainly cracked me up, but the win was based on essay writing, and I was good at that. (I'm sure that Betty is still rolling in her grave at my lack of domestic diva talents.) 
 
The problem was that I questioned too much, always asking why this or that was right or wrong, and how could it be the only way?  Why couldn't we just all get along, and  did our preacher really believe that all the Buddhists and all the Muslims were going to burn in Hell?  (Yes, he did, and I nearly was dropped from the confirmation class over that debate.)
 
Then there was the problem  of dress... no, you can't part your long hair down the middle, or wear granny glasses, or God-forbid leave the house without a bra!  (How I wish I could get away with that now, but alas gravity takes a toll.)
 
Part of what appealed to me about my first marriage was simply the getting away from all that. So I went the other extreme, choosing a partner and a lifestyle that couldn't have been more different from the way that I was raised.  What? You are managing a boarding house for eleven single young men?  Don't you know you're going to burn in Hell for adopting that strange religion?  And what kind of parents are you anyway?  (In reality I was a good mommy, but I declined to dress my baby in the requisite pastel pink and bunny prints... opting instead for bright tie-dyed pajamas that I sewed for her myself.  (That probably accounts for the struggles she's had in life! ;-)
 
My sisters, perfect products of the middle class, they got it "right"... with formal weddings and matching china, and forks and knives that didn't come from the dollar store.  My involvement with those children on the reservation?  What an embarrassment.  "Can't you just do some normal service project in your community?"  And on... and on... and on.  And don't even get them started on my writing.... "You always go on, and on, and on."
 
I thank God that I grew up to know my own mind, to question social injustice and any other bull@*&# that didn't make any sense.  I don't choose my friends by their creed, class, color, or sexual orientation,  and I don't limit family to blood relation.  I don't dress in the latest fashion, and I don't spend my hard-earned money on high-dollar shoes. (Actually, it goes for cat food :-)
 
The older I got the more I realized how important it is to be yourself, and to have a flexible mind.  No one fits perfectly inside the boxes, not all the ready-made rules apply.  Sometimes new ways of looking at things are better, and some of the old-fashioned ways weren't all wrong. 
 
Long ago, a sign hung on the kitchen wall of the house where I stayed for a time.  It said... "Some solid, concrete people are mixed up and set in their ways."  I've never forgotten those words, I take them as a warning of the dangers of living strictly in the realm of black and white, left and right. 
 
The dinosaurs were unable to adapt to their changing environment, they weren't the least bit flexible in how they dealt with life, and we know what became of them!  I hope I never become so rigid in my thinking that I am unwilling to consider realities that are different from my own.  Perhaps that's why I enjoy getting into deep conversations and asking so many pointed questions... "Give me something to ponder please, inspire me, teach me something new!"

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose
here this week's writing prompt is "flexible"

14 comments:

  1. So you're a Hippie?

    Sorry, I just had to put you in a box.

    Loved this post even though I might just be in a concrete person box.

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    1. Yes, Joe, that would be a fair assumption... those were the days (and I will miss them forever)! But of course I did it "my way", as we all in reality do :-)

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  2. I did the same thing you did, Josie. I went the total opposite direction of how I was raised. Complete 180! =P

    Now, I'm in the middle. Kinda. Sorta. No, that's not true. Now, I can't be defined!

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    1. That's right Elsie, we defy definition, we don't fit in boxes! The wonderful thing about human beings is their uniqueness, it is something to be celebrated, not suppressed. We try out different beliefs and roles as we go along in life, eventually settling in a place that best suits us. I really like this stage of life where I am no longer searching, I am quite comfortable where I am, yet still open to new possibilities!

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  3. LOVED THIS!!
    (said the other person raised in church from birth and was once told I had a "rebellious spirit" for asking too many questions. I took it as a compliment. But I couldn't understand, even at a young age, why they equated asking questions about with Not Believing in God. wasn't that at all!)
    anyway...I really need tie dyed pajamas. that would make my life :)

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    1. So well put, Rory - it was not that I didn't believe, I wanted to believe more, to understand faith better, to see it for the wonder that it is! The oppression I felt pushed me in the opposite direction for many years, but I have come round to finding out all that is good and beautiful about believing. God created us with minds to think and question, we were not designed to be lip-service autobots! My daughter's baby wardrobe was bright and beautiful and fun, and stitched together with boundless love. You can't buy that in a store!

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  4. Josie.... I do believe I have now figured out why I love you so much.... I too married out of my 'raising' and boy was that a shocker.... it has taken me many years to become 'me' again.....

    Thanks for pondering with me!

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    1. Yes indeed Brenda, I was in for the ride of my life with the choices I made just to break away from the restriction of my upbringing. If we had do-overs in life, I would do that much differently, but it has made me who I am, so it's all good in the end! It took me past the age of fifty to really figure out who I am and what is important to me in life. I will always be a work in progress, but I am just fine with who I am, anyone who isn't doesn't need to be around me! :-)

      This was a great Ponder topic to begin your new blog with, Brenda, you always provide great opportunities for me to write my heart out! HUGS!

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  5. Nothing wrong with marching to the beat of your own drum!

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    1. Most definitely, Kristi! The older we get the more we see the validity of our own path, and the more determined we are not to let others drag us off. Praying for you and new job opportunities, you have so much to share in the right situation!

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  6. we are kindred souls having marched to the same tune, the same beat of the distant drums. we grew up together in different places. I think a lot of us broke the chains that held us back and went out and learned to be free.I was raised in strict Mormon community and I'm still considered "the wild one" when I return for a visit.
    Sorry about Two shoes Tuesday but I completely understand. It was a good idea and you gave it a great try. I fell in love with your button. I have no idea how to do that.
    The main thing is to keep writing...

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    1. I agree, GS, from your writing I see so much that we have in common regarding our experiences and how we approach life, children of that generation were much different than the young people growing up today. I chuckle to see you as the "wild one" yet today, but my family regards me much the same. Oh well, I gave up trying to be what they wanted a long time ago.

      I am not terribly sad about TST because there are so many other good places to write, I never run out of ideas, I just need more hours in the day to write! :-)

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  7. Sometimes reacting too strongly to what you don't like in your home environment can bring on a different set of problems that is no better than the first...

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    1. You are absolutely right, Shimon, often - especially when you and impulsive - we tend to go to extremes in responding to a situation, and thus discover that the other extreme is no better and possibly worst than the first. Moderation is always the best course, and thinking things through carefully!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)