Currently viewing the tag: "Perspective"

I stumbled across my kid’s Tumblr.

In 2012, that’s the equivalent of accidentally reading your kid’s journal, which he carefully stashed away in his sock drawer for you not to see.

I scrolled down the page slowly, examining what it looks like inside my kid’s brain. I got to see which parts of pop-culture are relevant to him, which people he crushes on, and which jokes he finds humourous. His proclivity for curating Grade A absurdity is, in my eyes, somewhat of a gift. There’s a method to his madness, I’m sure of it.

Then, after a few pages of .gifs, pugs, and Avengers, I ran across a few lines of text.

They were about me.

[Cue screaming .gif.]

This is the moment when the parent holding the journal has the choice to either slam the book shut and walk away, or bear witness to a truth that they may not be ready for.

I did not shut the MacBook.

I sat with those seven sentences on my screen, and let them sink in. 

This is what we look like to him, I thought.

There wasn’t much there to read, but I read into it quite a lot.

You see, the past year and a half has been really hard on my family. We underwent a lot of changes, some of which felt more forced upon us than chosen. Last year we had to sell our house, a house we loved, and move into a more affordable rental (which we’ve also come to love). We scaled back in a number of ways, and doing so allowed for us to keep paying the bills and putting food on the table.

These are the choices that adults make, I thought. He can’t know that, really.

What I read in his Tumblr post was a general concern that we might not have enough, that we might not be in a position to live out our dreams. He wasn’t expressing worry for himself, the sweetheart; he was worried about his dad and me, and our dreams.

He just wants us to have our “happily ever after,” he wrote.

[Cue tears.]

At first, I felt a little embarrassed. We don’t get our kid but for a couple of days a week, and I hated that during the little time we have with him he picks up on our money worries.

But that feeling didn’t last. I’m actually proud of how we handled the challenges of the last few years. Things were good, then things went south, and we responded quickly and with a keen awareness of the needs of our family. We were flexible, resourceful, and we held it all together pretty well.

There was nothing to be embarrassed about. I just needed to explain what things looked like from my side of the screen.

So I wrote my kid an e-mail, and I told him that he didn’t need to worry about us. I clarified the realities of our financial situation, both for the purposes of educating him on that kind of thing, and also to reassure him. I told him that we have some money in the bank, and food on the table, and we’re fine. Both his dad and I are working to line up projects that will provide a good income for us, so he needn’t worry about money anymore.

I told him, in what I must have been a very grownup tone, that life is a series of peaks and valleys. Sometimes things are grand, and other times not so much. You have to remember in times like this, moments when things look up, that even the greatest successes are temporary. Everything is always shifting and changing, and it’s never all good or all bad. It’s best to just celebrate what you’ve got, and remember that things will change.

It was a little cliché, but it was true.

I also told him that his dad and I already have a really good hold on “happily every after.” We love each other, we take care of each other, and we wake up every day — no matter how many curve balls life throws us — and we make the choice to continue loving each other and our family.

That’s what “happily ever after” looks like, I assured him.

And then I clicked *send*.

It’s a humbling thing to see yourself through your kids eyes. It’s easy to forget that they have a perspective about the life you’ve provided for them. They have a take on everything, even if they’re not always up front about it.

I was lucky, I guess, that my kid’s perspective was what it was.

I think I’m lucky in a lot of ways.

So parents, if you run across your kid’s Tumblr, tread carefully. Scroll down if you will, and be prepared to meet your kids — and possibly yourself — for the first time.

I’m not an expert on Paganism.

Photo by Matt Grimm, Flickr

If you’ve spent any time here on Bishop In The Grove you’ll know that being an expert on Paganism wasn’t why I got into blogging.

I blog in order to be a better student.

I ask a lot of questions. I point out the things that are curious to me or that strike me as interesting, and I invite my readers to become my teachers. I call things into question because I believe that doing so allows me to be more present in my religious and spiritual life. I think it’s a healthy thing for a religious community, as well.

When I was in my early 20’s I was a member of an Episcopal church in Tennessee. Episcopalianism was the tradition I was raised in, and this church was one I came to after a long period of spiritual drought. It wasn’t long before I was an active member of the community, attending Sunday “adult forums,” and weekday prayer services (which I often led and attended alone).

A few years into my involvement with the community I was asked to help teach the Sunday school classes for the upper-grade high school kids. Their teacher had up and left, and they needed a replacement quickly.

I was a little hesitant at first. I hadn’t been raised in a house where the kids memorize bible verses, or that emphasized a strict adherence to some religious code of conduct. My parents were musicians, and my stepdad didn’t care much for God at all. But the dean of the Cathedral thought I’d be a good fit, that the kids would relate to me, and that I could communicate to them, as he might have said, the love of Christ.

On my first day of teaching I came into class, tattoos showing, and began a dialogue with them that would go on every Sunday for weeks, months; a dialogue that was not really concerned with the syllabus, or even with the Bible. I invited them into a dialogue that encouraged them to make inquiries of the most basic tenets of the faith. I asked them to think for themselves, to seek out their own connection with the divine, and to do so in the way that made the most sense to them.

I acknowledged their own authority in matters of the heart, the mind, and the spirit.

This is my ethic here on Bishop In The Grove as well. I have my opinions, my perspectives, and my preferences, as well as a whole host of experiences which inform my writing, but I don’t pretend to be an expert on all-things-Pagan any more than I pretended to be an expert on Christianity. I trust that you have insights, too, and that your insights are valuable.

I bring this story up today because I’ve been invited to be a part of a roundtable discussion about Paganism on HuffPost Live, which is described on their website as,

“A live-streaming network that uses the HuffPost universe — the stories, editors, reporters, bloggers, and community — as its real-time script.”

I’ll be joining Patrick McCollum, Amy Blackthorn and others today, Wednesday the 31st at 6PM EST (UPDATE: LINK TO SHOW ARCHIVE) to share our perspectives on and experiences with being Pagan for the general public. I’m honored to be invited, and — as I was before first stepping in front of that Sunday school class — a little hesitant to be seen as an authority.

I’m but one voice in a crowd of many.

Since this appearance will likely direct a lot of new readers to my blog, I thought it might be valuable to present them with a more rich, diverse explanation of Paganism than what one Pagan (me) might be able to do. I’d like, in classic BITG style, to open up the comment section of this post to you. I’d like for you to share a bit about what Paganism looks like from where you stand.

This is my way of extending the floor to a much larger group of Pagans, and this is your chance to provide someone who knows very little about Paganism with your own, personal testimony about what your religious or spiritual path means to you.


Do you identify as a Pagan? If so, how do you live that out in your life? What do you believe? What do you practice?

If you don’t identify as a Pagan, perhaps choosing to be understood as a polytheist or to be known by your specific tradition, what does your tradition look like? What are the central principles which you live by?

The floor is yours, friends. Tell us a little about yourself.