I Used to be a Christian

“The other day, when I was reading something you posted, it hit me. YOU are the writer!”

 

I know, the title is going to get everyone’s panties in a wad.

Chill out.

Read it.

You’ll get it.

I am 36 years old.

I have one HELL of a story to tell.

I’m not sure I’ll make money off of it, but it I do, I’ll have to A: change the names of the people so I don’t have to get their consent to tarnish their names, or B: Get consent from people I love dearly, to drag their names through the mud, because it’s a part of my story.

I remember when I was little. I remember going to church and loving Sunday school. I remember coloring and playing with other kids, praying at night for all of my loved ones and even all the strangers I never met, and never would meet to be safe. I was naive. I believed that if I prayed for EVERYONE, everyone would be safe. Then, one day, I was in shorts and a t-shirt, accepting Jesus into my heart as my lord and savior, as I was dunked into a pool of water in front of a congregation.

I was 7.

I remember, because I remember the look on my dad’s face when I told him I wanted to be baptized. It was a look I craved. A look of acceptance, of love, pride and happiness. I believed that Jesus was good and God loved all of mankind.

The older I got, the more confused I became. It wasn’t because of outside influences. It was because of everything I had read in the Bible.

I’m not going to bash the Bible, or God, or Jesus, or Christians.

I guess, I am writing this to say a few things. I am one of those “think outside the box” types of person. I know. You probably never would have guessed it, am I right? ha!

I have read the Bible. I have read it cover to cover a few times.

It. Makes. NO. Sense. It’s about as contradictory as anything could be.

But that’s okay. MOST of it is good guidelines for how to be a good person.

Jesus was this totally rad dude, who helped poor people, sex addicts, drug addicts, thieves and more! He totally loved them and taught them how to be good people. He proved to them that the choices they were making weren’t the only choices set out for them. He showed them that, although a rough road, a possible road. Right?

Totally cool guy. Loving, accepting, nurturing.

One of those guys you aspire to be like. Right?

Well, you don’t have to BELIEVE the Bible, to believe in the main character. Right?

Either way, my “faith” is different than it was when I was a child.

I have lived. I have observed. I have survived, and have stayed pretty damn level headed in the process.

At the point where one would finally break, I, instead,  keep striving for better. Not to GET something better, but to BE something better.

When I was a child, I believed that I would forever be protected. Nothing bad could happen to cause heartache or sadness, or the things that I have experienced through my 36 years of life.

Boy, was I wrong.

I say something that I know may piss off a lot of people, but I believe it one hundred percent.

Everything happens for a reason.

I’m sure many people who are grieving right now want to reach through their screens and slap the ever-loving shit out of me, right now.

I believe it. You do not have to. But, I do. I always will.

I REALLY met Mitch at a point in my life where I was really ready to call it quits with dating. I honestly never wanted to see another man in a dating manner again. (That was my dramatic teenage mind)

He walked into McDonald’s, smiled his brilliant smile at me, and told me I was coming to his birthday party.

You read that right. He didn’t ask if I’d go. He told me I was going.

“Hey, What are you doing this weekend? Oh? going to my birthday party. Okay, We’ll pick you up at 6!”

I was stunned. I was shocked. I was ALREADY in love with that boy, and he didn’t even know. We were both 17 years old.

He walked into that McDonald’s on the most perfect night, with the best “invite” to a birthday party I had ever received.

I think if God is real, he laughed when I swore to all things holy that I would NEVER name my child Megan, when I was 15 years old…

Que the laughter…

My favorite human, aka my daughter, is Megan. I can’t even imagine her with a different name.

Just as I remember the first time he “asked” me out, I remember our last night together. I remember what he had for dinner. I remember what movie we watched. I remember the words he spoke, as if they were gospel.

I remember his hand as he held mine during that movie.

I remember the next day, when I walked… ran to the doors of the FedEx Hub only to be dragged into an office and told that he was gone. I remember thinking “There’s no way there is a god. There’s no way a god would take such a man from this earth. No way!”

I always joked with Mitch about how I didn’t remember life before him. I think I phrased it wrong. I remembered life before him, but it felt like another lifetime. Like everything was happening as it should .

When he died, I had that same feeling. Everything is falling into place. Everything is exactly as it should be.

I hate it. Megan hates it. Our families hate it.

But that feeling. Gawwwwwd that feeling.

I’ve thought so many times that if anyone knew how I felt, how I felt as thought this is meant to be, I’d be looked at as heartless.

Now, though, I know I am not. I know my family and my friends, my coworkers and my past coworkers know that I am not heartless.

Mitch, I believe, completed his mission here. Whatever his mission was, he completed it, and he did it FAST.

I can tell you that whoever was supposed to learn from him, learned well.

Whatever it was he taught, he taught it without knowing he did.

I feel like I was a part of his mission, but definitely not the whole of it.

He taught me to be kind, even when I didn’t want to be. He taught me to see everyone’s point of view, and not take sides. He taught me that I have the ability to be amazing, I just needed to put forth the effort. (still trying, babe!) He taught me, most of all, that good men did still exist. He taught me that there were really still good fathers. He taught me that I am so much stronger than I ever imagined I could be.

I could write a book about how much like Jesus Mitch was. He never “laid hands on” and “healed” people like the Bible says Jesus did, but he sure did heal people with his words, his kindness, his acceptance, and his love. He talked to everyone, and he helped everyone.

So, again, I say: I used to be a Christian.

Now, I no longer align myself with any one religion, but, I believe that something is out there. Something is in charge and we are mere pawns in a game.

Am I winning?

Am I losing?

I guess I will only know when I pass on to the next realm.

Until then, I will continue my path of love and acceptance. I will not intentionally harm anyone. I will cherish my family and friends. I will teach kindness, empathy, and happiness through example.

 

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Dear Mitch,

 

I know you are probably looking down at me wondering “what he hell are you DOING?” OR “Don’t! Not him! He’s a moron!”

Don’t worry. I’m not.

Not with him, or with him.

It’s okay. You remember, I like guy friends. I always had more male friends than female friends, growing up.

I think I have an equal amount of guy/girl friends, now.

But I do like dating. I like meeting all the new people, which is weird, but not too weird, since you know me.

I miss you, tremendously. I have this empty spot in my bed, that only you could fill. I prefer not sleeping next to someone, even if we have sex. I send them home, or to the couch. No, I’m not whoring it up. I just have sex every now and then with one guy.

You’re probably laughing at me, or wondering what the fuck is happening in my head because he’s so much younger. But, you also know, I have always said “If he’s old enough to buy me a drink… Legally… then he’s old enough for me!” Of course, back then, I was referring to the celebrities on TV (cough cough Zac Efron cough cough). haha!

I miss talking about the hot guys on TV and having your unnecessary, jealous stare. It was so funny. You would get so offended about the celebrities I would never meet. I would do it on purpose, just to get a rise out of you. Why? Because I LOVED that you were jealous. Your slight jealousy was comforting. I knew I’d never lose you. At least not to another woman.

I appreciate you. I appreciate all of the patience you held when I was freaking out, right after we got married. When I got “cold feet” post wedding vows. When “forever” sounded like a life sentence. You were there, but not all over me. You allowed me the space I needed, to clear my mind and really figure out who I was, and what I wanted.

Can you even believe that I thought I was a lesbian? I still laugh at that! I was REALLY freaking out about being married. Then, I reminded myself, it was you. YOU. The best of the best. No one other human on this planet could handle me. Not like you did. You spoiled me, in so many ways. Not materialistically, either.

You spoiled me with love. You showed me that good men DO exist, and let me tell you, I can spot them. You spoiled me by doing for me. After a long day at work, you made me mixed, fruity drinks, and ran me a bath with epsom salt. Not because you were trying to get in my pants, but because you loved me. You wanted me to be happy and felt that I deserved to relax.

Oh, remember when we gave each-other massages? That was so long ago. Like in our early 20s! haha! it got to a point where you would give me a massage first, then I would fall asleep and never give one back. Big mistake on my part, because you finally quit giving me massages, and I developed carpal tunnel.

Remember the Christmas 2003, when we decided it would be funny to tell everyone that we were having a baby? hahahahaha!! Oh man! That was so hilarious. Then, in January, we were pregnant. Easy as that. We found out March 3rd, but, still. It happened so fast.

I remember the conversation we had. We were on I35 in 75th street exit. It was Christmas, 2003. We decided we were strong enough, together, to handle ANYTHING. We decided to stop PREVENTING pregnancy.

Oh man. It happened so fast. We had the most perfect little baby. Oh,  I bet you’re freaking out, when you see her, now. I do have to say, at least she’s covered! She has a mouth like her mother, and the wit of her father. She will go far in life.

I am so glad you were able to stick around long enough for her to know, and remember how amazing you were. I am so glad that I won the bet that got me a baby before I turned 22 (actually 18 days after my 22nd birthday, but who’s counting?) If you won that bet, I would have been a widowed mom to a 4 year old! It goes to show that my belief in “everything happens for a reason” is real. I needed to have a preteen. I needed a well rounded kiddo. I needed a kid who understands far beyond her years. And that’s what we had. We had the perfect-for-us child. Weren’t we lucky? Aren’t I lucky, in that way?

Everyone always says, “I’m so sorry for you!”

I bite my tongue, because I want to ask why. “Why are you sorry that I was able to spend all that time with the most amazing man on earth?” I got 16.5 years with you! That was half your lifetime!

There are so many women who don’t have the luxury I have, of saying, “I found my perfect match. My perfect love. Someone who loved me unconditionally.” I have that! I had that. I was able to feel that. I was able to live that. I was so fucking lucky!

It’s so weird to say that, though. People are always so good at twisting words to make things sound bad.

I was so fucking lucky in the way that I met you, had you, loved and was loved by you.

I was unlucky that you died.

But the beauty is that I was able to know you. I was able to have and to hold you.

You taught me how a man should treat a woman. Hell, you taught Meg how a woman deserved to be treated.

Amazing.

You will forever live in my mind and heart, and the hearts of so many who knew you, as amazing.

Ah

Maze

Ing!

My inspiration to be a better human.

My everything.

I miss you.

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to be graced with your presence.

I am so happy that I had the ability to be loved and spoiled by you.

Thank you.

Thank you for teaching me.

When you died, I thought I was done. I would never get to a point in my life where I could allow feelings for anyone again. It isn’t worth it, I would think to myself. I was mentally crippled by the loss of your presence in my life.

My mind said “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING??? How do I DO this?” I also had thoughts along the lines of “no one will want me.” But I didn’t care. I bought baggy clothes and hid my body so no-one would even WANT to look.

Those thoughts are pointless.

More importantly, I want you to know, that I hope you are proud of who I am, who I have become. I hope you are proud of my strength and ability to find happiness in such an awful experience.

There are days when I wake up in the morning, and really try to wrap my mind around the fact that you’re no longer here.

Every time I have that thought, my entire body reacts. It’s like I KNOW it is true, but my mind and my soul still refuse to believe.

That’s the impact you’ve left in my life.

With that, I must go to bed.

I will love you always.

I will forever cherish the memories we shared.

You will forever be in my mind and heart.

Love you always,

Ms. Tabbie Wood

 

 

 

 

Learning and Growing

 

As a widow, I know, it’s something we must all do. We must all learn and continue to grow as humans.

Our attitudes towards life and all that accompanies it, it what gets us to who we are, as humans. We can be good or we can be bad. Some of us are bad, and don’t even realize it. Some are so good, and don’t realize it.

Learning from the past is the best thing about being human. We know the outcome, once we have done something.

Think back to when you were a kid, and you heard someone say “if you mix vinegar and baking soda, it’ll bubble up, all over the place!”

Every single one of us HAD to try it out, as soon as we got home. It wasn’t something we were going to believe until we saw it with our own eyes.

As adults, it’s the same and its different. We learn how to balance our social life, family life, and work life. We have to LEARN it. It doesn’t come naturally, and it is not easy. So many times something or someone gets the shaft. It’s never intentional, as we are human, and we are continually learning. It’s a never-ending cycle of life, living and being.

Will we ever be who we are supposed to be, completely? Will we ever achieve complete self?

I don’t think so. I think with every part of life, we continue to grow.

I met a couple, recently. I was on a dating app, (yes, please don’t give me hell. It totally passes the time, and mostly makes me laugh, because some people are so incredibly ridiculous. But that’s a story for another time), and I matched up with this guy. He was kind of cute, and I swiped that I thought he was cute. He already liked me, so we matched up. I had to send the first message, and I did, because what could it hurt? I asked what he was looking for from that site, he said a friend with benefits. I chatted a bit more, and realized he was funny. He was kind of interesting. Then, a bomb was dropped.

“I have a girlfriend and we are in an open relationship.”

*GASP*

“I’m not into couples, man, but we can be friends.” Was what I told him. I was so curious, and always wanted to ask someone about how and why they chose to be in an open relationship. I asked so many questions, and he answered. He said “it’s human nature to want to have sex with multiple people.” I interjected, there. I told him that I was with the same man for sixteen and a half years, all the way up to the day he died, and never had the urge to actually step outside of our marriage for sex, so this boggled my mind.

I have zero interest in having a boyfriend/relationship with anyone, but making friends is fun. No kidding. They texted me one night, and asked if I wanted to meet them for dinner. I said sure, and headed to the restaurant.

I met her and him and we are all friends, now. I went out with them the other night, and ended up with them while they met another couple.

I promise. This is about growing. No, I am not sleeping with this couple, so no worries.

Here I am, the 5th wheel, curious as hell, about this new couple. Those of you who know me, know I can’t keep my mouth shut for too long, especially after I’ve had beer, and even worse, when I am curious. I really am curious.

This couple was cute. Adorable even! They seemed to be even more curious than I was. I could tell they were new to the “open thing” but didn’t want to ask, outright, because I am not dating these two either. ha!

I listened as the 4 talked about this and that, and life and their jobs, and all the small talk.  I was giggling inside. My friends were asking their new friends how long they had been together and how long they had been married. No one asked the question I was dying to know! So, I asked.

I leaned forward in my chair, and asked, “and, how long have you been open?”

All four heads swung my direction, like “did she just ask that?” After I asked, I wondered if it was a question you aren’t supposed to ask. Then, I realized I didn’t care if I was or wasn’t supposed to ask. I was curious, and they were adorable, and potentially going to date my friends. Or maybe just sleep with them? I don’t know? So, they responded.

They said, almost shyly, “um. one month?” So, I asked another question.

“How many dates have you had since becoming open?”

She had one, and he hadn’t had any.

I feel like, the encounter with these people, all four of them, is allowing my brain to grow, and become more accepting of a human beings.

I have learned that people can legitimately be in a relationship, and be completely committed, yet still have sex with other people. It may not be my idea of a perfect relationship, and it may not be your idea of a perfect relationship, but who cares? They are honest with each other, and they are honest with everyone they meet. If everyone knows everything, and everyone is agreeable, then why can’t they do what they want to do? Right?

I had never even thought of an open relationship as something people can manage to live with, however, after meeting this couple, and learning their ability to be 100% honest with each-other all the time, it made me believe that there are actually honest people in the world. And that’s fucking amazing!

I am not saying that my friends aren’t honest, or anything like that. So don’t get me wrong.

I just come from a group of people who are with one person, and sleeping with people outside of your current relationship is frowned upon, or looked down on. If one of my friend’s husbands slept with another woman, it would be considered “cheating” because it wouldn’t be known by both parties.

It is such a touchy topic, I know. But, I am a learner, and I am growing as a human being. I thoroughly enjoy other humans and learning the why behind who they are. I do not judge them, and I don’t degrade them. I embrace them. Of course, there are lines, ya know. Being of age and of the same consenting species are big musts. So please, don’t try to use that with this.

My favorite thing, in life, is meeting people, and hearing their stories. It’s fascinating to learn why people are the way they are.

I highly suggest, next time you encounter someone who believes differently than you do, or lives a lifestyle you can’t even imagine, to ask them questions. Learn about it. Open your mind to understand that just because they are different from you, doesn’t mean they are wrong. If it isn’t illegal, and isn’t hurting people, why should we get mad? Why should we have such strong feelings opposing people’s lifestyles?

 

Learn.

Grow.

Be a better human today, than you were yesterday.

Kindness Matters.