Last June I stopped doing some things. One of them was blogging. The other was shampooing my hair. Yes, I have embraced the “no poo.” How do I like it? Well, I believe my hair is the healthiest it has even been. Seriously. Better volume, texture and less static. All of those things I love. What I don’t love is that it is more work out of the shower. In order for No Poo to work for me, I have to spend time each day really brushing my hair. About a 400% increase in time for me. I’m not sure I enjoy that part yet.
So why did I go “no poo?” Simple: Less toxic chemicals. All those unpronounceable ingredients that I know my School of Mines friends spent hours developing in a lab are no longer in my hair routine. Sorry big chemical companies.
Regarding the stoppage of blogging, well, that’s a bit more complex. Partly due to “reintegration” hiccups, a bit from being angry at dummies, but mostly to do with the take over of my alter ego, a.k.a. The Grinch, I just couldn’t find anything nice to say about many things and many people so I just didn’t say anything. I’m slowly coming out of that funk. Still having to hold my tongue, though, so beware.
Last year in church I learned a song along with the children. (Yes, you can actually learn things from church songs, peeps.) One line of the chorus says, “God gave us families, to help us become what He wants us to be.” It has taken me almost a year to internalize that phrase and apply it in my life to create a Whooville-esk change in my heart.
You see, everyone knows it’s easy to be good and nice and pleasant when you are by yourself or only surrounded by people you like or people you choose, people who only agree with you or think you are awesome all the time, or nature or yoga or whatever. Easy. Also flaky. God wants us to be like He is, so we have to experience what He does to an extent. That means being surrounded by block heads and still loving them.
God gave us families so we could be surrounded by people we don’t like 100% of the time. People who sometimes insult us, ignore us, hurt us, take us for granted, are rude and disrespectful, people who sometimes don’t like us, steal from us, lie to us, gossip about us, are sometimes stupid, annoying, and NEVER go away. God’s family is made up of all those kinds of people and more. He loves each one unconditionally. He is committed to His family 100%, no matter what. He doesn’t retreat to solitary wildernesses to escape being offended or insulted. He doesn’t stop giving to His family because He thinks they will mismanage His blessings. He doesn’t stop caring even if His family tells Him they don’t need Him any more. He is committed and is always there. He doesn’t flake out on us.
We have only a finite bunch to figure out how to love. And that’s including in-laws and other relatives. Think of the Divine attributes to be gained for a man to learn to love a mother-in-law who does not like him. And how about a vicious sibling rivalry ending in friendship and peace? An uncle who abuses, a cousin that uses, a wayward child. God doesn’t stop loving them and we shouldn’t either. We don’t have to love them for what they do, because frankly, sometimes we are all idiots, but we need to love them for who they are: family.
Which brings me to the next part. Maybe we don’t have ‘family.’ Or maybe we think our family is already perfect. (Congratulations) Well, that’s why God gave us Church families. If we didn’t get enough schooling from our own kin, we have an entire congregation of education waiting for us. Yes, hiding out in a monastery will give you plenty of time to reflect on perfection. A quiet mountain retreat is a great place to clear your mind. But you can only grow so much on your own. There are no mother-in-laws in monasteries, or out hiding in the hills. You will never get a chance to be insulted and learn to turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile or return good for evil if you avoid it altogether by worshipping in nature.
Attending church regularly gives you the opportunity to grow beyond your comfort zone, because let’s face it, it’s not always comfortable at church. In fact, most times it’s not even convenient, fun, happy or exciting. It can be a downright drag. But it’s good for you, because doing things that you don’t want to do, that God commanded you to do, will always bring blessings. God knows we aren’t perfect. That’s why there are churches. We go to church to learn how to be more like Him. We need to learn how to get along with our own family, and our church family. We need to learn how to forgive them, serve them and love them, no matter if they offend us, insult us and misuse us. Our goal is to do what He would do if He were here.
We are all part of God’s Family. He gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be. Being like the Savior is often unglamorous, decidedly without praise. It’s the un-easy and un-flaky way to be. But it is the way to be.