Religion, viCARIously Speaking – Part 2

Isn’t that the truth?

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of spending my day with some amazing people, celebrating one of my high school friend’s 40th birthday.  It was a blissfully buzzed day, and I truly enjoyed myself, reminiscing about the days of past.  After arriving home that evening, the laughs continued while we caught up with my oldest daughter and her two high school friends.  It was a relaxing, peaceful, inebriated day.  But it wasn’t my norm.

I took Monday off of work to watch the total solar eclipse with my “family”.  I use quotes because last minute, my 6-year old said that she would rather watch the eclipse at school with her friends, and my 11-year old was too nervous of his school’s rules on unexcused absences to skip.  Sigh.  So, the hubby and I floated around the pool, sneaking glances at the phenomenon every few minutes.  Again, a relaxed, peaceful day, but far from my norm.

The rest of the week, I was… off.  That’s the only way I can describe it.  I was short with my family, overly irritated at work, off.  Everyday life?  Normally I am able to conquer whatever is thrown at me with the grace of Wonder Woman. This week?  Almost unbearable.  I felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack three of the remaining four days that week.  This was a real eye-opener for me.  I haven’t felt this out of control since going ‘no contact’ with some toxic family members 4 months ago.

I don’t believe in organized religion, therefore I don’t go to church.  But Sunday is a very important and spiritual day to me, in it’s own way.  Sunday is my day to reflect and contemplate.  My day to cleanse and nourish, not only physically but metaphorically. It’s my day to create and set right.  And, as wonderful of a day celebrating my friend’s birth was, I wasn’t able to do these things.

I love to cook. Weeknights are healthy meals thrown together in a rush in between work/school and whatever practice or responsibility that night brings.  Sundays, however?  That is my slow-cook day; to me, there is nothing better than prepping, chopping, simmering, stirring, tasting, and teaching my kids one of the most grounding, simplistic things that a person can do to nourish their soul.  Second to strapping on my running shoes and putting in a couple miles, cooking is my time to think, to… breathe.

I find that my choice of recipe on Sundays reflect who I am missing at that moment in life.  A big pot of chili or vegetable soup when I am missing my dad, an eggplant parmesan when I don’t get to see my oldest daughter as often as I want, or something new to make together when I need to reconnect with my younger kids.  This week? I must be missing a mother-figure, because the only thing I wanted to cook was Granny’s fried chicken and potato salad.

I cannot express in words the way this woman touched my life. She was the mother that I wish I had; the woman who only seemed capable of love and was able to take what life handed her and make something wonderful out of it.  She was ripped from this world way too soon.  From what Dad says, we have a lot of the same personality traits.  I like to think that she lives on in me, and I will do right by her, as Dad remembers her. As I wrap and tie the apron around my waist, I envision her doing the same as I saw her do, 30+ years ago, and I get to work.

There is something methodical about laundry for me. I know a great number of people who despise this chore.  Washing, listening intently for the exact time to add fabric softener, and carrying the basket of freshly laundered clothes outside to hang on the line is soothing to me. I love the idea of allowing the same sun that warms our earth and helps my garden grow, warm and dry my family’s clothes that we wear each day.  I can smell the sunshine on my clothes that I wear to work that week; it makes me feel a part of something much bigger than I will ever be.

Sundays are also the day that I create.  Whether it is bottling honey to sell, melting ingredients to make lip balm or candles, painting rocks or drawing pictures with my daughter, or writing a few words towards my book, letting loose a little creative energy is always a must.

I don’t think that a person needs to join the church masses to get right with the world or themselves.  I have read friends talk abut “failing God” or “letting him down”.  I also have friends that put up with horrible, back-stabbing “friends” all in the name of belonging to a church.  Sometimes, all it takes is stepping away from the norm and filling your day with things that nourish YOUR soul, based on YOU, not some scripture created by a man, read by a man.

So, as I tug freshly laundered clothes off the line, I will feel the warm sun on my face and appreciate the little things.  I will dance around my kitchen listening to shuffled Pandora, and mix the perfect amount of onion and eggs into my potato salad, according to what I remember of Granny’s recipe.  While I am teaching Jameson the secret of Granny’s fried chicken, and overseeing Mackenzie stirring the spices into the flour, I will share memories of the beautiful woman that I wish they had the opportunity to meet.  As the chicken stock simmers on the stove, I will type snippets of my thoughts to you, my dear readers, as a creative release, to cleanse me for the week ahead.  And I will be right with the world.

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