At the very moment when my paradigm was falling apart, along came the book I needed to read. Not to help me put my paradigm back together, but to help me step over the debris and into a new paradigm.
A bit of background:
After, well, let’s say “several decades” as a conservative, evangelical Christian, always coloring inside the lines, always playing by the rules – suddenly the rug was pulled out from under me: “my community” betrayed and then abandoned me and my family. I won’t go into detail now. Suffice it to say that I got to see the ugliness under the masks of piety.
I suddenly found myself alone – as my youngest went off to college and my husband was working overseas. It was my dog and me in a gigantic house, and me with a gigantic hole in my paradigm.
Enter the book. Nope, not the Bible! It was several years before I could open it again.
No, the book was “Falling Upward,” by Richard Rohr, a Catholic monk and mystic.
TBH, a year earlier, I would not have considered reading anything written by a monk or a mystic. But at this moment, everything was up for grabs.
A wise friend recommended “Falling Upward,” and I devoured it. I copied out my favorite passages, and come back to them often. Including today.
Rohr looks at life in two halves:
The first half of life container is constructed thru impulse controls; traditions; group symbols; family loyalties; basic respect for authority; civil and church laws; and a sense of the goodness, value, and special importance of your country, ethnicity, and religion.
I recognized every word – did you? – raised as I was in a conservative Christian family, in Christian schools from kindergarten through college graduation, always involved in church groups, youth activities, the whole nine yards.
Yup, that was me: well-behaved, loyal to my peeps, respectful of authority, patriotic, and deeply religious. A good Christian, a good American.
Well, let me clarify: my paradigm (the one I’d been steeped in from birth) dictated what made a good Christian.
I think you could say I was Law-abiding, with a capital L. You know what I mean. And then, I became an outsider.
Paradigm lost, so to speak.
to be continued…