Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain


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Powerless: Long Story Short

Rock….meet hard place.  I should have been more prepared but I had no idea how to even prepare.  Samantha, my step-daughter(the one I’ve raised since she was five), and I haven’t spoken much about the divorce or about my relationship with The Tour Guide because I knew she was uncomfortable with it and had indicated she didn’t wish to speak about it.

The last time we spoke about it was a year or so ago.  When I came back from a trip to visit The Tour Guide I went to see her to tell her that we were engaged.  I would prefer she heard these things directly from me than from someone else.  She reacted surprisingly well to the news given her reaction to our relationship up to that point.  When I told her we were engaged her immediate response was, “I guess I’d better get to know him.”  Given that I thought maybe we were past the animosity about it.  I still didn’t discuss it with her in great detail because, after all, I’m sure it’s still awkward for her and she really doesn’t want to hear about it.  I go to visit her and the children about once a month and we keep the conversation to the kids and local happenings.  She never asks me how I’m doing or what’s going on with me so I’ve taken that as a sign she doesn’t want to know and I don’t talk about it. That’s not meant as a slight toward me or her.  It’s just that it’s awkward for her and I know it so I don’t push the issue.

When The Tour Guide was here in September I called her to ask if she and her husband would like to go out to dinner with us.  I figured that a neutral public place would be best because if at any point she became uncomfortable she could excuse herself  and leave without feeling locked in.  “Let me get back to you on that,” she said.  I never heard back from her and decided to leave well enough alone.  I haven’t brought it up since.

With The Tour Guide arriving for good and wedding plans in place it was time, once again, to make the trek to her house to tell her myself rather than her hearing rumors about it. The Sunday before he arrived I went to her house. I don’t really know how to approach it with her so I play with the children for a while and then while they’re in another room playing I broach the subject.

Suffice it to say the conversation didn’t go very well.  It was long and at every turn she had all the answers for why I had to have been having an internet affair and how it was really all my fault that I was abused.  He only did what I allowed him to do.  I went along with things, never saying I didn’t like it, and then was resentful.  She knows so very much for someone who doesn’t want to talk about it all.  The thing is I can see where she gets the whole internet affair from.  As inaccurate as it is, I get it. I’m not really even offended by the accusation.

Still I felt just as low, just as dirty, the shame of having been abused washed over me anew.  There it was.  It was all my fault.  I should have left sooner.  I shouldn’t have put up with it.  I should have tried harder or I shouldn’t have tried at all.  If I was going to stay and try to work it out, why didn’t I try harder?  Why did I go through counselling when I already had my mind made up?

“I didn’t come here to argue.  I came here to tell you something important and I’ve done that. I love you and I will always love you.  I hope that we can find some way to work through this and at least be friends.  I think it’s best if I leave now.”

It’s taken me nearly three weeks to even get to the point that I can write this.   I’ve cycled through all the emotions I went through when I left my marriage.  I’ve beaten myself up, I’ve gotten angry, I’ve felt sad and I’ve grieved.  Mostly now I realize that I feel powerless.  Just as powerless to stand up for myself with her as I did her dad.  Powerless because I made a choice not to tell her all the things that led me to this point.  Powerless because she didn’t ask for any of this, it isn’t her fault, and I can’t change the fact that she’s been hurt by it.  I can’t make it better.  The only thing I know to do is allow her to cycle through her own emotions.  Maybe we can be friends and maybe we can’t. It will be up to her.

And I didn’t even address the subject of why I’m not going to church.  I can only imagine what kind of response that will draw.  I likely won’t discuss this with her, at least for some time.  Sometimes I’m torn between coming out of the closet on it and remaining deep in the back.  Secrets have a way of biting me in the butt.  Just look at the mess keeping my private marital secrets has made.

In the end I did send her an invitation with a handwritten note from me reminding her that I love her and I always will and that I’d love for her to be there, but if she doesn’t come I will completely understand and my feelings will not be hurt.

It’s taken me about this long to remind myself of all the reasons I’ve done what I’ve done to and come out of the funk that all this crazy baggage puts me in sometimes – giving myself permission all over again.  I’m reminding myself that although I felt powerless in that moment and for a couple of weeks after knowledge is power.  She probably feels pretty powerless, herself.  I have knowledge she will never have.  Now I’m trying to put myself in her shoes and look at this from her eyes.  I will admit this is a struggle.

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The Atheist Challenge – My Response

I’ve seen the Atheist Challenge questionnaire making the rounds.  It’s questions made me stop and think and to try to articulate concisely what and why I believe as I now do. To give myself permission, if you will, to change and allow my beliefs to evolve.  It has hi-lighted some areas I’d like to delve into a little deeper to further my understanding of how I came to believe what I believed.  I am also now very intrigued by religion in general.  I’m fascinated by how the canon of scripture was developed and it’s impact on the world.

1. If there is NO God, then there is no Measurement or Standard for morality?  Then What will define morality?

I used to believe that if there was no God there was no standard for morality.  I now believe that morality is the same as it has always been.  A man-made law.  Considering that the written code we now call the Bible has only been in existence a few thousand years and man has been in existence much longer than that I would say that what has been written was what was born out of trial and error and societal norms at the time and what had been established orally up until then.  Looking at what we call the law, Exodus and Leviticus, it is obvious to see that this isn’t some perfect moral code.  It is actually quite similar to other written codes at that time and is hardly just.  In looking at it’s treatment of women, children and slaves(it condones it) it becomes obvious that this is nothing more than man’s attempt to maintain some sort of order rather than chaos.  Societal practices always have and always will be the standard for morality.

2. If there is NO God, then there is NO meaning or purpose to Life.  So without a God, does life have purpose or meaning?  Without God, does the Atheist have purpose?

I suppose many a man has gone down the nihilist path.  Life has whatever meaning or purpose we assign to it.  I would submit that it has greater meaning and purpose than if we have a forever to enjoy it.  What we have is the here and now.  That should cause us to take pleasure in the little things, the love we enjoy, the children we have, in a sunset or a sunrise, in nature.  It should cause us to develop a live ’til we die mentality.  Not one of excess and overindulgence, but one of appreciation of life and moments of happiness.  We should be striving to leave this place better for the next generation.

3. Are you an advocate of New Atheism and Darwinism?  If so, then the most extreme and logical form of Darwinism is Eugenics.  Would you support this?  Why or Why Not?

I really haven’t studied New Atheism or Darwinism as it relates to Eugenics.  Though I have to say I would not be a proponent of Eugenics.  If we are talking about the manipulations of genes to make specific humans genetically better, as in correcting a defect, then sure.  What I mean by that is if there is some way to alter a particular gene to prevent a known heart problem…well…that would be the same in my opinion as curing cancer and who wouldn’t want that?  But if we are talking about using Eugenics to populate the planet with some genetically superior humans then no.  We’ve already seen where that kind of thinking, that mentality, that kind of superiority complex leads.  I don’t think we want to go back there.

4. If we are ancestors/descendants of Apes, then why are there no transitional fossils or species to support this theory?

We are not ancestors/descendants of Apes.  We have common genes and we have common ancestors, but I’m not aware that we are directly descendant from Apes.  As for transitional fossils there actually are a few.  A quick google search will reveal this and the History channel has done a pretty good job with From Ape to Man.  You kind of have sift through all the opinion stuff but they do present actual transitional fossils pretty well and they show the ones that have been discovered to be a hoax.  They explain in some detail how it was determined that these are hoaxes and what criteria is used to determine which ones are not.

5. Do you believe in Human Nature?  It is Human Nature to believe in God, if so, why do you go against human nature and not believe in God?

We are humans.  We have a nature.  I believe that nature to be unique to the individual.  I do not believe it is human nature to believe in a God.  There are a number of tribes which are Atheist, not because they’ve gone against their nature, but because they’ve seen no evidence to the contrary.  They have no reason to believe there is a god and no one has yet told them there is.  When someone tries to tell them this they scoff at the idea because of their own life experience.

6. Can ‘Something come from Nothing’?  Doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?

That question implies that there ever was nothing.  We only make that assumption because the Bible says…in the beginning.  There was a beginning of time/record keeping, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there was nothing before that.  We simply don’t know the answer to that.  It would be impossible to know if there was a violation of The First Law of Thermodynamics.  My inclination is to say no, there was no violation of a natural law.  Either our understanding of that law is flawed or our understanding is incomplete or inadequate to even answer the question.

7. It seems that a society of Atheist are immoral and self-destructing.  Why would anyone want a Godless Society, just look at our examples: North Korea, Maoist China, Stalin, & Pot Pol?

We also have the Crusades, God-ordained slavery, murder, genocide and much more.  It seems to me that so-called godly societies can commit some of the worst atrocities against mankind.  Why would we want to establish a God-filled society?  Is it really any better?  No.  The problem is that humans are humans.  Good and bad.  Some use god as an excuse to carry out their evil deeds and some godless are the most upright, moral people on the planet.  I can’t see where belief in a god makes much of a difference.  These so-called Godless societies still use fear and brainwashing to control their masses.  Critical thinking skills are necessary whether god is or not.

8. If you were to die, and you were before God.  And he was getting ready to pass judgement on you,  What would be your reaction or thoughts?  What plea would you give him so he does not judge you harshly?

I would appeal to his rational nature.  I would remind him that if he so desired he could have made himself known to me.  The fact that I no longer believed in him wasn’t for a lack of seeking.  I would also appeal so his sense of reason.  If all it takes is a mental ascent to a particular belief any old monkey could do that.  Wouldn’t that make his grace cheap?

9. What would convince you atheism is wrong?  And that Christianity is Right?

I’m not sure at this point.  Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  So far we have a lot of claims of virgin births, and resurrections but nothing more than conjecture to back it up.  There are a lot of people who “feel” that God is real and just “know in their hearts” that Jesus was raised from the dead.  Some physical, hard evidence would be nice.  Some sort of personal, verifiable, experience.

I’ve had all those “feelings” but have come to realize that isn’t a very reliable indicator of reality.  I “just knew in my heart” that Jesus had risen from the dead but the Bible itself says that the heart is deceptive above all else.  All of this is so subjective.  I’d need some objective proof of the existence, not just of a man named Jesus, but that the legends about him are true.

10. Why are you an Atheist?  Why do you NOT believe in God?  Why do you reject God?  (You can be as detailed as you want.)

Well, it all started with an innocent question from a person I was witnessing to.  They asked if I could provide some corroborating evidence from an extra-Biblical source for my claims.  “Piece of cake”, I thought.  Except that when I looked for the evidence what I found astounded me.  What was available wasn’t reliable.  These were sources that had been used to convince me.  But no one told me they were questionable, at best. Josephus turned out not to be such a reliable source.  That, in turn, caused me to dig further.  I began to research the origins of the canonized scripture and the reasons other apocryphal works were excluded.  What I found horrified me.  It horrified me to find out that the line I’d been fed by the church about the Holy Spirit’s perfect preservation of God’s word was just that.  A line.  I’d bitten hook, line and sinker.  The more I stepped back and looked through skeptical eyes the more I came to realize how flawed and wholly unbelievable the whole thing is.  It all crumbled like a house of cards.

As for rejecting god.  I simply see no evidence that there is one.  No god has revealed himself or made himself known to me in any reliable, discernible manner.  Once the Christian God crumbled right before my very eyes I saw now reason to believe in any other.  Is there any credible evidence one exists?


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Oxymorons

One of the fuel jobbers we purchase fuel from has recently made some major software changes.  These went into effect July 1.  They spent a lot of time and expense having webinars and holding classes to tell us all what to expect with regards to billing and what our new invoices would look like.

They informed us that for the first few days we’d receive some invoices with the old layout but to disregard them and we’d get credits for those and new invoices with the new layout.  Okay so far.  That happened and everything was hunky dory.

Then out of the blue they started charging me a tax that we don’t owe and I’d never seen.  I called them up and they said they were aware of the problem.  Just give them a day or two and I’d get credits for those and new invoices for the correct amount.

I did.  I got new invoices.  For the invoices they’d billed me correctly for to begin with.  I got yet another credit for those invoices with a new invoice with the tax charged that we don’t owe and they aren’t supposed to collect.  So now I have three invoices and two credits for each load of fuel.  Confused?  I am.

I ring them up again and explain what’s happened and tell the nice lady that I’m confused because these weren’t the credits and re-bills I’m expecting and why.  I tell her they’re confusing and that they’re going to drive me to drink and it’s not even lunch-time here.  We have a nice laugh about that.  Then she says without hesitation, “I’ll inform the experts.”

Are these the same experts that were informed before?  If they are, that’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one! 😯

Experts on what exactly?


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British Invasion

The Tour Guide is here!  He made it in to my local airport at around 9 p.m. Friday night.  Poor thing has been exhausted.  He slept a good portion of the day yesterday. He didn’t really get to sleep on the plane here so it made for kind of a long day.  But we are both so glad he’s finally here and, well, he’s kinda stuck with me now.  He’s got no return flight booked. 😉

I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks now.  I’ve got a few ideas rolling around in this head of mine, but I’ve been so busy making preparations for my British Invasion I haven’t really had time to develop them much.  My friend keeps dragging me out to shop, saying I need new clothes for the honeymoon.  Have I mentioned I hate to shop?  Just in case I haven’t, I hate to shop.  But I did find the perfect wedding dress online and the perfect shoes in one of the places she drug me to.  Have I mentioned I’m cheap?  Well, I am.  No…I’m frugal.  I will splurge on something I really, really like.  But I’m hard pressed to pay top dollar for most of what I see in the stores and surely not for something just because it’s got a designer label on it.  So I’ve been sewing.  I’ve made a couple of skirts and am planning a dress or two.  I got skills!

In between all of that I picked up another bookkeeping client.  So I’ve been up to my eyeballs in pretty fabric, thread, bank statements and 941 reports.

And now my British Beau and I are just enjoying some quality time together.  I’ll get back to some regular schedule of posting sometime or other.  Maybe after the wedding(maybe sooner).  Which is going to be awesome.  And simple.  But mostly awesomely simple.