Category Archives: just life

I am 49 and still have not found my “God”…..my struggle with religion

I love National Public Radio. Our local station is WHRV, and I listen to it most of the time. I especially love Morning Edition and BBC Newshour. In fact I also love the Cathy Lewis show, and Fresh Air. Okay, I love it all. There have been many times I have sat in my car in the driveway, or in the parking lot at school, and been late just so I can listen to a program. All the while thinking, “just a few more minutes”. I like listening to public radio because I feel smarter when I do. I feel like I learn something new, or hear a different perspective than I had in my own head. I don’t always agree with everything I hear on the radio, but I always listen.

Recently I had one of those moments when I stayed in my car to listen to a program. It was very interesting, and I heard someone speaking about something I had thought many times but had not put voice to. I heard a story about Eric Weiner and a book he wrote called “Man Seeks God”.

He talked about how he went to the emergency room at a hospital with abdominal pains and a nurse whispered in his ear, “have you found your God yet?” Being a person who works in the medical field I do find it a bit odd that she would say such a thing to a patient, but it was a good thing because it caused Eric to embark upon a quest. A quest to find his God.

In his book he talks about his journey through Islam, and Buddhism, and Christianity, and Judaism. He talks about the things he found and what it meant to him.This whole topic hit really close to home for me. I mean, I am 49 already, and I struggle with the same thing.  Have I found my God?

Have I found my God? That is an interesting question. I am 49 and still have not found my “God”…..do you struggle with this too?

I was raised Jewish, but we were a family who did not attend Temple. I did not have a Bat Mitzvah and cannot speak or read Hebrew. I do know the prayers and my parents always did the “big” holidays. We had a Passover Seder every year, and ate apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah. We fasted on Yom Kippur and had a dreidel box with presents in it at Hanukkah. It was next to the Christmas tree, but at least my parents taught me about my Jewish heritage.

When I became an adult I learned a lot about the Mormon faith from a roommate I had while I was stationed in Great Lakes.  Then I learned a lot about Catholicism from a guy I dated.  Then I married a man who was Church of Christ. While I really liked much of what I learned in the Christian church, I could never quite wrap my head around the “only Christians get to Heaven” part.

My parents were good people, but they did not believe in Jesus as their savior. Why did that make them unworthy? Why were only Christians the right ones? I never understood how they could be the only group that is “right”. To me it felt a bit elitist. And somehow wrong……   I just couldn’t ever believe in an “all loving”, omniscient being who would somehow “other” a group just because they didn’t worship him (it)….that just goes against every fiber of my being….

By the time I moved where I live now, my life was very different. I was divorced, had a female partner, and still had not found a religious home where I felt comfortable and like I belonged. I found a local Unitarian Universalist church, and after doing some research about what UU’s believed, we checked it out.

Unitarian Universalism is a welcoming faith, and I love almost everything about it, but even there, I had some reservations about some aspects of it.

I like some Buddhist beliefs, but can’t find my way to believe all of those either.

I have studied some Wiccan beliefs and find those very interesting and comfortable also. But it still isn’t a “perfect” fit for me.

And my family is not much help to me in this area either.  Karol was raised Catholic, but says regarding religion she is “unsure”.  My mother was raised Southern Baptist, but converted to Judaism before she married my Jewish father so we would be born Jewish.  She now says she is an atheist.  Our oldest son Brandon says he “doesn’t know”, what he is, the middle son, Zachary, says he is an atheist, and the youngest son The Genius says he is a “Jewnitarian”, (A Jewish Unitarian Universalist). So even my family is a hodge podge of religious beliefs.

So I guess there is no religion that fits me perfectly. I guess I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.  I don’t think “God” is a man, yet I don’t think “God” is a woman either. I don’t think of gender when I think of “God”, I usually think of the universe, or an ethereal being of some kind without a body shape, just spirit. As Eric puts it I seem to have found an “IKEA God.” “Some assembly required,” he says. “[The] idea is that you can cobble together your sort of own personal religion, a sort of mixed tape of God.”

I liked that. It made sense to me, and somehow seemed to put the religious puzzle pieces in my brain into a cohesive unit. So I have decided that it is okay to be eclectic when dealing with religion. That you can take the pieces you like and that make sense to you and add it to the other things that make sense to you and stir it all together to make a wonderful spiritual soup that is palatable and I can live with on a daily basis!

Silent Sunday

zack prom

 

 

 

Silent-Sunday

Clarkston Dermatology- A place you can rewrite the story of your skin!

For many of us, our skin speaks to the world in ways we might not want it to. It speaks to the world by the way it looks. Lines, wrinkles, acne, acne scars, hyperpigmentation. Our skin tells a story and it is not always the story we want to tell. The stories are different for different people. Acne scars tell a story of someone who has dealt with deep acne, possibly even cystic acne, and has left deep pockmark scars on their face. Hyperpigmentation also tells a story of a person who has had to deal with acne, or maybe a hormonal condition called melasma, and this story is probably more often seen on the face of a person of color, or olive complexioned Caucasians. Lines tell a story that could be a story of sun damage, or ageing, or stress, or illness. The stories that our faces tell may not be the ones we want to tell the world. In my experience everyone wants to be the author of their own story, and they don’t want fate, or circumstances, or external sources to tell their stories for them.

I have been working in the field of Dermatology for 10 years, and have been administering skin care procedures such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels for 5 of those years. Because of my experience in the field of Dermatology as I walk around in this world I can read people’s life stories on their faces. I can look at their skin and know if they have had deep cystic acne, less severe acne, melasma, too much sun exposure, whether or not they have used sun screen and much more. I can usually tell if they have had skin cancer removed, or if they have lupus. I can see eczema, and psoriasis. I see these on a person as a story that can be retold with the right medication or skin care procedures. Now, to be honest skin care professionals cannot completely remove these stories from people faces with medications and procedures, but most people just want their skin to be less obviously “read” by the world at large. Dark spots diminished, acne scars diminished, psoriasis not so evident, sun damage corrected, etc. Many of these “stories” or skin problems can be helped with skin care procedures that are available at your local dermatologist.

Specifically I want to talk about microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Both of these procedures are excellent for removing dark spots, sun damage, fine lines, reduction of pore size, and reduction of the appearance of acne scarring. Chemical peels work in different ways and are not appropriate for everyone because of individual sensitivity levels. Chemical peels work by causing the superficial layers of skin to peel or “flake” causing a deep exfoliation with a chemical agent such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid or other peeling agents such as resorcinol. Different peels are designed for different skin tones and skin types, so these should only be administered by a trained skin care professional. These professionals can be found at Dermatologist offices, and they are quite skilled at knowing which, if any peel is the right one for each patient’s individual concern, and skin type.

Microdermabrasion is excellent for reducing acne scars, removing damage from excessive sun, smoothing fine lines, and honestly taking years off of your face by smoothing and softening your skin. Very fine crystals are taken on and off the skin with a hand held device, which polishes the skin, causing a deep exfoliation. Your skin feels different immediately and there is no peeling or flaking to deal with after your procedure. Microdermabrasion is safe for all skin types, even sensitive skin. There are no chemicals applied to the face, so there is no possibility of any harmful chemical reactions.

Your trained skin care professional will know which procedure is the best one to accomplish the goals you want to achieve. They can help “rewrite” your story so you present the world with the face you want to present not the one melasma, acne, sun damage or other conditions have caused you to put forward. We all want flawless skin, but that is not a “real” story, that is a fairy tale. However, your professional skin care specialist such as those found at Clarkston Dermatology will be able to be an author of a new chapter in your story. Give them a call today for your free consultation so together you can write a new chapter in the story of your life. One that you will be able to have control of and will give you the happy ending you deserve!

So give them a call today! Why continue with the same story? Take charge of your story and take charge of your skin!