Monthly Archives: September 2013

What was good about being a Moonie?

Every September 18th I think about it. Posters plastered all over New York City, with Father’s face and the words, “September 18th Could Be Your Re-Birthday.” We had just joined the Church that summer, Father was speaking at Madison Square Garden on September 18th, and it was our job to make sure the Garden was packed.

People would look at us strangely as we handed out pamphlets along Fifth Avenue. “Come hear a great man speak,” we’d offer, as we stuffed a picture of Father into the hands of passersby. “September 18th could be your re-birthday,” we’d practically sing as we stopped people as they walked down the block. They all looked at us as if we had two heads. Or were completely insane.

For years people thought I was insane because I was a Moonie. Back then I had people scream at me, laugh at me, fight with me, and offer to pray for me. And for years people have thought I must also be insane when I claim that there were good things about being a Moonie. That yes, this many years later I can and will call it a cult, but I steadfastly believe that I got a few good things from my years in that cult.

Sure there was insanity. Sure there were problems and upsetting events. Absolutely stuff happened to and around me that I wish hadn’t, and absolutely I was taught things that were not good for me to learn and that were not true. But there were also wonderful moments and wonderful learnings – that helped mold me into the person that I am today, and that I appreciate.

The Church taught (and teaches) about the oneness of mankind and that all people are loved by God. It taught me to accept and love others, to see everyone as my brother and sister, to be open to differences and to different ways of life and different points of view. Well, as long as the different points of view didn’t contradict the Truth I knew in the Church. My determination to bring joy to all my hardworking brothers and sisters in the Church taught me to have a joyful outlook, to find ways to make others laugh and smile, and to look for the good even in moments of not-so-good.

Being laughed at and teased for being a Moonie taught me to be willing to be different and to stand up for what I believe, even if other people think I’m wrong (or insane). And all of it, I firmly believe, either taught me to have a huge, loving heart, or at least reinforced my huge, loving heart. I learned to love people, and I love to love people. I learned, as we sang in a Holy Song, to “greet all men with a loving heart and speak the truth with a clear voice.” Recently someone I knew from back then reached out to me, and told me that he uses those lines from the song in all his emails. I think those lines encapsulate the good things I got from being a Moonie.

I don’t know if I’d choose to do it all again if I had the choice. I do know that there are memories that make me smile, and that being a Moonie for eight years of my childhood helped make me who I am. And that some of that is very, very good.

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I’m aiming for an A-

I was having a discussion with someone recently about how hard we all try (well, okay, about how hard I try). At everything. Really, at everything. Even though I think I’ve stopped trying that hard. They recommended I aim for an A-, instead of an A.

“Instead of an A,” I laughed. “Who aims for an A?” When I was in sixth grade my teacher made up a grade for me, A-WD, A-With Distinction. I had gotten too many A++’s and she needed a new grade for my work.

Now, I may have gotten great grades because I was smart and I worked hard, and I may have gotten great grades because I worked too hard…at everything. In the past I’ve tended to make sure that I always did the best I could. In everything. And when my efforts, or results, were less than stellar, I hated it. And probably myself.

So it was recommended I try for an A- and I like that idea. I may even let myself slip to a B sometimes. Not everything is worth doing perfectly. Not everything is worth the extra effort. And besides, many would argue, there is no such thing as perfect. Or perhaps – the Zen way – everything is perfect just as it is?

I’m aiming for an A-. I’m stopping the blog here, not writing more, and letting it (and me) be enough. I’m going to go enjoy the rest of my day, rather than working towards my A-WD.

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What a difference a day makes

The other day a dear friend posted on her Facebook page, “What a difference a day makes.” I liked the post and sat with the thought. She posted it on a day that was a bit tough for me, a day that I was actively reaching for ways to feel okay and better and stronger. A day that I was going out of my way to call out the things I noticed and enjoyed, the people my life was graced with, the blessings I have that I sometimes take for granted.

And today I agree with her, what a difference a day makes. I woke up rested and energized – excited for the day and filled with strength to embrace, and maybe even enjoy, whatever comes my way. What a difference a day makes.

Sometimes, when things are tough, we only need to make it through one more day, or one more hour, or just the very moment we’re faced with that seems too much. I’ve been consciously keeping myself in the moment – taking a breath and noticing where I am and that I’m completely, totally, absolutely okay in my moment. This keeps me from worrying about the future, or trying to change something over which I have no control. It keeps me aware and conscious and remembering that I am okay – right here and right now. I suppose that’s why the twelve-step programs offer the concept of “one day at a time.” Or one minute at a time. When things seem overwhelming and insurmountable, there’s still a good chance that I can survive and be okay for just a day. Or just an hour. Or just right now. Maybe that’s why another friend gave me a little token to remind me to breathe!

For me it works to deliberately focus my thoughts on something that feels better, that I like to think about, that brings a smile to my face. I’ve been noticing the beauty of the trees around me, the gorgeous day, the moon in a daylight sky, the sweet sound of a baby’s play, the feel of the breeze against my skin. I’ve been remembering, noticing, and trusting that right now I am okay, or I feel good, or there is joy – which offers me the space and grace.

What a difference a day makes. May yours be glorious and bright.

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