Get Thee To a What-ery?!


One of the creepiest-and most entertaining-things about the Internet is that it seems to “get you”. Pandora always seems to know what song you want to hear next. StumbleUpon is a veritable rabbit hole of brilliance. Pintrest, Tumblr and Twitter seem to anticipate your every whim.

It’s all fun and games. Until it gets super weird.

Today I was whiling away my life on Facebook as usual, when I noticed one of my sidebar Ads. Underneath this-and-that artist who sounds like Bon Iver begging me to visit their Bandcamp, I saw something peculiar. “Be a Nun!” it declared.

Wait. What?

What do you mean, “Be a nun!”?

I know. I am very-super single. And I do say a lot about Church.

But that does not mean I am sitting in a tiny, windowless room singing “Climb Every Mountain” all day long.

Don’t worry, says Internet, if being a Nun isn’t for you, I bet I know what is: Christian Dating. Artist Dating. Dating for Almost Vegans. Date a Millionaire.

Happiness is a click away, it seems to whisper, try it now for free.

To me, “Be a Nun!” and “Find Your Soulmate NOW!” are two extremes on the same continuum. All of it rubs me the wrong way. Just because I’m single now doesn’t mean I want to be celibate forever. And just because I’m not dating Mister Dot Com, doesn’t mean that my life won’t be complete until I do so.

from Sister Act 2

“oh, no she didn’t!”

Don’t get me wrong. Being a nun and dating, respectively, are both about having healthy, strong relationships, learning how to give, and being a part of something greater than oneself. I dig that.

But what if I want to be single right now? What if I choose to enjoy the life I have in this moment? What can the world sell me to make things better if I am happy with the way things are?

That’s the goal for me these days. I have to ask myself: where am I, and how can I be content, wherever that is?  My recent piece on The Huffington Post, on faith healing and why I would opt out, has caused quite a stir. As I re-read it the other day, I got to thinking. What if I applied this same thinking [and faith, as it happens], to other areas of my life?

Instead of focusing on upward or lateral mobility at work, what if I just focused on doing the best I can with the job that I have right now? Instead of wistfully imagining Ryan Gosling waiting for me at home with dinner on the table [okay, that will always happen], what if I made the most of my time alone by using it to take better care of myself with exercise, sleep, or eating right?

But how?! HOW DO I GET THERE?

“The Lord is my Shepherd,” says the Psalmist, “I shall not want.”

This thought hit me right out of the blue today, like a Frisbee to the face.

For me, faith is an integral part of the process. Because I believe I have been given what I need to get through whatever day it is. “Grace is sufficient for me,” the Apostle Paul writes in his letter, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Of course, I am not leaping out of bed and skipping through every day with glee. And that’s not what I’m committing to. I’m committing to acceptance of where I am and what I’m doing, the same way I advocate for a faith healer to accept what I look like and how I move.

For my peers in the Faith, God is faithful. For those who are not, you’ve made it this far! All of you are doing fine. It gets rough, but you’re growing from where you are. Otherwise you’d be dead. Don’t stretch and strain and hurt yourself. Just accept it, be thankful to have another day, find beauty where you can. 

And yeah, it’s easier said than done. But you’re in good company. Right where you are. Right who you are.

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About Beth

Orthodox Christian, Grad student, camp counselor, recreational writer/reader, and apparently, maker-of-lists...
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3 Responses to Get Thee To a What-ery?!

  1. Herman Kok says:

    I teach English and when we do visual texts, particularly advertisements, I tell my students that they must always remember, advertisers are only out to make a profit, no matter what they tell you. And what they usually tell you is, “You’re not good enough. Buy our product then you will be.” They convince us we’re not happy and then try to sell us happiness. And pretty much everything in the world works that way. If you are not constantly striving to be more and have more and achieve more, you are not good enough.

    Contrast this with God who says, “Come to me, all who are weary and I will give you rest.” He takes us as we are and, as you say, gives us everything we need to not only survive, but to live a full life. But how often do we believe the lies of advertising, convincing us we need more. If we simply believe that God’s grace is sufficient, then the international debt crisis wouldn’t have happened, millions wouldn’t have lost their jobs and stress-related illnesses wouldn’t have been the biggest cause of death in the Western world.

  2. A very good lesson that I learned long ago and am trying to give to others as well.

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