For The Win!
Jun 28th, 2010 by Sonja

A friend of mine recently posted as her status on FB that just when she thinks she has God all figured out he throws a curveball and they win.  This statement was obviously made as a praise.  Now I’ve known this very kind and gracious lady for nearly as long as LightGirl has been alive.  Her faith is rock solid and she is very wonderful.  But the statement got me thinking.

We have this notion that God is on our side when we win, and we’re being tempted by Satan when we lose.  But what do we do with all of the red words to the contrary … like the first shall be last?  Or he who loses his life shall gain his soul?

What if we have it all backwards?  What if the temptation is in the winning and God is on our side when we lose?  How would that change your faith?

Aunt Jemima – International Women’s Day Synchroblog
Mar 7th, 2009 by Sonja

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Julie Clawson of One Hand Clapping challenged us to find some unsung heroines of the Bible and celebrate their stories today in a synchroblog.  So I pulled up BibleGateway and put “daughter” into their search engine.  I think it came back with about 110 hits … or something like that.

Some daughters just got honorable mention.  That is, they were simply mentioned as so and so’s daughter and that was the end of that.  Others had an actual story attached to their name.  Sometimes the story was fairly mysterious.  As in the case with Caleb’s daughter.  She was married to her cousin, by Caleb’s younger brother because Caleb had promised his daughter to whomever won a particular battle.  His nephew won the battle, so he married off his daughter.  This is not very acceptable by today’s standards, but in that culture we can understand it.  The next couple of verses recount an event that is odd.  Caleb’s daughter went to him and asked for some additional land.  When he gave it to her, she also asked for a couple of springs.  So he gave her those.  And there the story of Caleb’s daughter ends.  With the gift of springs.  It’s mysterious, really.  In there for a reason, but why?

So I moved on and found the story of Job’s daughters:  Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-Happuch.  This story can be found in Job, chapter 42 … the very end of the book.  Job has come through his trials with some version of success:

1 Then Job replied to the LORD :

 2 “I know that you can do all things;
no plan of yours can be thwarted.

 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’

 5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.

 6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”

7 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

This is curious to me, because here we see the result of what happens to friends who might give you (however well-meaning) an incorrect perspective of God during your trials.  Those friends will have to sacrifice in your presence and have you pray over them.  This is an interesting perspective that I’ve not heard taken away from Job … but more on that another time.   I’m just thinking we need to be very careful with what we say to people about God when they are experiencing trials.

In any case, the account goes on tell us what happens to Job in the rest of his life:

 10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

 12 The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

 16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so he died, old and full of years.

Wait?  What?  Three short sentences.  That is all we have of Job’s daughters.  They were part of a family of 10 siblings.  We don’t know where they fell in the sibling order.  We do know who among the girls was eldest, middle and youngest.  We know they were beautiful.  Most astonishing of all, we know that “… their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.”  That’s it.

It’s a genealogist’s worst nightmare.  We have names and nothing else.  We know only the most bare facts of their existence.  But we know one more thing.  Job gave them status.  He told the world that his daughters were equal to men.  His daughters were not chattel to belong to their husbands.  They owned something of their father in their own right.  I’m not certain I can fully convey how remarkable this was for that time.

It was miraculous.  Unheard of.  Women were not considered capable of owning or managing the things that men did.   But Job did it.

These are the just sorts of passages I do love.  Open-ended, without a tidy message.  We don’t know what happened to Job’s daughters.  We do know that Job lived to see “… his children and their children to the fourth generation.”  I believe that would be his great, great grandchildren if I’ve figured correctly.  My guess is that his daughters married and children of their own.  So how did they use their inheritance?  And … did they pass it on to their daughters?  What was their inheritance?  Was it land, animals, jewels?

I wonder about those things you see.  We have things (land, jewels and the like) that have been only passed to women in my family.  Our summer lake house is among them.  When my aunt left it to our family, she left it to my mom (her relative).  Her will stipulated that if my mother had pre-deceased her, it was to go to me and my brothers.  She was emphatic that it stay in her family.  In the 100 years prior to that, the house had always passed woman to woman.

They are so intriguing to me.  Those daughters.  Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-Happuch.  They are the opposing book-end to Job’s first three daughters.  As I thought about them and let their names rattle around I came to another realization.  I’d heard two of the names before.  Jemimah and Keziah were common names given to girls who were slaves in the American South.

I started looking for confirmation of that.  Of course, I quickly ran into a brick wall … because records of what slaves were named by each other were … um … slim.  Nobody thought it was important to keep track of what they called each other.  Sometimes just the gender and the slaveholders last name is recorded.  Certainly, no inheritance was given to these men and women.  It is intriguing to me that Jemima and Keziah were used as girls names though.

I wonder … could those names have been picked on purpose?  Are they names of hope?  We’ll never know for certain.  But we do know some few things.  We know that some slaves were given Christian training.  Some were even given Bible teaching.  We know that some of the stories resonated with their experience and certainly Job’s would have been among them.  It’s not a terrible stretch to imagine naming your daughter Jemima or Keziah out of hope … hope that one day you would have an inheritance to leave her, hope that she would be known as the daughter of a man who was blessed by God, hope that your trial would be ended in blessing rather than curses.

I think there might be something to that.  None of Job’s other children are named.  Not his first ten children (seven sons, three daughters) and not his second seven sons; just these three daughters.  So, it seems to me that these names spring to the top as names that are symbolic of the hope of a good outcome at the end of horrible trials … the kind of trials endured by slaves in the antebellum South.

Aunt JemimaThus I came to the Aunt Jemima pancake empire.  It was begun in the 1890’s by two men who, having created an instant pancake mix, needed an icon to name it and represent.  One of them ducked into a black-face minstrel show and there heard the following song:

The monkey dressed in soldier clothes,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!
Went out in the woods for to drill some crows,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!
The jay bird hung on the swinging limb,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!
I up with a stone and hit him on the shin,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!
Oh, Carline, oh, Carline,
Can’t you dance the bee line,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!

The bullfrog married the tadpole’s sister,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!
He smacked his lips and then he kissed her,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!
She says if you love me as I love you,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!
No knife can cut our love in two,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!
Oh, Carline, oh, Carline,
Can’t you dance the bee line,
Old Aunt Jemima, oh! oh! oh!

Shortly after hearing the name, Nancy Green was hired to represent Aunt Jemima.  She was currently working as a servant for a judge in Chicago, but had been born and raised a slave in antebellum Kentucky.  Aunt Jemima and her pancakes were introduced at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago.  It was held from May to November and Nancy smiled, sang, told slave tales, flipped and served almost a million pancakes during that six month period.  In the hundred and ten years since then she has become perhaps the most well-known African American female face in history.

Yet, there is something vaguely disturbing about that.  This name, Jemimah, started out as a name of hope, blessing, inheritance and beauty had become a term interchangeable with disparagement, slavery and bondage and now … commerce.  You never hear Jemimah as a name anymore.  There are no young women with that name … no fathers or mothers hoping to pass on that message of hope, blessing and inheritance to their daughters with that name because it’s lost all of it’s power.

We still hear Keziah.  You might not recognize it.  You’ll hear Keshia or Aisha.  Both of those names have their roots in Keziah.  A name of hope and blessing and inheritance for girls.   That’s just what we need to give our daughters today … a sense of hope and blessing and inheritance.  What sort of inheritance will you give your daughters?


This is my contribution to the International Women’s Day Synchroblog –

Here are links to some others –

Julie Clawson on the God who sees
Steve Hayes on St. Theodora the Iconodule
Sonja Andrews on Aunt Jemima
Sensuous Wife on a single mom in the Bible
Minnowspeaks on celebrating women
Michelle Van Loon on the persistant widow
Lyn Hallewell on the strength of biblical women
Shawna Atteberry on the Daughter of Mary Magdalene
Christine Sine on women who impacted her life
Susan Barnes on Tamar, Ruth, and Mary
Kathy Escobar on standing up for nameless and voiceless women
Ellen Haroutunian on out from under the veil
Liz Dyer on Mary and Martha
Bethany Stedman on Shiphrah and Puah
Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene
Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba
Eugene Cho on Lydia
Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible
Miz Melly preached on the woman at the well
AJ Schwanz on women’s workteenage girls changing the world
Teresa on the women Paul didn’t hate
Helen on Esther
Happy on Abigail
Mark Baker-Wright on telling stories
Robin M. on Eve
Patrick Oden on Rahab and the spies
Alan Knox is thankful for the women who served God
Lainie Petersen on the unnamed concubine
Mike Clawson on cultural norms in the early church
Krista on serving God
Bob Carlton on Barbie as Icon
Jan Edmiston preached on the unnamed concubine
Deb on her namesake – Deborah
Makeesha on empowering women

Hokey Pokey – Book Review
Aug 12th, 2008 by Sonja

Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey: Curious People Finding What Life’s All About by Matthew Paul Turner

I remember being small and pestering my mother with “what if” questions til she’d finally cry “Uncle.”  “We’re not playing the ‘what if’ game today.”  I was a curious child and have continued to be a curious adult.

It was that curiosity that lead me to chase down God; only to find He hadn’t exactly been hiding.  I simply hadn’t been looking very effectively.   No matter, we met up.  That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the many of God’s messengers here in earth have done their level best to squelch my inborn curiosity about life, living and all things to with the here and the hereafter.  I tried to contain it for a long time.  Then I tried to channel it into respectable outlets, but I’m a woman so there aren’t really any for me.  I taught youth group, I taught women’s classes, but they all got too deep and I continued to ask too many questions.  Silly me.

So I liked this book and I didn’t like this book.  And for the same reason.  It challenged me to get off my duff once more and dance.  Life’s been sorta painful these last couple of years.  The last few times I’ve “put my left arm in and shook it all about …” I got it ripped off and clubbed with the wet end (as my grandfather was fond of saying).  I’m not so anxious to try again.  I’m not even certain I want to listen to the music at this point, but let me finish telling you about the book.

I do highly recommend Hokey Pokey (although I really wish for a better title) for those seeking validation of their curious nature and for those beginning to ask questions but wonder if it’s okay (yes, it is).

Honestly, when I first cracked this book open I wondered how much there could be to write on the subject of curiosity.  Mr. Turner takes the subject far more seriously than his title suggests.  Along the way he manages to deal with calling, the silence of God, mentors, negative relationships, community, waiting on God, our image in God as well as several other fairly deep topics (these are what struck me).  Far from being a light read, I found this to be challenging on a level that I wasn’t anticipating.  Hokey Pokey would make a good book for a small group study for a group that has been together for some time and knows one another well.  It would also make a good book to read and journal through with a friend or on one’s own (as I plan to do later this fall).  It also made for enjoyable reading on it’s own and I found a lot that I simply relished; not the least of which was that many places were familiar as Mr. Turner lived and worked in the DC area and he managed the coffee house where I used to go to church.

Babbling On
Jun 26th, 2008 by Sonja

There are some blogs I simply read.  I don’t have the words to engage there, so I just read.  The other day I read the following:

In passing it is worth noting that one important reason why we should be suspicious of hierarchical top-down notion of leadership is because we know from history and from human nature that institutional systems confer social power and concentrates it at the top. The problem is precisely because of human nature that we should be very wary of such power in human hands. It almost always corrupts and damages the relational fabric that constitutes the church.

Alan Hirsch wrote those words on his post “field of dreams, part iv.”  The whole post is about nature of power and hierarchy within church structures.  As is usual with Alan, it’s quite good.  He’s published books and all, so of course, it’s good.

As I read those words, and as I continue to read them, I keep getting this picture in my head:

Tower of BabelThe Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9)

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.  As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar  and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.  The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

  So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel —because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

So, I was talking to my friend, Doug, on the phone the other day and mentioned this to him.  Because I think that Babel is (among many things) a metaphor for how we ought not to be concentrating power in tiny little hierarchies in churches.  Sometimes when I get odd ideas like this I run them past Doug because he’ll tell me when I’m nuts.  He is kind and gracious about it, but he’ll tell me the truth.  He’s smart too, so I can’t slip very much past him.

He got excited, in a very “doug” kind of way.  And we talked about the first four sins of the Bible.  There was the rupture of relationship between humans and God (in the Garden).  There was the rupture of relationship between humans and humans (Cain and Abel).  There was the rupture of relationship between humans and creation (the Flood).  And last there was this rupture of relationship between humans and the systems they love.

So all of that is to say, I think I’m going to study these and look the metaphors more deeply in the coming weeks and how they play out for us today.  I might even write about them here.  But I’m not promising anything.  Every time I promise something that looks like a series, I get overwhelmed and run away from myself.  This creates all sorts of havoc with my cellular structure.  I wanted to write this much so that I’d remember and see what happens from here.

Good Friday
Mar 21st, 2008 by Sonja


Good Friday, 1613.

Riding Westward

John Donne (1572-1631)

1Let mans Soule be a Spheare, and then, in this,
2 The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
3 And as the other Spheares, by being growne
4 Subject to forraigne motion, lose their owne,
5 And being by others hurried every day,
6 Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
7 Pleasure or businesse, so, our Soules admit
8 For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
9 Hence is’t, that I am carryed towards the West
10 This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.
11 There I should see a Sunne, by rising set,
12 And by that setting endlesse day beget;
13 But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
14 Sinne had eternally benighted all.
15 Yet dare I’almost be glad, I do not see
16 That spectacle of too much weight for mee.
17 Who sees Gods face, that is selfe life, must dye;
18 What a death were it then to see God dye?
19 It made his owne Lieutenant Nature shrinke,
20 It made his footstoole crack, and the Sunne winke.
21 Could I behold those hands which span the Poles,
22 And tune all spheares at once peirc’d with those holes?
23 Could I behold that endlesse height which is
24 Zenith to us, and our Antipodes,
25 Humbled below us? or that blood which is
26 The seat of all our Soules, if not of his,
27 Made durt of dust, or that flesh which was worne
28 By God, for his apparell, rag’d, and torne?
29 If on these things I durst not looke, durst
30 Upon his miserable mother cast mine eye,
31 Who was Gods partner here, and furnish’d thus
32 Halfe of that Sacrifice, which ransom’d us?
33 Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
34 They’are present yet unto my memory,
35 For that looks towards them; and thou look’st towards mee,
36 O Saviour, as thou hang’st upon the tree;
37 I turne my backe to thee, but to receive
38 Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
39 O thinke mee worth thine anger, punish mee,
40Burne off my rusts, and my deformity,
41 Restore thine Image, so much, by thy grace,
42 That thou may’st know mee, and I’ll turne my face.

An Instrument of Thy Peace
Nov 12th, 2007 by Sonja

kitchenThis weekend was tough. It began on Friday when I demolished my kitchen. Just took it out.

Not entirely. Not literally. But figuratively and enough that it is virtually unuseable. We hired a painter to come in an paint the kitchen and our eat-in area for us. He got most of it done, but not all. He thought he’d get it all done. But there are a few dribbles left. He was miraculous to watch.

No. Tape.

Now the kitchen looks like Fresh Butter. Beautiful.

We left early Saturday morning for another hockey weekend … this time to Raleigh, NC. Two very hard hockey games and two demoralizing losses later we arrived back home Sunday afternoon. The girls learned more about working losing together as a team, but this was brutally difficult work and it hurt to watch them go through it.

We spent a lot of time in the car (7 hours total) and I had a lot time to think. Jamie has been doing a Friday series on St. Francis that I’ve been enjoying. I didn’t really know why until this weekend. But all the tiles fell into place on the car ride.

In another life time (before kids), I used to do counted cross-stitch. It was one of my hobbies before quilting took over. I’ve had many hobbies in my life. I also used to do stained glass (I’ll tell that story another time). This was also during the days before I knew Jesus too. A friend taught me how to count my stitches. There is something very soothing to me about this hobby. It’s extremely controlled and yet … almost anything can be created with your stitches. I love that.

Shortly after I learned the basics my friend and her mom took me to a store to buy a pattern and supplies so that I could make something of my own. I still remember that first pattern and project … in part, because I never finished it! This is the story of my life. I manage to complete projects I’m doing for someone else. The projects I do for me, languish on a shelf. It’s still here in a box somewhere. I picked it because it was a prayer that I wanted for myself. I read this prayer and connected with it on so many levels. It was the prayer that is commonly known as the Prayer of St. Francis.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

I fell in love with it because it was simple, heartfelt, and unadorned. The project was the words of the prayer surrounded by dogwood blossoms, which are prevalent in the spring here in Virginia. I can still see it in my mind’s eye. Someday, I may find that project again and finish it up. I stitched the words, but got overwhelmed with the blossoms. I moved on to other projects; then to stained glass and then quilting. But I’ve always felt a special connection with St. Francis because of that silly, unfinished project that spoke to me long before I could hear Jesus speaking.

It is, in my mind, an ebenezer … a marker or monument, to the working of God in my life before I recognized it or truly recognized Him. I think that’s why I’ve been enjoying Jamie’s series so much. At long last, I’m learning more about the saint who spoke through the centuries into my heart when I couldn’t hear much of anything else.

Nov 7th, 2007 by Sonja

I first read this on Grace’s blog, and then on Lyn’s blog (it was started by Jim at Sola Gratia).  They both have eloquent posts with Jesus saying loving things to them.  Glenn Hager also has a wonderful post … Jesus is talking to him a lot.  I believe I’ve seen it in other places too, but I can’t remember where.  They all heard from him and He was gentle, kind and loving.  Some of the above-mentioned bloggers tagged specific people, some of them just said that if you read their blog you could consider yourself tagged.  I tried to ignore that.

I ignored it when I read Grace’s blog.

And Lyn‘s blog.

I find I cannot ignore it anymore.  But this is embarrassing.

When Jesus spoke to me, He assumed the voice of a rather largish woman of African-American descent.  Then He said, “You need to get off yo ass!”

I said, “Excuse me.”

He said, “You heard me!  Get up off yo big fat one and get a move on.”

Me (with a certain nasally whine) … “Ahhhh … what about all those nice platitudes you gave everyone else?”

Him … “Get off yo ass, woman. If I thought you needed pa-latitudes I’d give you one.  But you give me at-titude.  So I’m givin’ it raght back atcha.”

So, for today, I’m going to get up off my lazy white butt and get moving.  I’m not sure where, but given the recent interchange I have no uncertainty that I’ll hear about it if I’m moving in the wrong direction.

If the Spirit Moves
Oct 5th, 2007 by Sonja

I had my hair done yesterday. It’s something I’ve only recently begun treating myself to. This is a lengthy process that allows me substantial time by myself to meditate in the chair. I suppose I could bring a book and read. But usually I just close my eyes, rest and meditate. Today I found myself praying. It was simple prayer. Slowly I became aware that U2’s “Mysterious Ways” was playing. I heard it again as if for the first time. And I suddenly realized … Bono is singing about the Holy Spirit. Rock ON! And I continued praying.

Mysterious Ways

Johnny take a walk with your sister the moon
Let her pale light in to fill up your room
You’ve been living underground
Eating from a can
You’ve been running away
From what you don’t understand…

She’s slippy
You’re sliding down
She’ll be there when you hit the ground

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways

Johnny take a dive with your sister in the rain
Let her talk about the things you can’t explain
To touch is to heal
To hurt is to steal
If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel

(on your knees boy)

She’s the wave
She turns the tide
She sees the man inside the child

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
Lift my days, light up my nights

One day you will look…back
And you’ll see…where
You were held…how
By this love…while
You could stand…there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling

It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright

We move through miracle days
Spirit moves in mysterious ways
She moves with it
She moves with it
Lift my days, light up my nights

If you feel like praying today … you could too. I’m heading to court with BlazingEwe. We’re providing moral support for TexasBlueBelle, BlueMan and their neighbors as all those Peace Order cases are heard.

She moves in mysterious ways …

Seeing Myself More Clearly
Jan 24th, 2007 by Sonja

I’ve been lurking and occasionally (sp?) commenting at Emerging Women lately. The blog title probably speaks for itself. I went out and began searching down the blogs of some of the women who post there because I’ve come to enjoy and value their perspectives and wanted to see their homes. I found this paragraph at the first home I visited:

When people want someting of me that I do not want to give, I react. React with aversion and anxiety; words like, “flight,” “get out of my inner sanctum” and more visceral feelings difficult to name rise up, and I fight the old crap within me that hinders me from calmly setting boundaries without feeling awry and dismayed, gruilty or angry for having to set them at all. I instinctively push people away when I feel they want something from me that I am not comfortable sharing or giving, when I feel their emotions, desires or needs intrude on my psychological space. Peace is disrupted and I am furious; how could so-and-so dare disrupt my peace with their feelings or perceived needs that conflict with my feelings and perceived needs? I become more angry over the disrupton of peace than whatever substantive issue triggered my internal dissonance in the first place. And then the self-hatred for being so easily thrown off course, for not being enlightened or spiritual enough to be what I intellectually understand.

I read that passage two or three times before my breathing slowed down. How on earth could this woman who I have never met and who does not even know my name have written so clearly about me? Well, the reasonable answer is that she is writing about herself. But somehow she is also writing about me.

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