— Unknown (via selflessheart)
You should not wish to be the cigarette touching his lips.
He will not appear through the fog and heal your wounds.
Only you can do that.
So get out of bed and put on some lipstick.
Stop falling at his feet.
— Emery Allen (via theglasschild)
Taking the back-roads to get to the parkway I sometimes drive by a small sheep farm. The old weathered barns and roughly manicured pastures are close to the road and any activity is visible. A few times I have seen the old farmer caring for his animals. He is a smaller built older man and always has on dark wool driving cap with white grey hair peeking out in a disheveled fashion. Reminds me of the farmer from the movie “Babe” with his old English sheep herder style. I have always wondered about him. What is he like- What type of person is he. I imagined he would be kindhearted and sweet with a noble “poor man’s pride” spirit. Curiosity got the best of me today as I drove past and saw him walking besides his shabby wire fence.
I turned around and parked in the small dirt patch beside the barn. He stood there looking at me as I walked towards him. When I reached him I had spent my energy and confidence and now feeling awkward and shy managed to chirp out a quick “Hi! How are you?” He smiled stiffly and replied “Can I help you?” I averted my eyes as he peered at me from beneath his bushy grey eyebrows with a look of curious annoyance. “Um… I just see you taking care of the sheep sometimes… I was just thinking-” I stammered, unable to finish my sentence because I had no idea what to say. “About sheep?” He sharply replied crushing my rosy hopes of him being a warm kindred spirit. “yeah… They look like they would be sweet and nice pets” “Not pets! They are stupid fucking animals- and they keep finding ways out’a this pen.” He turned and began pulling some wire off the post. “I wouldn’t recommend you just going out and getting sheep-” He turned and looked at me his gaze resting at my colorful 5 finger socks and flip flops.
”Are you look’in at gett’n some sheep?” “Um… well, Not really… Not right now- I don’t have the facilities for…. for sheep” He scowled “You one’uh them Bardies?” “No… never went to Bard…” I quickly replied. Bard collage was known locally for its liberal earth loving students and was frowned upon by the local country folk. I began to regret stopping and bothering him. Awkwardness and uncomfortableness took over this failure to launch conversation. I envy my likeable husband who can strike up a successful conversation with just about anyone. The man pulled out a pack of cigarettes and began to light one. “I thought you’d be like the farmer in the movie “babe.” He exhaled. “I only watch the weather.” “Did you always want to be a sheep farmer?” I asked, ready to turn back to my car. He took puff of his cigarette as he stared into the sky. After a long paused he turned back to me and smiled with his eyes twinkling. “Not always…. but you have to do whatcha love. Find something that makes you get out of bed in the morin’n.”
Recovering slowly but steadily from this breakdown. The nightmares have stopped. Dreams are still confusing and vivid but not enough to wake me or steal so much energy from me. Still have no energy but my mind is quieter. When I feel it start to scream I have been able to distract myself enough to collect my composure. I have not drank or used any sleep aids but have managed to get some sleep in the early morning hours. Smoking still but stopping that today. I feel strong enough to deal with the irritability from the nicotine withdrawls especially when I know after day 2 I will feel so much better. I get so mad at myself every time I end up with a pack of cigarettes. I know they leave me feeling worse but the initial release of the smoke seems to be more important at the time. I cried all day yesterday which was nice because it was not a choking sobbing but a slow release of emotion and after each wave of tears I did feel a surge of contentment. I spent some time with my kids and just listened to them. Enjoying their laughing and little thoughts. I didnt have to do anything or get anything done. I just laid down on the couch and felt at peace- a rest. My dog has also brought me great comfort. He is a dorky newf mix but is the most caring soul. Was by my side through all the nightmares, the crying, the heartbreak. Those quiet comforts are the most healing.
This specifically refers to a hand striking the side of a person’s face, tells quite a different story when placed in it’s proper historical context. In Jesus’s time, striking someone of a lower class ( a servant) with the back of the hand was used to assert authority and dominance. If the persecuted person “turned the other cheek,” the discipliner was faced with a dilemma. The left hand was used for unclean purposes, so a back-hand strike on the opposite cheek would not be performed. Another alternative would be a slap with the open hand as a challenge or to punch the person, but this was seen as a statement of equality. Thus, by turning the other cheek the persecuted was in effect putting an end to the behavior or if the slapping continued the person would lawfully be deemed equal and have to be released as a servant/slave.
THAT makes a lot more sense, now, thank you.
I can attest to the original poster’s comments. A few years back I took an intensive seminar on faith-based progressive activism, and we spent an entire unit discussing how many of Jesus’ instructions and stories were performative protests designed to shed light on and ridicule the oppressions of that time period as a way to emphasize the absurdity of the social hierarchy and give people the will and motivation to make changes for a more free and equal society.
For example, the next verse (Matthew 5:40) states “And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” In that time period, men traditionally wore a shirt and a coat-like garment as their daily wear. To sue someone for their shirt was to put them in their place - suing was generally only performed to take care of outstanding debts, and to be sued for one’s shirt meant that the person was so destitute the only valuable thing they could repay with was their own clothing. However, many cultures at that time (including Hebrew peoples) had prohibitions bordering on taboo against public nudity, so for a sued man to surrender both his shirt and his coat was to turn the system on its head and symbolically state, in a very public forum, that “I have no money with which to repay this person, but they are so insistent on taking advantage of my poverty that I am leaving this hearing buck-ass naked. His greed is the cause of a shameful public spectacle.”
All of a sudden an action of power (suing someone for their shirt) becomes a powerful symbol of subversion and mockery, as the suing patron either accepts the coat (and therefore full responsibility as the cause of the other man’s shameful display) or desperately chases the protester around trying to return his clothes to him, making a fool of himself in front of his peers and the entire gathered community.
Additionally, the next verse (Matthew 5:41; “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.”) was a big middle finger to the Romans who had taken over Judea and were not seen as legitimate authority by the majority of the population there. Roman law stated that a centurion on the march could require a Jew (and possibly other civilians as well, although I don’t remember explicitly) to carry his pack at any time and for any reason for one mile along the road (and because of the importance of the Roman highway system in maintaining rule over the expansive empire, the roads tended to be very well ordered and marked), however hecould not require any service beyond the next mile marker. For a Jewish civilian to carry a centurion’s pack for an entire second mile was a way to subvert the authority of the occupying forces. If the civilian wouldn’t give the pack back at the end of the first mile, the centurion would either have to forcibly take it back or report the civilian to his commanding officer (both of which would result in discipline being taken against the soldier for breaking Roman law) or wait until the civilian volunteered to return the pack, giving the Judean native implicit power over the occupying Roman and completely subverting the power structure of the Empire. Can you imagine how demoralizing that must have been for the highly ordered Roman armies that patrolled the region?
Jesus was a pacifist, but his teachings were in no way passive. There’s a reason he was practically considered a terrorist by the reigning powers, and it wasn’t because he healed the sick and fed the hungry.
that, my friends, is called seminary, and good exegesis.
I love looking at Biblical matters in the context of the time, but let’s not forget that his healing of the sick and miraculous feeding of the hungry was seen by those in Jewish authority as a threat to their religious rule. Just my two cents.
My heart is broken. I am crushed. I can feel the tears in my eyes and a pain in my chest. I hate this feeling. Crying is a worse feeling. The worst is after all the tears have been shed and that numb coldness fills your body days following… Like death- the final end- its cold, lonely and quiet. The past weeks I have suffered nightmares, anxiety attacks, and breakdowns. My soul was trying to tell me something and I ignored it and covered its voice with alcohol, drugs and other distractions. Now its done. My soul and my mind are no longer screaming. Its quiet now. Tears fall and I await the cold as I trudge on in this miserable life.