What’s In A Name?

V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #38: What’s In a Name?

VJ asks, “What’s in your blog’s name?”

This is a new blog, after stepping away for a break.  2018 was full of change and loss, dominoes crashing one into another…no reason, rhyme detectable…and taking a toll.  I seesawed between talking positively, and a bleak spiraling down as I scrambled to grasp thimble full of faith to refocus and right my cardboard boat.  I dreaded 2019, had no hope things would improve. 

I continued setting small goals to get me through each week, and burrowed into binge-reading novels.  Soon I felt that although it was a benign pastime, there was danger of it becoming an insular non-response to life…so I considered my “go-to”, blogging.  It’s surprising how even when emotionally whipped, our deep passions can stir dry bones…writing has never been difficult for me.  I pondered whether it was worth paying for a blog—could I make a commitment to stick with it past the trial period?

The title, Abandoned Amenities, reflects my rather grim current view of society.  It strikes me that people have largely discarded niceties essential to maintaining vitality of even casual relationships.  Due to lack of time, interest, energy, people seem rushed, pressured to attend to what’s imperative: work/paying bills, buying groceries (or subscribing to trendy meal delivery services), meeting family needs, sleep.  Packing all this into 24 hours leaves no time to dawdle in grocery aisles chatting with strangers; or to accept invitations from mere acquaintances—only the obligatory others

I suffer a “Mayberry mentality”, and it disturbs me greatly that hardly anyone knows the reference anymore.  It’s old-fashioned, idealistic—based on a slower-paced way of life, an era marked by conventional, traditional values (yet nothing like “Stepford Wives”).  There was less atmosphere of fear and distrust; people enjoyed being friendly, kind and helpful; respect was the “default”; and being “neighborly” offered a mutual sense of security that “no man was an island” when trouble paid visits. 

Technology, for all its advantages, has consumed us.  Artificial Intelligence… Seriously??  I doubt it’s a good thing to depend on over-much.  Busy people, once criticized for constantly checking their watches, now walk around staring at phones they’re helpless to put down.  We can do almost anything online, even have sessions with a psychotherapist. 

I consider being truly present with others a fundamental “amenity” of well-being and the nurtured soul.  But the element of focused attention is rapidly falling away, and contributes to the rise in depression, anxiety, alienation, substance abuse and physical ailments.  Please understand—if one is called to a life of solitude for whatever reason, I respect that. But if we choose to be with people, we should BE WITH them—and strive to minimize distractions.

In 2018 I felt abandoned during an unexpected season of decreased independence, and my response was to pull deeper within myself—similarly abandoning the world.  If I was going to blog again, I needed to be free to write more candidly than ever before—no sweaty straining to be positive and encourage readers unless it was genuine, authentic.  Maintaining an “all is well” attitude could be characterized as an “amenity”—but if false, it can enslave, become toxic…in which case it should be abandoned, I believe.

IF spring brings restoration, healing, confirmation that I’ve been in an uncomfortable but temporary, familiar dim valley which will bring a rich harvest of lessons learned, wisdom gained, and maybe exhilarated gratitude and gladness…my blog title may become less relevant.  But by then it won’t matter (few readers pay attention to blog titles and taglines, I’ve found over the years).

The header image I chose is an abandoned church.  Yet it reflects beauty as it remains standing…as though waiting for tide to turn, for people to hunger for spiritual connection…knowing they’ll wander back to worship and seek fellowship, and allow God to rebuild tattered hearts, psyches.  That’s my raggedy hope, lukewarm prayer for myself…that my stretched-out-of-shape faith will be miraculously refurbished in 2019.  Anything’s possible for God, the Bible says. 

My faith is honest and down to earth, thus I can share unashamedly that, recently, I’ve joked with God that parting the Red Sea was no big deal for Him…but patching me up could be a challenge  This is neither disrespect or irreverence—“We” have worked long and hard to build this level of trust…and humor doeth good like a medicine.

Long response to VJ’s question…now you know me better than you did yesterday 🙂

©Ennle Madresan, 2019 ~ All rights reserved.

30 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

  1. So much here, Ennle – candid, honest, and deeply pondered. I find the image of the church coupled with your blog title to be symbolic of the state of our lives and the spirituality that still underlies our existence (acknowledged or not). Your relationship with God sounds much like mine – I say I am more arguments with God than ‘conversations’. I was forced into isolation in 2014, due to illness and found this forum as a way to stay connected. Isolation does give one a different perspective on life, and I was immediately confronted with the lack of necessity of so much of what people strive for – as you have explored so effectively here. Can we ever get back to Mayberry? Likely not. But I hope we are to find some of its essence in our daily meanderings. Ah, life – always a journey to find balance.
    Thank you for sharing, and for so much to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I so appreciate your responsiveness, and personal sharing–trust is a gift, one of those amenities that determine quality of relationships. I was startled in a good way recently, when having a conversation with an acquaintance I know only because he works in the Produce Dept where I shop–we both shared on the same topic you and I have discussed today: spirituality and authenticity. It was enriching, quite meaningful–perhaps because “strangers” have less to lose? As you said, maybe we can’t have Mayberry–but moments of “real” between people is a balm for the frequent sense of isolation. Always lots to ponder, indeed 🙂 Blessings to you.

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  2. I am wondering where that church is in the picture you use for your blog? I agree with many of your observations about our world and your courage to speak candidly and from the heart about how you are experiencing it. I do have a sense that technology had the chance to bring us all together, but I do not think that is what happening. I know where Mayberry is too 😉 I saw the reruns growing up, and the world did seem like a kinder place. I also love the way you speak with God. I make jokes all the time when I speak with God too

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    • Thank you so very much for your thoughtful words. I’m glad you recall “Mayberry”, and that you’re on speaking terms with God. Sometimes I get so frustrated, disappointed, and I don’t want to talk to Him–but He told me once, “I don’t care if you yell at me–just keep the communication line open.” He’s truly a Good Father, full of love for His children–even when we’re less than perfect in attitude and behavior. As for the picture of the church, I’ve no idea where it’s located–found it on Pixabay.com, and loved the colors especially 🙂 I hope you’re having a wonderful day!

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  3. Interesting, honest and thoughtful post Ennie. Being a child of the sixties myself, I was struck by your reference to Mayberry, which was also a child of the sixties. I see a lot of parallels to todays society. The sixties brought us a revolution in youth culture, the Berlin wall, Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam war, civil rights and assassination of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Mayberry existed as a fictional society, perhaps as a counterpoint, to a world of upheaval. I think Mayberry exists, to a certain extent, on WordPress. Since joining a year ago I have met many fellow bloggers who would happily relocate to Mayberry and fit right in with its inhabitants. Thanks for awakening my mind Ennie.

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    • What a lovely comment, Len–thank you so much. And I appreciated what you said about Mayberry existing, to some extent, on WP–that brightened my whole day!! Sometimes it’s a bit scary to put myself out there so frankly, but the comments today have been very gratifying. Now that I’m 66, I feel like Aunt Bee–love cooking, and chatting with people at my grocery store…and they seem to enjoy me too, so perhaps I do embody her spirit 🙂 Have a blessed day, and thanks again ❤

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  4. This line resonated with me: “I consider being truly present with others a fundamental “amenity” of well-being and the nurtured soul” I totally agree with you. We can offer those around us no greater gift I think. Our names are all we have in so many circumstances. best wishes to you.

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    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting–here are a couple quotes I was planning to post, I’ll share them with you first:

      “We are all in the same boat in a stormy sea and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.” G.K. Chesterton

      “A person whose life doesn’t touch another’s is a person without a shadow.” Paul Lowney

      Have a blessed day.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I like your analogy of “righting your cardboard boat.” Life at times is a struggle to keep afloat. That’s when we need those we can count on. The rocks that don’t falter in the waves. Deeper connections, honesty and making time to connect are so important.

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    • Thanks very much for reading, and your lovely response. Sometimes blogging with strangers has a stabilizing influence, and offers encouragement and wisdom that aren’t available in ‘real world’ relationships. God still works in mysterious ways 🙂

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  6. When I came to your blog, I was immediately attracted to the photo of the church. The vaults and golden color create both mystery and promise. It’s an invitation, which is a good way to draw in people and ideas. I think last year was hard for a lot of people. And now we’re tired of waiting for spring…but it will come. (K)

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    • Bless you for your wonderful words–you’ve made my day 🙂 I appreciate your thought that last year was hard for a lot of people–makes me feel less alone and crazy 🙂 And truly, spring is right around the corner–hurray! Most of all I’m blessed that you like my choice of the church photo–as an invitation to everyone…wow, that’s confirmation of the Holy Spirit’s presence. As much as we all enjoy attention and praise, I would so hope God gets the glory and credit for my efforts here. May you be abundantly blessed ❤

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  7. Pingback: What Is In a Name? – One Woman's Quest II

  8. There is much in the world to try one’s soul, but Jesus said he has come to overcome. Sometimes we just have to say which is better: trouble without Him, or trouble with Him. So glad you “cardboard boat” is top up. Thanks for your story. I would never have guessed such a powerful story and testimony with it.

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    • Hi Oneta, welcome! I love what you said about “trouble without Him, or trouble with Him”–I’ll definitely choose HIM, regardless of what craziness I have to deal with. Joyce Meyer has said, “your worst day with Jesus is far better than your best day without Him”. Thanks so much for reading and commenting–may God bless you abundantly!

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  9. Wow! Your superb post deserves applause. Your courage in revealing yourself is commendable. Powerful, emotional, beautiful and thoughtful piece. Thank you for following BrewNSpew.

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