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.