Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Questions for the Game of Life and Love

You are probably wondering what the picture of Hunny has to do with the game. I'll tell you. Nothing! This will be one of several pics I show this week from my day at the dogpark with Freee.  And, I just need a cute distraction.

I opened the book this morning to pull out the random question and I didn't like what the book was asking. I closed the book and opted not to do an entry this morning.  I've mulled over it all day, whether, or not I should answer THE question. After all, who would know if I chose a different question. But, if I can't be true to myself, who can I be true to? So, with much trepidation and without further ado, let the games begin:

"We fantasize about both good and evil, about winning and losing, about our past and future. Fantasies are what inspire us all; to work, marry, raise families, create, improve our world.  It is why we lose ourselves in books, go to movies, watch television, go to the ballgame and on vacation."

If you had to choose the single biggest mistake you have made in life so far, what would it be?

When I was 25, I was working as a manager of a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas.  It was closing time and all the foodservers were doing their sidework with hopes to get out as soon as the restaurant was closed for the night. I was in my office doing whatever paperwork I could before closing out the cash register after the last customer cashed out. As I sat at my desk, I looked up and saw a girl standing at the register. The windows were tinted so she couldn't see me. I looked to my left down the line to see if any of the foodservers would come to the front to ring her out. No one was budging. They held their heads fast to their task hoping to pretend, to the best of their ability, like they didn't notice the woman waiting patiently at the register. A few more minutes passed and I finally gave in. I went out to the register. She ordered a strawberry milk shake.

I don't remember if I made the milkshake for her or had one of the foodservers do it. But, somehow we managed to strike up a conversation. She told me how she had just come from a Spurs game and how great it was. We talked a little longer and I rung her out. It seemed she was hanging on and just wouldn't leave. I was trying my best to break the conversation so I could return to my paperwork. And, that's when it occurred. The biggest mistake of my life. The woman asked me if I would like to attend a singles Bible Talk. She even had a nifty card. I, being polite, said, "Sure that would be nice sometime."  I was actually considering returning to church after many years of non-attendance. But, knew that this was something that I would probably slip in my pocket and never give another thought.  Then she caught me off-guard. She asked me what I was doing Thursday night. Me: "Um...nothing. It's my night off." Dumb Robbie! Dumb! It just so happened they were having a Bible Talk that night.

I'm the type of person who once I commit to something, I stand firm. I went to the Bible Talk on that Thursday night long ago and it was the beginning of a four year involvement in a Church that would drastically change my life forever. In some respects, the changes I made were good, but in others it was very harmful, even detrimental to my well-being, both emotionally and psychologically. I gave up what some might consider the prime years of their lives to "seek and save the lost." And, from the inside looking out everyone was lost but us. It became a slippery slope into a deep depression for me. I knew something was wrong but I thought it was me. After moving to Dallas, and then two years later moving to Los Angeles, I decided to leave the only world I knew anymore. I had no friends from my past. My relationship with my family became strained and distant because they just didn't understand my new purpose. I left knowing that all my current friends would turn their backs on me because I was walking away, to them I was walking away from God. But, I knew it was something I had to do. I knew my rollercoaster emotional rides were not normal. I told them I needed to heal. If they were the true Church, I would be back.

It's been seven years since I left. When I first left, I began doing research about the group that I had left and after much self-denial, I came to the realization  that what I had left was a Cult operating under the guise of a fundamental Christian Church. Knowing this didn't help my depression much. It only made it worse. It was the final straw for me in a long string of various relationships where my trust had been broken and abused. I speak of the trust that I had put in God, the Church, and the people I met there but I also mean the trust I put in myself. I felt like I couldn't trust myself anymore.

It has taken alot of work to get to where I am today. I know there is still work ahead. I put my spiritual search on hold while I was going to school. I felt I needed to in order to move on with my life. You see, the more I searched and questioned life, God, and religion, the less I believed in any of it. To the point now that I consider myself Agnostic.

Please don't feel sorry for me. It was the biggest mistake of my life but it also taught me so much. I learned what love and grace means.  I learned that no matter how badly a person falls on their face that you can recover from it and that those who love you will forgive you. My relationships with my family have been restored. Friends that I turned my back on forgave me and understood. Relationships have been healed.

For a year before I left the church, I prayed that God would expand my faith. Being in the church, I thought it meant becoming a leader, maybe even in the fulltime ministry. Little did I know that my faith would grow beyond what my mind could imagine because it takes faith to admit you don't know, that you really don't have all the answers. It takes faith to trust that you are where you need to be on your spiritual walk in this world. And, it takes faith not to judge others and trust that they are following their spiritual path as they should.

And, it takes faith for me to write this because I realize that I am probably opening a can of worms for all those who choose to stand in judgement of me and attack me. It takes faith that I'll respond with dignity and not anger. It takes faith to be vulnerable.

Now...enough about me. What is your single biggest mistake?

[Editors Note: I thought maybe I should leave the definition of Agnostic. "One who believes that there can be no proof of the existence of God but does not deny the possibility that God exists."]

39 comments:

babyshark28 said...

Agnostic.  that you don't believe in God??  because of .. humans frailities?  I hope  you do not believe in God, because of ...humans.  we are so untrustyworthy.

I do know what you are talking about, I was involved with a goood church in Kansas, until these radical "Christians" came in and disolved the mind of the leader of the church.  To where my friends and my husband let go of any leadership role there, but I still hung on.  Still wanted to make a difference in the children.  but, they came to be too stronge.  And I had to let go.  One of the kids, in her early teen years.  Didn't understand why I was leaving her, but I had too.  It was the hardest choice I have ever made.  I just had to go. :(
So, I understand, and I am sorry Robbie.  

lucylouladybug said...

***And, it takes faith for me to write this because I realize that I am probably opening a can of worms for all those who choose to stand in judgement of me and attack me. It takes faith that I'll respond with dignity and not anger. It takes faith to be vulnerable.***

Anyone who would judge and attack you, is not a real "_________."  Fill in the blank.  Why do I not fill it in myself?  Perhaps for a similar reason as you.  I've questioned and wondered, and have interest in alot of spiritual things.  I feel I'm respectful and tolerant of other's beliefs, but I can assure you that I have not always been extended the same.  

As for my single biggest mistake?  I guess I could write about it in my own journal as a journaling prompt as I'm suffering from writer's block, but simply put...the first thing that came to mind was "which mistake was the biggest?"  I guess that requires some deep thought from me.

Love you, Penny

merelyp said...

You know my definition of faith--same as theatre: willing suspension of disbelief.
I totally believe you will respond to this and all other IFs with dignity; that is all I have ever witnessed with you.  And vulnerability is in itself one of the more charming qualities anyone can possess, as long as it is fortified with a brain, which you eminently use to your advantage and with pride and confidence.
Hmmm, I answered the Biggest Mistake in much the same way you did, by taking the prompt from sheryl crow's song, "My Favorite Mistake" :  Messin' with Mae's daddy!  I learned how strong I am, how tender I can become, that there really are no mistakes (if we learn from them), only happy accidents.  Sometimes accidents are painful.  But healing is... faithful, trusting, freeing.
And just send any worm can-openers on over to Mumsy's place!

hug on you

inthepaddedcell said...

I'm actually glad that you didn't choose a different question cuz now I know when you get to a good racy one you'll answer that one too.  :þ
We all have to follow our own path to our beliefs and no one should be judged for it, it's sad that often times we are.  Then there are those out there like me who refuse to follow the same path of the masses, I simply choose to don my SpongeBob boxers and carve out my own path.
And...um...if you don't need that can of worms...I want to go fishing so could I borrow it?
Tricky :þ
http://journals.aol.com/inthepaddedcell/LunATicThoughts/entries/656

dymphna103 said...

OOh give me a day or two to answer this one.  Love the pics.  Well I am spiritual and religous.  But that is my choosing and I respect you for what you have done.  Get the schooling over.   john

barebytes said...

You didn't open a can of worms that hasn't been opened before. But your question was a good one and a tough one. I answered it in my journal. Thanks, Hugs Lanny

sistercdr said...

I think this is bold and courageous of you to both write and acknowledge this.  A person's spiritual journey has many twists and turns, and I think we're all a lot more vulnerable to being manipulated in this area of our personal lives than we realize.   Questioning the nature or the existence of God is part of the process, and in my belief, that doesn't mean a spiritual journey has been put on hold, just that it's taking another fork in the road.  Discovering more about our individual spirit is part of growing.  I had to get away from church to reconnect to both myself and my God, and it's only been in the last few years that I've felt strong enough in my personal beliefs to become part of a community of worship without letting it subsume all of me. A big virtual hug to you.

mlraminiak said...

You are treading on familiar ground here.  I didn't have exactly the same experience that you did, but the result was much the same.  The "Church Implosion" that babyshark refers to in her comment is something that happens all the time in those little Christian churches that pride themselves on having no "rules" or "dogma", and living "by the bible."  Trouble is, anybody can manipulate the bible to condemn what THEY want to condemn, and condone what THEY want to do.  I'm not bad-mouthing the bible...just the people who USE it.

I came to realize that, in churches like these, people can justify anything THEY want badly enough as "leadings of the spirit."  When I realized that I personally was guilty of doing exactly that, I had to leave.  Been agnostic ever since.  Lisa  :-]  

ckays1967 said...

good morning lady.....

As an "ex" almost every religion including Seventh Day Adventist I can honestly say that I understand what you are saying.  How a cult can overwhelm and consume.....I left the Adventist church when they started telling me what to think abour during, um, during, well you know.  It occured to me that what I thought was my business not my church's.

Anyway, I've yet to read what others wrote but will leave you with this thought....church isn't God, He can't be held in a brick and mortar structure.  He is the grass that grows, the babies that giggle, the friend that reaches out to hold your hand when you cry, the boss that says "good job", the sun set & rise, the begining and the end.  God is a new box of crayons on a rainy day.

I've been in place like where you are and it took me 13 years to find my way back.

All my friendship, love and respect.....Christina

ggal3133 said...

Your biggest mistake made you realize what love and grace are. I'm glad relationships have healed and that you could move on and out of that situation. Your a very couragous woman.

http://journals.aol.com/ggal3133/LivinginSavannah/entries/822

ggal3133 said...

ooo forgot to add love the pic of the doggies, they are so cute!
Thanks so much for your comment, that means alot to me :)

ckays1967 said...

oh....and here's my answer that also answers your question about my poem...

http://journals.aol.com/ckays1967/myjourneywithMS/entries/378

hunybea4him said...

So many have been dramatized by cults and they are evil that leads ppl away from the Truth.  Ofcourse these days ppl say any truths is relative bla.. lol anyway, we all have mistakes, misinterpretations, misleading, but once you do find the Truth, you are set free from all that and a burden has been lifted and you can rest on it.  I am sure one day you will find what you are looking and thirsting for and that cult and the influence they had will be but a memory.  I don't think it was a mistake to be searching for God, just that you listened to the wrong ppl, easy to do when we are hungry for him and turn to ppl instead of him.

Thank you for being so open and honest with us all and for giving us all a good post to read and inspiring us to perhaps write one of our own.  No one likes to admit we are wrong and that we actually make mistakes lol but we all have them.

stephweiss said...

You're a brave, wonderful lady. But stop thinking of it as a 'mistake.' It was something that happened to help make you into the person you are now. Every step of your life is one piece of You. It's why cloning can't make 'the same' person. Because we are a combination of our brain wiring + our experiences. If your clone skipped that bible study class, how different would she be from the wonderful woman we love to read??

slowmotionlife said...

Love the photo of Hunny!!  What a darling she is.  I'm glad you had a good time at the dogpark with Freee.  Jealous, too.  :)

And I'm sorry to hear that you have regrets about that time of your life.  What a sad realization, to find you've wasted a moment in your life on something that didn't benefit you in the way it should have.  :(

freeepeace said...

Wow!  Powerful entry.  I'm so glad you left the definition of Agnostic.  I was about to do so as well.  It has a negative connotation - but really is a beautiful all-encompassing word.  Robbie, you are a true inspiration.  Your light, your love, shines - in AOL-J and face to face.  I admire your willingness to be so honest and vulnerable [another beautiful word].  Thank you for sharing yourself with us.  [great Hunny pic!] xo

karensull12 said...

Wow.  This is quite a story.  I have such mixed feelings about religion.  I am so happy that you found your way out of this tough time, and I'm sure that this was difficult to relive and write about.  I have so many mistakes in my life that it would be tough to pick just one.  I'm going to have to think on this one, because I'm not sure I'm brave enough to admit the biggest mistake of my life...

deabvt said...

Wow! Powerful!  Thanks for sharing! It`s even more impressive how you`re finising school!
V

screaminremo303 said...

Not pursuing my goals of playing music professionally. Not a day goes by when I don't kick myself for not staying focused on the goal.
I'm glad you found your way from the destructive influence of that group. I consider myself an "Optimistic Agnostic," meaning I hope to be pleasantly surprised if a deity reveals itself to our knowledge.

xzasporated1 said...

First off, I LOVED the photo.  What a little sweetie.  And you never need an excuse to show off your pup.  Mine just sneaked on the keyboard, and wrote his own entry.  AND included a photo.  What a ham.

Your entry was brutally honest, open and revealing.  And I think I learned a little about you, even though we don't know each other.  I'm very glad that you recognized the path you really needed to take, and I applaud your candor and your courage.

It was so worth reading.  Be well.  ~~ Jennifer

snkwarren said...

Robbie, I commend you for sharing so much of your personal business when you really could have chosen not to.  I also commend you for having the faith to leave a harmful situation.  I believe that God does exist, and I believe that its through his grace that you had the strength to leave and rebound like you have and accomplish such a great deal.  I believe he answered your prayers to expand your faith, he gave you the courage to leave.  If walking away from the world you knew isn't expanding your faith, I don't know what is.  Kristi

lisbnjvi said...

Robbie, just so you know, I am whimping out on this question.  It requires too much thought for the moment and I can't honestly think of one mistake I would want to take back, I can actually think of a million!  So, it would require much more deep thinking than I am able to do right now!  Who knows, maybe I will have a revelation one of these nights in a dream and have my answer!  Weirder things can happen right?!
Hugs and love, Lisa

musenla said...

Robbie, I've said it in others' journals before, fundamentally I don't believe that there are mistakes, only lessons.

You joined the Church for the best of reasons.  You wanted to find that deeper inner meaning in your life, without guile and without malice.  That they betrayed your trust is not your fault.  Of course it's difficult to see this right after the incident, and like you, I tend to blame myself for being "taken in" and involved in situations that eventually caused me pain or proved a waste of my time.

But you have learned the lessons from this experience and in that respect it wasn't all a waste.  You are now armed with another important life lesson, that is a cause for thanks.

As for me, the biggest mistake of my life was giving my love to someone who didn't deserve it.  I've learned that lesson, too.  Never again.

mw15mw99 said...

I LOVE THE PUPPY PICTURE!!!!! SO Cute!!!!

This 'BOOK' is really a deep book.  It is amazing what a person learns from life.

I have made more mistakes then I can ever be able to put down on paper/or computer. I don't have one that I can think of that stands out more then another....sometimes I am mad at myself for not completing college...but then the path my life would have taken would be so different and I can't say that I would not want my kids or my husband. So I don't regret my choices. Yet, not having a degree is a mistake, (I see that with every job or position that I pursue) but I would give up Anything and everything for my kids and my husband and at the time I could not have both.

marigolds2 said...

is your dog named Hunny?  mine is Honey.  how bout that? did you see him in my yesterday's post in the windmills?
first i want to thank you for all your comments in my journals, you can't know how i appreciate your faithful visits and lovely words.  i'm going to try to be a better journal friend during the summer, reading and commenting on the many journals i admire.  this post was a prime example of something to admire - i'm sure it was difficult to put all this out there for everyone to see.  organized religion has such a pull for those of us on any kind of spiritutal quest.  i myself spent a short time in a convent - but after a breakdown similar to the one i just suffered this April, learned it was NOT the spiritual walk for me.  i too am now an agnostic, i know that i know nothing, that i have no answers, that i am probably always going to be a seeker.  i find threads of wisdom in many religions and traditions, but cannot believe there is only One Truth and only those who find it are Saved.  quite some time ago i wrote in my journal about the biggest mistake of my life.  not exactly in those words - but i don't think i can do it again.  maybe i'll send you the link to that entry.

marigolds2 said...

Robbie, here is the link to my old entry where i talk about my worst mistake.  i added an addemdum to it just now, to explicate things a bit further.  it says it's part 2 of a two part entry (back in the old short entry days) but it's not really necessary to read the first part to understand the second.
marigolds2/thewindmillsofmymind/entries/205

mdkjic said...

What a well written entry.  I admire your courage to write something so personal.  It also proves my theory that you can't trust a nice young woman who orders a milk shake.  Give me a woman who drinks margarita's!  A woman who can take a good shot of tequilla is the kind of woman you can trust.

lamove04 said...

Robbie: powerful entry. arrgh-I don't like those kinds of cults!  They take advantage of vulnerable people who are looking for a place to belong. I, too, don't think of this as a mistake for you but more of a lesson. "I learned what love and grace means"  That's pretty good!  Thank you for sharing this.  --Albert

rbushu said...

There are no mistakes, only lessons. How else are we going to learn, Robbie? I'm glad you made it to the other side, all the pieces a bit scattered, but still there.

plieck30 said...

I'm glad you got out in time, but hope you continue to grow. God is good! Paula

uberdude333 said...

CONGRATS ON THE GRADUATION...NOW GO GIVE MORE OF YOUR MONEY TO THE IRS

viviansullinwank said...

Hey {{{{{ Robbie }}}}} you are a great photographer (amongst other talents). I was excited when I read in Freee's blog that you two have met.  That Hunny is a real cutie!  I think I'm going to do your 'biggest mistake you ever made challenge'...I need to purge  :)
Hope you're having a good weekend and that you're looking forward to a great week!

Vivian

quroboros said...

First, my congratulations! I know this is something you've worked long & work toward accomplishing and you have every reason to be proud of yourself!

As to your biggest mistake, whoa- what a story.  It's amazing how one moment or decision can change the paths of our entire lives.  You're very sincere in revealing this though some might view it cynically.  I once was coaxed into going to a 'support group meeting' that I later discovered was a fundamentalist group called the Children of God.. a cult.  I barely made it out and a lot of others didn't.  I think what makes such religious groups so damaging is the fact that they can so skillfully manipulate people & capitalize on our beliefs.  It can destroy a person's faith in God ultimately.  ¤Holly

jlreynolds said...

Robbie - Hunny is a doll!  I had not had a chance to get by here for a few days so I am just now seeing this entry (I received the e-mail with the first part of the entry and the question on the day you posted it... but as I've said and you know, I can't play along on this one... my biggest mistake would be a bad read... but thank you for sharing yours.  I can empathize with what you went through and looking back at my younger self I am amazed that i did not get lured into something like this... because there are times for all of us when we need something/someone and we don't know what, and that's when these groups are most successful at luring us in.... I had plenty of those times (haven't we all?) but I guess I was just lucky.  So glad you found your way free AND that you've kept faith...
- Lisa
 

krobbie67 said...

BABYSHARK: I’d like to think that my beliefs are based on me, not on others. However, much of our religious beliefs are culturally based. So, I really can’t say for certain.  

PENNY: Yes, that’s all I ask is that people be “respectful and tolerant” but as you know not all people can. I think some people feel the need to make another see something their way. I can’t say I haven’t been in their shoes myself though.

MUMSY: I love your definition of faith: “Willing suspension of disbelief” Thank you so much for your support!

TRICKY: Luckily, it seems I didn’t need that can of worms. I was touched to find everyone’s comments to be very supportive. So, fish away my Spongebob friend.

JOHN: Thanks!

LANNY: Thanks for playing along. Your answer was very touching and must have been difficult to write. I admire you for being so vulnerable.

CYNTHIA: Thanks for the hug! I gladly accept it. I now face the fork and wonder which way I should go. I guess only time will tell.

MLRAMINIAK-Lisa: Actually, you pretty much nailed the “Church” I was a part of on the head. They prided themselves on being non-denominational and living according to the bible, using it to condone and condemn at will.  I definitely am guilty of doing the same while I was in their midst.

CHRISTINA: Thank you so much for your friendship, love, and respect. I can’t say the journey is over. I am still breathing after all.

krobbie67 said...

GRETCHEN: Thank you so much. Your support is always appreciated. And, I’m glad you like to play along. It makes it much more interesting.

HUNYBEA4HIM: Honestly, I do believe Truth is relative. I’d go into it more, but would prefer to just leave it at that. This isn’t an easy topic for me to discuss yet.

STEPHWEISS: It is a part of who I am. I consider it a mistake because of the disruption it created in my life. It threw it for a loop.

SLO: Yeah, it was a sad realization but I try to look at the good that it did do. So, it’s not all bad. And, yeah, Hunny is just too cute!

FREEE: Thank you! It makes it a whole lot easier to be honest and open when people like you hang around.

KAREN: Wow, I can’t imagine you have all that many mistakes. But, I guess things aren’t always as we perceive them to be. I guess I’ve made a lot of mistakes too but just feel this is the worst because it did such a doozy on my life.

VINCE: Thanks!

krobbie67 said...

SCREMO: Do you do anything now with your music? Maybe it could give you some satisfaction to be a local musician at the least.

JENNIFER: Thank you! I tend to be brutally honest. Not always the best thing, but I can’t deny who I am. Alas, the dog is not mine. Hunny would be Freeepeace’s dog, another journaler here in J-Land.

KRISTI: Thank you. I feel the same way about faith and believe I will be lead where I need to go.

LISBNJVI-LISA: LOL at the million. Trust me, I have many more. This one I just feel is the biggest.

MUSE: “Giving my love to someone who didn’t deserve it” <-- I think we have all made that mistake too! Yes, it was a major life lesson, or should I say lessons. I learned a lot and grew as a result but it still doesn’t mean it wasn’t a mistake.

KATE: Unfortunately, we must weigh the costs of our decisions. Obviously, you really did make the right choice by putting your family first because you have such a magnificent family. You can’t go wrong with that. I’m a firm believer that college has its place and time and yours just hasn’t arrived yet. It’s going no where. You can still go some day if that’s what you still want later on.

MARIGOLD: The dog isn’t mine. It’s Freeepeace’s and yes, its name is Hunny. Convent! Holy Cow! I felt like I was living a cloistered life but always held out the hope it would end with marriage. I admire you for even contemplating that life. My beliefs are very similar to yours. Thank you for sharing them and for referring me to your entry. Your presence here is always appreciated.

MDKJIC: Well you can trust me to the core! I can swig the worst bar tequila there is without even a grimace but I sure as hell better have a lime to chase it.

krobbie67 said...

ALBERT: You don’t like those kinds of cults? Are there any that are likeable?

RBUSHU: Well, I believe that there are mistakes but like with lemons, make lemonade. In other words, I agree that they can be turned into lessons. As a matter of fact, it’s a wasted mistake if you don’t learn from it.

PAULA: Thanks, I hope that I am growing in some way every day. Sometimes, it might not be by leaps and bounds, but it’s happening and if it’s not then it’s time for me to hang my hat and die.

UBER: If you only knew how much the IRS gets already! No dependants, no write-offs, they get every darn dime they can.

VIVIAN: Sheesh, I need to go back over and see if you did an entry about your biggest mistake because I can’t recall what you wrote. Or, did you not hit “save.” I know it sure was hard for me. Actually, the day at the dog park was the third time Freee and I have met. I’d like to think she is a real life friend now too, not just a cyber friend.

HOLLY: Hmm, I’ve done a lot of research on cults and mind control and I’m not sure I’ve heard of the Children of God. I will definitely remember that name now. It is sad what so much control can do to someone and the lives it can destroy. It’s horrible some of the stories that I have heard of people who have left. I’d like to think I made it out okay though.

JLREYNOLDS-Lisa: Yes, that is one thing that it seems enables groups like this to capture people. They usually are most successful when people are vulnerable in some sort of way. I know I was in that I was looking to make changes in my life. Sadly, I thought I was too smart to be suckered in though.

hope5555 said...

Just stumbled across your journal and this entry.  (yeah, I'm always late to parties, too.) I just wanted to say what a powerful, touching entry I thought it was.  Also, my aunt has been in a cult for the past 10-12 years.  She has completely cut all contact with all her relatives, including her own grown daughters, and her brother (my dad).  She sold her house and all her possessions to give to the cult.  But what can those of us on the outside do?  She is in her 60's, a grown woman, but she has been brainwashed and I don't think it can ever be un-done.