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From Fundamentalist To Atheist To... Lost


Gardener
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Hello

 

It seems like there are good people here, so I'll try this forum and see.

 

I got "born again" at age 18, did some mission work, then had a crisis and became atheist at 25 and stayed that way for 2 decades. Then I nearly died in a car wreck and tried to get back with Jesus. I'm over-educated, leftist, professional failure, have a bad marriage, bad health, depressed about parents who are dying a very slow and painful death as they spend all their savings on health expenses, and I have no idea what to be when I grow up. I'm a bald white guy living in the Ozarks Bioregion and I'm 53. And I garden.

 

Well, that's me in the proverbial nutshell.

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Hi Gardener,

 

Thanks for the introduction. Gardening is a great healer. While i no longer have a garden, i treat my lawn like it is. Very therapeutic.

 

Born again here at age 33. Went all the way with that path only to get quarantined from fundamental Christianity in my 50's . Now in my 60's and free from depression, fear and whatever is. Like you, i have no idea what to be when i grow up but the best part is it really doesn't matter to me. The present is enough. Hope to hear more from you and welcome to the xcommunity.

 

Joseph

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Welcome Gardener,

 

Well, at least you have your health! :)

 

I love gardening too, particularly trying to be productive with vegetables and the like.

 

I hope you enjoy sharing and participating here.

 

Cheers

Paul

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Hi Gardener,

 

If you have any tips as far as gardening is concerned I would be interested........most of what I touch in my garden seems to shrivel rather than thrive (apart from the weeds... :) ) Still, we gain much pleasure from watching the various birds tucking into the seed and fat-balls we put out for them, as well as the sheer enjoyment of watching them having a bath in the tiny birdbath that we always keep well filled.

 

I was early twenties when I was "born again" and I've perhaps been born again many times since, always marveling in the unexpectedness of such a life. Like you, I have absolutely no idea what I might be when I grow up, but being now 63 (and close to 64) the problem - if such it is - is more critical for myself...... :D

 

Maybe you need to "downsize" , which is what my beloved and myself are doing at the moment i.e. moving to a smaller dwelling now the bones are aging. But "downsize" in terms of expectation, much like the group of zen buddhists being taught by a renowned master who, seeing them all in a meditation session becoming more and more irritable and uncomfortable of posture, announced that when they had practiced just a little bit more they would in fact..........(ah! come to peace? find pure joy?).....no!!....."find the rest of their lives just the same"!!!

 

Its difficult sometimes to find the lesson in such words, except that we must find our peace in our human reality of depressions, fears and disappearing hair follicles! Simple things can help - a sense of humour and a sense of gratitude for what we do have are just two, being extremely wary of any thought of "greener grass" elsewhere, and certainly any hope for "perfection" (whatever THAT might mean)

 

Anyway, welcome.

 

Derek

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Thanks for the replies. Yes, I think there is something true about "downsizing" in the broad sense. I'd like to get rid of a bunch of crap in my garage and attic, but also I need to downsize my expectations in life and be more content with simple things. This is easier said than done, of course. My health is only going to get worse, and it looks like I'll never be successful professionally, so I need to focus elsewhere.

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Gardener,

 

Success seems to me to be more a state of mind than reaching a goal. To me, he/she that is content in the moment is successful. Many measure success in dollars or abundance of accomplishments or goods. Yet if i am poor or rich it makes no difference for in Christ is peace, godliness with contentment and is great gain beyond the measure of the physical.

 

Joseph

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In my elderly years I am trying to be accepting, which brings me to the present moment of accepting and witnessing the good and bad. In my garden there sometimes is fruit, but there are always weeds that accompany them.

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Dear Bald White Gardener,

 

First of all, it sounds like you have 2/3rd's the traits of Bruce Willis, and he's totatally cool, so you should own that!! In fact, he may even garden for all we know and then you're 3/3 :-)

 

Also, sorry to hear about your sick parents, bad health, lousy marriage, over-education, and professional failings. I bet you grow a mean tomato though??? Or are you more one of those prize rosebush kind of guys?

 

As for being lost, we are alllll lost my friend. Anyone who say's their not is just kidding themself. So stick around and we can all be over-educated and lost together.


Eric

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  • 1 month later...

Hello Gardener,

this is my 1st step communicating with like-minded folks that don't descend into tribalism and the negative bits we humans seem to create in that medium. I'm sorry your parents sound very sick. Are they near the end-of-life stage? If so, at least relatively comfortable with proper medications and the support folks trained to care for people in your parents' position? What comes up for you regrading their situation? Wishes, hopes, regrets, could've, should uv's, and would uv's? Are there things you're having difficulty accepting? You sound like a nice, thoughtful fellow.

 

I'm here because I have stopped believing certain tenants of Christianity. I never believed or accepted the salvific theology and discovered I felt more peace when I concluded that with myself and whatever mystery is God. I do believe in God and have had too many sublime intuitive instances/coincidences thru life to doubt there is more grab-astic shenanigans in the universe and around us than we can conceive for now. So I Believe, but not at all in the Religious Protection Racket disguised as Salvation sense.

 

Anyway, I hope you have a great 4th of July and try not to take life too seriously. All everyone Really has is this day and our friends & loved ones. What will we do with that today?

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Gardener,

 

I found success professionally and even got the t-shirt to prove it! Strong education, good career, family, kids...you name it. Still not happy....ran the gamut of religions to no avail. There is no silver lining in my opinion. There is a God in my view, this place we call Earth is challenging and I think we learn so much along the way. My approach as of late is to focus on the learning value of whatever it is I am facing and not take life too personal. I am trying to learn to enjoy the moment each day and to stop focusing so much on the future or the past. Tolle explains this in his books, although I had a tough time staying focused when reading him. Essentially focus on past and future are futile, only the present matters. Like the above posters, I have found pleasure in simplicity and downsizing. At what I consider the peak of my life, I live in a one bedroom apartment with my wife, with my kids going to college and living in my home in the Pacific Northwest (I am military on assignment). I don't do much these days, but enjoy not having to blow tons of money on entertaining myself. Simplicity is beautiful. In my view there is something waiting for me on the other side...I will learn from this life and then move on.

 

I wish you the best,

Bob

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