"laestadian, apostolic, gay, lgbtq, ex-oalc, ex-llc, llc, oalc, bunner" LEARNING TO LIVE FREE: Still Learning After All These Years

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Still Learning After All These Years

Despite how long I've been "learning to live free," (32 years) there is always more to learn. I think I have things fairly balanced and life is going along swimmingly, and every day I'm counting my blessings and feeling hopeful for a happy future, and then BANG, I hit a rough patch and question whether I've ever healed since leaving the OALC. The trigger this time is a rough patch at work. I'm finding it hard to sleep. No appetite.

Plus, a BIG birthday looming in a few weeks. I've been feeling sorry for myself, and rather entitled to a midlife crisis.

Thank goodness I checked for comments on this site -- which I started so many years ago as a way to deal with all my Laestadian angst. (Yes, the blog that has become less and less active, but is nonetheless dear to my heart.) Reading the latest comments, I began to laugh. This is the first time I've laughed in weeks and it felt like it cleared my head. Thanks to all of you but especially krissy/jaydamae, for sharing her strength & spirit & spunk. For making me laugh with joy.

Agree, disagree, whatever. Just get it out there. Share your authentic self. Because when you tell the truth about your life, you help others live more authentically.

I can't regret my Laestadian past when I see that LEAVING gave me the confidence to question everyone and everything. This is a value I'm trying to teach my kids. That, and pulla skills.

What strengths did you gain from Laestadianism that you are now sharing with others?


  1. Sorry this went into the wrong thread!

    I wear a little bit of make-up.

    I've never smoked pot.

    I tried drinking a few times and didn't like it, so I just don't

    I'm a mom and a stepmom

    I love to read
    I love to write

    I wish I was better at dancing, because I enjoy it, although I don't really want to go to clubs in order to do it

    I still sing Laestadian hymns, especially while cleaning

    I like all kinds of music, especially if its live

    I volunteer in my community and am on a board that helps improve my community

    I recently read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and loved it

    I learned to speak another language and traveled to the country where they speak it

    I love my family, even if I don't see them so much anymore
    I hope that they know that

    Leaving the church helped me overcome my temptation to gossip

    I always identify with the outsider in any group and try to find ways to make everyone feel comfortable because I know what it's like to feel like you don't belong

    I had a dream one night that I visited with my grandma, and before she went back to heaven she told me that she knows that "I still believe"

    I hope someday to belong to another church

    Stranger in a Strange Land

    1. Try Fresh Life Church (freshlifechurch.org). They are awesome - I have learned so much since God led me to them. OALC taught me SOME good things but was not fully nourishing my soul. Since joining Fresh Life, I ENJOY reading and studying my Bible, even crave it. If you like, I can send you the audio files for one of the sermon series that I love. Listen to it while I drive and makes the time fly.

  2. Free, Dear One, I'm so sorry you've had a rough few weeks. It would be nicer if life were always kind. A show-stopper moment for me was when I realized that we can continue to grow and learn until our very last day on Earth. I picture myself at 30 or 40 and cringe when I think of the things I thought and believed and said. I can now forgive my mother and others when they were that age. And I mean forgive from the heart. I have long ago forgiven them in my head.
    This was a lesson slow in coming for me. I am so glad I learned it!
    To each his own path.

  3. Free,

    I have never met you but I read your comments on this site. I want you to know that I read your post last night but have been too busy until now to reply.. You have been on my mind alot since then and I am so happy that I made you laugh when you were feeling down.

    Just remember that there would not be a rainbow without a storm. All things rise and fall, As does the ocean tide.

    Being human we are always healing, growing and learning. =)

    As in the words of Anne Frank "If a person is ever afraid they should take a closer look at nature and realize that God is much closer than most people think."

    Go to a river, a lake or the ocean and take it all in. The beauty and all of Gods work. Notice how in nature everything is in harmony. It will renew your soul.

    God created you as well.

  4. Stranger and Sisu, I adore you both . . . we've now known each other for years, almost entirely online, and I know you are both soulsisters. Thank you for being here.

    Jaydamae, I'll take your words to heart. This morning I went for a walk (having been unable to sleep past 3 am) and after a while, over the arguments in my restless mind, I heard the strangest tinkling sound. I looked left and right, and couldn't figure it out. Then I stopped and lifted my face to listen, and felt a single drop of rain on my cheek. It was the daintiest of rainshowers, tinkling the dry leaves of the tree canopy.

    It was as if the universe was empathizing with my pain. There are so many people with greater worries than mine, I thought. Here I am, able to walk under the trees and hear this music.

    Gratitude overwhelmed me.

    If I hadn't been up early, I might have missed the full moon rising in the trees. If I hadn't been agitated, I might have taken the car and missed the musical rain.

  5. Thank you -Free2BeMe for your beautiful words. I rarely write on this blog. I do read it from time to time.

    When my mother died, a single tear fell from her eye. She always cried when she said "goodbye" to her children and we were with her when she passed away. Later that same day, I sat outside of my house and a neighbor child came running over crying over my mom's death.
    There on his face, was that single tear. I held him and prayed that my mother was fine and with God.
    The sky miraculously changed.
    In the horizon, the cloudy sky cleared, the horizon began to sparkle, like broken glass and diamonds. The show lasted a short while. And I knew, she was with God.

    I believe that God was sharing your pain. I believe that your loved ones were letting you know they are with you.

    The blessing of "God's Peace!" is what I value from my Old Apostolic upbringing.

    Many prayers are with you as I write this and
    God's Peace

  6. Thank You Father

    For the roses that I gather
    For the thorns their stems contain
    Thanks for both dear heavenly Father.. Though the thorns have brought me pain.

    Goodnight in GodsPeace!

  7. It's been 17 years for me, free, but it feels like just yesterday in some ways, and forever in other ways.

    I learned integrity, but I think I credit that to my parents more than I do Laestadianism. :) They lived out their lives sticking to their values, both in public and at home when the doors were closed. I so appreciate that. I learned to value truth.

    I learned that there are all kinds of people in every kind of church...some that you like, and some that you don't...some who you agree with, and some who you can't. And that's okay. You don't have to agree with everyone nor please everyone.

    And I learned that with every choice I make, there is both joy and pain...joy at what I gain, and pain over what I have to let go. I love my freedom, and even though sometimes I'm sad over the friendships that were lost when I left the church, I've come to terms with it, and I'm okay with it. It is what it is.

  8. I heard an interview with Garrison Keillor years ago (wish I could find a source for it as it was a great interview!) where he described his fundamentalist upbringing as a "big black dog wandering through the woods." He said that most of the time the dog left him alone, but every so often it would come out of the woods and chase him for awhile.

    That's how I think of my Laestadian upbringing. For the most part I don't dwell on it much anymore, and other than this site it isn't a big part of my life. But then something will happen and the big black dog has a hold on me again for awhile. :-) Eventually he gets tired and goes away, but I don't think the big black dog will ever be completely gone.

  9. Winston Churchill (one of my very short list of heroes, used to suffer from bouts of depression, and he would often say "I have got a black dog on me today."

    Reg Mombassa even used it in "Black Dog" -- "Winston Churchill had a black dog, his name was written on it; It followed him around from town to town, It’d bring him down; took him for a good long ride, took him for a good look around"

    Black dog has long been used as phrase for depression.

  10. LLLreader again--Oh Free I haven't written for a long time. Actually have moved back to my (our) home town. I'm older then you and have come to the conclusion that parts of that OALC will always be hanging around the edges of our minds. I want to say more, but need to leave for now--more later--pull up your socks Dear Girl--all will be well. You are a wonderful women.

  11. LLL, I can't imagine moving back home! I agree that parts of OALC will always be with us, and much of the negative aspects hang on the fringes to pop out at inopportune times. But I find it interesting how much I have changed, which is noticeable when I make visits home. Not the least of these changes is "walking in another's shoes" (didn't do much of THAT as a young OALCer). Walking in the shoes of current OALCers makes for mixed feelings!

    Free, I hope you are doing better. I've been sending prayers and blessings your way. SISU

  12. Daisy, well said. "You don't have to agree with everyone nor please everyone" is something I should have tattooed on my hand so I can see it every time I'm about to slap myself!

    Tomte and Cvow, great image. I'll think of this monster I'm wrestling with as a black dog now, and see if I can get it on a leash, and tie it to a tree. My work problems are still keeping me up at night, and it has occurred to me that I am working on the same challenge over and over again in life, which is "invest more or let go." Does it ever get easier?!

    Thanks for the kind thoughts, LLLReader and Sisu. It helps to know you are rooting for me. LLLReader, please post again soon and let us know how you are doing in the old hometown.

  13. LLLreader again: It seems to me that Finns are prone to having periods of sadness--remember that feelings change--they may get better or worse--but the sure thing is that they change. You won't be sad forever. Have you considered that you might have that seasonal disorder (can't remember what it's called). Would you consider medication? It has been a wonderful help to me. As for being back, it's interesting how accepting I have become of pretty much everyone (except Glenn Beck and his ilk). When I see a young mother with a bunch of blond kids I just mutter "God bless you". I hope she is happy in her faith, and if she is frustrated and miserable I hope she can find her way out. I was walking away from my car with it's Sisu sticker and a guy asked me if I was Finn and as the chat went on he asked me why I don't "come around" anymore. I said I had another church I belong to. He responded, "Wellll, if you are satisfied there--". In the past, before being able to examine my beliefs on this wonderful site, I would have stammered around and felt awkward and not known how to respond. Now, I am able to launch into a loving response about the love of Christ and following what the Bible teaches etc. If it wasn't for you Free, I would still be unable to express myself. I'm really not afraid of anyone anymore. I am able to express my political beliefs to anyone--and in a loving way. I love being back here. The absence of fear makes the world a better place for me. I have lost some friends because of my political beliefs, but that OK. As citizens we are supposed to stand up for what we believe. As Christians, we are to do the same. I am really on a soapbox today. One thing I gained from being an OAL is an understanding of how deep a belief system goes, and how much I want to respect other religions and what they believe. What I know, is that some morning I'll wake up and think , "Oh, what the use". But it won't last--and your down period won't last either Free. You have been a light for so many of us. Feel the hug I am giving you--love to you Dear Friend.