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Author Topic: Getting past hatred of my birth religion  (Read 4105 times)

missgraceless

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Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« on: April 12, 2016, 01:05:47 pm »
This is a rant as much as it is a question, so please bear with me.

I was raised a weird combination of Russian Orthodox (from my family) and Roman Catholic (from my elementary school), but also some atheism thrown in from my mother. But I always questioned everything I was told, and it turned into resentment towards Christianity as a whole.

Even though I've been... "practicing" paganism for 7 or 8 years, my beliefs and practices are vastly different. My beliefs are pagan but my practices and way of life are largely atheistic and "holier/smarter than thou." I'm very much like the fundamentalists of the US South who look down on anyone who isn't their flavor of Christian, except I look down on Christians because my mother is atheist and engrained it in me that they all suck. And I'm getting tired of it. I really don't hate Christianity as a whole, because the ideas behind Christ's teachings are so similar to my own experiences with Quan Yin.

I'm working with my therapist to get past my anger and resentment towards my mom, but how do I get past my resentment towards Christianity? It's especially hard since I do live in the Bible Belt and everyone around here seems to be so... idiotic.

Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?
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NiDara

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2016, 04:42:37 pm »
Quote from: missgraceless;189987
This is a rant as much as it is a question, so please bear with me.

I was raised a weird combination of Russian Orthodox (from my family) and Roman Catholic (from my elementary school), but also some atheism thrown in from my mother. But I always questioned everything I was told, and it turned into resentment towards Christianity as a whole.

Even though I've been... "practicing" paganism for 7 or 8 years, my beliefs and practices are vastly different. My beliefs are pagan but my practices and way of life are largely atheistic and "holier/smarter than thou." I'm very much like the fundamentalists of the US South who look down on anyone who isn't their flavor of Christian, except I look down on Christians because my mother is atheist and engrained it in me that they all suck. And I'm getting tired of it. I really don't hate Christianity as a whole, because the ideas behind Christ's teachings are so similar to my own experiences with Quan Yin.

I'm working with my therapist to get past my anger and resentment towards my mom, but how do I get past my resentment towards Christianity? It's especially hard since I do live in the Bible Belt and everyone around here seems to be so... idiotic.

Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?


The fact of the matter is that people who act "idiotic" are found in just about every demographic. They're going to be there, along with the people who don't act in such a way but behave in a Christlike manner.

The key might be to disassociate the religion from the followers' behavior. Humans use religion, politics, and whatever else to justify putting a wedge between themselves and others. It's human nature. It sucks, but that's just how we are. I live in a similar region, so I can relate to your situation.

The only options I can suggest is tune out the people that who are behaving idiotically and practice the tenets Quan Yin embodies. Don't expect to be able ignore them completely, but deal with it a day at a time. There'll be times when you'll be frustrated with them, but try not to let it control you. I hope my advice helps.

Faemon

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2016, 02:08:12 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;189987
I look down on Christians because my mother is atheist and engrained it in me that they all suck. And I'm getting tired of it. I really don't hate Christianity as a whole, because the ideas behind Christ's teachings are so similar to my own experiences with Quan Yin. I'm working with my therapist to get past my anger and resentment towards my mom, but how do I get past my resentment towards Christianity? It's especially hard since I do live in the Bible Belt and everyone around here seems to be so... idiotic.

Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?


I suppose you could conflate your remaining resentment with your mother with the resentment that your mother taught you to direct towards Christianity, and your spite could be made into a constructive force in the meantime if it's properly directed? Then when you get over your resentment, the hatred fizzles out too and you'll be in a better position to decide where you stand and how. :p (This is bad advice I am giving, do not do this thing, I am joking!)

I refer to where I live as a de facto theocracy, partially joking, but a friend of a friend, she's not from here, but she and my friend are taking up anthropology, and I edit her papers for grammatical errors, and...the outside view kind of confirms what I partially joke about. The presence of religiosity where I live isn't merely overwhelming and different from her home culture, it is scary to her. It's my personal opinion that this observation is less about her ethnocentricity and more about the innate hostility couched in consistently religious terms that are present in daily life here.

The counterargument (to my lived experience) that there are jerks in every religion, or that there's no reason to "punish" (by choosing not to be a part of) a whole faith for the flaws of its adherents, make some sense but they're just a lot of words to me because I haven't personally met many people who don't couch justification for their abuse or prejudice in religious terms. And the clincher is that this is a massive collective effort. Hardly anybody says, "Hey wait up, that's not ethical and that's not Christian, and I say this as a fellow Christian." They'd be the ostracized minority splinter-fringe. So, it becomes evident that what I'd personally consider flaws have in fact become central tenets to the religion as-is. To try to separate the faith from the accountability that the majority of practitioners fail to take really feels like a false distinction. It isn't a question anymore to me of cosmic fact attribution, so much as cultural and interpersonal (and political, that's what scared my Korean friend) impact.

When you figure out how to transcend the immediately obvious and persistent, let me know.

To address the internal problem generated from this situation, somehow, even if one commits to believing, "I'm not better than all these other people who have the thing in common, I'm just myself, I just want to feel safe and supported, and nobody's going to make that easy...actually, that's a lot of effort out of the way to make my life hard..." Umm, well, I understand the resentment that comes out of that, especially if the way to interpret your autonomy and boundaries is straight-up reflected as, ohh, you're too good to be decently and properly normal, huh?

"Well that's your problem," is a false distinction too considering the circumstances but one I find there's a...need for. Badly. It's not one that ought to take the tone of, you know what somebody else's problem is and will tell them it's a problem and urge them to solve their problem in your way, more like, surrendering to how someone else's internal spiritual world is not your problem (especially if you're not their cleric). Even changing the world into a culture that's more atheist or agnostic in public spaces to allow for greater diversity in individuals' private lives, might be too big a problem you can wrestle.

I suppose just, try not to play the hierarchy game? I don't know how much or deeply that's been internalized, and if there are standards you've set for what opinion or perspective is worth considering (instead of what noisy, thoughtless secondhand opinion you're coerced into suffering), then it's your life and your time and your decisions. But the value judgments that don't make sense, and don't help you, and stress you out and probably make you hate yourself for holding onto it? Mind-litter. Find, sweep, toss. It's still a chore, but it's still something to do about it. Where does the impulse to rank, the reflex to make toxic comparisons between oneself and others, come from? Where does it apply best, where can this impulse be left alone?

Hey, maybe your atheism continues because it comes from somewhere other than your mother's constant complaints? Maybe secular conversations were ones you could really connect with other people about, or what would otherwise have been mysteries of nature and technology became more wondrous when a lot of humble people committed to those discoveries and to share them with the world (and then became unhumble jerks by way of defending those discoveries). Maybe, by being a practicing pagan, you can speculate why faith/religion itself can be so meaningful to someone else, even if it's a different religion, because of course this would be a different person with a different history and perception and relationship modes. But that such a person holds something so important to them, can be something to empathize with to start?
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anubisa

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2016, 12:06:44 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;189987
This is a rant as much as it is a question, so please bear with me.

I was raised a weird combination of Russian Orthodox (from my family) and Roman Catholic (from my elementary school), but also some atheism thrown in from my mother. But I always questioned everything I was told, and it turned into resentment towards Christianity as a whole.

Even though I've been... "practicing" paganism for 7 or 8 years, my beliefs and practices are vastly different. My beliefs are pagan but my practices and way of life are largely atheistic and "holier/smarter than thou." I'm very much like the fundamentalists of the US South who look down on anyone who isn't their flavor of Christian, except I look down on Christians because my mother is atheist and engrained it in me that they all suck. And I'm getting tired of it. I really don't hate Christianity as a whole, because the ideas behind Christ's teachings are so similar to my own experiences with Quan Yin.

I'm working with my therapist to get past my anger and resentment towards my mom, but how do I get past my resentment towards Christianity? It's especially hard since I do live in the Bible Belt and everyone around here seems to be so... idiotic.

Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?

 
I grew up in a Catholic family. I went to a Catholic school until I was in 4th grade and I was Catholic until my late teens when I discovered Wicca. I don't hate Catholics, but I do not like it when they judge me and my religion. My brother-in-law is Catholic as well and we talked once about my religion and he said that I was worshiping a false god. So I haven't really broached religion since then. It hurts because some of my family does not accept my religion. However, I am not going to hate them. If they are going to be judgmental of me then that is their problem, not mine. Just remember that you chose your path and no one can take that away from you no matter how negative they are. Don't let their negativity get to you.
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Lilirin

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2016, 11:26:15 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;189987
This is a rant as much as it is a question, so please bear with me.

I was raised a weird combination of Russian Orthodox (from my family) and Roman Catholic (from my elementary school), but also some atheism thrown in from my mother. But I always questioned everything I was told, and it turned into resentment towards Christianity as a whole.

Even though I've been... "practicing" paganism for 7 or 8 years, my beliefs and practices are vastly different. My beliefs are pagan but my practices and way of life are largely atheistic and "holier/smarter than thou." I'm very much like the fundamentalists of the US South who look down on anyone who isn't their flavor of Christian, except I look down on Christians because my mother is atheist and engrained it in me that they all suck. And I'm getting tired of it. I really don't hate Christianity as a whole, because the ideas behind Christ's teachings are so similar to my own experiences with Quan Yin.

I'm working with my therapist to get past my anger and resentment towards my mom, but how do I get past my resentment towards Christianity? It's especially hard since I do live in the Bible Belt and everyone around here seems to be so... idiotic.

Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?

 It's going to take time. In the meanwhile, it may help to study Christianity, it's history, and the pagan influence/syncretism just to gain understanding. It may help you in the long run and is always useful to have in Christian dominated cultures.

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2016, 09:58:46 am »
Quote from: Lilirin;190144
It's going to take time. In the meanwhile, it may help to study Christianity, it's history, and the pagan influence/syncretism just to gain understanding. It may help you in the long run and is always useful to have in Christian dominated cultures.

 
This. I went through religion-hatred for pretty much all of my college years. I was raised fundamentalist Baptist and thought that all Christians, and in fact all religions, were the same. I became very pretentious in my non-belief, even rejecting many resources that I would love to have nowadays (hindsight 20/20, as they say.) Learning about the different types of Christianity really helped.

I would also suggest that you pat yourself on the back. That level of self-awareness is something many in this predicament do not achieve. :)
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ariosbi

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2016, 02:46:50 pm »
Quote from: missgraceless;189987
Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?

 
I feel exactly the same way! I was raised Catholic and I just despise Catholicism, I have since I was little, it just never appealed to me. It's to the point that I'm prejudice against it, whenever someone mentions they're Catholic or Christian I'm just instantly disgusted because my Dad forced it down my throat, so I feel like everybody else is the same way with it. It's hard for me to even identify as pagan because I get a good taste in my mouth just hearing the word God. I guess just knowing that not everybody is the same in their religion and wont actually try to convert you it gets easier. Knowing that I can now now do whatever I want religiously and no one else has control over that really helps.
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missgraceless

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2016, 05:28:05 pm »
Quote from: ariosbi;191029
I feel exactly the same way! I was raised Catholic and I just despise Catholicism, I have since I was little, it just never appealed to me. It's to the point that I'm prejudice against it, whenever someone mentions they're Catholic or Christian I'm just instantly disgusted because my Dad forced it down my throat, so I feel like everybody else is the same way with it. It's hard for me to even identify as pagan because I get a good taste in my mouth just hearing the word God. I guess just knowing that not everybody is the same in their religion and wont actually try to convert you it gets easier. Knowing that I can now now do whatever I want religiously and no one else has control over that really helps.
I know my reaction to seeing any kind of pagan-y signage (even the Coexist bumper stickers with all the different symbols) is vastly different from what I have to Christian signs.  So one thing that's been really helping me on a day to day basis is trying to replace every "I heart God" or "Jesus is the answer" I see with Quan Yin or even Buddha (whom I've kinda been feeling a pull towards lately). It's something my fiancĂ© suggested and it seems to be helping.
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Sorcha

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2016, 01:17:53 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;189987
This is a rant as much as it is a question, so please bear with me.

I was raised a weird combination of Russian Orthodox (from my family) and Roman Catholic (from my elementary school), but also some atheism thrown in from my mother. But I always questioned everything I was told, and it turned into resentment towards Christianity as a whole.

Even though I've been... "practicing" paganism for 7 or 8 years, my beliefs and practices are vastly different. My beliefs are pagan but my practices and way of life are largely atheistic and "holier/smarter than thou." I'm very much like the fundamentalists of the US South who look down on anyone who isn't their flavor of Christian, except I look down on Christians because my mother is atheist and engrained it in me that they all suck. And I'm getting tired of it. I really don't hate Christianity as a whole, because the ideas behind Christ's teachings are so similar to my own experiences with Quan Yin.

I'm working with my therapist to get past my anger and resentment towards my mom, but how do I get past my resentment towards Christianity? It's especially hard since I do live in the Bible Belt and everyone around here seems to be so... idiotic.

Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?

 
Having grown up in--well--not the worst of fundamentalist Christian circles but on the fringes thereof, I came dangerously close to it. I loathe hypocrisy and pharisaism, and I definitely carry baggage. Mainly, I cannot tolerate feeling disrespected or talked down to, because women are generally infantilized and treated as helpless and/or dependent on men. I guard my independence very, very carefully. I also dated somebody who was deeply, deeply emotionally damaged by fundamentalists, so more fuel.

Here's a bit of perspective for you, first: as you are a practicing pagan and before that, an atheist, most Bible Belt Christians would view YOU as idiotic. Idiocy is largely a matter of perspective, and they see their beliefs as self-evident just as you see the wrongness of their beliefs as self-evident.

Secondly, it helps me, when I get frustrated and angry over how WRONG some brands of Christianity are (and I don't mean theologically but in how they act), I remind myself of my less-than-stellar moments, and it's humbling and reminds me that even Those People are simply being human. Most aren't bad people.

Third, I'd recommend that you deliberately go out, find a Christian or three, and make friends with them. When I was trying to get over some of my prejudices, I deliberately chose to talk to a guy on the internet who looked exactly like the sort of person I would have avoided in my more prejudiced days. We ended up dating, are still good friends, and meeting him was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. (He doesn't know he started out as a sort of prejudice-recovery project, and I probably wouldn't tell your new Christian friends either. People often don't react well to that sort of revelation.)

Now, while I doubt you'll end up dating a Baptist preacher's kid, actually getting to know a member of the loathed group as a person (not just a set of beliefs and ideologies), it's much harder to hate them. That does NOT mean that you'll find all their ideas sensible and praiseworthy; you may still grit your teeth in frustration from time to time. (My ex is a bit of a conspiracy theorist, and nothing makes me want to beat my head against a wall like a bad conspiracy theory, but I know him, and I know he's not an idiot, so that mitigates my frustration.) But you won't hate THEM. And that's the main thing.

RecycledBenedict

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2016, 07:08:56 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;189987
I'm working with my therapist to get past my anger and resentment towards my mom, but how do I get past my resentment towards Christianity? It's especially hard since I do live in the Bible Belt and everyone around here seems to be so... idiotic.

To begin with, I must admit, that I do not understand the culture of US, and the geographical area I find hardest to understand is the Bible Belt. The cultural gap may cause me to be unsuitable to give any advice at all.

Sorcha's advice sounds sound to me.

It would possibly be a good complement, to visit a less extreme Christian denomination once or twice, but I don't know exactly which denominations you have in your area, and I do not know if their geographical location make them different from their equivalents in other parts of the world. A religion with two billion adherents is in no way uniform and homogenous.

Denominations to make such a study visit as an observer, could be, for instance: The Episcopal Church, Liberal Quakers, Liberal Catholic Church International or Johannite Apostolic Church.

The Unitarian Universalist Association began as two Christian denominations, but they merged in the early 1960s, and is now one denomination open for both Christians, Pagans, Agnostics and people with many other beliefs. They are very inclusive. We don't have them over here.

Quote from: missgraceless;189987
Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?

The situation I found myself in, some years ago, was too different from yours to be of any help. I left Lutheranism because of two reasons: I do not believe in a literal and physical resurrection of Christ, and I found the general attitude towards the retreat and meditation movements hostile (C of S has had a retreat movement since the 1930s and a meditation movement since the 1960s).

Lutheranism in Sweden probably differ in many ways from the christianities you have encountered in the Bible Belt: Natural science and religion are perceived to be practices belonging to different areas of human life (not as two world-views contradicting each other), to mix religion and politics is a serious faux pas, women are ordained to deacons, priests and bishops, same sex weddings are conducted, and sexual orientation doesn't hinder anyone from ordination. Lutherans assist in heightening the general awareness of environmental issues.

Since I had practiced Druidry and ceremonial magic in parallel with Lutheranism for many years, I continued to practice Druidry and ceremonial magic, but I added late Roman imperial syncretism. I do not feel hostile towards Christianity: There are Christian elements in ceremonial magic and Caribbean Spiritism, and I have very positive and valuable experiences from both these two paths, and I still find some Christian mystics valuable reading. I just wish that emperor Justinian hadn't closed The Academy in Athens.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2016, 07:13:24 am by RecycledBenedict »

Dam

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2016, 11:57:11 am »
Quote from: missgraceless;189987
This is a rant as much as it is a question, so please bear with me.

I was raised a weird combination of Russian Orthodox (from my family) and Roman Catholic (from my elementary school), but also some atheism thrown in from my mother. But I always questioned everything I was told, and it turned into resentment towards Christianity as a whole.

Even though I've been... "practicing" paganism for 7 or 8 years, my beliefs and practices are vastly different. My beliefs are pagan but my practices and way of life are largely atheistic and "holier/smarter than thou." I'm very much like the fundamentalists of the US South who look down on anyone who isn't their flavor of Christian, except I look down on Christians because my mother is atheist and engrained it in me that they all suck. And I'm getting tired of it. I really don't hate Christianity as a whole, because the ideas behind Christ's teachings are so similar to my own experiences with Quan Yin.

I'm working with my therapist to get past my anger and resentment towards my mom, but how do I get past my resentment towards Christianity? It's especially hard since I do live in the Bible Belt and everyone around here seems to be so... idiotic.

Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?

 
I've been pondering over this for a while, so I will share my thoughts.

I have found this aversion/distaste/resentment of Christianity to be pretty common among people raised in a Christian environment but now walk on a different path. Honestly, I understand it. I was raised in a rather Christian household in a very white-English corner of Shropshire; and I think the very narrow worldview was what caused me to resent it at first.

My mother was Church of England, my father was Church of Scotland. What I found most distasteful was the rivalry and hatred within the religion itself. Both CofE and CofS are Protestant, and so I was kept away from Catholics. I ended up turning away from Christianity at a very early age and as my knowledge of science grew I could very easily be called an atheist. I had no faith in any religion, but it was none of my business if people chose to have faith in whatever they wanted.

My parents didn't mind that I didn't share their views, and I am thankful that I was never forced or persuaded to pretend to have faith in something I didn't believe in. Alternatively I chose to study many religions and study their philosophies to try and be a good person. I think it's wise to observe the reasoning behind different paths and try to form objective views that are untainted by history and hatred.

At this time I still resented Christianity somewhat. but research helped me to realise something that helped me overcome this: there is fault in any faith, only the silly humans who twist and distort their message.

In John 8:7 of the King James Bible it says "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" yet eleven centuries later swathed of Christians were gathering to form the first crusade, which was ripe with murder and bloodshed fighting a different group of religious people.

To further my point, even within my own heathen path which I have relatively recently stumbled upon, there are so many groups who study the same texts yet have wildly different beliefs. Some heathens are known to be white supremicists. Some are incredibly homophobic. They hold onto views that don't ingrain well into society, and yeah, they might be tribalist and keep to themselves, but my point is that no religion is inherently at fault; it is the humans that follow faiths that ruin them.

Once I realised this I was at peace with Christianity. All the lessons that I didn't want forced down my throat didn't weigh heavily on my shoulders because I could forgive that some people are narrow minded and that I won't be doing the same to anybody else.

I hope this has helped in some way and I wish you luck with overcoming this resentment for yourself. :)

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Re: Getting past hatred of my birth religion
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2017, 04:45:07 pm »
Quote from: missgraceless;189987

Has anyone else gone through this? How did you move past it?


Both of my parents were pastors in the special kind of hell we call the "Bible Belt". I agree, it feels like you're suffocated by droves of intolerant "holier-than-thou" idiots. Saw 4 different congregations, experienced and watched every single area of abuse at the hands of church leadership. I totally, completely get hating it. I am genuinely sorry, I hope that you and your therapist are able to find healing as I have with mine!

I went through 2 years of just pure hatred after leaving Christianity. I still have my moments when I want to bite a Christian's head off for being insensitive, unethical little shit head, I am no where close to perfect I assure you. However I have come to a new place of peace with it.

In those two years I did a cross study of Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and of course, Wicca. I found significant plot holes in all of them (just like every single system of ethics that currently exists). Most importantly I realized there will always be extremists in every religious group. There will always be an insensitive, unethical, genuinely evil person masquerading as a religious zealot. The wolves in sheep's clothing give sheep really bad reputations, but there are still genuine sheep among them. That is just a human curse: we are imperfect, there are tons of grey areas, and there will always be a loose evil asshole to make someone else miserable.

I agree with Socha on the point of staying friends with a few. As I broke away from religion I had to develop and test my own code of ethics that I wanted to abide by in place of religion. As I have done this, talking with people of my old faith have kept me accountable in my objectivity. Don't just reject an idea because it "sounds Christian".

I feel that getting more deeply rooted in my own identity and strength has brought me to a very deep inner peace. I know I am okay because I can and will heal from the damage this world causes, and my new beliefs keep me accountable for the damage I cause. I am never going to understand the gray areas and that's okay. The mystery and challenge is necessary in our lives to keep growing.

Do the best you can with what you have, where you are at, and never stop trying to grow. Many blessings and may healing find you quickly and deeply!

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Webmaster:
Randall