Because I am stupid and tasty

I wanted to tell the forum in question before I mentioned it here, but I finally did that yesterday. And the short story is, God spoke.

And I didn’t like it.

Here’s the long story: On Saturday, the family went to Confession over at an awesome church we found “about ten miles from here.” Two priests, two hours scheduled, and there’s always a line. I noticed people would wait extra long for the “shrine director” rather than “Father Jerry,” but I didn’t know why, as Fr. Jerry was nice enough. Then one day I got the Shrine Director, and I fully believe the man can read hearts (yes, just like Padre Pio and St. Philip Neri).

That’s who I got this weekend, too, and for my penance he said, reassuringly, “Go in front of the Blessed Sacrament and let God talk to you.”

After I got the kids out the door with my Patient Husband, I slipped back in to “let God talk to me,” and after a minute, yes, He talked to me.

I don’t say that lightly. In the past four days, I’ve consulted with other people, asked two online groups for prayers for discernment, and prayed over it myself just to make sure I’m not being deceived. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about mysticism and spirituality, it’s that as far as Satan is concerned, I am stupid and tasty. But the verdict from every quarter has been: that’s the real deal.

What I was told was to leave the online forum where I spent about 75% of my online time. Where I’ve been a participant for five years. Where I felt safe, supported, and welcome. Except that God wanted me gone.

I thought, “But — But — ” and tried to deny I’d heard that, and then when it was obviously real, I thought, “But how am I going to do that?” because of all the people, the stories, the support, the concern —

And then I was back in the church, kneeling in the last row, and it was clear God was done talking to me.

I imagine that heart-reading priest heard from God: “Send her to me. I’ll take care of her.”

That forum wasn’t on the table. I wasn’t praying “Should I stay there?” or “What should I do about the fact that I’m a lazy slob?” I wasn’t asking anything at all, in fact. Just reaching for God and wanting to be near him.

In retrospect, that forum was getting too much of my time. My kids need me more. I get that. Also, when I wanted to run away in my head, the board was a positive, supportive place, so I’d go there. In fact, even after I decided to give it a “board break” while I discerned what to do, I found myself automatically hitting the key-combo to take me there whenever I finished something else online.

My Patient Husband said, “What if you just cut down?” but I said no, cutting down wasn’t an option. It’s the same thing as the ants in my walls. What if the exterminator had said, “I’ve got a treatment that will kill eighty percent of the carpenter ants eating your house”? My house is tasty to ants. Same thing here. And as CS Lewis said in “A Grief Observed,” a surgeon has to cut out all of a tumor. Even if it seems cruel to the patient, it’s actually crueler to leave the cancer there.

That forum isn’t inherently evil like cancer or destructive like carpenter ants, of course. It’s a positive place that has done a lot of good. But the thing that sends a person into a spiritual ditch is never an inherently bad thing: it’s always something good that’s taking up too much space. To me, to my soul, to my family life, I guess it was becoming that way. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to go back ever.

Yesterday I signed off. It was a sad thing. I haven’t gone back since, even though there are threads I want to check on, posters whose stories I wanted to hear through to the end. I didn’t want to go back and read a thread of goodbyes, either (and, well, I’d said I was going, so it was only polite to go) but I kept getting messages all day. It hurts. I’m glad my time there helped others, but it hurts to say goodbye and hear “goodbye” in return.

I’ve been praying that God makes the most of this. That whatever good is supposed to happen will happen and not be ruined because I’m an idiot. I’ve been feeling very small and stupid because most people know how to prioritize their lives, but I needed a divine smackdown.

After twenty years of reading about angels, I know the etiquette when God gives you a direct order is either to beg for mercy or to say “Yes, sir.” Even though it stinks to say goodbye to the wonderful people there, for now it’s “Yes, sir.”


  1. blue

    I have to admit I read your lovely goodbye, and thought, “but, but but… you will miss us, we will miss you, can’t you just stay for a little bit?? What if it ISN’T a good idea??”

    And then I had to laugh at myself a bit because how often does God have bad ideas? ;D

    And really, I know how easy it is to get stuck in bad habits. The computer is one of mine, too. Maybe this is just your heavenly Father saying “Oh, for goodness sake, get off that thing and go outside for a while!”

    So you grumble and slouch outside and feel like life is unfair. And then you meet new friends and play new games and forget about the stupid machine waiting for you inside.

    At least, that’s what I hope will happen – that Happiness and Joy are just waiting for you to turn off the machine and come out to play. You deserve it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. whiskers09092006

    Don’t worry. Even though we miss you, I think we all understand. And those people whom you value are never really gone. You have them in your head and in your heart, and sometimes, when life is very kind, they come back into your life.


  3. Diana

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I have a few things in my life that could stand cutting out, as well, and I keep hemming and hawing over them. You’ve motivated me to amputate. Mercilessly. I love it!

    I’ll offer up my sacrifice for you!

  4. Illya

    A grand leap of faith–and that is what this is all about–never goes unrewarded. Your act of courage in doing what you believe God wants speaks volumes. God will provide others with wisdom in sharing to the group, while He works with your talents in ways He couldn;t have if you stayed “plugged in” to the group. You are in my prayers.

  5. Deb

    I think I have been getting the same message. Maybe now I’ll be able to do it…

  6. southernsugar

    Don’t think of it as goodbye. I agree with Whiskers — the people you care about, the things you care about, are never fully gone. You’ll always be a part of the forum and we’re all the better for having had the benefit of your wisdom, kindness, and wit.

  7. philangelus

    Well, I don’t know about wisdom. I think it’s my guardian’s wisdom and the angel was hanging out with me online and helping people because, well, it was a good thing to do. As recent events have shown, I’m about as insightful as a brick.

    I’m still shaken about leaving there. I’ve caught myself a few times starting the key-combo to get there and remembered, no, I don’t belong anymore. *sigh* I miss the forum.

  8. Pingback: the spiders « Seven angels, four kids, one family

  9. Kate

    I know I wasn’t even remotely close to being as rooted there as you, but I left sort of abruptly after some God-prompting myself months ago…it was oddly painless, though, as you say, it took a while to stop hitting the keys to get there.

  10. cricketB

    Hugs and prayers.

    Is it worth unprogramming the key combo? I don’t think that’s cheating in self-discipline, just helping your body avoid betraying you.

    I think God worked through you, but wants to give you a rest and a chance to focus on your family, especially while they’re out of school for the summer. A year from now, I expect you’ll look back and realize He’s given you a new task, something that started so small you only recognize it in hingdsight, but would have been unable to do if you stayed in the forum. I look forward to hearing about your new role!

    Meanwhile, though, hugs and prayers.

    1. philangelus

      Safari remembers the last billion websites I visited. So my key-combo is just command-L (to highlight the URL line) and then the first two letters of the forum name followed by the down-arrow twice. I can’t unprogram that.

      Fortunately, the forum has enough “header” material that on the laptop screen, I have to scroll down to actually see the header titles. ๐Ÿ™‚ So even if I go there, I’ll just be looking at a screen that says “HELLO, GUEST!” and no subject lines, and that will give me time to navigate away. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I don’t know if it’s God wanting me to do something positive as much as to quit doing something negative (for me.)

      1. Profusely

        I guess you could just delete your browsing history but I don’t know safari so i couldn’t tell you how to do it..

        I’ve kinda drifted away a bit too, and I will miss you but I’ll keep an eye on your blog ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. Sefaeria

    You never know for sure if something is waiting in the wings of life. Flowers grow in each season, die, leave their seeds to endure the winter and the next spring it happens again. This is part of that cycle. I’ve had to leave behind parts of my family to let them go on with their lives and so I could learn to live mine. I left behind my two babies; little brothers I had helped raise since birth. But I had begun to see that I wasn’t growing and they needed to have more freedom than my being there every day allowed.

    1. afbluebelle

      I already sent you an e-mail before I saw your tagline, so I guess it is okay to come here. Big duh on my part. Anyway, I totally respect and understand why you needed a break, and know that we love you as the caring individual that you are. I still think you are groovy =)

  12. Bluenomi

    We still miss you and your wisdom but I understand you need to do what you need to do. Even so if you ever feel like a visit, the door is always open (just be sure to knock first, it’s rude to just walk in ๐Ÿ˜‰