Sunday, January 11, 2009


Facebook has been a strange phenomena for me.

Suddenly I am connecting with friends I haven't seen since I was a teenager doing missionary work and its stirring up all kinds of various emotions for me.  I haven't gone to church since that time, and I have mostly lived my life worried what my missionary friends would think of me knowing that about me. Afraid of disappointing, and fearing the feeling of judgement.

At the same time, it was such a long time ago that many of my friends who are in my life now, have no idea that I was ever in full-time ministry. Just like the people I knew back then, don't know about my un-churched life now.

Such a criss-cross of interractions and experiences in my lifetime.

During the time I served as a missionary, (making $19 a week)... I spent weeks in the roughest, most brutal neighborhoods of Harlem and in Flatbush and Bushwick districts of Brooklyn, NY, Portsmouth, VA, Tacoma, WA and Dallas, TX --and even in women's prisons.It was such an adventure.

We spent hours praying for the lost that they might find Jesus. But deep in my heart, where I was afraid to look myself, I wondered and worried if I had ever really found Him.

"Please God," I would pray. "Please reveal Your love to me in a mighty way." I prayed that same prayer everyday. With my eyes closed and heart pounding, I would be afraid to open them in fear of what I would find. Would I see Him in all His glory? Would I fall on the ground from the force of His love? Each day, I would open my eyes and each day I woudn't see anything except for what was in front of me and simply believed in faith that "yes, Jesus loves me for the bible tells me so."

During my stint as a missionary and afterwards, I feared I would say or do something that wasn't perfectly right or good. My insides were constantly swarming with emotions. Always conflicting, always feeling less than. Always admiring others' beauty and shaming my own.

And now that portion of my past has reunited to my future. All blending in, side-by-side in facebook, like an outdoor picnic with friends from all different walks of my life, I need to let it go and let life make its own history.

So. Here I am. Thank you for those who still remember me and want to friend me. This is me. Living my life the best I know how. I have a long way to go, but enjoy moving along with you.. toward a deeper spirituality and being a better person in this life of ours.

So. Let's start the charcoal. Lets unthaw the meat. The party is about to begin and you're all welcome to participate. Its gonna be party of a lifetime.


Laurel said...

Wow, Shawn. I am SO glad I decided to click on your blog and that I got to read this entry.

We dont go to church either. And as I read some of the things you said, your feelings about how other's might feel about that...I so connected with it!

We were in ministry a bit longer than you....up until about 5 years ago. Probably about 20 years longer than we should have been, in retrospect.

We still are 'believers'. But it is a very honest and open type of, hey, I dont trust anyone who says they have all the answers, know all the correct interpretations of the bible and know exactly what happens to us when we die....and WHAT is going to happen to WHO.

We got tired, just plain old tired of the, uhm, garbage. And the painful lack of real love. To me, over ALL things, there should be love and true kindness. I missed out on a lot of that.

Heh, you are getting a real earful of Laurel tonight!!

You just touched me. So, I guess I have to blab a lot when someone does that. :)

Ferris said...

Just being you is the best thing you can do for yourself. I realized last year I need to live my life for ME and no one else, which I had been doing for a very long time. It took me half my life to realize that but it was so liberating. I'm a happier person now. You go Shawn.

doodlegirl said...

Oh Laurel. Thank you for your note. I am so happy you clicked on my blog, too! You said: "To me, over ALL things, there should be love and true kindness. I missed out on a lot of that." I so believe in that, too. And yes, I missed on on a lot of that as well. (siiiiigh)

Ferris. Thank you for your encouragement. Like everything else in my life, I'm a late bloomer. :O)

danny said...

That was a wonderful post, Shawn...and it was brave, because it's difficult... personal feelings of religion, and among Christians, one's personal relationship to Jesus is nobody's business but yours and Jesus' and no one else...I was never in that kind of endeavor that you were, and bless your heart for doing it...but I did go to Church and Sunday School and all that when I was a kid. We learned about the New Testament, and studied the Gospels, but back then, it was just like another day of school...
But I think something did sink in...In 1982 I visited a shrine in Glastonbury, England, where Joseph of Aramthea supposedy left remnants of Christ's artifacts. "offer a prayer" the humble sign said, I knealt and prayed...tears started flowing! my prayer was basically, "Forgive me Jesus, I am so far away from you...please. give me the strength, wisdom, courage, and hope that I may carry on.....
I still say that prayer today.

doodlegirl said...

WOW. What an incredible real experience you had back then in '82. That's a beautiful prayer. I hope you will continue to have that fortitude to carry on. I believe in you.

Kate said...

Both your post and then Danny's prayer hit me. God is the center of my life. At the same time I can't come to a conclusion that I know anything about God! Nor do I believe I or others of my faith are on the only path to Him. I celebrate what you did years ago as I prepare to go meet my Navajo and Nigerian friends who are seeking relationships with God. For me having questions throughout life is the same as having a relationship.
When I think of you I think of a human surprise! Now I'm off to become your facebook friend even though I just don't get that tool's popularity...

doodlegirl said...

I can tell God is the center of your life and I loved what you said here: "At the same time I can't come to a conclusion that I know anything about God! Nor do I believe I or others of my faith are on the only path to Him." I think that is so beautiful because that's exactly the humble spirit of yours I am drawn toward. The more we know, the more we realize how little we actually do know.

I am so delighted to be your facebook friend!

Hope said...

Hey Shawn,
thanks for the the wonderful blog here; all those years ago we spent in NYC and other place as "missionaries" Who knew we would be so fortunate spiritual not religous.

As I say to my friends now, I don't know where or with whom I will spend eternity but I hope it with them. I know my life as gay person in some peoples book does not put me @ the pearly gates.

HoweverWho knows who is really right. I know I have peace in my heart.

Love that we have reconnected girl.

Hope aka Illene Harris

doodlegirl said...

Dear Ilene, it has been half-a-lifetime since I have seen you. But still I can see you and hear your voice as if I saw you only yesterday.

I love how you changed your name to Hope.

I believe that God absolutely adores you. I like to think we are all loved, no matter the color of our skin or the person we chose to love.

roz said...

You are a fascinating woman, I love you to bits!

Hope said...

Hey Shawn,

You have so grown as a person. It is so great to see your work and write to you and catch with you!

Michele said...


I love your honesty.

As long as I have read your posts (and I have read a lot of them while laughing, crying, reminiscing) I can say you have nothing - with a capital "N" - to be ashamed of. If you ask me, you live your life as purely and honestly as a person can.

I like to think that even when we don't practice religion by attending church, singing hymns, grasping worry beads, that we are showing our appreciation for "more than ourselves," for life, appreciating what we are given by using our gifts with purpose.

You do that.

You touch people with your words and make people happy with your graphic art talents. You have nothing to be embarrassed about.

P.S. Wow, what stories you must have... working in prisons?

I'd love to hear about that.

Anonymous said...

hey Sho this is Glo..... you rock

doodlegirl said...

Thank you Roz! You're adorable!

Michele. Your words touched me to my core. Thank you for believing in me and for saying words to me that we all crave to hear. And hope it's enough and I think it is. I believe in you in the same you believe in me.

Glo! I have been looking for you!!!! I ran into Bo and Mo on facebook! But not Pie. Email me please. I have missed you! My email can be located at