confessions from a germy home

My oldest son is sick right now. He spiked a fever a couple of days ago but thankfully is on the mend now.

Confession……in our home, there may be a parent who is a germ-phobe.

It may or may not be me.

Either way, the germ-phobic parent in question has passed on moments of this phobia to our children. I’m sure the germ-phobe would like it if the children had more than just moments of this phobia, especially when the boys are cuddled together around some sort of hand-held electronic item the sick child gets to play. But mostly the phobia comes out in very classic boy-banter.

“Ahhhh! Get away from me! You have germs!!!”

“HEY! Don’t touch me! I have germs!”

“Watch out or else I’ll breathe my germs on you!”

Lovely. Sounds like a perfectly peaceful environment conducive to healing, doesn’t it? During all of this germ-business that has been going on in my home as of late, I have been checking out upcoming writing conferences. I am finally ready to put myself out there in the world and I need some connections in the writing industry if I ever want to get a book published, which I do. Very much.

However, I find myself with a choice to make that I wish didn’t exist. Do I seek to publish and stay within the “Christian” realm, or do I launch into the “secular” world? I have more connections in the “Christian” realm, but personally, that is not where I want to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I know what my beliefs are and I won’t be abandoning them any time soon. My faith and spirituality are a part of who I am and what I write. But does that mean I have to stay sequestered and separate from the rest of the world?

I understand why these two worlds exist. I understand it because I myself have contributed to their existence and segregation. Maybe I still do. I lived most of my life like the “secular” world had germs. I thought it an unsafe world. People who believed differently than me were bad people and I had best stay away from them unless I wanted to catch their disease. No, I liked my safe world where I thought everyone was the same as me.

But now I see things differently. I am not afraid of people with a different belief system than mine. In fact, I am rather energized to be around them. I like to engage with others who are not always sorting people into one of two categories. People who don’t need to evaluate my theology in order to have a conversation with me or say that I am worthy of their time and energy. People, perhaps, like my former self.

And although I no longer look for ways to work my beliefs into a conversation and persuade others to be like me, I do believe in a God who deeply and desperately loves all of the people he has created. Not just the ones I might have previously thought to be “germ-free”. And if I believe in a God who deeply and desperately loves all people, why can’t I? And how can I deeply and desperately love people if I live in a world separated from them? Now, whether or not they love me back and offer me a book contract is another matter entirely. But one thing at a time.

Also, I believe in good hand-washing and generous amounts of antibacterial gel.

No matter if I am the germ-phobe or not.

4 thoughts on “confessions from a germy home

  1. Randy Ehle says:

    Okay, to the second-last paragraph, re: antibacterial gel: I have it on good authority (a Nurse Practicioner with whom I traveled to Liberia a couple years ago) that antibacterial gels, over time, do as much damage as good. They kill off the good bacteria in our bodies that help to fight the bad bacteria, so that our own body’s ability to fight germs is actually reduced. Good hand washing with warm water and soap is to be preferred; use the antibacterials only when soap and water isn’t available, not instead.

    Now, to the writing part: you go, girl! I’m guessing you know what you want to write, more specifically than just “a book.” So write, and as you make progress, decide who’d want to read it and look for a publisher that targets them. Note, of course, that I’ve never had a book published. (I did have a poem published in a magazine once, though. They even paid me for it! HA, HA – FOOLS! No, really; it wasn’t that great a poem.) In fact, I’ve never been anywhere close to having a book idea that would fill more than about twenty pages – and that’s not a book, it’s an essay.

    My closest contacts in the writing world are Becky Harling (three books through NavPress), my Mom (writes for several online devotional-style blogs), and my brother (Art Manager for Stanford Press and a recent Stegner Fellow whose fellow Fellow – Jesmyn Ward – just won the National Book Award for her novel, “Salvage the Bones”). That’s about as much as I can tell you. Keep writing, though – you’re good!

    • itsakoolife says:

      Randy – You are too funny. I have also heard about antibacterial gel not being great in the long run, but it is so handy and hard not to….. 🙂
      Thanks so much for your encouragement and advice….I may come hunt you down for your brother’s contact info someday, but here’s to hoping the upcoming writer’s conference pays for itself! 🙂

  2. I LOVE the analogy-GREAT for getting across the idea, and I like the changes-It was an honor to hear it out loud with your speaking voice-it was just like your writing voice! You do a beautiful job allowing us to feel like you’re speaking to us each time we get to click on and read!

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