The WOTM - Step Three of Recovery

I have a couple of friends who are former Mennonites.  They were raised that way, but have left the Mennonite Church for other meadows.  Though they left that denomination, the Way of the Mennonite can still be found in them. They both have tremendous humor and perspective which allows them to poke fun at their backgrounds a bit. Hopefully you read my own poking fun at myself in the post entitled, "2.5 Steps Up"

This though really isn't about a certain denomination, but about sorting through why we think the way we do, do the things we do and whether or not those things are healthy. Unfortunately because we are human and touch religion as humans we already, just by our mere handling of it, bring some of our own humanness into denominations, into religion in general.  I don't think any subject is off-limits.  I truly believe that humor goes a long way when dealing with sensitive subjects.  It helps us to properly see the holes and eventually, the right perspective that needs to be gained.  Don't take yourself too seriously!

We are individually a collection of what we have experienced and were exposed to growing up.  So, by no fault of their own, in part of their DNA is the Mennonite ways. Like most things in life, part of it is good, but part of it is a bit of bondage.  How to take the good stuff and make it better, but be rid of the Way Of The Mennonite that seeks to create rules, bondage and expectations that are neither healthy or correct.  For all of us that is a quest of a lifetime.

I tease my friends relentlessly about the supposed "Mennonite Recovery Program" (that is a term I created as a euphemism to letting go of anything that seeks to keep us in bondage) that they are in.  I have yet to see this program in print other than what I have jotted down on the table paper in the restaurant we meet at every week for breakfast.  I do have another two-part series on this subject though - enough to draft a small pamphlet for use in support groups:)

To mimic a bit of Jeff Foxworthy's You-Might-Be-A-Redneck.... You might be a Mennonite if your grandfather had sex with sheep and was called up front of the church to be disciplined.  You also might be a Mennonite if noodles and mashed potatoes are a food pyramid category alongside All Things Carbohydrate-ish. You might be a Mennonite if you know the meaning of fair trade, can quilt, and own at least one doilie that you display on an end table somewhere in your house. You most definitely might be a Mennonite if you own the game "Dutch Blitz".

My friend has the biggest heart you'd ever find, but she cannot and will not say no to anyone.  In fact I once witnessed her inviting a truck driver, who stopped in the office because he could not legally drive one more block without a fine, to have a root beer.  She had him come to the conference room in the back office, take his shoes off, watch some TV and take a nap while he waited.  He had merely asked if he could use an outlet for a bit to charge his cell phone while he waited in his semi for a relief driver. 

She cannot and will not say no to social situations that she has no desire to attend, to people she does not want to spend an evening over dinner with, shop with or attend Elvis impersonation acts with.  She can think bold stand up for yourself thoughts, but would never ever say them out loud. 

At dinner recently she whipped out two small spiral bound tablets, as I put it, her CIA detective tablets, from her purse to look for some written piece of information that was vital to the conversation.  I became enthralled with what she had written in these tablets.  Firstly, they were filled willy-nilly with information about everything and nothing in no particular order. There were web URL addresses, random people's names, quotes from a sermon, notes from a self-defense class, the score to her IQ test, an old grocery list, and a small drawing resembling a woodland creature. 

My eyes fell to the page with subway sandwiches and toppings written on it.  I asked her, "Why do you have sandwich choices and toppings written in this tablet."  Hers was a classic Mennonite pleaser response, "Well, I ordered sandwiches a few times for these people and I thought if I ever need to do it again for them I will know what they like and have it written here in the tablet."  I smiled and asked her, "Well, I notice there are no names by the sandwiches.  Do you have the people's choices memorized?  And better yet, do you remember who these people were that you once ordered subway sandwiches for?"  She began to roar in laughter realizing her "pleasing" others was a little out there as she really didn't remember who she had ordered the sandwiches for nor exactly why she was unable to tear it out of the tablet. 

I tell her all the time that to get through Step Three of the Mennonite Recovery Program she has to stop pleasing everyone to the detriment of herself.  Boundaries are good.  Helping others and paying it forward is noble.  Going to dinner with someone you don't want to maintain a friendship with is well, bondage.  And that will never ever get you to Step Four in the Mennonite Recovery Program - BEHAVIOR BASED AFFIRMATION:) 

(coming soon to a blog post - The Road To Mennonite Recovery - freeing yourself from a life of carbs)

1 comment:

  1. You know what Big L...for someone who is 2.5 up from the Menno's, you're an extremely accomplished, nonbondaged, noncarboydratish, free saucy little divorced wonder! Teach me to be free...ugh...let me guess, it begins in the gym?!
    And for the record that poor little truck driver had a personal pan pizza that looked like it needed a beverage to force it down...just sayin...
    Okay, back to the Recovery program, Step ???