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A year ago.

This is where we were a year ago. We had an epileptic schnauzer who’d forget to poop outside (not inside) after a round of seizures. My youngest was still taking naps. Ironically, we were wrestling with Christmas lights and car batteries on the very same weekend just like this year.

When you pull out the same Christmas treasures every year, it forces remembering. Every Christmas we get an ornament to commemorate that year. In 2009, we hung a Cinderella’s castle to remember our Walt Disney World vacation. In 2008, we chose a red brick church to remember our new membership at Mitchell Road Pres.

Then there was 2007. ::ahem:: I don’t think a picture would do this ornament justice. It’s really crappy.

But we left it like that because that was our year — crappy. It’s a home-made shrinky dink meant to look like this:

It doesn’t. The red ink has turned pink and the dink is crinkled. It just looks terrible.

So when we hang it, Grant and I chortle and sigh. That was our year. That was 2007.

Last year I was just realizing exactly what I had participated in over the whole of my life. And it prompted panic attacks. I was that consumed with shame. I thought fundamentalism was about Jesus, but it never was. Never, ever. Fundamentalism was always about the most extreme right-wing political ideology. Always. From the beginning. No matter how much young earnest souls like myself insist that it’s about good things, it’s just not. The grand doctrine of “separation” was code for segregation and secession. The words all mean the same thing. Their use goes back to antebellum America. And that self-righteous whiteness is in the warp and woof of something I thought was wholesome and honorable.

When I got the document where Bob Jones Jr. uses the words “(racial) segregation” and “(doctrinal) separation” interchangeably, I panicked. I had my proof . . . but did I want it?

I had to decide: was I supposed to drop this entire research project for the benefit of my health and well-being? Was my body agreeing with every person from my previous life who told me to just “shut up”? Or should I keep on? Where do I go from here?

That’s where I was a year ago.