Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hypocrisy or Hope?

As adults we practice the art of discerning. if your Catholic you're either an expert or a saint We judge the value of a rule and apply this to our lives as necessary. Driving my car at 5 sometimes 10 shh miles above the speed limit on the expressway is acceptable - in a school zone not so much. Practicing birth control is not only logical but necessary unless I want to raise a soccer team - adultery a big negative.

Having no difficulty discerning the rule of man versus the role of God I navigate these waters daily with no harm to my esteem or soul. Yet, as you know if you have read me in the past, I have been taking a break from THE CHURCH. This break has not gone well.

I have been a boat adrift.

Lacking a "home" it is too easy to push aside spirituality for the everyday minutia that threatens, as a vine in a Sunnyville summer, to crowd out everything in sight. And having promised myself I would have a definite plan before school begins again I tackled the church. Partly I wanted answers but mostly I wanted to say "HEY! I AM LEAVING BECAUSE YOUR RULES ARE ARCHAIC AND HATEFUL!" Shouldn't someone know/care that the intellectuals from their personal ivory tower are destroying my faith? I called a pastor.

Pastors, let it be known, are not removed. They are the social workers of their faith dealing with the humanity and all the conditions and issues that arise from such work.  It was to such a man that I voiced my predicament. We talked for a good while. I made it as clear as possible that I have a moral crisis with a policy of discrimination against homosexuals (among other things). It is wrong. It is hurtful.

I can't reconcile how to be a loving, supportive mother while attending a church with a hurtful policy toward an entire population. The priest far from shunning asked how many people in the church probably take birth control? or live with significant others outside of marriage? These are rules too, he says, yet no one bats an eye or passes judgement. There is no choice to be homosexual he points out, it is decided at birth. It is not wrong, it simply is.

He counseled me to have no fear of the people who disapprove (which I take to mean "THE church" - as I have no problem with people in general but he can't very well talk against his boss can he?) he recounted a glib remark from a friend that "maybe the church should get out of the marriage business altogether", and he went as far as to laughingly say that if anyone says anything "you can always tell them to go to hell."

Having spent my own career in "the trenches" while my policy makers are far removed I choose to see this as hope not hypocrisy. But will my children see it the same? Am I tacitly condoning the proclamations of the red-robed and removed or teaching independent, critical, thinking?

I'm not sure. The spiritual faith of my church is the vehicle by which I most comfortably reach my destination of reflection and communion with the universe and God. I do not attend mass for the policy, nor do I pray to connect with the Pope.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tyrannical Rule

There is no democracy in Sunnyville. When the ruler is unhappy, cries of wrath can be heard throughout and the people shake in fear. Residents of Sunnyville are often found making offers to placate the finicky tastes of the despot. And when the tyranny is held at bay by laughter and joy, the residents rejoice - knowing that this moment is worthwhile, however temporary it may be.

Oh, there have been grumblings of revolt. A call to action among the populous. But the elders know this is simply a trading of one authority for another and largely ignore the rally. After all, how do you reason against a ruler who isn't old enough to go on the potty, let alone read your protest signs?

So, in the great tradition of two-year-olds before her there will continue:

Cajoling from tears into giggles by the crazy antics of her peasants siblings

Much watching of toddler-friendly television, after all who doesn't love a rousing round of "I Love You, You Love Me?" Especially repeated for the 3rd time in an evening?

Hiding of the "treasures" to include but not limited to: marbles, special dolls, candies, and anything shiny

Tickle sessions at the drop of a dime

Ring-Around-the-Rosie gala balls that continue until participants drop from dizziness

The constant use of redirection to avert the word "NO" for fear of swift retaliation in the form of on-the-floor-foot-stomping-screaming that lasts until something sparkly catches her eye.

All of this to be balanced by joyful demonstrations of new tricks that amuse, cuddles that put the cutest of puppies to shame, delight in each newly acquired skill, and - when things slow down - a refreshing peek at the wonder of the world as seen through new eyes. 

So, we will keep our little despot and continue to introduce civilized behavior to her repertoire knowing that these days will pass too soon.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Twenty-Five Birthdays

"Sure, I'll go," she off-handily offered. "Let me tell my mom."

After a quick check-in they were off, part of the group. Gradually, the laughter and calls dwindled as the two allowed the many to outpace and drift away.

They continued. Walking casually through streets each knew well - he from his daily journey to each morning and from just before every curfew; she from the familiarity found in home towns - they talked of nothing and everything. Comfortable, as friends always seem, to enjoy the silences and the laughter equally. Only bothered by the nagging sense that perhaps she should have some gift, though he insisted not.

Arriving at last, a flurry of activity takes place. There are introductions, cake, and baby cousins to keep her just a bit off-balance. There is the story of how much money he spent on the concert shirts that day and the slight discomfort that always accompanies being with any parents or adults other than our own. But, he is her friend and surprising even herself, she feels some comfort here.

Eventually, the two are alone again. Slouched postures, knees brushing lightly on the top step counting cars as they pass. Calling out "padiddle" and giving a playful punch as the game - and lacking headlights - required. Final tally was nearing a keg for her - which they laughingly agreed he could bring to her wedding one day.

Would you have told him then that this was only the first of 25 birthdays (and counting) he would share in some way with her, he probably would have laughed. He would have blushed at the idea that he would indeed carry the keg in to her wedding - little knowing it would in fact be his as well. But, life sometimes works just as we hope and birthday wishes can come true.

Happy Birthday my love! May all your birthday wishes come true.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Our lives are a series of endings - for each begins a new journey  or vice verse depending on your life outlook. Few may be as wonderful and melancholy as watching your child leave home to begin her own journey. Yet, what use are wings if we do not fly?

So it was that I froze in the baking sun, arms heavy with boxes and  heart burdened by memories as my sweet, blue eyed girl looked on at the other toddlers and children playing in the fountain. Part of me wanted to push her out - fly and enjoy; but intuition screamed to stop and watch. Given to her own devices she set the pace. Her small hands gripping a bucket, floppy sunhat shielding the glare, she studied the rowdy and meek alike. After gleaning what she could, she marked her destination in her mind and set off on her own - no hesitation. Soon she was immersed in the play she had chosen, her joy visible in the little dance she preformed around the refreshing spout.

Shaking off the vision, I turned to watch as my beautiful now-young-adult Teen loaded her brother down with yet another pile of college necessities to be hauled to her new, part-time, home. Wiping at the wetness winding down my cheek I pushed fears away and reminded myself that this toddler-young-adult-Teen will not merely follow blindly - she will confidently soar.