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Friday, December 2, 2016

How do I Love Thee - Give Me A Minute

Rants can be cathartic.  Allowing for pent up emotion to flow out from the brain through the fingers and onto the virtual page can relieve stress.  Putting pen to paper, either figuratively or while clenching a #2 pencil in a white-knuckled hand, can often make it unnecessary for the object of frustration to be subject to a tirade.

In the past I have allowed my rants to be published, causing harm that far outweighed my need to be heard or validated.  My hurt feelings might have been relieved.  The damage my expression did was incalculable.  This taught me a valuable lesson, estranged me from beloved people and humbled my spirit (which needed humbling).  Not every thought I have has to be expressed for all to hear.  Not every hurt feeling or observation of another's behavior needs to be aired to the world.  It is perfectly acceptable to keep one's thoughts to oneself, no matter how frustrating or painful it may be to do so. It is also okay for others to not tell me every dang thing that crosses their mind.  I don't have to know everything about you in order to love you.

But we sure resist that idea.  "You are only as sick as your secrets", we declare, sitting in the rooms of 12 Step Programs across the continents.  "Be honest with each other" is out battle cry as we wave the banner of True Relationships and Mental Health.

It gets me to thinking:  is it always necessary for you to know all my feelings in order for you to feel you know and love me?

It is better if I assume that all human beings have crosses to bear rather than for me to know all those individual crosses?  Can I extend you mercy without having to know that you suffer in a specific way or is having that information the foundation of my ability to love you?

I have often been told what my motives are, what I am feeling and what I mean when I say something.  Usually the person expressing that information is way off the beam but they are basing it on the information I give them.  They look at how I walk, talk, my mannerisms and the toss of my head when I speak and they leap to conclusions about everything from my education (or lack thereof) and my political ideas.  Usually the person making the assumption is wrong.  They have heard something in my tone, discerned something from my choice of verbiage or made a determination based on my skin color, size and gender - and almost always, without a doubt, they are wrong.

The times I found it necessary to let the entire world know how I felt about someone else's behavior, I was usually wrong in my characteristic of their actions.  I got my feelings hurt, I made assumptions, I voiced them and caused more damage.  It does not surprise me when other people do the same thing.

Still, it gets me to thinking....

In the prayer we use in my 12 Step Program to facilitate the 11th Step Meditation, there is a line that reads something like this:  Lord, let me strive to understand rather than be understood.  If that is my daily goal do I need specific information about you in order to reach it?

I want to say yes, because honestly if I have that information it becomes easier for me to understand you.  Yet no where in that prayer, or any other spiritual writings, can I find anything that says, "as soon as you know your subject, you can start to love them".  Rather, all the teachings I find tell me to love and respect and honor another based on one thing:  they exist, and therefore they are worthy of love, respect and honor.

If I make the decision to love, respect and honor you simply by virtue of you being a creature of the Creator I am making great strides towards knowing the real you.  I don't have to have a complete list of faults and assets, though that might make it easier for me to be your spiritual director or your 12 Step sponsor, for me to know and hold on to the most important fact about you - the only one that matters.

You are a child of the Eternal God.

Here's what's cool about this - you don't even have to BELIEVE you are a child of God in order for me to treat you with the love, respect and honor you deserve from me because you ARE just that; in other words, this particular reality does not require that you acknowledge it in order to be reality.  Just as a bridge does not need me to believe it is a bridge in order to get people from one side to another, you are one of God's children whether you like it or not.

So here is the deal - I may not share everything about my life with you.  You may assume all kinds of things about me based on what you do know about me - my size, my hair color, my ethnic background, my religion - and I cannot stop you from doing so.  However, if you make the assumption that I am a certain way and lock your belief system down so tight that nothing will change your view there is a really good chance you are going to miss the boat.

I don't want to miss the boat today.  Today I am going to just assume you are what I know already to be true - you are a human being, a creature worthy of respect, love and honor - and I am going to act accordingly because that is what people like me are required to do.

If I get hurt, so be it.

Have a FABULOUS weekend!  GO NINERS!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Question - am I responsible for the Goofy People who like me?

One thing I have learned during this past election cycle is that I am not the brightest bulb in the box.  Frankly, I take comfort in admitting I was completely wrong about the chance for a Trump presidency because I am in great company.  People like Peggy Noonan and George Will thought he would implode.  Apparently we missed something (a BIG something) and now I am playing catch up on a lot of stuff in order to figure out what happened.

I am blessed with a fairly strong constitution.  I do not need counseling and I am suspicious of the need for things like Empathy Walls or Comfort Spaces for all the people who have been traumatized the election results.  I find myself shutting up about this wailing and gnashing of teeth because I do not want to be accused of 'shaming' people who need help and because I don't want to sound like my late father.  I cannot even imagine what he would be saying right now - or maybe I can, and so am glad I do not have to worry about this year's Thanksgiving Dinner conversation.

I learned something else from this past cycle and that is to not trust any news media outlets.  Apparently, in the past, one could count on the reporters getting out of their chairs and actually searching out the truth of a story but today all we seem to get is warmed over ideas from bloggers and late night talk show hosts on both radio and television.  Edward R. Murrow is turning in his grave and the spirit of Woodward and Bernstein are dead.

This is why when people started screaming about Steve Bannon being a proponent of White Supremacy I did not rush to judgment.  I wanted to find out what I could and the best way I could figure out how to do that was to read the transcripts of some of his speeches and to read some recent interviews.

I really didn't know (and still do not) that much about the man other than to think it is too bad Phillip Seymour Hoffman is dead because he would be the perfect guy to play him in the movie.  I started by reading a transcript of a speech he gave at the Vatican in 2014.  The speech is reported by BuzzFeed and my antenna went up when I saw that this venerable news organization had referred to Raymond Burke as " one of the most vocal critics of Pope Francis who was ousted from a senior Vatican position in 2014" .   The tone is set by the reporting - these people gathering for that summit are far-right conservatives and so should be treated with suspicion.

As I read through this particular speech I saw very little to take exception to philosophically but I could see where the culture in America today would be freaking out over what this guy said.  The attitude today is "Western Culture bad,,,,all else good".  I have seen this with my own eyes.  I once saw a Facebook post referencing a strangely titled internet group.  The group (something like HERstory or TRUESTORY or some such revisionist stuff) was trying to convince African Americans that NapolĂ©on conspired with Leonardo di Vinci to make all of the paintings of Jesus show him as a white man in order to wipe out the truth that He was Black.  I remember when I pointed out to an otherwise intelligent and very articulate man that the two people lived in two different centuries I was told that the reason I did not believe the information is because I have been brainwashed by the Euro-centric historicity taught in most school.  I was also told that I was using the evil calendar devised by the Roman Catholic Church.  If I used the JULIAN Calendar, he said, I would see how the evil Catholics had conspired to wipe the truth out that Jesus was a Black man.  When I told him that Napoleon had ruled in 1804 and di Vinci had died in the 1500's, I was ignored.

For this reason I did not leap onto the Southern Poverty Law bandwagon and proclaim Bannon a member of the KKK.  I wanted to try and figure this out for myself - do I like him or not?  I started my own quest for information and it has been enlightening.

If I understand Mr. Bannon correctly much of the values taught (though not often upheld by the teachers) by the Judeo-Christian Culture have been abandoned and that this has left our culture careening towards economic destruction.  He also admits that much of what he proposes in terms of 'Economic Nationalism" can be misappropriated by the far right goofy people (KKK and other White Supremist Types) and used to advance their agenda - an agenda which flies in the face of true Judeo-Christian Values.

It is an interesting speech, and I do not pretend to understand all of it.  Nor do I agree with his dismissal of the weird fringe type as eventually washing out.  I happen to think he needs to publically denounce and disavow them, because now he is the Senior Advisor to the most powerful man in the world.  To not do so is politically dumb at the least, suicidal at the most. 

This got me thinking, however, about the responsibility we all share for the goofy people who may or may not like us.  How important is it for my readers, for instance, for me to state clearly and carefully that I do not hold to any ideas held by Catholics who read my blog who are not in full communion with the Church.  If they think that only those Catholics who attend the Traditional Latin Mass are good Catholics, or only those Catholics who vote Republican are good Catholics or that every woman who had an abortion is going to hell then I disavow them.  They may share my Faith Tradition but they do not share my understanding of it.

If anyone who loves me thinks that Truth is subjective and so carry all the wackadoo ideas that goes along with that - I disavow them too.  It does not mean I don't still love them, however, but they have to know I believe in ALL that the Holy Catholic Church teaches - even the parts that are politically incorrect or that I have not even learned yet.  That is how much I trust Her...and The Holy Spirit.

Come to think of it, if you don't like dogs and cats I disavow you....just to be safe.

As a public confessor (writer) I have to consider the possibility that at least 10% of the people who read my stuff and regularly contact me about what I write might be nutty cookoo.  Am I responsible for them?  Does that responsibility change as my worldly importance changes? Today I am just a small time blogger, one blog among a bazillion blogs, but if, by fluke, I was suddenly catapulted into the stratosphere of fame would I be responsible for the opinions and beliefs held by every one of my readers?

Steve Bannon may or may not be a good guy.  I was put off by his references to 'Dark Power' during an interview and I think he may be a little grandiose (we will govern for 50 years!) but that truly could be chalked up to being a big mouthed man more than anything else.  I do think that, if we could hold to true Judeo-Christian Values, society would be better off.  I do believe that forced capitalism is another form of slavery and I do believe that capitalism must be regulated because of concupiscence. 

Am I ready to jump on his bandwagon?  No more than I am ready to have him shot by firing squad because the far left thinks too many White Supremists like him.

If he is right, and we can rebuild the middle class and the infrastructure without having to start or participate in a world war then that is great....and if he is wrong?

Well, heck - we will be having another election in four years.

Maybe by that time, George and Peggy and I will have learned something.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

There's Got to be a Morning After

I apologize to all the supporters of Donald Trump.  I did not think your candidate was real and I did not think he would win.   I was wrong.  Please accept my apology.

I did not vote for Mr. Trump. I did not vote for Mrs. Clinton. I did vote for President. I voted for Mike Maturen and Juan Munoz of the American Solidarity Party.

I did not vote for Mr. Obama. Despite the fact that I did not vote for Mr. Obama, I treated him with respect during his office. I did not call him names, question his citizenship or his intelligence, disparage his wife or children. I spoke out when I disagreed with his politics. I will do the same for the new President of the United States.

One of the toughest things people experience is losing.  Along with that is admitting that there are intelligent people who made a decision different from my own for reasons that were well thought out and held with conviction. Mr. Trump is supported by the founder of PayPal - hardly an uneduated dolt. To continue to slander all his supporters with claims of idiocy, stupidity or heresy is ridiculous. I will not participate in this and if you do, I will question your ability to be an adult.

Whether I agree with his election or not no longer matters. He is now charged with one of the most (if not THE most) difficult jobs in the world. Rather than throwing a temper tantrums, posting insulting Facebook memes or crying in my near-beer (that's a joke - I do not drink near-beer and I do not smoke near- pot) it might behove us to ask ourselves what social agenda items thrust upon the American people over the past 20 years lead to what is unmistakenly the biggest political revolution of our times.

Was this election fueled by anger? Yes. Is that anger well placed? Maybe. Understandable? oh hell yes. To pretend that the average American has not felt overlooked, over managed and forced to the breaking point to accept ideas and notions of liberty that go against their beliefs and understandings of Natural Law is a perilous position to hold.  You may be one of the people who think every single thing that has changed has been wonderful and for the good.  You may even be right. It doesn't matter.  What has happened is people, other people besides those of the elite class in think tanks, have ended up feeling marginalized, belittled and overlooked.  To think that the only thing angry men and women do when they have had enough is shoot up a public place has proven to be the undoing of the Left in this instance.  You did not think it through, kids, and now all you can do is burn police cars on the streets of Oakland and think that is okay.

The toughest part of being a REAL American comes now - looking at this and asking, "How can I help? What can I do to make this next phase of my country's existence something worthwhile? It is why I chose not to vote for either candidate and start to concentrate on local politics, to see what I can do to make a difference and become involved in the American Solidarity Party.

This is just a thought - do with it what you will. Mr. Trump is the President of my country, just as Mr. Obama was the President of my country. I am proud to be an American...but maybe now you understand why some people chose to take a knee. They feel, as you do right now, that they have been duped by the powers-that-be.  They kneel, not as a sign of disrespect to those who have fought and died defending this country from all enemies, foreign OR domestic, but as a legal and silent attempt to be heard, to be seen...for someone to take notice that all is not well in every world.

I continue to be a proud Army Auntie, a supporter of Law Enforcement and of True Social Justice. I am a Catholic Out Loud. I will not give up the hope that someday we can have a more cohesive and responsive government.  I love my country, I love Jesus and I love His Church.  That does not make me stupid, it does not make me a bigot or a hater.

It makes me an average American.  Please let me talk too.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Post Abortive - The Shaming By the Left of Women Like Me

Recently a self-described Catholic woman pointed out to me that the Holy Father made disparaging remarks about a  US Presidential candidate's declaration that he wants a wall built between the United States and Mexico.  Apparently this was her way of stating that voting for Mr. Trump was somehow against Catholic teaching, though she did not make that statement.  In fact, I should probably take that back since I have no idea WHY she made that statement.  When I replied that the Holy Father has made definite statements about supporting anyone in public office who supports abortion or euthanasia, her response was that she voted for the candidate that does just that because while she wants to share her Faith she does not want to 'judge' anyone.

This came out of the keyboards of a woman who has called the candidate she opposes 'Hitler', the people who support him as unintelligent, hate-filled racists, and other choice words. 

She went further to state that the medical term for miscarriage is 'abortion'. 

Now, I have no idea what that 'point' was supposed to be; but it got me thinking how far down the rabbit hole the pro-death people have gone when, to muddy the waters, they equate losing a child through a miscarriage as the same as losing a child through surgical abortion.

I am a post abortive woman.  During the 1980's, before I got sober and during the height of my drug and alcohol addictions, I chose to abort four of my children.  In 1987, when I married, I quickly became pregnant and I was convinced that the child I carried was going to be the child that saved me from those choices.  The day my husband died, I lost our child. 

I have, therefore, experienced both types of 'abortions' - surgically induced and spontaneous - and quite frankly I find the woman's inference that both experiences are the same to not only be ugly but a typical attempt by the Left to shame those women, like me, who refuse to be silent about the damage the legalized abortion industry did to us.

I do not blame Planned Parenthood for my decisions to end the life of my children.  I do question why no one at that clinic ever asked the trembling, sick, scared and bruised woman sitting in front of the reception counter why she was there for the second, third and fourth time.  I wonder why that clinic worker responded to my feeble request for 'counseling' after the third time I showed up with the astonishing sentence, "You don't need counseling. You just need to take your pill on time.".   By the time I arrived there for my 4th abortion, they just laughed at me.  "You sure have a hard time following directions".  They never asked why a well-educated woman kept showing up and I was too traumatized to tell them about the ugly life I was living, a life where alcoholism now ruled my every waking hour and all I wanted was for someone, anyone, to tell me I was worth more than the way I was living.

Meeting Fred  (through our cocaine dealer, which made really good sense at the time) and deciding to take him as my husband was actually one of my better decisions.  Because I wanted to be a better Leslie, a better woman, someone's wife and mother, I started working towards being just that; however, when tragedy struck I was unprepared.  My reaction to the tragedy was to jump into the bottle and the pipe.  I stayed there until rescued by my 12 Step program and the amazing people I met in the rooms. 

Oddly enough, however, when I lost our baby the day my husband died, the only person who reached out to me was a Catholic lay worker at the hospital.  She found me in the bathroom sobbing.  She gave me her name and her card.  She told me she would be there for me and to call her any time.  I remember thanking her, going out to my parents, tucking the card in my purse and being taken home...where I proceeded to contact my drug dealer and then start drinking.  My parents were unaware of what had just happened. It was many years before I could tell my mother and she cried with me...because she knew how much I had wanted all my babies, and how my own sickness and the people around me had caused me to think I only had one choice...the choice to end their lives.

Because of sobriety and The Church, I have healed from this horror.  Today I can share my story with other women and men and hopefully stand as an example of the amazing healing power of God and Love.  I can also stand before the world and declare I am Pro Life - that I DO judge people who think this is something every woman has a RIGHT to do simply because our society is too damn lazy to hold MEN accountable for their sexual behavior and support women who need help when they are pregnant and alone.

It kills me that the very people who will scream bloody murder about racism do not see any kind of irony in the fact that more children of color are aborted than any other.  The very people who will yell and moan about Mr. Trump's treatment of women have no problem with a woman deciding, after an ultrasound shows she is has a female person inside her womb, to kill that person because that person is the wrong sex.  The very people who will become giddy beyond belief when Planned Parenthood gets tax dollars do not want tax dollars given to Pregnancy Centers who do NOT provide abortion, despite the fact that those centers provide all KINDS of support to women who are pregnant - medical, financial, societal, you name it.  THAT cannot receive public funds...but if you want to snap your child's neck before it leaves your womb, here's your voucher.

And let's stop playing with words, people.  Stop trying to make women ashamed of their pasts, ashamed of the choices they made based on the information we had at the time. 

And what was that information?

I was told:

It's is only a blob of tissue.
It won't matter.
This is for the best.
You can't raise this child alone.
You were don't want this child.

What did I tell myself?

I was worthless.
It had been my fault.
My parents would hate me and be ashamed of me.
I won't be able to raise this child alone.
No one will help me.
I don't matter.

Stop trying to tell people that a surgical abortion and a spontaneous abortion are the same thing.  Stop pretending to care about women's rights and racial equality and society as a whole when you won't even admit that you have no problem judging people you don't like.  Be honest about being afraid that if you stand up and say, "This is not the right thing to do" YOU will be judged - and you don't have the backbone to withstand the hatred and the judgment that will be thrown at you by the Left because you dare to attack their sacred cow - Abortion.

Words matter. People matter. Lives matter.  If you are going to call someone Hitler you better be willing to stop pretending you are not going to judge others.  If you are going to support laws that make murdering a newborn a felony, stop pretending that deliberately ending that child's life five minutes before it is born is a woman's right and a declaration of freedom.

Our government differentiates between an abortion and a miscarriage.  If you do not recognize the difference, my heart goes out to you. 

A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. (Pregnancy losses after the 20th week are called stillbirths.) A miscarriage may also be called a "spontaneous abortion." This refers to naturally occurring events, not to medical abortions or surgical abortions.Nov 16, 2014

Miscarriage: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

I will not be silent.....I am a post abortive woman and the mother of five....I hope to see them all again someday

Friday, November 4, 2016

Trying To do The Right Thing

There is an old saying in my 12 Step group:  Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking. I happen to agree with this idea; however, I always emphasize to those I sponsor that there is more to doing the next right thing than integrity.  Courage is also important and in my opinion, courage is doing the right thing when EVERYONE is looking.

I am blessed.  I am blessed to be surrounded by a group of people who honor choices they do not agree with even if those choices make them sad.  I have a dear friend, a faithful and prudent Catholic mother much like my mom who has to stand by and watch her son declare he is 'searching for his own truth'.  She can do nothing for this adult other than pray,  I have to stand by and watch family members and people I love more than my own life make some of the stupidest life decisions known to mankind and do the same thing.  We trust Our Lord.  We know that Jesus has a plan for these people.  We also understand the nature of Free Will and danger these people are putting themselves in but all we can really do is stand fast in Truth and pray.  Knowing that prayer is powerful, that we are not the first to go through this and that one of our greatest saints was brought to Truth through the constant and ardent prayers of his mother gives us comfort, but it still makes it hard for us to stand without them in the pew on Sunday.

We honor the choices our loved ones are making.  We recognize that nothing on this side of the Veil is written in stone and that God's time is not our own and we trust in His infinite Mercy.  We also are very aware that one of the privileges of being loved is the privilege of Free Will.  God did not make us organic robots.  He does not need us, He WANTS us...and He knows that love not freely given is not really love.

We are not always gracious about the pain their choices cause us, but when we speak out of turn or try to 'make' them see what they are doing, we know where we need to go.  We will silently nod to each other as we stand in line for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We know why we are there....and we know that the grace we will receive from that Sacrament will help us resist the temptation to manipulate or force someone to love what we Love.

Both of us understand that part of our own suffering stems from our past.  We can remember when WE caused someone we love pain.  We know the part that loved one's prayers played in our reconversions.  We truly want to make amends for past behavior....we understand how it happens and we know the underlying fear that keeps people away from He who has only our best interest at Heart.  In fact we know more about what the object of our despair is going through and doing than they know themselves because we have been through it and come through it and now rest on the bank of Faith...we took the step from ship to shore and we just want those we love to experience the joy we have experienced...the joy of Coming Home.

During the next month, a time known as Gratitude Month, I will be praying even more for the Lost and the Lonely.  I will be asking for God to intervene in their lives in a significant way.  I will pray for their salvation, for the totality of their love to be given to the source of all.  I will ask God to bless them on their journey.

I ask you all to join me this month in prayer for those who are far from Truth.  Let the Light of Reality lead them home to Love.