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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Family and The Circus

Servant of God Father John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary defines family thusly:

 A group of persons who are related by marriage or blood and who typically include a father, mother, and children. A family is a natural society whose right to existence and support is provided by the divine law. According to the Second Vatican Council, “the family is the foundation of society” (The Church in the Modern World, II, 52). In addition to the natural family, the Church recognizes also the supernatural family of the diocese and of a religious community, whose members are to co-operate for the upbuilding of the Body of Christ (Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office, 34; and Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 43). (Etym. Latin familia, a family, the members of a household; from famulus, a servant, attendant.)

I like this definition.  I like it because it incorporate practical, common sense with Church Teaching (which is, of course, always the same).  I like it because it gives us an ideal that is not unreachable.  I like it even though my father did not hold up his part of the bargain when I was growing up and I like it because it recognizes the type of family I have discovered within Holy Mother Church.

A recent Facebook Meme states:  when confronted with other peoples' drama, simply repeat the following mantra:  
turning
NOT MY CIRCUS
NOT MY MONKEYS

Reading that, thinking about family and reviewing my life as it unfolded in the past week, I got this interesting visual in my mind.  It stems from the seed of the idea planted by the FB Meme.  Afterall, what the Meme implies is that I do have a circus and monkeys of my own to manage.  With that thought came the idea,  that my life truly is a three ring circus and the three rings are:

Family

Recovery

Church

The monkeys, of course, are all of us...all of us players. We are the monkeys, the clowns, the acrobats, the elephant trainers and the lion tamers.  We whirl around in our fancy costumes, leaping onto the backs of the horses.  We stick our heads in the lions' mouths and we make the tigers jump through hoops of fire.  We cram ourselves into little cars, zoom around in little circles and then we leap out and spray each other with confetti and seltzer bottles.  Meanwhile, a bunch of us swing above the crowd on a trapeze, turning somersaults and grabbing each other before we fall into the net below - a net that may or may not break our fall.  

The past week I watched a segment of my family begin to repair itself.  After years of prayers, penance and sacrifice the healing suddenly began with a BANG.  I did not stop doing what I do, I did not change my devotion to my Faith, and the healing began in earnest.  The tiny baby steps of the past suddenly became actual strides and the gratitude I feel is absolutely indescribeable.

This past week I let go of a relationship that I hoped would work.  It did not - or, if one wants to consider another angle, it worked out exactly as God intended.  I learned so much about myself, what I can and cannot allow in my life and how not allowing it does not really mean what the world states as 'setting boundaries'; rather, it is about tearing down walls.  I let the relationship unfold without changing who and what I am and eventually the other person decided I am not their cup of tea.  They have retreated and I keep my self respect, stayed true to my Faith and my values.

This past week, family members came together and gave my Mom a birthday present (her birthday is October 9) that was second to none.  We had so much fun, and the best part was she got to meet her favorite comedian.


My three ring circus may be a little chaotic at times but I am glad it is mine.  I am grateful that I retired as ringmaster and turned the top hat and coat over the Jesus and His Church.  I am grateful that I am sober today, and I get to be a woman of grace and dignity.  I am grateful I am not subject to the whim and the whips of alcohol or other drugs.

Most of all?

I am grateful that I have my own circus - and that the monkeys are pretty cool.

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