I am beginning to marvel at the madness that has my country in its grip.
Being a Catholic, I do not expect a perfect world. I understand the effects of both Original Sin and ongoing sin on both the individual and society. I know that there are a relative few who have made the decision to stand firm in the face of temptation and evil and that their commitment to do the right thing no matter what is the decision that spits in the eye of satan.
For them, and for those who take on the role of shepherd or sheepdog, I am forever grateful.
As a thinking, feeling human being I understand that the actions of a few under the color of authority can paint with a broad and horrible brush all those who wear the collar or the veil or the uniform or stand in front of a classroom. Scandal is nothing new. Horrific actions are not new. I get that I am laughed at for loving my priest because of the horrible actions of about 5% of them over the past 2000 years. I understand that the inability of police officers in other jurisdictions to exercise good judgment or proper restraint or display good moral fiber will mean all the men and women who wear the badge will be regarded with scorn. A Teacher becomes pregnant by her 13 year old student? All Teachers must endure the snickers and bad jokes and references to their 'need to work with children'. A report comes out about doctors sexually abusing their patients? Every person who spends 48 hours straight in an ER trying to heal will be looked at with suspicion.
I understand. I get it.
Yesterday afternoon, I took my dog for a walk to the park. I am used to being up there and seeing the park filled with families. For some reason there wasn't another soul in the place. I was a single, older woman with two fake knees and a little Scottish Terrier on a leash walking all by myself in a large park with trees and bushes. Suddenly, I spotted a man...a lone man who was across the street and slightly behind me. He was just standing there, minding his own business, and not doing much of anything but the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I got a warning signal in my stomach.
He crossed the street and now is directly behind me.
I chose to follow my gut. I chose to listen to the promptings of my Guardian Angel. I chose to give in to my fear. However you want to phrase it, I crossed to the other side, kept him in front of my line of vision until I had passed where he was and I cut my walk around the park short. Instead I went back to my own neighborhood and walked around there. It was not as comfortable for me or for Robbie but it was 'safer'.
Why did I do that?
I can tell you quite honestly that I did that because of the actions of some men. Men, for a lone woman, can mean danger. Danger of rape, of being beaten and robbed. I took an action because I have been influenced by the actions of a few and because the history of attacks against women usually include questions about her behavior - how were you dressed? How were you walking? did you talk to him? what were you doing up there, anyway? - and so I have, in my 60 years of life, adopted an attitude that translates into actions designed to keep me as safe as possible.
What I know, however, is that I can do everything right and still end up a victim of crime.
The gentleman in Minnesota did what every African American male is taught to do in order to stay safe...and he ended up dead because of poor judgment and lack of restraint. Yes, I know there has not been an investigation as yet and I may be rushing to judgment myself. My instinct tells me different. I am willing to admit I am wrong if it turns out I am.
The peaceful protestors last night in Dallas were doing what they had been brought up to believe is the right way to show their concern as American citizens. All races came together and the Dallas Police were doing their jobs - and the Caucasian members of the force and the crowd came under vicious sniper fire. What did the crowd do? It ran for cover. What did the cops do? They sprang into action and tried to protect them - and five men lost their lives as a result.
This morning, I cope in the only way I know how. I pray. I weep for the dead. I beg God for the grace to be kind and understanding. I do not respond to poorly written essays or statements on Social Media and I stand firm in my support of the community and those who are serving that community with honor. I refuse to buy into hysteria. I trust God.
May those who have lost loved ones over this past week take comfort in the love that is of God. May those who have chosen to use this time as an excuse to execute those based on the color of our skin in some sort of weird retaliation remember that what you do reflects the will of the evil one.
I renounce evil.