Posts Tagged ‘ marriage ’

So, you think your life is “interesting”? Part 2

Dunno why GOD drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, He could have just given them teenagers. Maybe that’s what “Original Sin” really is? We were all teenagers once, and maybe even have, or are having, or will have soon, more teenagers. Or, is it just hell on earth?

You can guess that yesterday was not a good day for me. And, it didn’t get any better once I got home last night. But a night on the sofa was nothing compared to the email I got from the boomerang daughter this morning.

I know, I know, I know: having values is just so, so inconvenient. I used to like John Lennon’s song, “Imagine.” But, the more I heard the line “Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too” the more I came to hate it. Once every person and everything is beige and vanilla, then we’ll have peace and the world will be as one. Graham crackers and milk, num, num. And the poor lion of Isaiah who lies down with the lamb will starve to death. Lucky lamb. Sorry about that, lion. I have just one word for your world John: boring. Life is supposed to be messy. Sorry, I’m just biased. Maybe my world is so messy I think everyone’s should be. You know: share the love.

Back to the email.

So, she pretty much rips her heart out of her chest, lays it on the table, and says “I screwed up, and I’m sorry.” Whereupon my heart starts to bleed.

Then I get to paragraph two.

Last September, after she came back pregnant, she decided she needed to go see him – the guy who made her pregnant. So, she flew, coast to coast in October. She had the money for that, but I paid for her college class that quarter. Of course, I was silly enough to demand to see her grades from the summer quarter I had already paid for. And no, I have not seen any grades at all; but why quibble? When she asked if he could come out over the winter break, and I said he wasn’t staying in my house, he came out anyway and they stayed in my sister-in-law’s apartment. I know I had big plans for a family Christmas, including seeing the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutcracker” (last season for the Stowell/Sendak version that I had come to love for nearly 30 years); my wife and I went, without our daughter (so much for the ballet lessons I had paid for).

The rollercoaster of course went into the clouds when our grandson was born. He’s two months old today, and is the absolute personification of an angel. How he manages to get cuter every day I will never know.

But, our daughter wants the father of her child to actually meet his off-spring. The fact that the horny little shit hasn’t bolted is not in his favor; I wish he would have (should that be “would have had”? yeah, more quibbling). I would lay money on a snowball in hell, before I would lay even a plugged nickel down on them getting and staying together. So, her email contains this: “He is coming here with his dad to see his son on March 31st until April 5th.” What am I, chopped chicken liver, here?

It just occurred to me that she has made plans to interrupt the most dear holiday of the year for me. As much as I enjoy Christmas, and the birth of Christ is a big deal; the Triduum and Easter is, by far and away, a much, much bigger deal for me.

Being at work, I do the only thing I can: write her an email. I tell her that I learned a few things over the years. That I didn’t paint rocks in the Marine Corps. That some things can’t be compromised without losing your identity, your “who I am.” I tell her I know her generation thinks my generation is irrelevant, and then point out the irrelevant house she is living in, the irrelevant food she is eating and the irrelevant car she is driving. I throw in the irrelevant car seat and stroller her son is riding around in for good measure. Forgot to mention the irrelevant diapers he’s wearing.

I say that, when what’s-his-name steps up and accepts responsibility, then he will be welcome in my house. I also mentioned something about the application of the quaint colloquialism, “shotgun wedding” – but only to say that, if I had a shotgun, I would meet him at my front door with it. And it wouldn’t be to force a wedding. I mean, what would be the point of doing that? Talk about irrelevant!

I stewed about it all day. I have prayed, and I have prayed hard. Two places in the Bible came to mind: the woman accused of adultery (John 8:11), and the blind man at the temple (John 5:14). In both instances, Jesus said “Sin no more.” I suggested that “repent” did not mean shedding a tear and then pressing on; it means a significant change in behavior. Not just a small course correction. I implied that to continue to live as she has was in no way something she should be doing; and hell would freeze over before I let it happen in my house.

After reading it the umpteenth time, I came to the conclusion that I would rather be known for believing in something, rather than believing in nothing (ala John Lennon). I told her I had already been called a self-righteous prig and that she needed to be more original.

Then I hit the “Send” button.

So, what can I expect at home tonight? Yesterday, after I did a whole 12-hour shift, I had to make my own dinner. They had already eaten. I guess it will be more of the same today. Will the daughter be there? She’s already left twice without saying good-bye (yes, she drove off in my – irrelevant – car on one occasion). I’m still “guardedly optimistic” that I will find another paycheck after this one ends next month (I know UPS is hiring “package handlers” at $14.75/hour). My wife is heavy with child(ren), and getting heavier and heavier.

Who says GOD doesn’t have a sense of humor?

A Brief Respite

I think my post-Vatican II head has stopped spinning. Maybe the mayhem wrought by those seeking to hijack The Church has merely slowed? In any event, the recently concluded Synod on the Family has seemingly stuck a stick in the sand; tho maybe only a small stick. Maybe only an effort to change the water and not throw it out with the baby?

When I entered The Church, the altar boys had to learn Latin. Going to Mass now, it is unusual to see any males up there, other than the priest (thank GOD, that hasn’t changed). Nobody was trying to water-down Catholicism – attack, demolish, eradicate, maybe – but not transform it into the namby-pamby pablum that other (heretical) Christian sects are trying to do. You see, for me, the “old” Church fits. I sang “kum-by-yah” at one time, I don’t now.

The quintessential counter-cultural figure of all time was Jesus Christ. He founded an institution based on the frailties of the creatures it exists to save. Pretty much a mandate of “You will come close to drowning many times; but I won’t let you. Furthermore, while you are trying to save yourself, you must also save others.” Rather much the antithesis of: “if you see someone in distress in the water (in the old days that would be “drowning,” but of course we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings now-a-days), the first thing you do is NOT jump in.” The modern version is more like: “if you want to be in distress in the water, don’t bother me.”

So, based on the Founder’s example, The Church is also counter-cultural. When it discards all it stands for, it stops being The Church. This is not religion of any kind: this is logic.

I want a corpus on a cross. I want a Crucifix. Sure, it is fabulously wonderful that Christ conquered the Cross, and celebrating the empty cross is a good thing. But, not at the expense of recalling what it took to get there. In the Garden of Gethsemane, remembered as the First Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary (for those of us blessed to pray the Rosary – sorry about you other heathens), Christ cried. Very poetically, “like drops of blood.” Why did He cry? “For being done too soon,” as Neil Diamond sang? Perhaps. Maybe more out of frustration that His sacrifice (wanna talk “mortification of the flesh”?) would not save us all. Oh, it could, of course. Let there be no doubt that, if it wasn’t up to us (us and our damnable free will), that Crucifixion would have been more than enough to save us all – all of us, forever.

And so, I wear a Crucifix on a chain around my neck. I have a short memory; I need the reminder. And, I wear it on the outside of my shirt; I don’t want anybody asking me if I’m Catholic (obviously, if I was a lot more saintly, others would know I was Catholic by my behavior and they would not need a chunk of metal on my chest to tell them. What can I say? I’m a sinner. Sue me.)

I want a Church that helps me not be just another lemming, following the crowd, obsessed with sensual gratification, instant reward (and the less I have done to earn it, the better), the accumulation of toys (news flash: the person with the most toys definitely does not “win”). Yeah, I try to avoid eating meat on Fridays; but then, I try to avoid eating meat every day. The other six days, I try to avoid meat for me, for my health, for consciousness of how little others around the world have to eat, for awareness that the American love affair with beef is not environmentally sustainable. I try to avoid eating meat on Fridays not for what I am, but for who I am. Six days a week, I am concerned about physical health, one day a week I am concerned about spiritual health. (Actually, if the truth be known, I am not a foodie: food is only a fuel, not a life altering event. Honestly, I seldom think about food. Sorry, Scott.)

I’m all for priests not marrying. I do love the irony: looking at my life, it is clear the only way I could have kept my jeans zipped was to die trying. So, it’s something else? Yeah: lack of distractions. I have tried keeping one foot in the secular world: being married, providing for a family (i.e., having a job, even a job I detest); and trying to put the other foot into the camp of salvation: more prayer time, more study of the Bible and other writings (sometimes called “commentaries,” or Tradition – no, the capital T is not a typo; old Catholics know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout). The day just is not long enough for me; but then, I’m slow.

Y’know, when your tooth aches, you want your dentist right now. You don’t want to hear an answering company say that he/she is taking a much deserved holiday in the Bahamas. When you get a letter from the IRS, you don’t want you accountant to shuffle thru his calendar and tell you he’s got an opening on April 16th. When you go to the emergency room at 2 o’clock in the morning with a racing, pounding heart, you don’t want the single on-duty receptionist (in the old days, that would be a fully qualified nurse) to take her time finding the right forms for you to fill in. I don’t want my priest, my spiritual advisor to have other things on his mind. Laser-focus, that’s what I’m after.

GOD love him if he wants a wife and kids; Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding (yes, beyond doubt, a heterosexual wedding). GOD love him if he just can’t devote every moment of his life to the greater glory of GOD (GOD knows I haven’t). But, if he’s going to claim to be a priest, I want a priest of the old school – the order of Malchizedek. He’s going to be dependable. Maybe not instantly available; but when I call (e.g., every Sunday), I know what I’m getting. And what I’m getting, I’m getting only in a Catholic Church. The last thing I want to hear from the pulpit is “I’m ok and you’re ok and that’s ok.” For Heaven’s Sake: I’m a sinner, you’re a sinner, now what are we going to do about it?”

I want to be associated with an institution that says that ending human life is always a bad thing. Bad, bad, bad. Period. End of discussion. As a Marine, this is the most difficult Teaching I have to deal with. But, I never killed a child, or to my knowledge, an unborn baby. Small consolation perhaps; but also reality. So, it makes me want to reach for my Kabar when someone wants an abortion because that human life yet unborn is inconvenient. You want “inconvenient”? You might find your blood on the floor terribly inconvenient.

Who you fuck is your business, just get it out of my face. Dunno which is worse: current society’s obsession with sex, or making it the most important thing in the world. Beyond the constant reminder that some people define themselves by their “sexual orientation,” I find homosexuality both revolting and interesting. Kinda like the “mad scientist” who enjoys watching rats in the maze he’s constructed, but would never want to be in that maze himself.

Revolting because as a supremely devout heterosexual, I can’t imagine anything more disgusting than having sex with another man. And this, keeping in mind that GOD did not make every woman to look like Angelina Jolie. I mean, projectile vomiting comes to mind. Ok, so you say po-tay-to and I say po-tah-to. Fine, just get it out of my face. Puh-leez.

Interesting in that supposedly intelligent people can think it could possibly be intelligently rational. Whatever else you might think, each and every species of every living thing there ever was needed to reproduce itself. (The opposite of reproduce is “extinct” – in case you slept thru 9th grade biology.) Granted, some species don’t need other members of their species to reproduce; but it might be safe to say those species were, um, shall we say, anomalous? Statistically, there just aren’t many of them. And, scientifically, there might be some justification for that ability (like: simple lack of mates – something I submit is not the case with human beings).

Which leads us to the question of how homosexual human beings propagate. Physically, they don’t. Pretty simple. Absolutely irrefutable. If homosexuality is somehow “normal”; how come they can’t “normally” make more of their own kind? Think about it.

Birds fly, fish swim. This is called “natural law.” Every creature, plant or animal, has characteristics, or attributes. Human beings are intelligent enough to fabricate flying machines and swimming machines, but it is still a machine with a human in it. And, frankly, I kinda like that. And, I think my wife kind likes the idea that when we go to bed, I’d rather be with her than a goat. Or, duck-billed platypus. I like a church that says I might enjoy observing, or preserving spotted owls, but I am not one.

While I make my way thru this thing called Life, and I am assaulted with things that just don’t feel right, I like the rock that is my Church. Was it ever perfect? Did it ever do everything right? Hell, it doesn’t now. But, as a believer, I believe there is more than just “this Life.” Unlike an atheist who spends his life looking at this shoes, I spend by life looking at the stars. Unbelievers believe in the finite; I believe in the Infinite. Meanwhile, I have to roll up my sleeves; I have work to do. Thanks for reading. I hope to see you again. All comments are always welcome – life is a dialogue. And, eternity is a long time.