Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why Can't I Get Past All This?

Spring is here. The weather has been perfect. The yard is shaping up. The orchard is full of color and life. And I'm all depressed. I HATE it. I know only I can change it, but My God, it's hard to move on sometimes. I was not going to write, but many times writing it all out seems to be the only way for me to start moving forward again.

All the recent news about sexual abuse in the Church is difficult but most difficult is the news that hits home. Over the past few years I've been sort of following the news about Fr. Maciel, the Legion of Christ, and particularly, Regnum Christi. Over the years I've been closely involved with people in RC; in fact, no one knows how close I came to joining. I've always been a person that needs to belong to something. I need a tribe. So I go looking. That's how I found RC. For whatever reason, thankfully, something held me back from taking that final plunge. It was that something that never settled quite right with me. Plus, Tim had no interest whatsoever in it, and they were always after both of us although I think they would have taken me alone.

Anyway, for years I've been very closely involved with RC people even though I never joined. I helped with their groups, meetings, etc. My children were involved with their groups: Kids 4 Jesus, Familia, Challenge. I attended their women's meetings for some time. They were my support group even though I stayed on the sidelines. These people were my friends. I care about them. And what I see now absolutely sickens me.

They refuse to acknowledge the truth. Of course, RC still controls what goes into their minds. They read the RC communiques carefully and do whatever they're told. When they're told not to read certain authors, newspapers, blogs, they don't read. Still! How can you overlook and excuse the truth. One family still has Maciel's picture prominently displayed on their dining room wall. I was just reading a blog entry by another friend who was stating how much they still loved and respected Maciel for all the good he had done. Another friend was writing how we're not in a place to judge as we're all sinners. (Yes, we're all sinners but how many of us sexually abuse children, take money of people we've hoodwinked and build an empire?) Many are still hanging onto the fact that John Paul II loved Fr. Maciel, and of course, JPII could never be wrong.

Where does all this take me? Back to religion. The power religion has over people. I'm beginning to think that religion is the most powerful influence that has ever existed. Religion doesn't just deal with life here on earth; it deals with your eternal life. Hell or Paradise with God. Think of that power. Incredible. For several years I've viewed religion as neutral, neither good nor bad. It's power can go either way - great good or great evil. There has been great good done, and there has been great evil done. The deciding factor is human nature. Humans use religion for their own purposes. If there wasn't religion, humans would find some other means to get what they desire.

I'm beginning to wonder now if religion is as impotent, on its own, as I've made it in my mind. Now I wonder if religion, by its very nature of separating and dividing, doesn't tend to bring out the negatives in our nature. We desire to be right, for our truth to be the Truth, and for that to happen we need to be able to point to those who are wrong, whose truth is not the Truth. Religion does that for us.

These are my own personal experiences. How I experienced religion. When I said I was sickened by behavior of friends, what truly sickened me was the knowledge that behavior was my behavior and could still, very easily, be my behavior. I see myself so clearly in them. That is what appalls me and frightens me. I feel as a recovered alcoholic might feel: one drink might land me right back in the gutter. I do not want to fall of the wagon.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Funeral Thoughts

This has been one of those weeks you don't want to repeat. I'm not sleeping well, my back aches, plus I get so hot I'm tempted to turn on the AC expect for the fact that my husband is snuggled under the down comforter. It seems everyday there has been an interruption, and then last night Tim's mom called to let him know that a man he attended school with for 12 years was killed in a tragic accident. So today found us at his funeral. It was odd - looking around at all the familiar faces it seemed as though it should be a high school reunion, but instead everyone was gathered together to say good-bye to a 52 year old man.

What I hate hearing most at times such as this is 'it's God's will' or 'it must have been his time'. Doesn't work for me. God's will. What a damn cop out. Life is full of tragic accidents, illnesses, untimely deaths. Let's just blame some God that sits up there in heaven for everything. It's just life. The good and the bad. For those people who believe it's God's will, I hope it is a balm for them, that it helps them in their grief. When I have tried to find answers for suffering, unhappiness, grief, it has driven me crazy to the point of depression.

More and more I'm feeling at peace with just letting it be - letting the mystery be. Suffering is. Death is. At the same time happiness is. Joy is. Instead of wasting precious time, of which I don't have enough, in trying to figure out why there is suffering or tragic deaths, I would rather spend my time living each day fully. Enjoying and taking pleasure in EVERY SINGLE MOMENT I HAVE HERE ON EARTH. I want to spend my time listening and being with people/God (same thing for me). No need to go looking for sacrifices - they will present themselves in a way you will not be able to say no to. They'll come.

The one thing funerals seem to scream at me is: slow down, simplify, live slowly and fully, love fully. There is enough in the world that needs love to keep you occupied until the day you die. Actually, Tim and I are doing pretty well. I think we are. Our lives move rather slowly, we don't need a lot, we're a pretty simple couple. We have time - so much more now that's he's not working. Time. Once you sell it, it's gone. All you've got in exchange is the amount for which you agreed to sell it. What a poor substitute. This is my own private revolution against our culture. I will fight it tooth and nail. They can keep their high standard of living, their big, gas guzzling SUV's, huge homes and all the rest of it. And I'll keep my time.

Funerals do have a way of keeping life in perspective.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sacred Things

Every once in a while I come across something that just speaks of God to me. This blog and its owner shout out 'God'. His compassion, love, generosity and spirit makes my soul swell to the point I think it might burst. Even if one isn't religious or spiritual, I have to think they would be touched. So do yourself a favor, and visit his blog. You will be impacted and challenged.