The Lady’s Perspective
Single Motherhood ensnared me when my daughter was just nine months old – nearly fifteen years ago. At the time I was overwhelmed, exhausted, broke, lonely and scared but kept going – trying to conceal this reality from most everyone.
One evening my large non caller-ID phone rang and when I answered it, the voice of my Pastor said “Marisa, this is Monsignor O’Connor” in a very Bostonian accent. He let me know he had “heard” that my husband had left and asked “How are you and the baby doing?” When I mumbled that we were holding on. He said: “You know you are part of our parish – you do a lot for us and I want you to know we’re here for you. Is there anything you need? If you need to talk, you need money to pay any bills like the heat or the mortgage or you need some help with the baby, just let us know if you need anything at all because that’s what we’re here for – we’re here for you.”
We chatted a bit with me asking for some advice and when I hung up after a few minutes, I just stood by the phone and sobbed for a while – so touched by his compassion. No one had ever offered me unconditional help with any and everything before – especially without any questions or judgments.
Fast forward to the beginning of last year when the phone rang again and this time WITH caller-ID, I noticed it said “Focus on the Family” (FOF); an organization that I have been a fan of for many years.…
As I listened to several people speak about the deceased person’s life, I wondered what happens at people like Bernie Madoff’s or any other criminal’s funeral. Do people ignore the elephant in the room and speak of how wondrous their life was or do they just not say anything? Or perhaps they only let people who are going to say something positive get to the pulpit… Do people really grieve the loss of a soul or are they thanking heaven that someone “corrupt” is no longer on this planet?
Most people wear black – it symbolizes mourning, supposedly. So what if the deceased person loved Bright Orange and I showed up wearing that color? Would I now have the Scarlet Letter adding to my colorful attire?
If you and your family escaped the “I” world this Christmas, you’re part of the distinguished minority that didn’t succumb to the extremely hyped yet very effective marketing strategy of Apple Inc. For all the talk about the economy taking its toll on us, we still manage to stand in long queues to buy these expensive gadgets that purportedly make our life easier. These tell a story of our savvy technology skills and our ability to keep up with the Joneses in terms of material prowess. Not owning an “I” something or other, renders you a “nobody”, at least in the eyes of your peers in middle or high school or even college.…
A couple of weeks ago, an elderly lady “Dee” saw my daughter (now fifteen) again after several years. She had previously seen her occasionally (between the age of four and ten) attend Mass and say the Rosary. Now, with index finger pointed about four inches from my daughter’s face, she asked: “Are you saying the Rosary?” When my disconcerted daughter answered “sometimes”, she raised her voice a bit, looked sterner and with that finger wagging even more, she added, “you must say the Rosary daily or bad things will happen.” I chose not to counsel or argue with this self proclaimed authority on God’s will for my daughter. However, I did tell my shaken daughter when “Dee” moved away, to ignore her as she was crazy. Not that I encourage disrespect, but at the time I thought it was more important to reassure my daughter that our God is not a control freak.
My beliefs were identical to “Dee’s” when I was a child. Much to my siblings chagrin, I roused everyone in the middle of the night if we ever forgot to say the Rosary daily, frightened “bad things would happen” if we didn’t. I could recite any prayers (probably backwards too) but lacked a relationship with God. I grew up believing what I still see often today – that as “Catholics” we are better than everyone else. I’ve been part of prayer groups and Bible studies where the discussions turned to “how THEY (non-Catholics) do things”.…
The church has an obligation to proclaim and defend the teachings of Christ – not those of a government. We in this country are fortunate that our predecessors have fought for our religious freedom. To that effect, we then fight against any person or institution that threatens to rob us of such freedom.
The sad truth is that if the Catholic Church had the “Catholic” support, today the USA would have a president who respects our religious freedom. Unfortunately, they don’t. Data shows that President Obama won at least fifty percent of “the Catholic vote”.
The Catholic Church has become an à la Carte Church; (not unlike some others) we pick and choose that which we believe suits our lifestyles and discard the rest, still proclaiming ourselves “Catholic”. This cherry picking is not limited to the laity but rather the church’s hierarchy as well. Here are some examples:
The groups of “social justice” nuns and priests, who rally the supposed “faithful” and form organizations while seeking a corrupt media to promote their mission, easily come to mind. Since when did the church start looking to the government to ensure help for the indigent? Christ clearly instructed us… to care for those who needed help. Is it any wonder people like “Catholic” Vice President Joe Biden think it unnecessary to donate much to charity but rather look to the government to do more?
The definition of “Lancing” is to cut open with a sharp instrument. I believe Lance Armstrong lived up to his name. In more ways than one he destroyed all that he had achieved and has the world scratching its collective head wondering at his complete stupidity. I am part of that world.
The Lance Armstrong we knew seemed invincible. He overcame the odds of being deserted by his father as a boy. He began his athletic career at the young age of twelve and achieved tremendous success in this area. He fought and overcame testicular cancer and then went on to compete further, making him a huge role model for others struggling with debilitating situations. He won consecutive cycling titles – albeit now stripped from him. He created organizations to help cancer and other victims. So what would possess him to tempt fate and jeopardize his reputation, achievement, fame and fortune?
I believe it’s the part that was diminished by him and the rest of us who wanted to focus on all that we thought was “good”. The mess inside that created the drive to constantly strive to achieve more no matter the cost. The desire to focus on something in an effort to obliterate something else.
Apparently, during his glory days Lance, desperate to believe and have us believe the charade he presented; threatened, coerced, bribed and destroyed anyone who might have tried to unravel his myth. Unfortunately he had the money, the power and the fame to get away with it – at least for a (long) while.…
Either kids have just started a new school year or their first day is right around the corner. For many parents it’s a time of stress – wondering if we’re doing all we can to ensure the best education for our kids future.
I remember when my daughter was getting ready to start kindergarten. I wanted her to attend Catholic school because I had. However when, true to myself, I questioned the curriculum, I was told “If you’re concerned about academics, you should look into Westminster or Woodward Academy.” Of course I was concerned about academics! Are religion and academics mutually exclusive?Well, my daughter ended up in the public system and it couldn’t have worked out better for both of us. She is now in High School and has to date, thrived academically while still keeping on her Christian/Catholic moral track (and of course periodically testing the boundaries!) Honestly, I am rather pleased with the system she is in. The area we live in is pretty conservative and on occasions that I have thought there may be some discussions contrary to our faith; I have withheld permission for her to participate.
I have unfortunately had to keep her at a distance from some kids in our social circle who are in the Catholic School system. We know kids who are promiscuous, dress and act in a vulgar and disrespectful manner, indulge in controlled substances and end up in trouble with the law or the community.…
My daughter has been hit with Olympic fever and she has graciously passed a smaller dose of the bug to me. We are therefore sleep deprived and popcorn filled but tracking the progress of team USA in London. Since the USA is now my home, I want them to win all the gold possible! While I am thrilled the US team is brilliant, I must admit, I have been dismayed that we – the US, are battling China and are at this point trailing them in the Gold count. To be honest, it grates on my nerves! I think the uniforms and our debt are factors here as well.
I believe I speak for many immigrants when I say that I came here many moons ago, with great expectation because I saw the US as a place where dreams could actually become reality. It has been almost twenty eight years since I first stepped on American soil, and I still feel overwhelmed and get misty eyed when I hear or sing the “Star Spangled Banner” or “God Bless America” or “America the Beautiful”. To those of you who don’t know why, let me explain that the USA was something people in the rest of the world aspired to. We thought of it as a superior way of life. A place that was unashamed to put “In God we Trust” on their money, a place that knew that God had blessed America, a place that was the “home of the brave”.…
Family members and I vacationed last week at a tropical, water park/ resort filled with predominantly American families. After indulging in some water fun, we had parked ourselves beside a smaller pool – off the beaten track – when an idyllic time turned repellent. While conversing, I noticed a couple of teens, about sixteen years old, in the pool. They started out kissing and with no objections, they kept moving to the next phase… till they decided to indulge in oral sex – yes in the pool. I was in disbelief at first – but unfortunately this was no illusion. I was outraged, insulted, disgusted and in pure shock at the audacity of these two teenagers. I alerted the lifeguard but at that moment these kids were taking a rest! So I decided to say something myself and told the girl (who was near me) “You need to stop your behavior – there are kids around” She replied “okay”. They left the pool after a few minutes and joined what looked like the girls’ parents. Ironically, the “father” was wearing a tee shirt that said “#1 DAD”. I wondered if I should alert the parents – thinking: if this was my daughter, I would want to know. I didn’t, however. Eventually they moved to a different area with the parents.
That would be the end of the story if not for the typical Marisa analysis… I agonized about whether I had done the right thing and realized I had failed.…
Addressing the Career Ministry at the Roswell United Methodist Church this week on the topic of “First Impressions” I cautioned against the gravitational pull to focus on the “skin deep” and encouraged instead to reach deeper for changes to character which wrinkles and aches cannot fade but that make more of an impact on someone who is REALLY looking.
Question is: Is anyone really looking? Looking deeper than the obvious? Ann Curry’s tearful announcement of her exit from the Today show after fifteen years on the team was heart wrenching. She obviously was devastated about the decision foisted on her and said as much.
I am not a regular viewer of the Today show but it is interesting to note that she has been a valued member of the team for over fifteen years and was asked a year ago to co-host. She is now still going to be operating under “some fancy new titles” (as she calls it) for the same network which tells me she is still good at her job. Unfortunately, the ratings dipped a month ago and the “fix” was her departure. I wonder if her bosses could’ve worked with her to eliminate any perceived lack. She claims she was not given “enough time to work out the kinks”.
The truth is, Ann, these days we do not value relationships enough to “work with” or “stick with” them. We “love” easily and momentarily – same as we do ice-cream or the latest shoe fad – a love that is skin deep – a lust.…
My goal in addressing the topic of dress and decorum especially while at church is to focus attention on the matter. However, based on some comments I have received on the postings in different areas, it appears that I may need to caution those of “us” who consider ourselves above the fray on this topic to refrain from judging and alienating those we perceive not to be in this class – “Them”.
In listening to people, I have come to realize that most of the time, people do not intend to dress inappropriately; rather, they are just not that intentional in their choices for church. I had one gentleman share that after reading an article I wrote almost a year ago, he decided to wear long trousers to daily mass instead of the walking shorts he used to wear before (not that these were “inappropriate” – he just thought he could do better). He claimed he wears them, even when it’s terribly hot, but changes out of them right after. What a great example of personal sacrifice and intentionality!
Others have asked me to address tattoos, piercings and wildly colored hair at church. Really these are more permanent and a form of personal “self expression”. They do however call attention to the body part that they adorn. So if someone is tempted to “read” the artwork on your body during a church service, it becomes inappropriate. However, if someone has two nose rings or seven earrings on each ear, while that isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I don’t believe it is disrespectful to God.…