“God Bless Texas”

For the past couple of days, I have written about the looming issue of teen rape allegations that have been leveled against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by Dr. Christine Basley Ford.

It has roiled emotions in me that as a 65-year-old woman you wouldn’t think would still be so tender.

But I have always been a deeply reflective person, admittedly with a bit of the drama queen thrown in.  Hopefully it makes what I write a little more worth reading than it might otherwise be.

I just read a “Washington Post” article by a writer named Elizabeth Bruenig that I wish I could lay claim to – except she deserves every accolade she receives for having written it so beautifully.

It is the story of a teen rape that occurred in her high school and how justice was never obtained by the victim, even though she reported it in a timely manner.

But mostly it is about the cruelties of high school and small, insular communities and how people come angrily together in their denial to harm a victim even more.

And it is how the gentlest, most vulnerable among us are easy prey for hunters who can kill us with harmful acts and deadly lies as easily as if they shot us.

This story took me back to my own teen years and school experiences. As it takes place in Texas, it also makes me wonder about what one of my nieces may have experienced that has led her to a life outcome I desperately didn’t want for her.

Some things I know.  But a great deal I am sure I – or maybe anyone – know nothing about.

She doesn’t know how much I still love her and ache for her to turn her life around.  She doesn’t know this because we don’t speak any more.

That is on me.  Because there comes a point when you have held out your hand to help someone, and they continually slap it away, you just stop.  There comes a time when they do something that – while you can forgive it – you can’t stand by and quietly observe it any more.

Because maybe what they did hits a little too close to a raw childhood nerve that never heals. Even when you are 65-years-old.

Ours is a family dominated by a matriarch who was never my mother, not in a daily sense, as she didn’t raise me.

But her imprint was stamped on me at birth and repeatedly pointed out to me by the parents who did raise me, my grandfather and his second wife. Down to a “sneer” I didn’t know I possessed and a physical resemblance I am constantly told of by my sisters.

As I came to know her as an adult, we searched out the similarities in each other, from the exact same outfits hanging in our closets to our shared love of reading and doing crosswords.

Although I don’t think she graduated high school, as she was 16 when I was born, she was a smart cookie, my mother.

I am a smart cookie too. Except we both had terrible taste in men. In fact, except for my youngest sister, none of us has had much luck on that score.

It’s generational, it seems, touching my niece’s life in very dramatic ways.

Which is a round about way of getting back to the main issue. How, in a society supposedly as advanced as is our own, are women still prey and men the hunters?

What are the biological and psychological imperatives that drive that dynamic so that it cannot be educated out of us? Even at the “highest “ levels of our society?

If we are, indeed, created in God’s image, what does that make God? Why ever would the angels envy us, as my Catholic religion teaches, we creatures with one foot in the material and the other in the spiritual world?

No, I am not blaming God for our fallen choices.  Just for knowing in advance that we would make them. And knowing that his dying on the Cross to expiate their sin wouldn’t make living any less painful for us all.

I have always questioned what purgatory really means, if it really exists.  Perhaps this is it: knowing some of us are prey, and others hunters.

And screaming #MeToo doesn’t seem to change it very much at all.

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90 Day Challege: Interrupted, Day 2

Today was interrupted because I am a. still not feeling well because I am waiting on the delivery of the special antibiotic ordered by my dr Friday and b. because I needed to read a book on works of mercy for a class I was supposed to lead tonight.

The book offered little insight, as my parish is already very active in carrying out Matthew 25: 35-40 :  “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’37Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’40i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Laudate-New American RE Bible).

Only one person showed up for this last class: just as well, as I am not certain what I would have said about charitable works we are already engaged with.

I am sure I would have gone off on one of my jags about the concept of purgatory  again.  A convert for the past ten years, it is one of the few Traditions I have difficulty reconciling with my view of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross.

If he suffered such agony to atone for my sins, why do I have to wait to be purified in some Middle Kingdom when I die to be made more perfect to meet God face to face?

Jesus’ sacrifice was already made perfect on my behalf.  It makes no sense to me that I should have to then shed my last vestiges of sin; did not his Crucifixion already do that? One death for all sin, for all time.

Otherwise, what was the point?

I have still not had a priest explain this satisfactorily to me.  Sometimes I get close to finding an answer I think I can live with, only to have to crumple it up and toss it in the wastebasket like a poem that starts out sounding beautiful but ultimately makes no sense.

I spent the rest of the day in a commiserating phone call with my next oldest sister (the joys and pains of home ownership); a phone call with another friend about plans to get together next weekend; and a couple of decades old movies I had seen only once before but still remembered “who did it” and “why.”

While doing the latter, I multi-tasked playing a board game puzzle where my score is now over a million points.  And I fed the cat. Many, many times.

Poor thing, it is not her fault.  Old age and kidney issues have made her appetite fickle.  Since she had “kitty dialysis” yesterday, her appetite was up today.  And she must have had her fill, for tonight she is abed and content on my lap, something she doesn’t do as much any more.

I no more want to think about her continuing decline than I want to think of purgatory.  And it isn’t just all dogs that go to heaven – cats, horses and other pets make it too, I am sure.  I don’t care what the Catechism says on the subject.  I subscribe to St. Francis of Assisi on such matters.

Oh yeah, I passed along Turnip 2020’s tweets to Donald Trump and other GOP leaders who have blocked the little red beet.  I am not sure why – Turnip 2020 seems clever and cute and not at all disrespectful.

My tweets have yet to be honored by Trump censorship.  Maybe I am using words that are too big.

As for Rudy Giuliani’s assertion to Chuck Todd today that “truth isn’t truth,” I refer him to Aldous Huxley:

”Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

Oh, and one more caution for him and his client from “Straight Up and Dirty” author Stephanie Klein: “Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you.”

And a final thought all mine:

Omarosa. Has. Tapes.

Peace out and goodnight, moon,

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90 Day Challenge: Day 35 -Catch Excellence

Coach Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” (Excerpt from Church Militant Field Manual).

I think I have striven to be perfect my entire life.  It is a. Exhausting and b. As Vince Lombardi is quoted above, unattainable.

 

Part of that desire to be perfect stems from feeling like I was so “imperfect” compared to those around me.

 

I didn’t have the traditional family background.  I tended toward the chubby.  My hair was mousey brown, as was my eye color. The prettiest girls had blonde hair and blue eyes, were slender, made cheerleader, twirled or tapped.

 

I could do none of that. I was a good reader and quite the little ham when I could pretend to be someone other than myself.  I was considered a “smarty-pants” sometimes because I was so eager to show the teacher I knew the answer.

 

How else could I prove I was perfect. ( It was actually excruciating for me to sit in silence waiting for someone else to answer when I knew what it was – that seemed like a dumb waste of time to me!)

 

But If I shone in the classroom, I truly flunked recess – always the last picked for a team.  Be it dodge ball, kick ball or soft ball, I was never “on the ball” when it came to athletics.

 

The fact I couldn’t run without losing a bit of urine was highly embarrassing. Oh how I hated that stupid blue, one piece gym suit we were forced to wear! Oh how hard I prayed that no one noticed how imperfect my bladder control was! ( We did not have panty liners in the 60s – Kotex was for your period, period.)

 

Have I ever even felt I was excellent at anything?  I have felt I was a very good employee.  No matter the job I held, I usually received awards and kudos for it.

 

But that isn’t the perfection for which I now strive.  Rather, my desire is to know God now as perfectly as I can while I am on earth so that hopefully my knowledge of him in heaven will be the greater and come to me a bit sooner.

 

(Full confession here:  the Protestant in me still struggles with the idea of Purgatory.  I keep coming back to the argument that Jesus died once and for all for my sins or his crucifixion would be a waste.  But the Catechism says I must burnish myself of all my attachments before I can stand in God’s presence, so I accept what doesn’t make perfect sense, on faith.)

 

Still, how I long to be like Peter, James and John, looking on in Jesus’ transfiguring moment as he talks with Moses and Elijah on the mountaintop.  To hear the voice of God say “This is my beloved son; in him I am well-pleased.”

 

To have Jesus turn then to me and say “well done, my disciple” – for me that would be perfection.

 

I pray I can at least attain excellence.

 

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.    (1 Peter 5:10)

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