February 28, 2009

Religion

Today my son has his first reconciliation ceremony. He went to confession for the first time. Afterward he was so excited he called his grandmother and told her how great he felt about it. She told him what a special event this was and that mom should treat him to something nice. We went to a Christian bookstore and let him pick out a couple of things. He got two books and a sweat shirt. We also got a small gift for a friend celebrating four years of sobriety tonight.

When we were checking out he told the clerk that he had just had his first reconciliation. She spent the next ten minutes telling my son (and me, really, I suppose) that being Catholic was not the real way to God. My son was so excited about what had just happened to him during his reconciliation because he has been preparing since September for it that I was eager to leave the store before she convinced him he did not believe in God the "right" way. She said some things to him that I found horribly offensive...like "when I was Catholic my daughter found Jesus during her first reconciliation and asked Jesus to save her parents" and "you pray to the Lord you don't go talking to angels", etc. I could go into how inaccurate and archaic her understanding of Catholicism is and that Catholic is a religion of Christian belief but I would digress from my primary thoughts....

I was trapped at the register checking out when she took him by himself to show him some bibles. I was mortified. I was shocked. I was nearly speechless. The only thing I could say to her when she said to my son, "Let me go tell you about how to believe in God through Jesus Christ" was, "It really is the same way he already does."

I left there and sat in my car for a moment to collect myself. I called my husband and asked him his opinion on that situation (history: I have always been Catholic, he has always been Baptist but we allow one another the luxury of making our own decisions related to God and have found in many of our discussions that we believe in the same God -- amazing, huh?). He explained a few things about why she might have responded that way but agreed that it was out of line.

I believe how I believe. I am very open to listening to others about how they believe. The reason I am willing to listen is that I am open to learn about other ideas. I am also confident that just listening to the way some else believes won't "rub off on me" and cause me to change my ideas. I can be friends with people, counsel with people and have great discussions with people who don't think in line with the way I think. I like that about me.

Ironically, as we walked into the store my son looked at the name and said, "Christian Book store....does that mean someone who doesn't believe in God can't go in there?". I explained to him how we need to be open and non-judgemental of everyone because they will not learn about God if they aren't given the opportunity. Funny. The lady that worked there needs to be told that.

After I left as I was processing through the events I found myself realizing something that doesn't just apply to religion but my understanding of life in general.....judging someone for not believing or living the way you do alienates them. If you really want that person to have a deeper understanding of your beliefs the way to get to that place does not begin with telling them they are wrong. Why would someone embrace your ideas if you judge them and condemn them for the ones they have?

My clients come to me involved in behaviors that create wreckage in their lives. They would never open up to me or even begin to listen to my ideas about recovery if I told them they were living wrong. They wouldn't even hear me if I told them they need to change. I don't remember feeling this way before. My mom told me people like her were out there...and I guess there are.

I am going to try to learn from this and move forward. I am sure there are many lessons for me.

Frustrated.

February 20, 2009

Last Night

I spent about an hour on the phone with a friend last night. I finally had to talk about my feelings about my mom's cancer. For so long I have focused on work and my home and all of my responsibilities. Last night the flood gate of emotions were released. I love my mom so much and there has never been one step in my life that I didn't imagine her being with me. The idea that she is ill is so difficult to comprehend.

I asked my sister today if it was worse knowing what she is facing or knowing nothing, like with our dad, and one day he is just gone? I guess either is difficult. I don't want to think of the possibilities.

She has been involved in every significant event in my son's life. She flew all the way to Germany to stay with us for the second month of his life. She stood in as proxy for his baptism in Germany. She was with us when he got his first little baby passport, was there for his first steps, his first teeth, his surgery when he was 11 months old, his first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth birthday parties, all of his Easters, all of his Christmases, all of his camping trips, his first visit to the ocean, his first day of school in kindergarten and second grade....she has just always been there. The prospect of her not being is saddening.

My part now is to be there for her.

February 15, 2009

Grace

Today in church the priest was talking about healing. He said we pray for many things, sometimes being delivered from pain or illness. Something he said that hit me like a ton of bricks was that "sometimes God's grace is our delivery". He indicated that we seem to look for cured illness as the proof that the prayer was answered when death is sometimes God's answer. When someone loves and wants to be with God in heaven they may be prepared for that.

It was more than I could take in at the time. But it was something I have been thinking of a lot since.

God's grace may be answer enough?

February 11, 2009

Brian

I was listening to the radio this morning when I heard a song that brought back memories from 13-14 years ago. Back then I believed I was in love with this man who was nice enough but was not interested in a relationship as much as just dating or hanging out. I listened to those words in a different way today. There was a line in the song that actually said, "I don't care if you don't care as long as you don't go". Okay, how sick was I exactly?

Today I laughed at myself. I don't sit around regretting the past much but it was a lesson to me. I spent most of my early 20's being broken hearted over things I didn't have instead of enjoying the things I did have. Recently I heard a speaker who said that people who are successful realize what they have WHILE they have it. That is what I strive for today. As much as I am driven and have a desire to constantly succeed and attain more (not things usually, but I do still have that desire in the way of education and career still) I hope at the end of the day I am satisfied with just that -- the day. Having lived it, having enjoyed it and having soaked up every little bit of what it had to offer me.

I threw in my All American Rejects song as soon as I could get to my computer and feel like I must be in a much better place today. (http://www.lyrics.com/index.php/artists/lyric/the-all-american-rejects-p-535218-lyrics-gives-you-hell)!

Thanks for the memories.

February 08, 2009

Transition

The last 12-13 months of my life have been about change and transition. Change and transition are good but very tiring. I seem to learn most in the midst of change but it usually comes after the transition is complete. During this period I haven't written as much as I would have liked to and I haven't been as honest as I usually am. I foresee this year being one of change and transition, as well. Because of that I want to prepare myself and learn from the last year.

I think people just get frustrated with life and forget to focus on what it is and what it can bring. I recently heard someone say two really important things that I have been hanging on to: 1) Successful people appreciate what they have while they have it. Mediocre people only realize what they had when it is gone. 2) If you aren't sure if you know who you are you can find out by asking yourself if you are jealous. Jealous people don't know who they are.

Maybe this is just rambling. So I will stop.

February 07, 2009

Update

Keep my mom in your prayers.
Thanks.