Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Bright Spot

I Was Feeling Saddened Until I Read This

If you look at my immediately previous post, you might understand that some of the news today is very distressing to me. I was actually beyond saddened, moving towards depression for a few minutes there.

Then, I started on my email and a comment connected to one post, but probably about my posting yesterday on the Theology of the Body caught my attention, and perked up my drooping spirit.

Anonymous (someone I would like to get to know personally) wrote:
Hi there: This entry proved very thought-provoking for me, and caused me to remember a pivotal moment in my own life.

I went to university during the "hippie-then-disco" years (1969-1977). I participated thoroughly in the excesses of the day on my way to my PhD. At one point (circa 1975), a female friend and I were chatting when we both realized we could not remember the names of some people with whom we'd been intimate. That stopped us both dead since we had been discussing how sexual communion was the "ultimate expression of giving-ness" between two people. How could we have given ourselves - or been had! - by people we could not even name!

I think they call it "a transformative experience". Promiscuity stopped that day for me. Dignity IS what it is all about - your own and the other person's. Nothing in this dimension of life is more precious than this intimacy.

I have gone from thinking of myself as a "lapsed Catholic" to "an agnostic" (though never "atheist"!) Today, every creative manifestation of God that I encounter causes me to embrace Jehovah more closely than ever before.

With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that I have lived a far more "Catholic" life than have my "practising Catholic" friends. Faithful still after almost 30 years of marriage, my wife and I share a more vital relationship than ever. Our children and grandchildren are the treasures we are leaving behind, not inheritances and real estate.

God is wherever you find Him. You can find Him wherever you choose to look. It's not rocket science, really, and I've no idea why it's always been this way for me. It's not as if I've actually spent lots of time praying or anything. I've wondered whether it's because I am a creative person employed in a creative economic sector. You see, I could never have succeeded in doing what I do without some help. I cannot pretend - even/especially to myself - to be a faucet flowing with creative ideas 24/7. I had no recourse BUT to turn to a "higher power" in order to feed my family and not die of stress in the process! So I got into the habit of "working with Jehovah" all the time in my head. And I mean I did this ALL the time. Still do. My "inner creative brainstorming sessions" are with Jehovah (Lord knows I could never really count on "colleagues"!) As I've gotten older and worries over basic survival have become a thing of the past, I silently offer up virtually everything I do to God just because I've received so very much in my time.

It is ironic, really. Now that I am near retirement, I am also reaching my creative peak. I know this peak will extend well into the future, and I'll have no need to "exercise it" anymore (and the industry will dismiss me as "too old" and "yesterday's news"). But I'll have to keep producing because it is what I do, and I now do it for the pleasure it brings others and for God. Maybe those two last things are the SAME thing. I've perhaps always measured my closeness to God by the amount of pleasure I bring others.

I mention all of this because my wife has been ESSENTIAL to all this, including my relationship with Jehovah, it could be argued. Her tireless love and support, her intellect and wit and extraordinary palette of skills and abilities, her loyalty and her strength have helped keep the path well lighted. So I've never lost my way.

I have so many reasons to be thankful because I've not been the most aware of committed Christians, if you follow what I'm saying. But my actions - what I've done in and with my life - never strayed from God's Path (I am somewhat relieved to say!)

My wife has a gift for understatement. She tells me: "You don't deserve any awards or a halo, but you've been a darned GOOD man, husband and father from what I've seen. Of course, I could be wrong..."

Ah! She remains the brightest of lights in my life!
I returned with my own comment:

Come Home, please. We need You.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. May God Bless You, and may you continue your search for Jehovah every day of your life.

The Church needs a few good men, well really all the men and women that will come home to her loving arms.

It is a good thing to find out that God/Jehovah/Yahweh exists and loves us, but my new friend was able to do so, I believe, because of the faith that his parents had many years ago, when they baptised him in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In many ways, his Baptism took, as that sacramental grace that was imparted to him worked its way into his heart over the years.

I too, was a lapsed Catholic for many years, and then became as Kathy Shaidle calls it a Relapsed Catholic. The Body of Christ needs us all to come home, and so I invite my Commenter above to "Come Home Please." Give the Church a try again. Use your heart, not your head to give her a chance. We all miss you, and are the worse for your absence.


Anonymous said...

Hello, it's me again. I had no idea that my little commentary would have such an impact. My wife observed that it is harder to talk about Christianity than it is to live it - but that's the kind of pithy insight my wife makes.

On returning to the Church: The last time I attended a Catholic service was whn my younger brother married over a decade ago. I have long ago come to terms with the sexual abuse I suffered as an adolescent at the hands of the Christian Brothers, a lay denomination of educators that held many teaching positions when I was a child.

What I continue to have difficulties with are the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality. You see, my middle son Jude (31 years old) is homosexual. Jude informed us of this when he was 18 years old. We worked hard to accept this and support him in his endeavours to become a mature adult. That meant accepting his partner Eric into our family almost a decade ago, which we did.

Jude and Eric are - like Jude's brothers and their spouses - completely committed to one another and building their marriages. Jude and Eric brought us two grandchildren so far - both adopted (one at birth, the other at 2 years old). Seth and Rachel are. like our other grandchildren, the most wonderful treasures in our lives. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church would not embrace my son the way he is as my family and I have. I would gladly offer my life up to save my son's life. With that in mind, please try to understand my reluctance to embrace the institution known as the Roman Catholic Church.

Finally, my wife is a "red diaper baby" who has been known to observe that she was 15 years old before she realized that Christmas had nothing to do with Teamsters' events. She became a theist because "...without some kind of God nothing would make any sense whatsoever and would be very depressing and I just couldn't handle it thinking that Humankind was the "bestest most wonderfulest thing ever". You perhaps are beginning to get my drift...

What incited me to respond to you originally was simply a wish to point out to you what I had noticed about my own life when I look back. I am thankful for my Catholic upbringing (by a grandmother who converted to Catholicism at age 25). It provided me the kind of grounding that permitted me to release my misgivings and apply what limited intellectual resources and talents I was born with to the task of developing myself as an autonomous, responsible and resonably fulfilled human being. "Reasonably fulfilled" because it took an intimate, committed bond with another to help me reach my full potential as a human being. It took my wife. When the kids came along, "fulfillment" just got larger and larger.

And what my wife and I know about "how things work" is what we've taught our kids. Maybe we were lucky, but all our kids seemed to "get it". And we include our homosexual son Jude and his partner Eric in that equation. The Catholic Church wouldn't, and there's the rub.

I cannot choose to be blind to the commitment, loyalty and devotion between my son and his partner. I cannot be blind to the fact that their children are happy kids who know they are loved and respected at home - are every bit as precious to me as my wife as our other grandchildren are. We simply cannot condemn ANYTHING about our son Jude, including his life as a commited parent and partner in a monogamous relationship. I'm afraid that briging the Catholic Church into my family and home would destroy both.

I shall continue to live my life as I always have - keeping up a running exchange with Jehovah and doing whatever it is I am supposed to do. Right now, I'm working on a "storyteller" program for children with Down's Syndrome om collaboration with a young teacher-friend of mine. I love working with kids and am indulging myself as retirement approaches. There's a light in their eyes that simply inspires me and I just know I'm supposed to act on it.

Remember, if God is in the details, then the details are better left to God.

Michael Brandon said...

"A", your comments are too good not to have a post of their own.