I recently had a Facebook “discussion” on the healthcare bill and what some people see as it’s infringement on religious liberty/freedom.
As an American and our fervent belief in “rights” and freedom and democracy, I have had and continue to have a difficult time accepting the idea of “Kingship”, and “submitting” to God. I will also freely admit that I have thought and prayed hard about many of the “rules” of the Catholic Church. I am a work in progress, and I figure I will still be questioning up until the day I draw my last breath. Only through my questions does my faith grow. But even when my beliefs are set and I know deep in my heart and soul they are true and right, when someone presents me with a differing point of view I listen.
I listen because I know that somewhere they have a valid point of view.
It may not be valid with the context of my beliefs, but it is valid to them and in order to respect them I have to respect their point of view.
That does not mean that I endorse it, but it does mean that I am giving them the freedom to believe what they want to believe. It means that I give them very human right to think and feel and make a choice on their own. It means that within their thought process I recognize that their point of view has been determined by something within their life – a teaching, an experience, an article. My thought is to get at why they see them the way they do. Everyone has something I can learn from them. Without listening to them I can’t learn. I may not change my position on things, but I that does not mean I have not tried to understand and learn.
Back to this friend with whom I was having a discussion. I appreciate the fact that she gave me her point of view. It reminded me that not everyone starts at the same point. I also appreciated her acknowledging that we were not trying to change each other’s mind and that we could remain friends even while agreeing to disagree. Having friends like that have helped me accept my own self-worth. They allow me to have my opinions and don’t mock me for having them.
Right now my life is going through an overhaul.
I am once again taking charge of my physical well-being.
I am being proactive in taking care of my emotional health while grieving and working through the stress of this time of my life.
I am also leaning on and building up the spiritual part of my life. It is not actually a “part of” my life, it is my foundation. I have never been very open about my faith life on this blog, but if I am going to continue to grow I am going to have to talk about it a bit more. To do that I am going to have to tell you a bit about my worship tradition in order for you to understand some of what I talk about in future posts. First and foremost I am a Christian – I profess without hesitation that my entire life is influenced by Jesus. I attempt to follow him, though I am only human and fall many times, DAILY! But because of his forgiveness and grace I am able to get up and try again, knowing that he is always there for me. The way I worship is guided by the Roman Catholic Church. I was baptized as an infant into the Church, and have been a practicing Catholic my entire life. I went through the normal teen and early adult years where I questioned not only my faith tradition, but also Christianity as a whole. It was only through this time of questioning that I was drawn back to my faith and the Catholic Church and have been able to embrace it with my entire heart and soul. That time of questioning, exploration, and even flat-out denial gave me the chance to step away from the faith that my parents spoon fed me and return to it as an adult making a conscious decision to enter into a relationship with God and accept the traditions of the Catholic church.
There are many traditions that Protestants object to in the Catholic Church, and there are many misconceptions about the Church. There will be times that I discuss specifics of the Catholic church as it relates to my growth journey. I will explain those specifics so that anyone who is not intimately familiar with the traditions of the Church can understand why it is important to me. But never is my intention to preach or try to convert anyone. I am merely speaking from my heart about my personal journey. I may point out differences between my faith tradition and those of another denomination only to make a point, but never, ever to denigrate anyone else’s beliefs. I would hope that my journey would encourage others to seek out their own spiritual path no matter what belief system.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Catholic Church in order to understand a bit more of my point of view and my origins, there are many really good books out there. One series in particular is very good at explaining things, and is in a format that I really appreciate…..
Catholicism for Dummies
Catholic Mass for Dummies
Saints for Dummies
I have alluded to my father’s illness in past posts. He has been battling Esophageal Cancer since 2005 – at least that is when the diagnosis was made. I am sure he had been fighting it long before that. The average 5 years survival rate for his type of cancer is 25%. On Saturday, January 21, 2013, my dad’s body could no longer keep up with his will to live. His soul departed this earth at 11:00 AM with me, my mother, Papa Bear and both Bear Cubs at his side. While I miss him terribly and would love to have just a few more minutes with him to hear his laugh and see his sparkling blue eyes, his death was a spirit filled, holy, and peaceful event.
The last week has been filled with all the social etiquette that surround the death of a loved one – making the arrangements, family and friends arriving into town, the wake (or visitation), the funeral. Throughout this time my family was surrounded by people who provided us so much love and support. Yet there were times we wanted, no, needed, to be by ourselves. We needed to absorb the enormous change that had rocked our world. We needed to feel the pain, to accept its presence in our lives and accept that it is not going to go away any time soon. My aunt opened her house (located just across the field from my parents’ house) to be the gathering place so that my family could retreat to mom and dad’s house when we needed that solitude. It was the perfect arrangement. We were able to reach out whenever we needed to have social interaction while grieve privately when we needed that. We laid my father to rest on Wednesday morning, and late that evening Papa Bear and the Cubs and I headed back to our house. I took the rest of the week off work and spent the time sleeping and just feeling the depth and variety of emotions that are still clamoring to be released. Right now I feel emotionally bruised and battered. But I am comforted by the love that has been shown to me. I am strengthened by the promises of my faith. And I am sheltered by the arms of Papa Bear.
Tonight was the annual Tables of Christmas at our church. Sponsored by the Ministry of Mother’s Sharing, it is a wonderful way to start out the Christmas season on a joyful spiritual note. There was a time when I loved to get all dolled up and go out with my hubby (as long as I did not have to wear pantyhose!). That has changed since I no longer looked good in any of my clothes and my feet hurt 10 minutes after putting on my heels. Well, tonight, even though I was not going out with my hubby, I decided to get all dressed up in honor of the Holy-day season. So went in and pulled out my favorite pair of black dress slacks. These are my go to slacks. I pulled them on and buttoned them. Hmmmmm – they were in no way tight. In fact, if someone were to come up behind me and grab them they would come off!!!! They were also now very long. I guess my intended footwear was going to have to be re-evaluated. So I grabbed my favorite heels – 3″ monsters that I absolutely love to look at but hate to wear since my feet are usually screaming 12 minutes after I put them on. Well, I slid into those pumps of pain and my pants were still too long. In fact, I spent the evening tripping over my pants. Also, lo and behold, I made it all through the evening and never once had to take my shoes off because they hurt. I won’t say it was like walking on a cloud, but I did not feel like I had to limp to the car after the event. Not only that, I could finally stand up from a chair and not scream in pain! That was a big improvement over yesterday’s agony from the Rocky drills we did in class on Monday. (Mrs. M – if you are reading this, please have some mercy on my thighs tomorrow!)
As I walked around and talked with people this evening many of them remarked on how much weight I had lost. I got lots of compliments on how I looked. I could feel my grin getting bigger and bigger as the evening wore on. For the first time in a long time I was once again comfortable in my own skin. I LOVED that feeling. The speaker talked about grace – about God showing us His grace through an inspiration to do something or through the words and actions of other people. Tonight I could see the result of the grace that I have been blessed to receive over the last 14 weeks or so – self-confidence, an openness to friendships, an openness to love from others, and britches that are too big!!!!!!
If I were to list all the things I have to be thankful for I would never stop typing. This year I am really thankful for this journey to health that I am on. I am thankful for the positive changes that I am seeing in my body. I am thankful for the support system that I have found at Pilsung ATA – the instructors, the other students, the little ones in there that laugh at my inablilty to bend myself into a pretzel – all of them have helped me get a grip on reality and face my physical challenges head-on. I am truly blessed to have all these people in my life.