Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Time to Bite Your Tongue

...and a time to not.

I tend to stay out political discussions on this blog, as well as theological debates.  I have found that my views don't always sit well.  It often comes to a point where it causes a rift and I am truly trying to make my life about building bridges, regardless of where others stand on the other side.  

The Easter before last, my opinions and focus on social justice were formally called into question and I began to question where I stood.  Was I standing in the right side? Was I just causing another rift?  What direction should I be heading?  Not always a bad thing.  Questioning where you stand on thing, that is.  It is a healthy reflection, even if it is a bit uncomfortable.  I was in physical pain and a bit of a spiritual crossroads.  A new pope had JUST been chosen, the year of faith was well underway, my purple cast was a visual sign of the Lenten reflection that I was silently going through.  And then I got to mass.

Fr. Alejandro, my favorite Cuban Franciscan (who sadly will be assigned to an Australian parish this fall) focused his homily on this very topic.  Talk about a spiritual neon billboard!  His message was, yes, this is a year of faith, but perhaps we are too busy talking and verbally evangelizing.  What if instead of talking about what it right,  we just do what is right.  What if instead of passing judgement based on the rules, we focus on the one rule that reminds us to love.  Unconditionally, even if it is not warranted.  Now, understand, he calls himself Fr. Feelgood and I smile every time he refers to himself with such a title.  He clearly has a tendency to such dogma.  But, every single time, it makes me feel as though he is indeed speaking to me. 

From that moment, Pope Francis has only reinforced that in my head.  To which I fail, miserably.  All the time.  Kids drive me crazy and I snipe.  I question parents' parenting values.  I think things in my head that are less than loving.  Realize, I am not saying that I have mastered this, by any stretch of the imagination.  I suck at, truthfully.  But, it is the direction that I am moving toward, even if I get lost because Droid Siri doesn't like monsoon-like storms and I lose my way. (Real life reference that  I will save for another day.)  Imagine what the world would be like if we could remind ourselves of that 5 times a day.

Instead of hating, judging, condemning, whatever, changes need to be made.  What if instead we asked, "How can I help?"  Instead of passing judgement because people aren't doing what we feel to be prudent or reasonable we sit and talk.  You might be amazed at what people will share with you.  Do I need to work on this, duh. Yah.  More than you know.  

Our city is seeing kids shot far too regularly.  Our news talks about it, but realize it occurs far more than the news reports. We have amazing Meds and ED staff.  They have become amazingly skilled at keeping GSWs from becoming fatalities.  How many gang members do you talk to about their gang affiliation and they talk about that is not their gang, it is their family you are referring to.  WHAT DOES THAT SCREAM TO YOU??  These kids that we are judging and condemning as gang bangers are looking for love and acceptance.  The unquestioning, unending kind of love that families should provide.  

One of my fave quotes of all time.
J is sleeping off a LLLOOOOONNNNGGG night.  Insanity, much of it drug related.  How many heroin and meth overdoses does he see?  Far too many.  We all know that.  BUT WHY?  Why do people turn to drugs?  How often is it because reality if far too painful to take?  Physically and emotionally.  It is easier to escape the pain through drugs, than it is to actually face it or to fight it another day.  So much is personal choice.  I am not debating that.  But, what if they knew that there was a whole WORLD standing in their corner.  How many people would choose to send a text for help or support knowing that someone would answer it?  How many parents feel their hands are tied because they can't reach their kids?  How many spouses see the loves of their lives vanish into an addiction, but for fear and shame don't reach out for help?  How many kids have built walls because alcohol has drown their parents and they can't do it another time, they can't excuse the hateful comments that come from the V.O. and not the parental unit?  How many lives are taken because the world has told them they should not feel the way they do, look the way they do? How much anger is the immigration debate bringing out - the HATEFUL spewings remind be of the images taught in my Civil Rights unit. All of this easier  It is easier than facing judgement another day or living in fear of what change might bring.  What if we looked at the world through the lens love and compassion instead of fear and hate?  What if instead of putting ourselves up on a pedestal, telling the world how our way is the right way, we just did what we would hope someone would do for us?

Sorry for such a serious Weekend post, I am sleep deprived and had way too much time to think. However, perhaps we need to spend more time thinking, of  how we can make this world a better place, without passing judgement.  Instead of focusing on what we that makes us different, focus on our humanity that brings us all together.  Instead of focusing on who someone might love, focus on just being loving.  Instead of talking about what we don't like, focus on what is amazing and build up from there. At some point we have to make a decision to make this a better place as opposed to what we think is right or fair.  Cycles are perpetuating hate and anger and hunger and fear.  We must find away to break this spiraling pathways to hate or things will only get worse. The pursuit of happiness will become more of a myth of a bygone era. 

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