Thursday, December 20, 2012

Unapologetically Me

Sometimes I just want to write without reservation, without a plan, about whatever is on my mind. But that's what a diary is for, and I give a high priority to making my blog writing professional. Yet I often feel like I have to hold back. To word things just so. Who might be offended? Will I put some readers off if I talk about this or that, if I give my opinion too forcefully, if I am too passionate? My best friend would say, to hell with it. She really doesn't generally care what other people think of her, and therefore, she can be herself. I admire that. But "they" say that you can only recognize a quality in another human being if you possess it yourself. It's in my nature to be fearless, but I am also sensitive. We can be kind and still be frank and real. So I'm gonna be fearlessly honest and frankly kind from now on.

Today I went to a kids' Christmas party at a neighbor's house, and two grandmothers were there. One of them told the other that she always knew it would be great to be a grandma; what she didn't anticipate was what a joy it is to see her own children being parents. The other agreed, and it was obvious that they are both so proud of the mothering job their daughters are doing. Lucky daughters these, whose mothers look at them with an admiring rather than a critical eye, as so often seems to be the case. In reality it is likely that they have not approved of every little thing. Surely some negative thoughts must occasionally surface. Their conversation struck me profoundly for some reason, perhaps because I had never heard such sentiments about grandparenting expressed in that way, and I hoped that they openly shared them with their children, not just with other people. I think I was meant to overhear this conversation for a reason, and I want to file this away so I can give that sort of cheerleading to my own daughter when she becomes a mother. It was also like a little light in the dark tunnel I was experiencing in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting.

My sister called me on the day of that massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Her sadness mirrored mine, which was somehow comforting. She told me that she is glad Beezy is homeschooled. This did my broken heart good that day. Some people might scorn homeschooling as overprotective. You can't protect your children from everything, they say. They're going to be exposed to the horrors and bad influence of the world eventually, they admonish. But it is an absolute fact that not having your child in school will protect him from a school shooting. I read in a Catholic homeschooling blog today that the Rose Lima Catholic Church in Newtown has received bomb threats. The blogger's brother is the priest there, Father Luke. What is the meaning of this? Is it anti-Catholicism? Is it just more insane behavior with no rhyme nor reason? The sheer magnitude of hate and evil is overwhelming.

I don't talk much about my Catholic religion on this blog, because I write about it elsewhere. But I can't separate it from the rest of my life. It informs my homeschooling, my natural family living, my response to tragedy, my relationships. There is nothing not touched by it. So why should I keep it under wraps? Who might be offended? Today I don't care. The truth is, I would have been a bloody mess on that terrible Friday if it wasn't for my Catholic faith. I picked up my rosary and immediately began to pray. I have only been Catholic for about a year, and not even officially so until Easter, when I will take my First Communion. This is the sacrament of the Eucharist, the Real Presence of the body and blood of Jesus in the transubstantiated bread and wine. I love my Lord, and he is the one who said this is true. And I love his Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. I would not have gotten through so many moments of heartbreak and feelings of hopelessness if it weren't for her intercession. I understood more fully than ever, when the news of the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary broke, why Jesus gave her to us from the cross.

So that's what I have to say today, in all its randomness. Life is too short to apologize for who we are, and if someone can't handle my joy, my sorrow, or my unapologetic opinion, life is also too short to spend it explaining myself.

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