I'm linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum to summarize my week in Seven Quick Takes.
Cath, Cath-ity, Catholic.
My very anti-Catholic parents visited us last weekend, and may have been Catholicked-out. We went to an event at a Catholic church (non-religious), then mass on Sunday, then went to a St. Joseph's altar. I was praying their little Protesting hearts didn't just go apoplectic. Thankfully, it was a peaceful weekend - no confrontation about said religious traditions and customs. I felt like they respected our faith. It is still very difficult being the only Catholic in the family. I feel very mis-understood. I was really left with a sense of sadness at the end of the weekend. Even when I am literally in the same room as my parents, I feel so distant from them sometimes. It is so hard to connect with them, especially on an emotional level. I have had to keep my distance and boundaries for years, in order to be safe and healthy. But, I still mourn the loss of our parent-child relationship, even as it unfolds before me. I think I am as close to them as I can be, given the circumstances. At the same time, the child within me longs to be accepted and loved by my parents in a way that I can feel. But, last weekend was progress. They tried hard.
Maybe the biological clock is a real thing. I have never wanted children more than I do right now. We are married and so happy. We want kids. We just can't afford them. If we did have them, I don't know who would care for them, or how we could afford childcare for the next 5-ish years before school is a possibility. If we did figure that part out, I really don't know about sending them to public school. And yet, we can't afford private school nor do we have the resources to homeschool right now. There are so many unknowns. If it happened, we would "make it work." We would be so excited. However, I really hate that if I wanted birth control, it would be free to me from our government and "health care" system. However, if I want to have a baby, I wouldn't be able to make ends meet, afford the birth itself, or have a way to take care of the child until school is available. I hate that about our culture. It makes one choice so easy (sterility), and another choice (family life) nearly impossible for the working, middle class. THIS is the true war on women. With all that in mind, there is a job I'm thinking of applying for. It may give me more flexible hours and be closer to home, I just don't know if the pay would be decent. With my husband's disability, I will most likely have to work...forever, and he can't take care of the children alone full-time. I have to admit to pangs of jealousy or even anger when people complain about their children or their life at home as a mom. I know it's not easy to be a mother, or a stay-at-home mother. I just wish that they would realize they are complaining about a gift that not all of us have. The same could be said of those who complain about their jobs, when there are many out of work or under-employed. God give us grace to do your will.
There's a funny video circulating the web about evangelization. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMLYBvmMbPE
Speaking of #2, I was discussing children, marriage, and the like with a friend of mine who is about to get married. She is Protestant. She lives with her fiance, using contraception. We talked about wanting children in the future, and I didn't use that opportunity to talk about NFP or the gift it has been to us in our marriage. I was kicking myself later because it would have been a logical time to bring that up, not awkward at all, and I really should have said something to plant the seed of approaching life in a different way. She is a true Christian and means well. She truly doesn't know the harm that contraception can cause, nor does she believe she's doing anything wrong. I sort of pulled a "timid Tammy" and chickened out of saying anything, telling myself that it was TMI, even though we are close friends. I'm not the best evangelizer. I can talk until I'm blue in the face with my Catholic friends about all aspects of the faith. But, give me a non-Catholic, and I will either put my foot in my mouth or say NOTHING. God, give me courage and the grace to say what I should, when I should. Ugh, it's so hard sometimes.
Lent is going okay this year, but I have yet to make good on my resolutions. I still need to go through my clutter, clothing, and "stuff" to down-size, streamline, give away, etc. I have made zero progress. I haven't made the project/problem worse, I just have yet to spend the time to do this. And, time is ticking. Unlike years past, I have really almost enjoyed Lent this year. I have tried not to hate myself or beat myself up as a form of "penance". I made it to confession once, I have been to Stations of the Cross several times, and I have quasi-successfully avoided meat on Fridays. Maybe I'm finally easing into being a Catholic during Lent.
Elizabeth Esther is working on a new book about spiritual addiction. I'm so excited to read it. We have similar backgrounds, although hers is much more severe, and her theology growing up was different from mine growing up (Armenian versus Calvinist). She posted some information from her research yesterday on Instagram that hit pretty close to home:
"Religious addiction is a process addiction like gambling or excessive dieting. Religious addiction hinges on one essential belief: that humans are inherently evil." from Robert N. Minor
Um, hello, Calvinism!!! I truly believe it to be one of the most damaging philosophies/theologies on earth. Now, a PhD is backing me up. There is something so insidious about believing yourself to be evil, inherently flawed. Even if it doesn't make sense, it's hard to shake. It's hard to trust yourself. It's hard to trust others if you think they're 100% evil also. We watched The Giver recently. [SPOILER ALERT] Towards the end, Meryl Strep's character says that when you give humans the freedom to choose, they always choose wrong. Um, hello, Calvinism, again!!! I would like to posit - no, they don't. We, as a human race, are capable of horrors, of evil beyond comprehension. And yet, we are also capable of using our will to do good, to love, and to bring beauty and truth into this world. We don't always choose the wrong or evil option. It's interesting to note the devastating consequences that particular belief can have, even though it goes against my experience of the world.
Happy first day of Spring!!! Can I just say that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing?! (And why do we have to call it SAD? LOL. Yes, we feel sad, thanks for the reminder.) And, the fog has finally lifted. The horrific darkness and heaviness of winter is OVER! At least where I live, the fog lifted about a week or two ago. I never realize how hard winter is for me until it's over. Every single year this happens. I feel human again!!! Thank you GOD for the sunshine!
I have to say, seven is a lot of "quick takes," and that's all I've got. Have a great Friday, a good and restful weekend, and be blessed!
O most holy heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore you, I love you, and with lively sorrow for my sins I offer you this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to your will. Grant, Good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you. Protect me in the midst of danger. Comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.