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Archive for February, 2016|Monthly archive page

The Harder Parts and Small Annoyances

In Deep Thoughts, Real Life, The CANCER on February 23, 2016 at 6:47 am

 

I have always been very independent. In fact probably fiercely independent. Asking for help is just something I do not do well. Thank God I have sisters who have stepped up to care about things and do things for me without my asking, or I would be facing my worst fear—living in squalor. Of course they would never let this happen, but I have always feared it. Being a “neat” hoarder, (I do purge every so often.) I am still a collector of junk, it is just neat junk (so far).  But it is still hard for me to watch them run around and do things for me that I can no longer do.  In recent days it has become harder to “push through” the fatigue and just do things anyway, those who have been in the military know this push. So do marathon runners. You must make it up that hill, your body is saying no way but you push anyway, and get there. The fatigue is too profound now when it comes. I cannot push through it. I must give in to it, and rest. It annoys the stubborn redhead in me.

Not knowing what my tumors look like now bugs me. I know they cannot do a scan now, because the radiation on my brain only finished 2 weeks ago, but when I have some odd sensation or symptom, I wonder if the beasts are on the prowl and taking over new areas of my brain.  This next visit to the Oncology Doctor we are going to stop by medical records and get a copy of my chart and my first scans so I can have them for comparison when they finally do the next one, and so I might share them here so yall can see them. Fear of the unknown. This is the greatest fear for most human beings.

Although the steroids help the swelling in my head, and at first they were like tiny miracle pills because they kept the headaches at bay, now the side effects of them make me hate them. The swelling of my face and neck, the weakness in my upper legs, and the odd effects on my mood and appetite make me look down at the little pill with contempt. I am on 4 mg 3 times a day which is not much, and from what I have read, when things really get rocking and rolling that could be greatly increased just to keep me semi-functional. They are a necessary evil. As many great things that they do, the side effects are brutal at times.

I have had to begin to take pain pills.  I do not like to take mind altering anything. Pain pills make me feel wonky in the head. I do not enjoy this feeling.  I spent a lot of my life on mind altering drugs and gave it up and like my brain free of weird. But the headaches are creeping back, not near what they were when the brain cancer was unchecked, but they are there. Mostly spotty and dull, and my fear of the pain I did have when this whole thing started forces me to take action against them before they get out of hand. I also have more pain in my legs, most especially the left one and if I do not take a pain pill I do not walk as well because of the pain and my desire to be mobile overrides my hatred of the pain pills.

When I am alone I think too much. But I love to be alone. I have always treasured my solitude. People tucker me out. Even more so now. There is a good quote in CS Lewis’ book “A Grief Observed”:

“I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps hard to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want others around me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to each other and not to me.”

I enjoy people around, I just want them in the other room. Kind of like when our family would gather at my grandmother’s at holidays. I would find a spot in a quiet corner and just watch all the interactions of my relatives. I could pick and choose when I wanted to get up and participate in a conversation. I prefer to be the girl sitting behind the potted palm at most functions.

It is not hard for me to accept my death and I do wonder when it will come and how. I know I still have things I wish to get done, and I pray and try to trust in the Lord that they will get done. Sometimes this is very hard on the days when I am feeling weakest and death seems so close.

I fear losing functions again. Most especially my mind. I can deal with the weakness in my walking and my unsteady gait, I can deal with being clumsy and waddling when I walk, I can deal with the pain in my head and elsewhere,  But I still have things I wish to write, and when I have a short term lapse of any kind in my ability to think and write and understand, it makes me panic a bit. I am less able to tolerate and think clearly when I have too much input, so I keep the house quiet when I can.

My  prayers are for strength to get through each day. Every day I feel a bit weaker. Subtle, creeping weakness. My only strength comes from God.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  Isaiah 40:28-31

 

 

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THE LIST

In Deep Thoughts, Faith on February 21, 2016 at 9:04 am

THE LIST

These were the issues  I had to research and find the real truth about before I could consider becoming a Catholic.

Prerogatives of Peter

Praying “To” Saints

Marian Doctrine

Idolatry

Purgatory

Confession

Real Presence in the Eucharist

PREROGATIVE OF PETER

I will take these one by one here. I am not going to give you all the research I did, but try to capture the turning point, the epiphany moment when it sunk in that this was correct, it was truth. One of my biggest problems was the Pope himself. To me, as an Episcopalian, he was just the Bishop of Rome. There were 12 Apostles. (Matthias  replaced Judas)  And my belief was each one were on equal footing as far as hierarchy of the church goes. My understanding of the scripture which relates to the argument of the Prerogative of Peter which is Matthew 16: 13-19  was simple, the “rock” was not a man, but the faith professed by Peter. However, opening my mind, wiping my prejudices out of my head, if you re-read the scripture you will note the words YOU THOU THEE, these are not words you use for a concept, but a person. This person is Peter.  Jesus does not haphazardly select words, especially in something of this magnitude. The Rock is Peter. But this was not my epiphany. My epiphany came at the tomb during the Resurrection. In John Chapter 20:1-8.  Peter and the beloved disciple “run side by side” and then the beloved disciple outruns Peter and arrives at the tomb first. But he does not enter.  He bends down, and peers in from the door. When Peter arrives he immediately enters, and examines the burial cloths. Only then does the other disciple enter. This clearly shows there was even at the Resurrection a deference to the authority of Peter.  There are many many other examples of this, especially in the Acts of the Apostles. But it was this example at the tomb that cleared this hurdle for me.

PRAYING TO SAINTS

Of course as a lifelong protestant this would give me pause. My prayers go directly to Jesus, I pray to no other. He is my savior and king. However this obstacle fell easily. As Christians we do not die. This is the promise of Jesus, and the hope of Christianity. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. So all who have died in Christ, are alive. They are in heaven. There is the Church Universal which comprises of the Church Militant, this is us, those on earth who are still  “working out our salvation with fear and trembling” Philippians 2:12. The Church Triumphant, these are those already in heaven. And in the Catholicism (and some other Orthodox and Liturgical communions) there is the Church Penitent or Expectant for those in purgatory. (I will cover the hurdle of purgatory separate from this paragraph.)  So, we have absolutely no problem asking our friends, those here in the corporal world to pray for us. We do it almost daily.  We pray for others without being asked as well.  All Christians are a part of the Communion of Saints. 1 Corinthians 1-31. Catholics do not pray to Saints. They ask Saints and Christians in heaven to pray for them. Hurdle overcome.

MARIAN DOCTRINE 

In truth I really had very little trouble with Marian Doctrine. There is this idea outside of the Catholic Church that Catholics worship Mary as they do Jesus Christ. But this was really never my understanding.  I found she was just highly revered and honored. As in Honor thy Father and thy Mother. Mary was given to John at the cross “Behold your Mother.” In this way, I always saw her as being given to all disciples, and therefore to me, as my Mother as well.   Mary is the perfect disciple and a worthy role model for our own Christian walk. From her first “Yes” to Gabriel. Thy will be done. At the Wedding Feast of Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.” Mary continually points to Her son. She is the Mother of God. Personally I have seen people revere (and practically worship) their own pastors more than they do the woman who gave birth to our Savior. Not much of a hurdle. Overcome.

IDOLATRY 

Yea, so Catholics have a LOT of statues, icons, medals and just plain stuff. Again this was not a big hurdle because I know the propensity for humans to be distracted away from the spiritual by the physical. So making a physical thing represent and remind us of spiritual thing was not a big issue. I have always done this. Again, small hurdle. Overcome.

PURGATORY

This was probably one of the hardest obstacles for me to overcome, and of course the hardest to describe how I came to the conclusion that the doctrine was sound and biblically  based. To understand it fully you must begin with the whole idea of God’s Judgement. The Bible specifically says there are two judgments. This judgement does not determine salvation. Salvation comes from Faith alone.

“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”  1 Corinthians 3:11-15

But we are subsequently, after our conversion and belief in Jesus Christ expected to act upon that faith, to walk the Christian Path and to produce good works. It is on these works that we are judged. First is our personal judgement. But then there is the Last Judgement where all will be judged. Purgatory is merely a place of waiting, and further cleansing before we enter Heaven. I can quote many many verses that back up this Doctrine. And praying for the dead or those in purgatory. But this particular Doctrine took me a year or so to come to grips with and it would take me even longer to write it all out here. I sometimes look at it like the scene in “The Wizard of Oz” when they are about to go in to see the Great Wizard and they are getting all spiffed up. Purgatory is like that, a place where we get cleaned up before we enter the Glorious Presence of God and behold the Beatific Vision. Although this hurdle is overcome, I do understand why for most it is a hard doctrine to accept.

CONFESSION TO A PRIEST

This one did not really cause me a problem by not being Biblical because Jesus says himself in Matthew 5:20-26 to confess to your brother if you have sinned against him and then there are numerous times in the Old and the New Testament about confessing to your brother, most specifically in James.  But, as a protestant all my life, my issue was that my sins are and have been directly confessed to Jesus Christ in prayer, and so I wondered did this mean he did not hear those, and had I died would those be on my conscious, marring my soul?  I struggled with this as well because my sins are so numerous over my lifetime and when one enters the Catholic Church there is a “lifelong confession” that is made to the Priest, and I thought: Well this will take a year or so at least, does this priest even have the time to spend to listen to my wayward life?  This obstacle however, was not overcome merely by scripture, it was overcome by fervent prayer to God, and listening to God in silence. I came to peace with it when I knew that to go to a priest, a representative of Jesus Christ and have him give me a verbal assurance of the absolution of my sins would give me much peace. Recurrent guilt that I have felt all my life would have a release. The repetitive recitation of sins I have passed confessed would end with this absolution.

REAL PRESENCE IN THE EUCHARIST

Because I had went from Baptist to Episcopalian, and many Episcopalians do believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, that is transubstantiation of the wine and the bread into the actual physical body of Christ, this was not all that difficult for me. Every time I took communion in the Episcopal Church, I thought of this. But the actual transition here for me took place as I went to my first Eucharistic Adoration. I spent an hour in prayer and mediation in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament and have never before experienced the Peace that I felt in that hour. My conclusion was that I could not have felt that if Jesus Christ were not truly there.

 

At the end of this search, some 20 years ago, I knew I was Catholic. I began to live as a Catholic, although I had not entered the church. I went to Mass when I could, prayed the rosary daily, spent many hours reading the Catechism and other books, and continuing my research. But I am Catholic. The church just has not made it official. Around two years ago I began my formal attempts to become a Catholic, and was surprised that my last obstacle was…the Church herself. This was when I began to write the pope. I have written him 5 times now. It now appears that there is a chance I might become Catholic before I die, and I try very hard to just trust in God in this. But I have my moments of doubt and they are my only moments of despair while I am dying. That I will die without benefit of having ever my first communion. It is my only wish while still alive. It is the reason I cling to life and go through all these treatments. That I might last til that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dust to Dust

In Deep Thoughts, Faith on February 19, 2016 at 2:55 am

 

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[ Note: This blog entry was begun on Ash Wednesday, but I left it as a draft for a while, as I side-tracked to other things, Life is like that. We are constantly distracted from spiritual things by the temporal.  It is one of the reasons sacramentals are so important, they draw us back into our spiritual journey.]

The Season of Lent has always been my favorite season on the Christian Calendar. I suppose it is because it is a time of intense prayer and reflection. And I have always had a gift for prayer.  It is 40 days with Jesus.  It is a time of honest self evaluation, and to begin again.  It is the “second chance”  time on the calendar.

For 20 or so years I have observed it by choosing a specific aspect of the faith, or episode in the life of Christ, or sacramental in the church to meditate upon.  I have also always had some kind of handiwork or craft project that I complete during the 40 days.  The project itself is also a quiet time of reflection and prayer and becomes its own meditation and time with God. It is in the silence that I hear Him speak.

Of course this year is especially significant to me because I am dying. This will, in all likelihood be my last Lent. I find it very interesting and of course, again, perfect timing, that I would have this particular season at the beginning of my journey.

“You can depend on this as worthy of full acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  Of these I myself am the worst. But on that very account I was dealt with mercifully, so that in me, as an extreme case, Jesus Christ might display all His patience, and that I might become an example to those who would later have faith in Him and gain everlasting life.”  1 Timothy 15-16

So this year my meditation is on the Sacred Heart. I have acquired a book on it to read and have printed several other things online. I have to say that this year my Lenten ritual has been awry, due to visitors in the first week of Lent, In a strange way it is also apropos. I did go with my sister on Ash Wednesday for the imposition of the ashes, and although I have managed to have some time for prayer, not nearly as much as previous years. I always have a hard time finding things to “give up” on Lent. So, the idea that my prayer life has had to be laid aside or diminished is a real hardship on me. I seek the Lord’s forgiveness for my neglect of it.

Food has never been a problem for me to give up, so I rarely bother. Unless it means something, I do not see the point. However, this year while Zach was here he bought me a pound of my favorite candy and it is currently sitting on a table in front of me tempting me. I will open it on Easter Morning. I resist it now.

For my project I will try to complete the Sacred Heart in Filet crochet.

 

Hoping my Lent will turn out meaningful and full of mercy and God’s grace and new fervor in my love for the Lord Jesus Christ. My hope for yours is the same.

 

The Stars At Night are Big and Bright

In Deep Thoughts, Small Joys on February 16, 2016 at 7:55 pm

One of the very first thoughts I had when they told me I was going to die in 6 months was of my dear friend Newt. Newt is in prison in Texas. Don’t ask me about why, I will only go off on a long rant about the Justice system in America and especially Texas and cry and weep and scream for hours. There are innocent people in Prison. There are people doing horrendous amounts of time for minor crimes while killers get off Scott free. In the meantime my beautiful Newt sits languishing in a hell hole. It is all so wrong. But he is bravely holding up, and my prayer is that things will change there across the border and Texas will get its act together. (fat chance, but I can  pray about it)  In any case, if there were to be someone who would die while Newt was in prison, for it to be me, was just another injustice to him, and I wept for his loss. We would never sit in my beautiful garden and have long talks about life, the universe and everything again.

 So, when I also had to call our mutual friend Zack (I call him Cap because I met him online as CapnObvious) and tell Zack too that I was dying, his thought as well was….Newt.  After 3 days of private grief, he called me back and had a Mission From God to get me to Texas to see Newt.

He got time off from work, his plane reservations and a rental car and was coming within weeks. I am always so flabbergasted by the loving loyalty and generosity of my friends. I am so humbled by their love and affection. Especially now, when they show it so openly and freely and it boosts my spirits so much to know they think that much of me. Hey! I am not such a bad person after-all!! I have another blog post in the planning about my “Boys” (and a couple girls) as John and I called them, but suffice it to say for now, that I have always drawn youth to me like a magnet. I am the “mother hen” of the internet and elsewhere. I believe because of my own wayward youth, that I am able to talk to and reach troubled teens, and that Jesus puts them in my path to do this. It is a vocation. A gift from God. But more on that later.

So the boys arrived from CA, and we had two days here at my house together, and one of my goals was to also introduce Cap to my nephew-in-law Darrell. They are very much alike, they both are complete board game geeks, and have the same sense of humor. I thought as well, that when I die, it would help Darrell and Cap to have one another as friends since both knew me and loved the same things I did…board games and geeky things. There would be some added support for both when I leave this planet. And I was right, they do like one another. Mission accomplished.

On Saturday we began the long trek down to Tyler, Texas. I enjoyed the whole trip, we stopped a lot along the way and Zach worried entirely too much but there was not much I could do about that, and we got in very late because we got lost. (The GPS steered us to odd places). But I love looking at Oklahoma and Texas, I love the plains, I love the country and so I was perfectly fine. Only Cap thought he was failing me in some way. “Its a grid, Cap” I said often.  I say this because folks from the coasts do not realize that our roads out here were not laid out by following terrain like they did on the coasts. We were set up by how the railroad ran. We are a grid. It is very very hard to get lost really. Of course the art of reading road signs and a map is pretty much lost on “kids” of today, they depend so much on electronic gadgets.  To their folly. They also forget that old folks like me know where they are, generally, and my internal compass knows which direction I am facing.  When you live on the plains it is hard not to know which way the sun rises and sets.  You can see for miles and miles.  Oklahoma City, especially is a grid. East-West streets intersect with North-South. North and South are called the “short blocks” East and west are the Long. 10 short blocks equal one mile. “Its a grid, Cap, you cannot get lost.” But in East Texas with an electronic voice guiding you….yea you can.

It is all part of your continuing adventure my father used to say.  And I enjoyed being lost too. East Texas is pretty country.

So we got to the hotel late, I went to bed and then woke the next day to set off 40 miles for the prison. Adam came up to show us the ropes of getting in for our visit. (Prisons are strange places, it was the first time I had ever been to one) and then we had 4 glorious hours with Newt. He looked better than I thought he would and was in good spirits. I wanted to just inhale him. I only cried at the end, and I was thankful for that.

Then all too soon, it was time to come home. But I am a home-body and recluse and all this plus the cancer was tuckering me out, and I was happy to be in my own home. We also had a good time coming back up…it was daylight, and the country was so pretty and although there was construction work on I35 northbound that slowed our progress a lot, we got home just the same.  The boys left to go back to CA this morning and I have my house to myself again. I have some days of normalcy (or what is my new normal now) and then my brother will arrive from CT. I am so looking forward to seeing him, and my nieces and nephews who will be accompanying him.

But for now there is fresh coffee made in my own little machine and my little bed with lots of pillows.  My sister Denise had also come by my empty house to clean it up and it looked glorious. My family is so good to me. I am truly blessed.

Curiouser and Curiouser

In Coffee Fueled Rants, Deep Thoughts, The CANCER on February 8, 2016 at 3:17 pm

I am not getting much sleep lately. Last night I was determined to sleep and went to bed early, and about an hour into it, I wake up with the most horrendous foot pain I was literally screaming aloud. I have not been sick much in my life except for the old age crap, heart and lungs and arthritis and constipation.   But I have always been an insomniac. My father was one too.  So I screamed for about an hour then called Denise, because I could not walk on my feet and this meant I would need help getting to the bathroom overnight. We considered going to the ER, but determined nothing was broken, (I thought it might be some kind of spontaneous break of a bone–it happens) Denise, however, much wiser than I am about such things (despite my being a nurse, Denise has has more health issues than me, so knows what this or that thing feels like) She says nerve pain.

So I have two kinds of pain pills, prescription type–one “light” and the big gun. I have been loath to use the big gun, because I hate feeling dopey. I spent a number of years on a bar stool making my butt and brain numb, and the feeling I get from pain pills just reminds me of that time in my life and annoys me at time wasted. But this was too much for me. So I pulled the trigger. Half an hour later the pain was gone and I was of course kicking myself for not just taking the damn pill.

Today the pain is mysteriously gone completely and I am left befuddled by what it was. What caused it, will it be back? I am also troubled that I did not handle it well. I gotta work on that. I panicked. Mostly because I still have things to do, I am going to have visitors all this week, and I am going to go to Texas next weekend, and I do not need a set back right now.

Just…take….the pill.

 

A Lingering Sadness, Regret and Future Regret

In Deep Thoughts on February 5, 2016 at 8:32 pm

A question is always posed to me at some time or another, and that is: Do you have any children? For years I answered simply “No.” This ended the matter  quickly.  Later, I thought in truth this was not quite accurate, so I began to answer: I have raised no children. I have given birth to two.

The first was born 10 days after my 15th Birthday, on October 29, 1971. The story of her adoption is a long and confusing one, full of corruption and  bureaucracies run amok, but I will not go into all that here, only to say that because of these issues I fully expected never to meet her again.

My second child was born when I was 19 years old, and again, circumstances in my life were in turmoil, and she too was adopted out.

When the first child and I met, she was 25 years old. She found me. I have never searched for my children because of one glaring fact. I have always known they exist. But because they could have been told anything by the people adopting them, even never told they were adopted, then they may or may not know I exist. I could not imagine the trauma that might be caused in an instant by my showing up at someone’s door who was never told they were adopted and saying “Hi, I am your mother.”  So I left the search up to them.  They had changed her name to Stephanie, and we tried to build a relationship of sorts. But we had a horrendous argument one day (about politics no less) and she has never spoken to me since. I said some harsh things, and later I wrote her a letter that was even harsher yet. I told her I wished that we had never met, so I could still just have her in my mind as this sweet child, and not someone who hates me.  She has blocked me on everything on the internet, but when the Terminal Cancer diagnosis came down, my sister was able to contact her and tell her, and to tell her that I am open to seeing her if she wishes. I worry that if she decides not to see me it will be a regret for the rest of her life. Either way, I hope instead she has peace in the decision she makes.

The second child I wonder about daily, And especially this month, since it is her Birthday month. Feb. 24. I have put online inquiries in for years, This is a safe way to do it because they must be mutually searching to find the inquiry.  But there is nothing. I often think she is probably dead. She was sick as a child.

But I do wonder.  And if she is alive, and someday searches, will it pain her to know that her search was too late.

 

 

 

 

 

A Respite of Joy

In Real Life, Small Joys on February 4, 2016 at 4:36 am

 

My sister Denise works for a company here in town that does mortgage “checking”.  They make sure all those papers are in good order all legal and perfect. (Don’t quibble with my imperfect description here, its probably better than I describe what most folks do for a living, I have a kind of rant about what one does for money and what one does for LIFE I could insert here.)  She is at the manager level and has quite a number of people whom she supervises.

My sister Denise is an efficient, intelligent, professional and extremely competent boss. She is also a sweetie pie.  On the holidays she likes to go get decorations and come in early and decorate the office with a little holiday cheer.  This is February so of course it is Valentines.  My sister and I went to Hobby Lobby to get a few things, and while there I found some little lace hearts. I love these little hearts, so old fashioned and I cannot imagine anyone who receives one or sees one to not be swept up in a bit of nostalgia. They are small joys in life, things unchanging and still good. So I purchased 2 packages and asked my sister to put one on everyone’s desk.

Yesterday she did just that, and then she sent a memo out telling everyone that the hearts were from me, in thankfulness for their thoughts and prayers and kindnesses and understanding during this time. Of course everyone knows what Denise is going through, losing her sister to brain cancer, and most if not all have been praying for me.

After the memo, in a spontaneous and beautiful act, Each employee placed the heart up on their cubicles  so my sister could see it from her desk.

Suddenly my sister was showered with a room full of tiny lace hearts of love.

 

 

Misconceptions, Misinformation, and Catholic Prejudice

In Deep Thoughts, Faith on February 1, 2016 at 8:28 pm

In this whole journey of mine to figure out if I am a Catholic, one surprising thing was the amount of misconceptions I had, and even more so how many OTHER people had. (and still do)  I had a list. These questions must be answered or it was a no go.  My spiritual journey began in the Baptist Church, from there to Hippy Jesus Freak, from there to exploration of it all, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and etc. etc..  There is a great poem I love by Ogden Nash, and it pretty much sums up this time of exploring  the whole tapestry of religion.

The Seven Spiritual Ages of Mrs. Marmaduke Moore
by Ogden Nash

Her pigtails slapped on her shoulderblades ;
She fed the chickens, and told the truth
And could spit like a boy through a broken tooth.
She could climb a tree to the topmost perch,
And she used to pray in the Methodist church.

At the age of twenty her heart was pure,
And she caught the fancy of Mr. Moore.
He broke his troth (to a girl named Alice),
And carried her off to his city palace,
Where she soon forgot her childhood piety
And joined the orgies of high society.
Her voice grew English, or , say, Australian,
And she studied to be an Episcopalian.

At thirty our lives are still before us,
But Mr. Moore had a friend in the chorus.
Connubial bliss was overthrown
And Mrs. Moore now slumbered alone.
Hers was a nature that craved affection;
She gave herself up to introspection;
Then finding theosophy rather dry,
Found peace in the sweet Bahai and Bahai.

Forty! and still an abandoned wife,
She felt old urges stirring to life,
She dipped her locks in a bowl of henna
And booked a passage through to Vienna.
She paid a professor a huge emolument
To demonstrate what his ponderous volumes meant.
Returning she preached to the unemployed
The gospel according to St. Freud.

Fifty! she haunted museums and galleries,
And pleased young men by augmenting their salaries .
Oh, it shouldn’t occur, but it does occur,
That poets are made by fools like her.
Her salon was full of frangipani,
Roumanian, Russian and Hindustani,
And she conquered par as well as bogey
By reading a book and going Yogi.

Sixty! and time was on her hands—-
Maybe remorse and maybe glands.
She felt a need for free confession
To publish each youthful indiscretion,
And before she was gathered to her mothers,
To compare her sinlets with those of others,
Mrs. Moore gave a joyous whoop,
And immersed herself in the Oxford group.

That is the story of Mrs. Moore,
As far as it goes. But of this I’m sure —
When seventy stares her in the face
She’ll have found some other state of grace.
Mohammed may be her lord and master,
Or Zeus, or Mithros, or Zoroaster,
For when a lady is badly sexed
God knows what God is coming next.

Even while in the hospital, I had two glaring examples of complete ignorance of the Catholic Church smack me in the face, and puzzle me. The first was a nursing assistant who mentioned to me that she was glad that the cross I wore was not a crucifix, and then began to semi-lecture me about the risen Lord. This “fear of the crucifix” is something I see a lot in protestants, and  it is just a misconception I think. I think they probably feel that Catholics give an inordinate amount of time to the Passion of our Lord, and the work that was done on the cross, and not enough time on the Resurrection. This is patently false. On the other hand, to Catholics it seems sometimes that protestants have an abnormal aversion to the Christ hanging on the cross. so it works both ways.  I say anyone who cannot gaze at a crucifix and find themselves tearing up with gratitude and love for Christ’s suffering for them, loving them enough to suffer to wipe away all their sins, needs to spend even MORE time studying Calvary. The only thing I said in response to her statement was “Yes, but it is His blood that washed me clean.” and left it like that. She probably would freak if she knew how many crucifixes are in my home.  The second incident was even more an example of complete misinformation. A nurse asked if she could pray with me, I of course said yes. Then she said “Because you know you don’t need a priest to talk to Jesus, you can talk to him directly.”  I was kind of taken aback for a second then smiled and said “Yes, it works like that for Catholics too.”  I am sure this comes from an incomplete understanding of Catholic Confession. Catholics of course confess their sins directly and daily to God in prayer. However we have the added Communal confession done in the liturgy, which is general and gives a general absolution of those sins, followed by a blessing and admonition to go and sin no more. This is completely Biblical and is what Christ taught and did. He never just left them hanging there. “Go, and sin no more.”   And we have private confession to a priest, with absolution. This is for grave sins. Remember again that Christ never forgave sins without assuring the sinner they were forgiven. Now we, and more especially Priests, who have had hands laid on them from the BEGINNING of the Church, first from Christ to his Apostles, then the apostles to every priest down the line then there is an anointing done down 2000+ years now to priests.  When the priest is in the confessional he is not the priest, he is Christ Himself, in person. How glorious it is to hear the words “Your sins are forgiven.” given that knowledge. We all, even when we do confess, will have the same old sins pop up in our minds and come back and haunt us. With personal confession, you really do feel they are forgiven and forgotten. You have been told –out loud–by Christ.

 

There is also a great deal of “anti-catholic” sentiment everywhere, but more so here in Oklahoma, the belt buckle of the Bible Belt, and the home of a big chunk of the Southern Baptist Convention, not to mention OBU is here as well. Protestants outnumber Catholics here probably 500 to 1.(And this is pure guesswork, I have not done any research on it)  Let’s just put it this way, if you are going out to a restaurant for Sunday Dinner, you best get there before the Baptists let out of church.

Of course the Seventh Day Adventists despise the Catholics. They, and a few others believe the Catholic Church IS the “Anti-Christ” Personally, I am sort of bemused by this logic and the whole the Pope is the anti-Christ conspiracists.

So, there is that. And of course I was a Baptist for the majority of my life and then I was a protestant most of the rest, Granted, I had become an Episcopalian at around age 28, but contrary to popular belief Episcopalians ARE protestant. I fell in love with the Liturgy.  Then later in the 90’s I left altogether. I believed the Episcopal Church had fallen into complete heresy.  This began my journey to find my Church.

I had been reading a lot of Church History and then the Early Church Fathers, the Mystics, Many of the Extant stuff, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and I finally just settled back into a kind of “Desert time” where my spiritual life was one of deep contemplation, solitude, and prayer.

The question arose. Why am I NOT a Catholic?  Is it because of my own misconceptions and prejudices? So, I made a list. These things must be answered for me. I wiped all the garbage out of my head and began an earnest and thorough search for the truth. I began by reciting the Creed, reading each line and deciding DO I BELIEVE THIS?

The first creed was the Apostles Creed, and was very basic, then came the Council of Nicaea and the Nicene Creed was born. Personally I love the Nicene not only for the beauty of its wording but for its clarification on many points of the Apostles Creed. But going back to basics, I chose the Apostles Creed.

I believe every word.

Next I read the entire Bible again 4 times through. I had read it all my life, and of course in Liturgical Services you read it every Sunday all year long. Specific readings, and in a 3 year time frame you pretty much have read the entire Bible in Church.

I believe every word.

So, the foundation is laid. Next was to tackle: “THE LIST’.  But that will have to be for another blog post because this one is getting just a tad long at 1500++ words

One last little warning and or disclaimer. I do not like to argue religion. I am not an apologetic (though I have read some good ones, (GK Chesterton, CS Lewis, etc.) . I also will not discuss or argue the scandals in the Catholic Church. I will not enter that field of battle.

Know this however. I love all Christian traditions where the sheep are being fed. I will worship in any house of God where I feel His presence.  I will pray for and with anyone who asks me to (and many who don’t.)

A priest once told me this and it stuck in my head: “The sheep follow the good shepherd, they know him and follow him. If you see someone behind the sheep prodding them, then that is not the shepherd, that…is the Butcher.”