Please Stop Choosing Sides

Lately, my newsfeed has been inundated with posts screaming, “YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE A SIDE.” Of course, half the time the premise also includes condescending language about how if you don’t choose a side, you are choosing the wrong side, and there is something wrong with you. I am so sick of this.

Let me tell you right now. You do not have to choose a side.

You do have to make decisions in your life based on the knowledge you have at any given moment.

You do not have to choose a side.

Isn’t there enough side choosing in this world? Everything is about how we are divided from each other, and what makes us different, and why “I” am better than “you.”

Stop. Doing. That.

For all of the people spewing religion as the reason, and promising me that God will punish me if I don’t. Name me one time that Jesus took a side when He was on earth. He did not take sides. He loved people on either side. The only time He went up against people was when they were hurting someone else.

In fact, the people He went up against the most were the ones who were constantly beating other people over the head with their words. He got in trouble for “breaking the rules” again and again and again.

Yes, He did not come to “abolish the law” but to “fulfill it,” but that doesn’t mean that He didn’t dismiss things that weren’t really a part of the law, or were legalistic things that people were using to hurt others. The Pharisees tried to trap Him by asking about helping a man on a Sabbath day. There was no right answer to that, they would have said He was unwilling to help if He said not to help, and they would have said He didn’t honor the Sabbath if He said to help. He called them out and basically said, “You would help a sheep if it fell into a ditch. Isn’t a human more important? Of course, it’s ok.” AND THEY PLOTTED TO KILL HIM.


Sometimes, I feel like the Church today has a lot of people like this. Some Catholics are so caught up in the rules that they don’t see the people behind them, or worse, they just see them as evil. The Church I grew up in was so caught up in this that even though I was a goody two shoes, I basically wore a scarlet letter “A” my entire time there.

People have argued with me about this over and over and over again, and the biggest argument has always been, “Yeah, but Jesus said, ‘Go and sin no more,'” to the Samaritan woman.” Sure. He did. He never said what her sin was, and He never shamed her for sinning, or was harsh to her at all. He offered her life, and he offered her love. Same with the adulterous woman. “Whoever is without sin cast the first stone.” Ironically, He was the only one there with no sin, and He did not cast a stone.

I am not saying by any means that there is no truth, or that there is no right and wrong. I am always being told that that is what I am doing, but it’s not. Just because there is truth and there is right and wrong does not mean that you know all of it and I don’t. It also doesn’t mean that I know all of it and you don’t. There is a lot to learn and know in this world, and it is wise to realize that you are not the only one who knows truth, and you do not know all of the truth, and neither do I. We are all doing the best with what information we have been given, and that is all we can do.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t share our truth with others. That is the point of real discussion. If we have good reasons for believing what we do, it is good to share those reasons with others. It is not good to bludgeon them with our opinion and say they have to agree because we say so and our authority is better than theirs. Be willing to share your opinion, when it is the right time, and with kindness.

There is one exception to all of this. The one thing that really riled Jesus up. We need to protect people who are getting hurt. Jesus whipped the people who were taking advantage of the poor at the synagogue, He reprimanded those who wanted to kill the adulterous woman. Over and over again He defends those who are being hurt by others. He is the protector of the weak.

Is that who we are as Christians? Are we unashamed in our protection of those who are being hurt? Even if we don’t agree with them?

Are we vocal about protecting LGBTQ people from violence and discrimination? Do we speak about immigrants with kindness and love? Do we protect women who are trying to live a Godly life but it is an unbearable cross for them? Do we make our communities a safer place for everyone, not just the people who follow our dress codes, know our rules, and speak in our way?

Because there is one side everyone should be on. The side of Truth and Love. It takes humility to do that, to not be on one side or the other, but to see both sides and love both sides. It is what I strive to do, and what I pray that everyone will learn to do, so that there will be peace on earth. (starts singing, ‘and good will to men….’….yeah, couldn’t help it. 😉 )

Pax Christi.

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God Hears Your Petty Prayers

Earlier this week, I laid on my stomach in our bed in complete despair. I was budgeting, and we couldn’t make it on what we had. There was no way to meet all of our needs. I was going to have to get a job and leave my sweet little girls in daycare, or Patrick was going to have to get something soul-sucking somehow. It was going to be so stressful. I couldn’t believe it had gotten this bad. I really believed that we were doing what we were meant to be, so why was everything falling apart?

About an hour later, I felt a certainty in my gut that we would figure something out. “We are meant to be exactly where we are,” said to my husband, “Something is going to work out.”

It did. We realized I could do some food delivery when things got really bad. If his paycheck was as low as it was this week, I would deliver groceries for as many hours as it took to meet the need. Then, I did it! In 2 days of delivering, and a miraculous $45 order, I met what we needed, and our paycheck transformed from a desperate, we aren’t going to make it, to we will make it, all the way to we will be good!

Then, last night, I was curled into a ball crying about how I can’t afford to provide for my girls. It was a seemingly petty mental breakdown over my oldest girl’s 2 year old birthday. I had only been able to get her one gift, and it was one with hard memories attached. What I was really upset about is all of the years of fear about money that I have felt, and the hopelessness I sometimes feel about it getting better(even though we are working really hard on it,) but one of the things that hurts the most, as petty as it may seem, is that every day I am losing the baby years, and I missed out on a lot of fun, happy things about babyhood, and every day there’s a new thing I’ll never get back. Things like designing their first nursery, or buying their baptism dresses, or Christmas presents, or just toys that I like for them. Anyway, I was consumed by guilt for how petty all of this is. I was taught that materialism is wrong, and I was so ashamed of myself, but at the same time I was feeling so much grief about the joy I couldn’t get myself to experience. I prayed so hard, “God I know this is so stupid, and I should be better, but I just want to be able to do her birthday.”

This morning, I awoke to notes from a Facebook group of mine encouraging me, and uplifting me in my struggles, and a fellow foodie group member complementing my birthday dinner idea. Because of the Facebook comments, I was inspired to go shopping. Whoever is reading this, you would not believe the shopping trip I had. I knew in my gut exactly what to get her, which stores to go to, and when. I got done with exactly 5 minutes left until the party, and spent almost exactly what I had left of my Christmas money.

When it came time for the gift opening, I caught myself wondering, did I get enough? Was it the right stuff? She had to go through the gifts so quickly, but a voice in my head said, “it’s not about this moment, it’s about forever-it’s about watching her play with these years from now,” and I calmed my worry.

After the party, I was able to be truly gracious and grateful for the gifts I was given, because I wasn’t desperately hoping that they would miraculously be what I wanted to get her. Anything at all would have been amazing. I have really struggled with gratitude for a long time, because I have felt grateful and angry at the same time and it has made me so confused. Every time I got gifts I would end up in tears beating myself up over how ungrateful I was. But I realize now, I wasn’t ungrateful, I just wasnt meeting my own needs, so the wants that were getting met weren’t enough to fill me. I was angry because I was feeling empty, and the gifts couldn’t touch what I was needing.

It was incredible to be able to appreciate the gifts she was given(let me note here that since I am a stay at home mom, anything she gets is what I am surrounded with all day every day, so it’s my life too! Lol), because I had provided for her too. I could enjoy the playdough she got, because I bought her mess free markers. I could love the pajamas she got, because I bought her tutus. I could enjoy the baby bottles someone else got her, even though I meant to get them for her, because I got her other things instead, so it was amazing that she still got them!

All of this is to say that God hears your petty prayers. Nothing is too small for Him to hear you. I read a meditation just after the birthday party about how we think that God needs to help someone else whose needs are worse instead of us, and I realized I always feel that way, but that’s not what He wants. He is able to be present for anyone. He can help the woman who just lost her husband, and the one whose makeup got screwed up on the way to work. He hears the woman with cancer and the one who is mad at her boyfriend. He was there with me when I lost my first baby, and He was with me when I wanted to get my two year old a mermaid.

Don’t underestimate Him. He is more than any of us know. His answer may not always be yes, but He will bring you comfort, even if it’s not as soon as you would like. There will be evil, but He hates every time you suffer as much as you do. He is there in the big things and the small. Let Him love you no matter where you are. Be His whole entire world. ♥️♥️♥️ Then, love Him back.

♥️♥️♥️

PS I was watching The Bachelor a couple weeks ago, and Colton got Caelynn bags and bags of fun stuff. I asked God to do that for me-He’s been spoiling me rotten lately with miracles. ♥️

Ecstasy

Have you ever felt so much pleasure that you thought your entire body might explode?

Have you ever stopped being intimate because you were afraid you might not be able to handle what was coming?

Have you ever submitted completely only to be racked by a painful pleasure that just won’t stop?

If you haven’t, you haven’t experienced all that the orgasm has to offer.

If you haven’t, you can’t understand Teresa’s expression in the statue called Ecstasy.

If you haven’t, then you haven’t yet had the best sex of your life.

I know, because I told an older married woman that I didn’t like sex, and I didn’t believe her when she told me:

“It gets better.”

A Blog About Sex

So the other day,

A friend asked on a Facebook group,

Some questions about sex.

I was SO excited.

I love sex.

I am good at sex.

It’s cool.

I had answers for questions,

I had all kinds of things to say,

And then I said,

Haha maybe I should start a blog about sex for Catholics.

And then I meant it.

But like really?

Little miss goody two shoes?

Talking on the web about sex?

Teaching women how to commit to their orgasm?

Me?

That does not make any sense.

But you know what?

It makes me crazy excited.

Like bouncing up and down,

Laugh,

Feel joy,

Excited.

About writing about sex.

Yep.

Yep, that’s a thing.

“Grab her pu***”

Ok, I am not a political person. If you know me at all you know this. I avoid the news like some people avoid horror movies, I have never voted for a candidate who was republican or democrat, I tend to either become silent or leave a conversation if it becomes political even remotely. My husband is the only person who knows many of my political leanings or ideas because I think it sours people and relationships to get into the kind of debate politics tends to spark. However, something came up in my personal life today that I just have to comment on. It is completely irrelevant in some ways because the conversation centered around Trump and whether he is good or bad he is in charge. In some ways, however, it is more than relevant, and will be at any time in any culture.

A person in my life and I were arguing today, honestly I’m not even sure what the argument was about. I thought it was whether or not I had reason to believe Trump was a bad person, but later she said she agreed he was bad but kept defending her side, so I have no idea. The important part of the conversation, however, was that I told her about what Trump said about it being ok for a man to “grab her pu***.” Her immediate response was to tell me that she saw a post on Facebook of women in plunging necklines and she couldn’t help but think “What did they expect?”

Ok. For those of you who already understand why this is an issue, I’ll let you just sit with that for a second.

Imagine the screams that wanted to emerge from me. Suffice it to say, that any true emotion(that disagrees with hers) is not accepted by this person, however, so I was required to keep my calm.

Here we go.

IT IS NEVER OK FOR A MAN TO SEXUALLY ASSAULT A WOMAN.

You may say, “well, duh of course not, but what did they think was going to happen?”

No.

“Don’t you think they are inviting it?”

No.

Just. No.

It is infuriating to me that this kind of ignorance is touted as a real teaching in Christianity. Modesty, which by the way does not mean “Cover every inch of your body, you are disgusting and a temptation,” is taught as if it does. Women are encouraged not to be alone with men, because then we are encouraging them. If a woman wears something too tight, too low, too loose, then we are tempting them. I grew up traditional Catholic with weekly if not daily lectures on modesty, do you know how often I heard men talked to about respecting the wfemale body? Exactly never. I don’t count anti-porn addiction because the way that is taught is really as just another thing for men to blame their bad behavior on.(Not saying porn is ok, in fact that is a huge post for another time.)

I never heard anyone talk about how to respect a woman’s body and boundaries.

[I should note, before I go on, that while I never heard this talk to men growing up, I did have a fantastic college professor who discussed how men should view women, and he helped me to understand what I am talking about in this post.]

Now, first of all, this is a teaching that is not really even necessary for most women, because women have not been taught that anything we do is excused by the clothes that men wear.

Second of all, the example far too frequently used “if you put a great dessert on the table, do you expect people to eat it?” is laughable and demeaning. A woman’s body is not food for a man to take as he wishes. I don’t care if I put cookies out on the table and you eat them. Cookies are not a part of a human being, they do not have consciousness, they do not (as far as we know) have an opinion as to whether or not they are eaten. I could go into the Christian argument that woman’s body is made in the image of God and is therefore sacred, but I’d rather simply say, a woman is a PERSON, not an object.

Those who talk about how women “objectify” themselves by dressing in a certain way, need to reflect on what they are saying. A woman who is a PERSON makes herself an OBJECT because she wears something that does not fit into your guidelines of what is appropriate.

Is that true? Can we accuse a woman of doing that? Women in Africa go topless everyday, are they objects now or still people? When a baby is born naked, are they only an object because they are not wearing clothes? No. And it would be ridiculous to say so. But, you say, these states of dress are appropriate in their culture, or their situation. Back to the Facebook comment, what is and had been for some time the culture of Hollywood? Revealing, provocative styles designed to make a statement are the cultural fashion if you will. A plunging neckline is frequently the mildest of these things, but even a piece that pushes boundaries farther still fits into the culture of that situation.

Those who argue that women are objectifying themselves, are basically saying that a man can treat this kind of woman however he wants because she has made herself an object. No matter what a woman is wearing she still has the basic reasoning and consciousness of self that is the typical way of recognizing personhood. She is and always will be a person, and can NOT be treated like an object.

The argument itself is actually degrading in a deeply sinister way if you think about it. No one argues that a man is compromising his personhood if he wears no shirt, but if a woman wears a deep v, she is no longer a person?

Take a second to think about that.

Why do women only possess personhood if you deem their outfit appropriate?

Honestly, I feel that there’s nothing I can add to that.

Why am I only a person, therefore deserving respect, if I wear what you say I should?

Note: This isn’t meant to be a philosophical essay, or I could have gone into the definition of personhood and argued more academically my points. My point is to say my thoughts on the issue today, and these are them, do with them what you will.

Transitions

I am so overwhelmed right now.
If you are not my future husband you should not even talk to me.
If you do you risk hearing about my probable ulcer,
My panic attacks, my skewed philosophies, or worse-desperate housewives,

Because if I don’t trust you enough to fall apart in front of you,
All you will hear about is desperate housewives and sex,
Because I am going to have sex for the first time ever in 22 days and counting.
And no I am not tense because I am not having sex. Although I guess that could be part of it.

I am tense because my life is about to change forever.
Because in 22 days, if I ever want another guy-I am doing something wrong.
In 22 days, I will be with the same man for the rest of my life forever.
And until those 22 days are up, I don’t get to be married to him!

To be honest I think that’s the worst part.
I hate feeling like the child of divorce. Your house or mine tonight?
Here let’s microwave the food I cooked-your mom doesn’t like it when I use her kitchen.
Do we have popcorn? No we left it at my house.

It doesn’t sound that bad-and I would think I wasn’t having a hard time too,
If it weren’t for the fact that my chest burns with acid from my churning stomach, 
And after I resolve that my head starts pounding like the king’s soldiers,
And it takes far too long to breathe enough to be able to fall asleep.

The panic attacks are getting worse, and I just need all this to be over with,
This superficial planning of is everyone else going to be happy with what drinks we packed?
Why didn’t you clean your room today? See? This is why you invite people to your wedding.
Never mind I already invited 180 people. Why didn’t you invite me?

Let’s just say I will never not return an RSVP again.
If you are invited to a wedding, you are a piece of gold to that person who invited you.
You are worth the risk of glaring faces, jealousy, and anger in the face of others,
And the money to figure out your food, questioning what you want to drink, whether you will like the tables,

Some days it feels like just too much, but I can’t stop.
I want to marry him. I don’t care what happens at the reception, the church, or with the music,
Can I please just marry the love of my life and be along with him for a while?
People feel awkward when I say I am looking forward to the honeymoon more than the wedding, but I really just need some quiet.

To talk with him without people waiting to jump in and give their opinions about why we are wrong,
To hear him without the pounding of others who don’t like us anyway,
To hold him without judgemental stares and interrupting glances,
And most of all to be with him without the threat of when do I have to leave him?

That truly is the worst part. That moment at the end of every night,
I finally really rely on him and reach a certain amount of peace,
And I have to muster myself up again once more-for time to leave.
Again, and again, and again, when really I just want to go to sleep.

The most divine feeling in the world is falling asleep in his arms.
It’ll be even more divine when there’s no fear of a parent walking in.
I just want to give myself all to him, and not hold back like this anymore,
To be all his, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and yes in sex.

The time is ticking but far too slow, I just want to be with him forever,
I want to make him breakfast in bed, and eat the meals he makes me,
I want to watch movies without calculating, Will we pass curfew?
I want to linger on him, kissing, touching, until I fall asleep in peace.

Heaven help me make it through the most painful part of dating.
Help us to survive our engagement, and may it make us closer,
Even if the winds of change weather and overwhelm us
Help me give it all to you, and to rest in your loving peace.

One Shriek Too Far

She walked out. It was the most frightening moment of her life. She was afraid, truly and deeply afraid. For the first time in her life, her mother had pushed her one shriek too far. That moment when she felt like everything in her had died she decided, this would never happen again. She shook uncontrollably as she attempted to pack only her most important belongings, in the process defining her identity. A brush? No, everyone has brushes. The Bling Ring? Yes, can’t forget the first gift ever given to her by her film-loving fiancé. This shirt that she bought with the last of her paycheck a few weeks ago? No, she only wears that sometimes. The leather bound gold leaf edition of Brothers Karamazov that decorates her nightstand. Bridal book? No, if there was an emergency she could always get another one. She trembled as she pushed the last bit of junk into her purse, whatever could fit into what looked like just one day’s worth of goodies, maybe then they wouldn’t suspect anything. She made her way out of the house, quietly closed the door, and was finally able to breathe enough to scream.

Maybe Not.

Hello there.
Hello.
What are you doing here?
Same thing as you.
What are you looking for?
Same as you.

I don’t believe it.

It’s been a while.
Yes, it has.

Last time I saw, we held a grudge…
Fire and brimstone complete.
Yes. You wrestled me away.
I did, at the time.

And then you come back to me?

What do I do with it?

I have a grudge against you now.
Oh, you do?
You suffocated and squashed me out.
Oh really? So did you.
Don’t mock me. You tried to kill me.
I was hurt.
Don’t even think about it.

It was like the world was ending…
That fateful August day.

As you said two years ago.
What’d I say?
Moses and Roses Supposes,
What of Moses?
I wonder what that means,
So do I.
But I don’t want to ask.

I feel this poems not my own.
So do I.
But will it just go on forever?
I don’t know.
Maybe it’s just time to wonder.
Wonder together?
Maybe not.

Longing

Advent is a time of year
When the strings of the violin are too taut,
Faithful everywhere are worn,
And tired of each day’s toilsome lot.

Hearts writhe in fearsome rest
Lingering in the world’s heavy skepticism
Gasping air of lasting life
And forbidding each step into life’s rhythm.

Just wait another day or two,
What everyone’s longing for is coming.
The world’s dark cynicism waits
To be conquered, by a Love real and all-stunning.

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