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So, for a while recently, for reasons I won’t go into, I’ve suffered frustration, exasperation, and indignation on account of men. More specifically, bad men. Men who are bad to women (and who have been bad to me in particular). Men who are bad in general. And believe me, I have been wanting nothing more than to vent my rage in some public forum… such as this blog. To just let it all out and prove, once again, how correct William Congreve was when he wrote:
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
But, no doubt due to a God-given measure of grace and self-control, I have refrained. For one thing, nobody wants to read it–and I don’t blame them. For another, no matter how justified my anger might be, I would only come across as a bitter, petulant, and overall ugly shrew of a woman–and that is not what I am. For another, enmity between the sexes only serves the devil–he helped start the whole mess, and he hasn’t ever gotten tired of congratulating himself over it. And finally… I’m just above that. My own character demands that I guard my passions and any words that may arise from them.
I also know many more good men than bad. Men who know my worth and help me to know it. These are the men who matter. These are the men I want to write about. These are the men who bring out the very best in me.
So, here is to all the fathers who have gone before me, from whose lives and blood I have sprung. Here’s to all the fathers, both biological and spiritual, who have prayed for me and shown me my way forth into the world and toward Heaven, who have protected me and mended my wounds, and cherished me, commending me to the future and to God as a gift and a legacy they are leaving behind them. Here’s to all the men who have cared more about the future and about their descendants than about themselves and their own interests.
Here is to all my friends–brothers, really–with whom I have grown up and learned. Here’s to all the men of my generation who have been bold enough to stand firm against the assaults of our culture, those who have refused to dirty themselves and their regard for women. Here’s to them who have dared to remain pure and honest, respectable and responsible, diligent and dutiful. Here’s to them who are reviving that rare breed known as the Gentleman and, Lord willing, the Saint as well. Through thick and thin, these are the brothers who walk by my side.
Here is to all the heroic men who have deemed themselves unworthy, unequal to the responsibilities with which they have been charged, and wrongly believed themselves to be inadequate when in reality, they are just weary from the efforts they have already made. Here’s to those humble enough to cast ego aside and receive from my lips a whisper of encouragement and belief, or from my hands some small token of support and esteem. Here’s to them humble enough to regard me as their benefactress, just as Christ regarded Veronica when she gave Him her veil.
Here is to all those men of great stature, and more importantly, great hearts. Here is to all those men God-fearing and God-worshiping. Here is to all those men clever, resourceful, and wise. Here is to those who have allowed me to be daughter, sister, friend, patroness, counselor, teacher, pupil, gift, treasure. Here is to those who have entrusted to me their love, courage, selflessness, esteem, admiration, respect, and desire–and cherished mine in return. Here is to those who have been willing to die upon the dread hill, to shed their blood–or time, or money, or toil–that I might live more happily and securely.
Here is to all of those men who have placed themselves before me to show me my own value and worth, my own beauty and preciousness, my own goodness and genius. Here’s to those who have shown me who I am as a woman and a daughter of God.
There are way too many of you to name–I think, and hope, that you know who you are. I thank you and love you from the bottom of my heart! And I humbly call upon you to pray for me, for the healing of my pains, disappointments, injustices, and betrayals at the hands of men, and that someday not too far in the future, I may find a good man, one of your true brethren, to be my husband.
One more thing–because I’m not a saint yet–to all of those men who do not fit any of the descriptions above: Grow up, grow a spine, trash the narcissism, and stop making excuses. You’re an affront to both men and women. And stop making empty apologies to me when you know I can’t do a damn thing to hold you accountable–that’s way too easy. Instead, try apologizing to God, because He knows full well how you’ve treated me, His creature and His daughter. Even if I don’t have a man on this earth to stand up for me, God will. I promise He will hold you accountable and I shall receive justice sooner or later.
My friend Annette, who writes the blog Learning to Listen, recently shared a very moving and inspiring post that includes a “Depression Manifesto.” It has inspired me to start thinking about my own life as someone who suffers the same “family curse.”
Yes, I suffer depression and anxiety. Whenever I’ve mentioned health problems in my writing, I’ve almost always meant those, although I’ve tended not to name them. Well, I’m naming them now. Depression. Anxiety–particularly social anxiety. Sometimes a strain of obsessive-compulsive disorder that usually manifests in over-scrupulosity–to which I have referred before.
I also get painfully fixated on things in my past that I regret. I play them and re-play them in my mind, over and over and over, to the point where I’m just about driven to despair, desperately wishing I could somehow go back and fix them, do things differently, but knowing full well that it’s impossible. Several days ago, I was in such an agony.
But then I thought back to Annette’s post… I remembered that I was not the only one who experienced such dark moments… remembered that I am not insane…. remembered that all is not lost.
I also turned to God and asked Him what I should do. I asked my dad too–because he has always known what to do.
And what came to me was something extremely simple: Just go forth and live each day in such a way as will make God smile. The past can’t be undone, but the future is still brimming over with opportunities and possibilities. The future rushes in to every single moment, and every single moment you can choose to do something good, something loving, something beautiful… even if it can’t necessarily be seen or heard or felt by your fellow man; sometimes the greatest deeds are secret, known only to God Himself–and that is enough! When you make God smile, you can be sure that you are having some kind of wonderful effect on something or somebody somewhere. Just live for God and His smile! Even if you don’t feel like smiling yourself.
I know maybe it’s a little silly, maybe even a little conceited, to think of myself making God smile. But it gives me a goal, a prize, a purpose. Something to keep my eyes trained on. Something to draw me out of myself even if I feel very isolated in this world. It dispels darkness and despair. It fills my heart with love and tenderness, eagerness and energy. I love Him, and don’t we always strive to bring our loved ones joy?
Anyway, I have decided that that is how I want to live my life in every little moment.
Today was the Dallas March for Life/Roe v. Wade Memorial. I didn’t go to the Rosary or the Mass, but just to the march and the rally. I got to the cathedral before the Mass was over, and the plaza in front of the cathedral was already jam-packed! I don’t know if we reached our goal of 10,000 participants, but there sure was a crowd in any case!
I somehow managed to find Julie and her husband, which made me happy–it’s sort of been a tradition for me to attend the march with them. I saw plenty of other folks from our parish, and saw one of my Lay Dominican sisters in the crowd. We happened to walk beside this lovely lady, Mrs. Terry Jenkins, who was talking about how she and her husband had gone to jail before for protesting against abortion. Julie struck up a conversation with her and learned that she has been a pro-life activist since Roe v. Wade came about. I wish I could have listened in more on her stories, but I was so pitifully hard of hearing, especially in the middle of the crowd and noise. One thing I could tell very easily was that she was so delighted to see the young people taking up the standard and ensuring that the cause will be carried forward. And it was a wonderful privilege for me to meet somebody who helped get the cause started.
Here’s a photo of me, Mrs. Jenkins, and Julie after the rally (thanks to Julie’s husband, Tom for taking it). I call this one “Ladies on Crusade”!
The signs were being handed out by one of the other marchers. They were made by the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, which seems like a very good Christian campaign against abortion. From their Web site:
Silent No More Awareness is a Campaign whereby Christians make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women and men. The campaign seeks to expose and heal the secrecy and silence surrounding the emotional and physical pain of abortion.
The Campaign is a project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life.
I have to say, though, one of my favorite signs of the day was this one:
I like the little baby with the cowboy hat. And for those of you unfamiliar with Texas, the slogan is a play on the state’s iconic anti-littering slogan, “Don’t Mess with Texas.”
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get too many good photos this year–partly because the crowd was so huge and there weren’t really any good vantage points–and I’m not going to complain about that! I’m sure that the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of Dallas will be posting some photos soon.
Read Julie’s account of the day too.
Here is my post from last year.
The blog Fallible Blogma is running a poll on the best Catholic speakers for 2009. You can vote only once, but your vote can include up to 10 selections!
I was alerted to this poll by my friend Monica Ashour, who happens to be one of the nominees. She is an outstanding speaker and teacher on Theology of the Body. She’s the director of our local ToB apostolate, Theology of the Body Evangelization Team (TOBET), which I’ve mentioned a few times before. I can’t recommend Monica or TOBET highly enough for ToB talks.
As you’ll see, however, that poll includes many wonderful speakers who deserve recognition. So why don’t you go vote for your favorites!
Easter’s almost here… wouldn’t you like to greet the Risen Lord with a fresh, clean, sparkling soul?
Check out this video that Susie Melkus of Reconnecting to the Truth sent me:
I’m so excited that I will get to meet Susie this weekend when she’s in Dallas! Her son Justin lives here and is entering the Church on the Easter Vigil! Please keep him and all our candidates in your prayers as they approach that great, holy night and their first Sacraments!
I attend the Easter Vigil Mass every year. Of all the beauty, ceremony, and excitement of that night, there’s nothing quite like witnessing all the new people joining our family and Our Lord’s Mystical Body. They are like a fresh, rejuvenating breath for the entire Church!
Today is the third Friday of the month, and as usual, I’m offering it with prayer and fasting for our priests, seminarians, and men who are called to the priesthood.
My spirit was bolstered by this photograph of a newly-ordained priest celebrating his first Mass in Italy, in the extraordinary form:
It’s a wonderful and encouraging sight!
Tomorrow is a big day: the local Roe Memorial events here in Dallas, where Roe v. Wade began. I am going downtown to the cathedral in the morning, along with Julie and her husband, and hopefully a massive crowd of other people! Bishop Farrell has urged all Catholics in the diocese to come and take a stand against abortion. I hope everyone who can come will.
I owe Julie special props, by the way… it was at her invitation, issued on her blog, that I attended last year’s events. I had never met her before, though I knew she was at my parish. When I did meet her, I recognized her because we had sat near each other during Mass before! It’s neat how things work out sometimes!
Please join your prayers to those of us in Dallas tomorrow morning.
I started it with Mass at my parish, then headed west to meet my friend, Steph. We had a nice Tex-Mex lunch, then went to the Kimbell Art Museum to take in the Impressionists exhibition. The Impressionists have been life-long and highly sentimental favorites of mine. To see so many originals all in one place was like an art-lover’s paradise!
I was familiar with nearly all the works, but seeing them in person was truly dazzling. It gives you a much better look at the brushwork, which is pretty important for appreciating Impressionism. But the thing I really love most about the Impressionists is the fact that they painted very ordinary, everyday people and places. Their works provide a glimpse into everyday life in a different time and place.
After that, we walked across the street to The Modern. Not to look at art, but to grab some coffee and dessert in the café there. I don’t know how they make their coffee, but Steph wasn’t kidding when she said it was the best cup of coffee she’d ever had. I agree completely! I normally find coffee a bit rancid and unbearably bitter, and in order to make it drinkable, I have to add lots of cream and sugar–I mean LOTS. Today, I just ordered it with some frothy cream on top, and didn’t have to add a single packet of sugar! It was perfect, so smooth and delicate! I was amazed! And I had this rich, dark chocolate torte, which, of course, went perfectly with the unsweetened coffee!
We walked around the Modern and around the Kimbell, taking some photos (I’ll try to post some soon). Then we went back to Steph’s apartment to collect her mini-schnauzers, Basil and Saffie, and we all headed to the dog park. It was a trip, watching the dogs run around and interact with other dogs! And it was a most beautiful evening, with a very refreshing breeze. It was so nice to just spend time outside. I don’t remember the last time I did that!
We hung out around the apartment for a while, looking at fashion Web sites and stuff. Then we ordered a pizza and watched some TV. I tried my hand at some Katamari Damashi. I knew of it, but had never played it. I didn’t do so well, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Steph’s boyfriend play! That game, and its soundtrack are going to haunt me… now I understand what another friend of mine meant when she called it “video game crack.” We watched some “Star Wars: Clone Wars” on the Cartoon Network. Then I headed home.
For once, I feel ready to start a new week!
Related post: Sunday at the museums