Monday, April 28, 2008


I try not to watch the news. I try not to read it. It's filled with negative stories and the postitive stories are few and far between. I need warm, life-filling energy these days.

Don't get me wrong. I do keep up with sports (duh) and I'll occasionally watch the weather (spring in Dallas can be unpredictable). But most news I get is from the internet. I've also become one of those cynnics about what I read in mainstream media so for the most part, I keep away from CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, and the like because I think they are politically slanted.

Even though I don't seek the news, it sometimes still lands in my lap. Today was no exception.

On the way home, my husband and I were talking about a story he read on CNN's website. It was about this Austrian man who fathered seven children with his daughter.

WITH.HIS.DAUGHTER. He kept his daughter CAPTIVE for 24 YEARS!

Imagine? Imagine you're her.

At age 11, he coerced her into a soundproof basement and continued to rape her at his will over the next 31 years.

The story gets sicker. And stranger. And uglier.

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!

Now look at me....perseverating the story. Feeling pissed off, helpless, even vulnerable.

I'd rather live in my bubble where everything is bubble gum and lollipops, happy songs and laughter.

Where's my blow-pop?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I Believe!

The Stars won!!

It's true! A pro Dallas team has FINALLY won past the FIRST ROUND of their sport!

And, for the Stars, it's been five years since they've done anything like this.

Ahhh--- it's time for a drink.


Addendum to "Reality Check"

So, I'm driving to church earlier tonight because I teach faith formation. I'm listening to sports talk and during the commercial, I flip the AM dial to Catholic Radio. I don't know what the show is, but there is some guy wrapping up a radio show with a prayer he heard in high school. The prayer was so fitting for my previous entry and for what I'm enduring today....
It basically said until: I trust in the love of God being enough for me, then I won't be able to feel complete by any other thing I call love or consider love. Until I rely on HIM for what love is and should be, what it could be and will be, I won't obtain that happiness which I desperately seek. I started to type "...that happiness which I desperately LACK", when suddenly I realized I'm not lacking it..... I'm not calling it by name. I have it. But I'm not calling it by name.

All words that I need to hear. I still don't want to hear them, but they are so loud that I cannot deny them.
I'm still sighing.....and thinking.....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Reality Check

I'm realizing that I'm failing myself.

I've been doing a lot of soul searching. My limits are being tested. This is a time where my character is being peeled, exposed and redefined. I am hoping that I am a workable piece of art to my Creator. Because, if I don't turn out to be something to display for the world to ogle, then I'm in a lot of pain ~~ for what? For whom? It would be a terrible waste to get to the end and not have anything to show for it.....

I have been living in the 'what if' and the potential of 'what should be' and you know what? The 'what if' and the 'what should be' is letting me down. Sorely. I should be living in the 'is', even if I don't like it. After all, I can change what 'is'. Or so they tell me.....

I'm trying hard to get out of the dark. I love light. The sun is my friend. It's warmth gives me energy. And for too long, I have been laying down in the cold, drippywet darkness. I have been hearing the echo of laughter far off. I'm not in the moment FULLY ever. I am always split. My attention is split all the time and it's time I quit doing that. There are times, especially when I'm crying in the sanctuary of a light-filled therapists office that I say --

I don't want to be the leader anymore!
I don't want to be the initiator all the time!
I just want someone to do it for me.
I just want to lay down and rest. Why can't I rest?

And the therapist angelically reminds me,
Because this is what God has chosen for you. It's a gift. Embrace it.

Weeping I whine,
I don't want to embrace it!

Then I leave the therapist and for days my head is a whirlwind. Migraine comes a-knockin'.

I ponder the next few days, Why *don't* I *want* it? How come I don't want those gifts? Why is there a gap? Why do I push it away? Clearly God has chosen me for these roles. And even though I don't understand them, even though I don't really want them, I am thankful that He considers me so worthy. After all, I am a person who is grateful for pain. I always have been. Without pain, there is no growth.

I have some choices to make. I have some dirt I need to clean up. I have some rest I need to take. But will I do the right thing? Who knows......Who knows? (not me)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spouse Bills of Rights

This article and this one were a giggle today, but here is the most of them along with my 'commentary' (as if you really care, but what the hell -- it's MY blog, dammit!)

Preamble: We, the husbands of America, do not claim to be perfect. We're far from it. While we love being married to the wives of America, we have a few things that we'd like to straighten out. We're not asking for the world here. We understand that things like following our college football team to every away game is out of the question, as are after-dinner cigars. However; there are a few minor things that we'd like to clear up to make our marriage a happy one.
Me thinks this applies to marriages outside of America, too.....

Amendment I
We have the right to go out with our friends at least once a month. A man's relationship with his buddies is a bond that should never be broken. It helps keep us feeling young, connected and sane. It also helps us break the routine just like nights with the girls do for you. Even as we reach middle age, we like the fact that we still have a "crew."
PASS! I love this idea! I believe in it whole heartedly. I don't even care if my husband were to frequent an "adult entertainment establishment", just so long as he takes a break from his every day life and exhales.

Amendment II
We reserve the right to dislike your friend's husbands. We promise to give the guy a fair shot, but when he starts acting like a moron, we can no longer authorize events with that family. And yes, wives have the same freedom to blackball when the tables are turned. It doesn't mean we like your friend any less, it just means that in her haste to have a big, fancy wedding, she chose a jackass that we don't want to spend our rare time off with. Listening to stories about how "wicked" he was on the French horn in his bitchin' ‘80s band is just too much.
PASS with one addendum: If you dislike my friend's husband or boyfriend, or hell, even my friend, don't make me feel bad for seeing her/him/them without you around. Let me be his/her/their friend and him/her/they be my friend. Coolio Iglesias?

Amendment III
We have the right to have a few things of ours in the house. Everything we hold near and dear to us shouldn't all be in the garage. While we understand that our framed KISS concert poster might not make it on the living room wall, at least throw us a bone. The scene in "Juno" where Jason Bateman realized that everything he held near and dear was in a 200-square-foot room was a gut-shot to us all.
PASS! What's wrong with 200 square feet? Is that too much? Because, I can make some re-arrangements.... Honestly, this isn't an issue in my house. But I am ready to have some new things to liven up the place...things we pick out together instead of hand-me-downs, freebies and mix-n-matches.

Amendment IV
We have the right not to be scolded by you. We are your husbands, not your children. We don't mean to track dirt onto the carpet or get chips on the couch, but it's not like we just got a lap dance. Don't treat us like your children and we'll do our best not to act like them.
PASS! I don't mother. I don't scold. In fact, I don't speak out often enough or loud enough. But I expect maturity. If there's no maturity, there's no respect. If there's no respect, no trust. No trust, no communication. None of the above, no marriage. It's a wicked chain.

Amendment V
We have the right to teach our sons how to burp and fart. Sharing bodily functions with our offspring is as much about life as it is about jokes. It's also something that can help brings kids and dads together. Believe me, kids and guys always laugh at farts—that's how we're wired. And we're not talking about being totally gross and inappropriate. We vow to teach them that there is a time and a place for behavior like this—and that the early service at Church is not one of them.
PASS with one addendum: My daughters do this too -- forget the 'sons' part! This goes for either gender. I'm convinced that potty talk occurs as a force of nature. As long as appropriateness is defined, so be it. Just don't sit on me and let one loose, lest ye learn the wrath of summoned universe and suffer dire consequences which cannot be typewritten or spoken aloud. (BTW, My Eldest can put a drunk frat boy to shame in the burp department. Momma's kinda proud & kinda embarrassed about that.)

Amendment VI
We have the right to teach our children how to defend themselves. Fighting is barbaric, terrible, and scary. But it's also part of growing up. We want our kids to be able to get out of a bad situation, not be bullied, and be able to take care of themselves. One of the plus sides of learning how to take care of yourself is that the more you know, the less you have to use it. Teaching our offspring how to defend themselves in a scary world is one of the basic duties of a father.
PASS! I love this right and will help if so asked.

Amendment VII
We have the right to as much reading material in the bathroom as we need. Sometimes we're in there a while, we can't help it. And no, we're not hiding … most of the time.
PASS! I don't care about this one. It's your right. Have at it. Sometimes I hide in the bathroom because I need my Jackietime. I need my alone time. And if the only time I can get it is in a locked bathroom.....

Amendment VIII
We have the right to watch the big game. We care too much about our teams. We know it's not rational, but it's who we are. No one can explain the love men have for their teams, but you may as well embrace it because that love will not die. If you don't believe this, just remember the Boston Red Sox had the most loyal fans in sports and didn't win a World Series for 86 years.
PASS! I'll be watching right along with you, buddy. That's MY right too.

Amendment IX
We have the right to the remote when we're on the couch. This is something that's in our DNA. We know it, and you know it. If there's any doubt, watch us surf at top speed while knowing if a show is worth watching after stopping on it for .2 seconds. It's a thing of beauty.
PASS! I don't watch a lot of TV anyway, and if it's that much of an issue, I can go into another room to watch what I'd like to, so no biggie. I'm cool with it.

Amendment X
We have the right to still use chivalry. Yes … we know women are strong and independent, and we dig that. But allow us to open the door for you, or give up a seat and act like a gentleman once in a while. The world will be a better place because of it.
PASS! I am an avid proponent of this. I've blogged about this before. Heaven help us, we need more men to step up to the plate and be chivalrous. And we need more women to chill out and let the men do this for us. DO IT!

Preamble: We, the wives of America, love being married to the husbands of America. We know we have our faults, but with our ever-morphing roles these days, there's a lot of pressure on us to be superhuman. We care for our families, manage the home, keep ourselves attractive, and even bring home our shares of the bacon. We know we sometimes lash out, but we really do want to "live happily ever after" with you. Our mutual acknowledgement of these amendments can go a long way toward achieving that.

Amendment I
We have the right to dislike your buddies. We know it's important for you to have your guy friends, but you should know by now that we're not turned on by your stories of the good old days at college, your sexual exploits, or which relief pitcher the Red Sox should trade. Disappear for a while and be boys—it's OK, go chug beer and high-five—but please don't expect us to be happy when your friends come over and put their feet on our coffee tables or leave their beer cans on the floor.
PASS! See HBOR Amendment I comments. Ditto here.

Amendment II
We have the right to experience PMS in all its glory. Either give us our space or accept the consequences. We know it's unfair, but some of us just can't rein it in. You knew that before you married us. We may shout, cry, belittle, act irrationally. It lasts a few days each month, so please deal with it. Or even better: Bring home dinner, clear the dishes, and give us a big hug.
PASS! As much as I personally hate being female because I am wired in so many male ways, I am very female in the hormone department. For the most part I can behaviorally modify how I act, but sometimes, I just can't. And because female hormones are well documented globally from the beginning of time, I agree that the guys should be more tolerable. BUT, the women don't get to use this as an excuse to be a totol bitch and lash out. Just as much as men are aware that women are wired like this, us females are also aware of it too, so we have an accountability here. Oh -- and about the "even better" part, I'd like to add one suggestion: let me be alone. That means keep the kids busy, too.

Amendment III
We have the right to demand you finish a household job. We're not your mothers, and we loathe having to act like them. If you wash the dishes, do them all and clean the sink, too. Don't just bag the trash, take it outside to the bin. If you start a load of laundry, put it in the dryer and fold it too. We don't like nagging any more than you like hearing it.
PASS: I'm lucky that my husband is especially thorough. While this does not apply in my house, I support its intent. Additionally, I echo the "we are not your mothers" commentary from HBOR Amendment IV.

Amendment IV
We have the right to an honest answer to "What's wrong?" We admit guilt in this area too, but "Nothing" says nothing. If we ask, it's not because we're trying to make casual conversation. It's because we love you and need an honest answer. If there truly is nothing wrong, then ask why we think otherwise. Yes, this could open a can of worms, but remember when we dated and talked about everything?
OPEN FOR DEBATE: Women need to be prepared to hear the worst when they open themselves up to this kind of scrutiny. All too often we are fishing for compliments, but because we use the incorrect syntax, we get our feelings hurt when our male counterpart is honest. Why set the guy up like this? Why torture yourself like this? And men, validate your women more, please. We need it.

Amendment V
We have the right to keep our secrets. Not marriage-ending ones, just small secrets we choose to hide from others. If we don't want to speak our age or share our true hair color or reveal the cheesy TV shows we watch in private, it's not your place to reveal them to our friends, your business partners, or your ex-girlfriends/wives. We're not asking you to lie for us, but we would appreciate your discretion.
PASS! "Secrets" is a word that has a negative connotation. I don't like to talk about my sex life, what kind of tampons I wear, etc. I am not flashing the "I love Brad and Angelina" signs everywhere, but I don't consider these secrets. At all. These are private matters or quirks about myself/my relationship(s). Not secrets. But, we can keep secrets such as "I was thinking of Bob from the office while you were boinking me last night". You get my drift?

Amendment VI
We have the right to clean air. You may think it's funny, masculine, or natural to pass gas anywhere and anytime you please, but when the smell drives us to gag, it's uncool. There is something inherently wrong in the relationship if you must walk over to us and fart, or if you intentionally set a bad example for the kids. We fart too, but we do so discreetly for a reason. You may not like our potpourri and scented candles, but they're infinitely better than toxic and flammable methane.
PASS! See HBOF Amendment V

Amendment VII
We have the right to keep and bear tons of girly bathroom products. You have your tools; so do we. These items are expensive and to be used sparingly. It brings no joy to see our $15 bath bar shrunk down to the size of a quarter after two passes on your chest and legs.
PASS! I am not a froo-froo queen. I don't like a lot of scented stuff in my bathroom. I like what works. It is expensive. I think women waste too much money on this actually, but then again, I'm not a typical female. If a guy can have his reading material, it's fair to compromise on this issue too.

Amendment VIII
We have the right to speak to our girlfriends every day. About whatever we want, whenever we want. Please don't eavesdrop or criticize. We know you're not that interested in gossip or psycho-analytical interpretations of why some people do what they do, so we turn to our like-minded female friends for instant gratification. Yes, we do talk about you—a lot. It helps us work through issues. This keeps us happy, sane and, usually, off your case.
PASS: I have many friends. They are very important to me. Some are right up there with 'family'. I know this is hard for my husband to understand. I am still Jackie. Long before I was a wife and a mom, I was Jackie. After the kids move out, I'll be Jackie. If I ever lose my husband, I'll still be me. So, to surrender my friends or discount the measure of their worth is unacceptable. It's possible to find balance.

Amendment IX
We have the right to flirt. Not the kind that makes you jealous, but the healthy practice of connecting with another person on a non-sexual level. Light banter is fun, quick-witted, and encouraging to our self esteem. It might even remind you of why you feel in love with us. And if it gets us a smoking deal on that new furnace or a free stay for the family at a million-dollar ski chalet, so much the better.
PASS! Flirting, especially in marriage, doesn't happen often enough. Men and women need to flirt to keep their spark alive. Flirt with each other, and outsiders. It's good fun. And yes, you can get free stuff.

Amendment X
We have the right to foreplay. A fine bottle of wine, soft music, deep looks into each other's eyes, compliments, holding hands, cuddling—these are all forms of foreplay, and we insist on them. Please don't reach for our crotch or breasts and expect us to melt into a porn kitten. It didn't work when we met, it most certainly doesn't work now. Sure, we women are strong and independent, and appreciate an inspired quickie when the moment strikes, but we also have an inner soft spot the size of Texas that needs squeezing and cherishing. We appreciate you more when you think about how it feels to us rather than how it feels to you.
PASS: It's surprising to me how many people forget that they like the human body and all it's mystery. Men seem especially prone to redefining the woman they love. They see their girlfriend become wives, mothers, work force sisters. Somehow instead of the man seeing his woman as an amazing woman who possesses incredible breadth and skill, he defines her and pigeonholes her, then moves his affections elsewhere or squelches them because when his wife delivered a baby 'it was weird' or 'gross' or 'the baby's'; or after the wedding she became 'property' instead of staying human. Stay experimental. Learn more. Be willing and open. Be creative. And yes, say and act. It goes far....and deep....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

April 15th Fifteen

One. Happy Tax Day?
Two. Happy Birthday Big Dave. I hope it was swell.
Three. KB (Dallas) - do you like the white font instead?
Four. Stars lost. A glimmer of hope in the 3rd period, but fell short. Thank goodness there are potentially seven games.
Five. I built a dog today at Build A Bear Workshop. It's name is QTPie Ponie for My Little One. I built a dog with my own bare hands. (I wonder how fun it would be to have a store named Build A Bare....hmmm)
Six. This would be my 13 wedding anneversary to a man of another lifetime ago. A girl never forgets her first anything when it comes to boys. I hope you are doing well, A.
Seven. I saw my therapist today. She's challenging me to challenge myself. It makes me uncomfortable.
Eigh. I wore a skirt to work today. I'm glad the sun is warm enough for that kind of attire.
Nine. My mom called me to tell me that my potato salad is better than hers. I guess I'm all grown up now?
Ten. A new friend added me to myspace. That makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
Eleven. I heard from a high school friend today. Since I'm part of the planning committee to my (ahem) 20th reunion in December, I have been trying to compile a database of contact info, so I reached out to AZC and he wrote back. The funny story behind AZC is that we were 'reunited' in El Paso, Texas. You see, I lived in Hawaii many, many moons ago. So did AZC. AZC and I were in the same fourth grade class! AZC asked me to meet him on the playground during recess. So I did. We were by the monkey bars. He gave me a ring. I stuffed it in the chest pocket of my overalls and ran away. I wonder if he remembers that the same way I do?
Twelve. I had a good hair day today. I criss-crossed the part and people actually noticed it! And they didn't make fun of me. Somehow that makes me still "not old".
Thirteen. My Little One has decided she wants to sleep in Sissy's bed since Sissy wants to sleep on the floor of Jama's room every night. I'm glad to see My Little One transitioning from crib to 'big girl bed'. This means good things.... Now, if I can only get Sissy in the same room as My Little One.... *sigh*
Fourteen. I'm learning more and more about 'perimenopause' and 'menopause'. Jeez! Could I really be at 'that' stage?! Is this good news or bad?
Fifteen. My fortune today said: Someone is intrigued by your mysterious ways. Now THAT sounds FUN!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Two Steppin'

Pop is still in the hospital. He is fighting the emotional fight now. In a way, we all are. I contend the hardest part of the accident isn't the initial emergency of it; it's this part: the gruelling day to day search for purpose; the every day call to be patient, accepting and humble; the mental battle of doing what's right versus what's selfish and when to measure the appropriateness of being selfish for self-preservation. Yeah, we are ALL in the emotional, mental fight.

Pop has gone through the depths of wondering why he's here and why can't he just die to the exhilarating validation of taking two steps on his own. Imagine being 72 years old and having re-learn walking? A therapist comes weekly to see him. He's in his third hospital facility, where he seems to be making slow by steady progress. And progress is all we can ask for, right?

He still cannot sit on his own. Nor can he stand without help. Someone needs to help him get in those positions. Now that he's a little stronger, he can sit longer in a wheelchair. On Monday, he was at physical therapy and took his first two steps on his own. Monday was a good day.

Pop has been rather mean to some folks. He was sometimes socially inappropriate before his accident - he's from the day and time when saying certain things back then are considered 'politically incorrect' now. Head injury patients are notorious for being uninhibited. Needless to say, he's been rather crass to the staff and even his own family. He's been pretty grumpy, too, talking about wanting to be admitted to the VA Hospital and "forgotten", he's made racial slurs, and even over-criticized his family members. Generally he's been bossy without gratitude.

My husband took a good verbal lashing one day and it didn't sit well with me. His wife has endured some harshness as well. Being as they both currently live with me, I decided to take a stand because the last thing I need right now is MORE negative energy in my house. I am so drained right now that I am *this close* to tapping out of the wrestling match. So, I visited my lovely yet soul-bruised father-in-law a Sunday not so long ago.

We talked.

It was a good talk.

I left him a "To Do" list:

  3. Call the staff and see if they will help you go to the restroom at least once a day.
  4. Play with the stress toy that was left for you in order to build up your hand strength and loosen those tightened tendons.
  5. TALK TO GOD every day about the following:
  • Humility
  • Acceptance
  • Patience
I don't think Pop has been humbled by this horrific accident. He has never been a patient man. And he refuses to help himself. So, if the Lord can work through me to effect change, well, then, I'm your girl.
I called Pop four days later to see how his week was going. He was chipper and bragged about feeling better and that he'd been praying a lot. He reported also that he was more polite to the staff and had been working hard at being nicer in general.
I then visited him three days after that phone call. I was sure to check with the staff to see how his demeanor had been. They all agreed that he'd been kinder. Pop even mentioned to me that he issued apologies to some of the nurses with which he'd struggled. My heart was happy to hear that news. He added that he intends to apologize to my husband. He intends to apologize to his own wife. I pray he does indeed make that amends.

I intend on seeing him again this Sunday where I will again, check on him and crack the whip (gently). The couple of times I've been there, I've had to issue gentle reminders to say "please" and "thank you" when the staff has come to adjust his positioning or rub cream on his toes. He takes it well when I do that. (Lucky me!)

In any case, I thought I'd share with you this picture that was taken about three weeks ago when my family went to visit him. I prodded, "I hear all the time that so and so has seen you sit but every time I come here, you're layin' in that bed! Let me see you sit!" And through much verbal grumbling and heavy sighing by Pop and his son, we managed to lift his torso with the belt, and he sat for me. He smiled. I made the kids sit with him. All so he can be encouraged to do more, and so I could share with you his slow but steady progress..... Please continue to pray for him and all of us who are affected by the rippling of the accident. Thank you.

Yesterday Was A GOOD Day

....for Dallas sports fans (like moi!)

The Mavs made the playoffs with a dramatic win last night against Golden State (and to personalize it, of a former coach)!

The Stars handily owned the Ducks the first game of the playoffs on Anaheim's ice in a fast-paced shut-out!


The little Rangers swept the double-header against the Orioles.


It's kind of sad, really, when we bank on that action to be a "victorious day" when all of our pro teams for the last couple of years seem to squeek into their respective playoff and championship-seeking endeavors and LOSE the first round.

But, I'll take it, baby. I'll take it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

if i was your woman/walk on by

i love the soulfulness in this tune....

If I Was Your Woman / Walk On By

~alicia keyes~

If I was your woman

And you were my man

You'd have no other woman

You'd be weak as a lamb

If you had the strength

To walk out my door

My love would over rule my sense

And I'd call you back for more

If I was your woman

If I was your woman

If I was your woman

If I was your woman

And you were my man, yeah

She tears you down darlin

Says you're nothing at all

But I'll pick you up darlin

When she lets you fall cause

You're like a diamond

But she treats you like glass

Yet you beg her to love you

But me you won't ask

If I were your woman

If I was your woman

If I were your woman

If I was your woman

If I were your woman

If I was your woman

Here's what I'd do

I'd never, never no no

Stop loving you, yeah

Life is so crazy

And love is unkind

Because she was first darlin'

Will she hang on your mind?

You're part of me

But you don't even know it

I'm what you need

But I'm too afraid to show it

If I were your woman

If I was your woman

If I were your woman

If I was your woman

If I were your woman

If I was your woman

Here's what I'd do

I'd never, never no no

Stop loving you, yeah

If I was your woman

Here's what I'd do

I'd never, never, never

Stop loving you, yeah

If I were your woman

If I were your woman

If I was your woman

If I was your woman

If I were your woman

Monday, April 07, 2008

Jax Beer

My nickname, well, the most popular one is "Jax". I've been called several variations of Jackie to include, but limited to: Jack, DJ Jackie J, Action Jaxson, Jackie Ohh, Jackie Lin, Juliette*, Juliette Bravo*, and several others.

One of my friends from work and I get in these 'myspace wars' where we tag each other's page with obnoxious things, or sometimes, things that only the two of us will understand. While I was spending an 'exciting' Friday night alone, the only one awake in my house, on the 'net looking for potential tags to put on K's page, I found these gems (did you know there's such a beer as Jax Beer? I wanna try it!!)




And on that note, I toast my Jax Beer to R, who quit her job over the weekend and to K, who might be looking for a new job before too long. Toast, my brave friends! Cheers!


* This was my dad's nickname for me. If you have ever heard of the phoenetic alphabet, this would make sense to you. J = Juliette; B = Bravo.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Out of Context

There's nothing like driving down the street, looking to the right and seeing a great looking car, a black Acura 3.2 CL. There's a man driving. He's alone. Grey hair, balding on top, black sunglasses. He sits upright, wearing a Hawaiian print shirt in shades of tan and black.

I notice all these details in a second.

Then I do a double take.

It was the priest from my church!

Love that. Love that he has a life outside the church.....

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Commemorating Greatness: (Saint) John Paul II


Whether you are Roman Catholic or not; whether you understand the RC faith or not; whether you are RC and understand the authority of the papacy or not, I pray you learn more about the greatness of this man, Pope John Paul II.

JP2's existence in my lifetime, in the evolution of humanity, is ethereal and effervescent. He was destined for greatness, even if he had never become Pope. I truly believe that.

Before I was aware of my journey into my own conversion, I was in awe of this man. I was attracted to him in a special way. Before I knew the papacy's role in the church (in the world), I would see footage of him and wonder, 'why isn't he married? he's so handsome!', as if being handsome disqualified someone from cloistered life, from clergy. Silly me!

I learned he was an avid lover of theater. He was a joker. He loved youth, even in old age, he embraced youth. Most men would be crotchety, I imagine. I figured a celebate priest would not have the time, patience or interest in the world youth. JP2 did.

He also looked to women to nurture his own faith journey. And I get aggravated at the ignorance of people (I shouldn't but I do -- sorry) who say things like, 'Catholics don't respect women because they don't let women be priest, or don't allow their priests to marry'. Trust me, women have some VERY influential roles in the church, in faith life, in the formation of policy, etc. We are there. We make process happen. We nurture the church. We don't need the credit.

Anywhooooo, JP2 consulted women all the time. He surrounded himself with the wisdom of feminity. Especially poignant was his love of Mother Theresa, as well as the Blessed Mother.

His global travels, the apologies he made - one by one - for the wrongs of The Church throughout history, his ability to cross political and religious lines in order to create unity are unheard of. When have we ever seen or known a person in history to have this kind of love and respect of differences? JP2 loved.

He canonized more people (thousands!) during the tenure of his papacy that many Popes combined! He believed and SHOWED his beliefs that the common man is a saint (we all are). Sainthood is not predicated on martyrdom. Perhaps one could argue he stretched the bounds of the meaning of 'martyr' to include spiritual and emotional martyrdom; not just being literally executed in the name of The Church. When Catholics pray to saints, we are not 'making false idols'. We are invoking the spirit of an individual with whom we identify to intercede on our behalf much like Mary did at the Wedding at Cana when she appealed to Jesus to provide for the guests. Mary carried the request of the people to Jesus. He delivered. So, JP2 gives humanity more -- more people, more options, more causes -- more with which we can reach out and identify. He gives humanity back to us to use in our prayer life. Brilliant....

I love him. I love this zest-for-life, hopelessly romantic, extremely smart, ultimately humble servant. This Polish war survivor who has a real life....a story....a humanity behind his divinity (as do we all!). I love him. And I miss knowing he's no longer physically with us. I do however lay my weary head, spread out my hair, close my eyes, breathe deeply, stretch out my arms as if in a meadow, and soak in his legacy. I am thankful that he lived in my lifetime and that I appreciated his beauty before I was ever Catholic. I am sad that as a Catholic, I never got to see him in person. But, without his progressive thinking, and without his existence, this Earth (and The Church) would be far worse off than it is.