Veruca Salt: Quintessential Member of Congress

Promises....Promises....

Merry Christmas to the American Middle Class! After rejecting a bi-partisan compromise from the Senate, House Republicans are no longer holding your payroll taxcut extension hostage.  The party of tax cuts ceded late last night and voted to extend the cut — keeping your taxes from going up an average of $1,000 – $1,500 next year.  Of course, this is only good for 2 months.

For the casual observer, this 112th Congress has looked less like a distinguished legislative body and more like children fighting over toys in a sandbox.

Unfortunately the inability of these children to play together is having a deleterious effect on our economy, the future solvency of our nation, and our political process. 

Pure folly…but for the fact that it’s far more serious than that. What our political leaders are now doing can only be desribed as a wilfull ignorace to the looming economic disaster ahead of us complimented by an arrogance so large it rivals the size of Governor Rick Perry’s state of Texas.  

Which gets me thinking about who really makes up this 112th Conress and what should be done about it.  Enter Veruca Salt.  You may recall her as the egocentric-regressed, insolent little brat from the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie & the Charlie Factory” in the better known 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

A brat unchecked...sometimes gets elected.

Little Miss Veruca is downright abusive to her indulgent father in her pursuit to obtain the Golden Ticket.  Well, she gets it and, like the other kids, greed and a lack of respect for the rules typify their behavior once inside the Chocolate Factory…much like Congress.  In the halls of Congress, the “children” are fed by special interest monies and concern themselves only with their parties’ agendas and the agendas of the aforementioned special interest groups. 

The Golden Ticket, as mentioned, wasn’t enough.  In what turns out to be her undoing, Veruca enters the room where the geese lay golden eggs.  Singing “I Want It Now” Veruca openly loots one of the golden eggs only to find herself deemed a “bad egg” by Wonka’s quality control instrument “The Eggdicator” and is, shall we say, “vacated” from the Chocolate Factory.

What members of Congress have failed to recognize for nearly the last half century is that the American Middle Class IS the Golden Egg.  Then again, maybe they do actually recognize this and have chosen to take it for granted or use for their own selfish means (re-election).  Either way, the concentration of power and wealth in our nation, the corrupting influence of campaign money, and our own political complacency has afforded Congress this arrogant ability to behave…like Veruca Salt.

Rated among 68% of voters as "BAD."

In a recent poll conducted by Rasmussen, the approval rating for Congress is at an ALL-TIME low of 6%.  Among those surveyed 68% gave Congress a “Poor” rating.  How an institution held in such disregard continue to behave the way it does without consequence is beyond me. 

Here’s hoping the upcoming 2012 primary elections and the general election will serve as our own electoral quality control and we begin to remove these bad eggs.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Out to Lunch

Justice Scalia and the Fickle Fondue of Fate

The term “Cafeteria Catholic” is one that has oft been applied to so-called “liberal” Catholics by more tradtional Catholics within the Church.  It’s a tag given to people who — for personal convenience or perceived political gain — will take a position that is contrary to what the Church teaches.

Abortion is the major issue that incites the hue and cry against Cafeteria Catholicism.  As well it should, for it is not a small issue; it’s the taking of an innocent human life.  Contraception? Well, let’s just say it’s the brussel sprout of the American Catholic diet which, according to some surveys, 85% of U.S. Catholics don’t adhere to the Church’s teachings in our beliefs or our behaviors.  They’re different in fervor mostly because abortion is a much more “public” issue; whereas contraception is a more “personal” matter.  Nonetheless, both are prohibited by the Church.

And then there’s capital punishment…..

Pro-death penalty conservatives will say that capital punishment is permissible under the teachings of the Catholic Church.  And they’re right…sort of.  Here’s what they’ll never tell you:  There’s no reason for capital punishment to take place in the United States of America based upon the parameters of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

CCC 2267. Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm — without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself — the cases in which the execution of the offender is an abolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.” (John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 56)

So last Wednesday as we all made our way home from work, Troy Davis sat moments away from his fourth “re”-scheduled execution date while the Supreme Court of the United States weighed whether to grant a stay of execution.  Davis, accused of murdering an off-duty police officer, was 21 years of age at the time of the murder.  Now 42, the clock had run out on a man whose guilt had been the subject of much speculation.  7 0f 9 witnesses had recanted their testimony over the years and several jurors stated they would not have found Davis guilty knowing what they knew today.  It’s was what CNN legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, described as having an air of “substantial doubt” not all that different from the infamous Rosenberg’s execution.  With our legal justice system requiring guilt be “proven beyond a resonable doubt,” one would think that Davis would at least have a shot at being granted a stay of execution.  He may not have had a chance to be exonerated of his charges, but to proceed with execution with so many questions would have seemed medieval.

Welcome to the Middle Ages.  After four hours of consideration, the Supreme Court refused to hear Davis’s request for a stay.  Shortly thereafter Troy Davis was wheeled into the death chamber of a Georgia prison and put to death by lethal injection.

In capital punishment, there are no “do-overs.”  Which is why so many states have put moratoriums on the practice or abolished it altogether.  Advances in DNA testing for evidence have exonerated many wrongly imprisoned individuals.  And let’s be honest:  Not everyone — especially the poor, uneducated, and people of color — has had access to appropriate legal representation over the years.  So again, I ask:  Why the rush to kill?

Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas have spoken and written at length against the corrosive effect of “judicial activism.”  Admittedly, activism was not of a concern to them in the case of Bush vs. Gore.  (Note:  Author DID vote for Bush in 2000).  And while not being asked to overturn Troy Davis’s conviction, could they not have put a stay on his execution? Or would that have been judicial activism?  I ask this because Justices Scalia and Thomas are Catholic.  Halting Troy Davis’s state-sponsored killing was well within their authority.  It also would have been the “Catholic” thing to do.

Today Catholics are represented at an all-time high in the nation’s top court with two-thirds of the justices identifying themselves as “Catholic:”  Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Chief Justice John Roberts.  All of the aforementioned justices are considered to be “pro-life” as it relates to the issue of abortion — with the exception of Sotomayor who is an unknown and is presumably “pro-choice.”  So why did they fail to defend “life” in the case of Troy Davis?

Perhaps it just wasn’t on their menu.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Whatever Ever Became of the Reagan Democrat?

The 40th President restored hope to a doubting nation and went on to earn an historic, electoral landslide with the support of Republicans and Democrats.

With the recent celebration of The Gipper’s 100th Birthday, I was feeling a bit nostalgic for the “President of my Youth.”   With all the coverage surrounding Reagan, this one-time College Republican Campus President and Reagan-devotee was wondering if I’d ever see a return to an era of politics characterized by Reagan’s opitimistic style.

For years Democrats sought to nominate “the next JFK” for star power and to ensure electoral success.  Republicans find themselves in a similar position needing to find “the next Reagan.”  Notice I said “needing to” which is different from “wanting to.”  Why do I say that?  Because I am not sure today’s Republican Party would ever nominate Ronald Reagan if he was alive and in his prime today.

Simply put, Ronald Reagan wouldn’t pass the purity test.  Afterall, we’re talking about a man who supported an arms control agreement with the Soviet Union, was pro-immigrant and even supported so-called “amnesty” measures, and he was willing to work with members of the other party.  Reagan was hardly a liberal; he was at times the object of the far-left’s ire.  However, in a Tea Party-era where Republicans with strong conservative credentials are being targeted for “working with the enemy” this icon of American conservatism would find it tough to emerge from a pack of candidates seeking the GOP nomination for president.   Working with Tip O’Neil and Ted Kennedy will earn you a spot on someone’s Enemies List — most likely Sarah Palin’s.

Which leads me to the big problem facing the Republican Party today and the disappearance of a key component to Reagan’s political success:  The “Reagan Democrat.” 

They were typically blue collar, working class, union-members, Catholic,  pro-defense, and anti-abortion.  They weren’t “haters” of government.  They aspired for economic security and preservation of the middle class which was under assault by over-taxation.   Neither Jimmy Carter nor Walter Mondale provided a viable alternative to Reagan given the priorities of the Reagan Democrat voter.

But as we see things unfold in Wisconsin, I question how could a moderate/conservative Democrat possibly support today’s GOP?  A party that has historically been distrustful of government, now finds its members strategically dismantling people’s ability to collectively bargain with “the government.”  And sadly, this issue strayed from policy and became about politics. Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald let the cat out of the bag in saying that by taking away workers’ rights to collectively bargain they were hampering unions’ ability to support President Obama in the 2012 election.  With attitudes and tactics like that, would the GOP ever be able to nominate a presidential candidate who didn’t support such measures? 

Full disclosure:  I am a registered Republican.  However, like the Reagan Democrat I’m feeling like I have no place to go.  As it relates to the National Parties’ platforms, my pro-life views on abortion make it difficult for me to support the Democratic Party.  At the same time, my pro-life views on capital punishment, poverty and race make it difficult to support the GOP.  My distaste for the growing concentration of power and wealth combined with corporatism’s attack on community make it difficult to support either party.

Reagan would often say, “I never left the Democratic Party, it left me.”  Sometimes I feel today’s GOP has done the same to a lot of Reagan Democrats and Republicans.  In a lot of ways, both parties abandoned the American voter.

What will the 2012 election cycle hold for us?  We’re about to find out.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

An Uncommon Hero (Part 2)

Dale R. Christensen (1947-2010)

After Dad’s funeral, several people asked for a copy of the eulogy I gave for my father.  Perhaps people were being polite, but several stated that I captured exactly who my father was.  All I can say is, “Mission Accomplished.”  That’s what I set out to do. 

The following is a transcript of my eulogy for my father. It’s for those who knew my Dad and wanted to hear it again.  It’s for those who weren’t fortunate enough to know him, but will allow you to see why he impacted so many lives.  This is how I saw him:

Eulogy for a Father and a Friend

Thank you each and everyone for your presence here today.  There is no question Dad was truly loved.

“I would rather be ashes than dust!  I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot! I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.  The function of man is to live, not to exist.  I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.  I shall use my time.”

These are the words of American author, Jack London, known as “Jack London’s Credo.”  I chose that opening for a few reasons:  There were parallels between Dad’s life and Jack London’s — not that Dad was some kind author, but they lived the adventure and were not afraid to explore.  London had his struggles with addiction just as my father did.  Dad was also a helluva story-teller often including tales of struggle and triumph.  And those tales were almost always autobiographical.

The function of man is to live, not exist.”  Dad wasn’t much for existing.  He lived. All the way up to the end.  One of Dad’s sponsors once proclaimed, “Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.”  It became the mantra of the Pekin Serenity Club which Dad helped form, and it was the driving philosophy of Dad’s life.

I wanted to be able to share with you some thoughts about Dad, but candidly I did not know how I could be focused enough to stand up here and talk about the best friend I had lost just a few days ago.

So, I thought the easiest thing for me to do would  be to use Dad’s name “DALE” and the letters of his name to talk about Dad and his qualities.  And while I know there’s plenty of content, I wouldn’t make you sit through “CHRISTENSEN.”

“D”

DAD:  He was Dad to Chad and to me.  He raised boys and he did the things to raise them into becoming men.  He became “Dad” to his stepdaughters, Erin and Becky.  And it was especially good for him as it rounded him out.  Having two daughters myself I can attest:  They make you a better man.  He was “Dad” to our wives and to his daughters’ husbands.  But he wasn’t just a dad to his biological children or children by marriage.  Dale was a father figure to so many others as guys like Paul Tincher can attest.

DETERMINED:  A quick show of hands here:  Has anyone ever successfully convinced my father to change his mind? (laughter)  Dad’s work ethic was unbelievable.  As you can see, my little brother isn’t exactly little.  I’m not exactly small and weak.  But when we would all work together on a project, it was impossible to keep pace with Dad.  I think of the time we finished out my basement and we were begging Dad to quit at the end of the day.

“A”

ALWAYS:   He was always there for you when you needed him.  He was always there when you didn’t think you needed anybody or anything.  He always had a story….Often for a purpose:  To entertain. To teach. To distract.  Whatever was necessary at the moment.

His stories occassionally came with a bit of vulgarity.  OK, maybe not occassionally, but more often than not. (laughter) He would have these rustic sayings and you could never complain about anything with him.  Whenever I’d say something like, “If I only had this…If I only had that.  If I had done this.  If I had done that….”  Dad’s response would often be, “Well, IF my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle!” (laughter) Dad was always ready to impart some element of wisdom — in many different forms.

ALCOHOLIC:  For the outsider who didn’t fully know my father, that may sound disparaging.  But it’s not.  Dad’s alcoholism defined who he was…just as Dad’s sobriety — 26 years worth — defined who he was as well. It’s what made him the caring, compassionate man that he became.  He knew all too well what it was like to struggle.  He knew what it was like to fall.  He knew what was necessary to get yourself up and keep yourself up.

A few years back when I was having a rough go of things, a friend encouraged me to attend an open meeting of AA.  Attending those meetings had a great healing effect on me.  At one of those meetings a member was celebrating 10 years of sobriety.  She lamented her child said, “That’s great.  You get a coin and I get years of therapy.”  This struck me as a child who needed a lesson in gratitude.  I can stand before you all tonight and tell you that I am better equipped for life because of my father’s alcoholism and his sobriety.  He taught me how to be tough, how to be tender and when I needed to be either one or both.  I am grateful for Dad’s humanity and for human-ness.

“L”

LOVE:  It really can go without saying.  But Dad simply loved.  Now, he was a guy which means he was a bit handicapped in expressing it.  But, he understood what it meant.  A lot of times love is tested in being around the “unlovable.”  True love is giving even in times when you don’t want to.  True love is surrendering to our pride, to God, even when we don’t want to.  It took him a few years, but Dad got it.  And he helped others understand it.

LIGHT:  Both figuratively and literally.  He was a skilled electrician…for the most part.  There was a reason we’d call him “Danger Dale” — the one who would work with hot wires not even bothering to turn off the fuse box. (laughter)  Many of us here have lights working in our houses because of Dad.  But he also gave light through his stories — told by him and about him.  He WAS light, giving hope to the seemingly hopeless.

“E”

ENTERTAINING:  Just yesterday we were sitting in Dad’s garage sharing stories and  Paul Tincher shared one that was vintage Dad.  Paul went to visit Dad when he was building the house on Allentown Road.  Paul saw Dad sitting on the roof with his feet dangling off the side while messing with this nail gun.  When asked what he was doing, Dad fessed up to shooting nails at the squirrels. (laughter) Whether it was shooting at squirrels on purpose or shooting himself by accident — Lord knows he did that enough times! — that was Dad.  Stories of Dad using a fire extinguisher to lay down foam and run a fast moving forklift through the mess to make the vehicle spin were rather common.  Isn’t it amazing we lost Dad to heart attack? (laughter)  Dad could easily have held two titles.  “Life of the Party” — when he was drinking and when he was sober.  But he was also the “Party of Life” — especially during his sober years.

ENTHUSIAST:  Dad loved cars.  Dad loved hockey.  Dad loved “antique-ing.”  But most importantly, Dad loved people.  If you were family or you were a friend, he was your enthusiast.  When you pass by a junkyard, have you ever considered that each and every car in that junkyard began with zero miles on the odometer and they all had that “new-car smell?”  I always wished we could look at people that way.  Dad did.  We all had a mother and a father; we were all brought into this world brand new and innocent.  Dad totally got that.  As you know, Dad was involved in many car restoration projects.  Great care and effort went into those vehicles and the end product was amazing.  It was the same with people for him.  To those he sponsored and really to anyone that came into relationship with him, Dad was there to fix…if you wanted it.  I’m sure there are a many number of us in this room and outside of here whose lives were restored — even street-rodded up — because of Dad.

EVERYMAN:  Dad was not a sophisticate.  He would’ve hated such a label.  But, he was a man.  He gave something for which his sons could aspire.  A husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, an uncle, a veteran, a sponsor, a mechanic, an electrician, a hockey fan, a street-rodder, a friend:  He did them all well and with enthusiasm.

Dad wasn’t necessarily about things of status.  Dad wasn’t necessarily about accomplishments.  Don’t get me wrong, he enjoyed the “nice-to-haves.”  He’d take satisfaction and he’d offer congratulations on a job well-done:  “Nice car!”  “Way to go on that promotion!”  What Dad was really about was relationships.  The material is what it is:  Temporary and Fleeting.  It’s relationships that are eternal and what Dad valued. 

In conclusion:  I couldn’t possibly speak for Dad, but I could try…and I say try to convey his feelings that he would likely want to leave with you and they are the lyrics of a song entitled “When All Is Said and Done” by Tyrone Wells:

When all is said and done and I’m looking back upon this race I’ve run.  And when my heart gives in, I know you will be beside me, precious friend.  It’s just the same from beginning to end.  When all is said and done.  If I lose my way and I wander down this open road for days.  And if the sun should fall and the dancing we once did becomes a crawl, let the memories move like shadows on the wall.  If I lose my way.  When I’m coming home and I walk across the bridge of death alone.  I will fix my eyes on the One — My Lord — who’s waiting on the other side.  It’s my old friend with countless others there beside…when I’m coming home.  When all is said and done….”

I’d like to close with two prayers.  The first is the Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola which I believe captures Dad’s spirit.  The second prayer is one that you all know.

Lord, teach us to be generous.  Teach us to serve you as you deserve; to give without counting the cost; to fight without fear of being wounded; to toil without seeking rest; to labor and not ask for reward, except know that we are doing your will

Please join me (in unison):  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.  Amen.”

Presented:
October 27, 2010
Preston-Hanely Funeral Home
Pekin, IL
 

Rest In Peace, Friend.

 
 
 
 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

An Uncommon Hero (Part 1)

Early impressions....

It was a Saturday. October 23, 2010.  A typically beautiful Indian-Summer day filled with one last touch of sun and warmth to give a little joy and comfort before heading into the shorter, colder days of late autumn and winter.  It was also a day that would punch a big hole in my life leaving an unfillable void.  This was the day that I lost my best friend.  This was the day I lost my Dad. 

As I would learn, I was but one of many who had lost their “best friend.”   Dad’s passing deeply affected his family and his friends.  The quick and unexpected nature of his death left us all in a deep shock.  And since then we’ve been grappling with the selfish notion that this man whose life was defined by a stubborn work-ethic, generous heart, ornery pranks, and a quiet wisdom is no longer available for us.

My father was never politically connected.  You weren’t going to find him in newspaper headlines.  And you surely would never discover his name on some country club roster.  Dad was likely to be found under the hood of your car trying to diagnose what wasn’t working.  Or in front of your fuse box after finishing an electrical job at your house, apartment, garage, or business.  Or you could find him at the Court Street Steak & Shake with his other friends of Bill W. helping someone trying to achieve or maintain their sobriety.

That was my father.  As the nearly 700 people processed through the reception line at his funeral, so many unknown names and faces approached me with tears in their eyes stating how Dad had “saved my life.”  I always knew Dad’s willingness to help a person in need.  I just did not know the width and the depth of Dad’s influence. 

Dad was not a hero in the overused application that’s given to celebrities, athletes, political figures and the like.  After the first 25 years of my life, I finally figured things out about Dad and I began to fully appreciate him and his qualities as he did with me. I was extremely fortunate to get another 15 years with him, in our new-found understanding of each other.  It was during this time that I came to see the quiet, unassuming, genuine heroic qualities of my father.

October 27th was a much colder, darker day.  It may have been the weather, but it was more likely the feeling that came in knowing this was the day we’d say goodbye to Dad.   The responsibility of “telling Dad’s story” fell upon my brother and me.  There cannot be one person out there who’s been more affected by Dad’s passing than my younger brother, Chad.  And as difficult as it had to have been, Chad stood up there without a single note.  All he had were the memories and feelings in his heart and a little bit of moxy that likely came from Dad’s genetic makeup to get him through his eulogy.  A little light and a little warmth to combat the cold and the dark.

Chad and I are grateful for the kind words and consolation so many have offered and for the tears shared by so many others who feel the loss of Dale.  Dad left a legacy and we have a tall order in upholding that legacy. 

It is my hope that you shall see my father’s sense of generosity, justice, wisdom and humor in my future posts.

Jason

UP NEXT:   As I Saw Him in “An Uncommon Hero (Part 2)”

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Back in the Saddle

Some things are actually better the second time around.

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve posted here on “Live Differently.” I spent a summer writing on my Cycling For Change blog.  There are a couple more posts I have to complete over at www.cyclingforchange.wordpress.com; however, all my mental meanderings can be found here at Live Differently.

Much has happened since last summer. Many changes in my life…Truly “life-changing” events.

So with a whole host of social/political topics out there, I once again have that desire to provoke thought and a healthy exchange of ideas.  With uprising in the Middle-East, a Federal Budget showdown, and Justin Bieber getting his hair cut ( OK, strike the last one) there are plenty of serious topics to keep us all busy.

To friends and those who followed my writings from last year’s ride, I thank you and I hope you’ll continue to follow and join in the discussion. 

Regards,

Jason

UP NEXT:    Paying tribute to an uncommon hero.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

He’s Big Enough To Handle It… .

Perhaps the most spiritually stirring time of the liturgical year for me is Holy Week. While Easter Sunday is the ultimate celebration of our faith — Christ’s victory over sin and death — Good Friday shakes my soul like no other day.

Recovering from knee surgery earlier in the week, I hobbled my way to one of the benches in the back and rested my crutches against the wall. Standing for the reading of the Passion was…well, not easy. But seriously, am I going to complain? We’re reading about the Son of God who has just been condemned in what would be a mockery of judicial due process by today’s standards. He then proceeds to suffer an unbearably gruesome persecution and death. For me I’m grateful that my knee is the size of a large grapefruit and I can barely stand.

The time comes for the veneration of the cross. For those who wish, you could approach the cross to touch it, kneel before it, even kiss it if you so desire. As I work my way in line, the haunting hymn “Were You There?” surrounds the entire sanctuary. And it is true: “Sometimes, it causes me to tremble…tremble…tremble….” It’s not my bad knee, nor is it my crutches. It’s my trembling heart and soul and they are coming to grips with the fact that of all my sin and shame, this Man, has laid down His life for me.

I cry. Like a child. It hurts….But I am also liberated because I have gone beyond the basic, intellectual understanding that Christ died for my sins: I can feel it. I feel it just as much as I feel and smell the cedar of the cross that I have just kissed.

The distractions of regular life are gone from me. I’m not thinking about work that needs to be done or the taxes that have to be filed. I sure as heck am not thinking about those darn crutches. Even among the 800+ parishioners in the church, this is my moment alone with Christ.

As a convert to Catholicism, I’ve never really had an issue of taking for granted the real presence of the Blessed Sacrament; it’s the reason I sought the Church. And yet, I would receive the Eucharist later in the service and I was once again overcome with the power of God’s love for me by way of His son.

Powerful. Exhausting. Liberating. Filled with love. This was my Good Friday.

As the service concluded, parishioners made their way out of the sanctuary. It didn’t bother me much that no one was making way to give me a turn to leave. I was on my crutches and figured I’d just hold people up. It was ok; I was savoring the moment.

Just then a colleague whom I had not seen in months approached me. He greeted me kindly and softly asked what had happened. I responded that I just had knee surgery. At that moment one gentlemen “shushed” us giving us a very stern look. He then raised his arm as if to signal for us to keep our mouths shut. He held his arm for some time as he walked away.

Admittedly, I became angry at this man. I think I knew what he was trying to do: preserve the solemnity of the moment. It felt as though I was being scolded for desecrating the sacred space. As someone who has always taken measures to be reverential in the sanctuary — especially when the Blessed Sacrament is present — I felt wrongly accused.

And then I thought more about it.

Instead of ruining my own experience and giving this one person’s reaction power over me, I had to let it go. And I was reminded: Christ is big enough. He can handle it.

That night, we commemorated His persecution, His suffering and His death. In two days, we will have celebrated His resurrection.

I do not wish to be flip, but I’m guessing Jesus probably does not care that I responded to my friend’s inquiry inside the sanctuary. If anything, He might be pleased that someone cared enough to quietly ask. As for the person who admonished us, I’m guessing Jesus was thinking “Hey, thanks for looking out for me. But it’s o.k. I’m big enough. I can handle it.”

May the God, who is big enough, live in you always. Have a blessed, love-filled Easter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Thoughts, Uncategorized