why 6.26.13 was so hard

why 6.26.13 was so hard - theloveliesthour.com

I don’t often venture into controversy here. Or anywhere, for that matter. I don’t really want my life to be a place of arguments, anger, hurt or blame.

But sometimes, I just am compelled to share. Maybe it’s a bad idea. Who knows.

Controversy, nice to meet you…

But hopefully there will be no anger, hurt or blame here.

Yesterday was HARD for me. Because of DOMA and Prop 8 and Texas Senate Bill 5.

These 2 huge issues rising up on the same day. What is this? Is God trying to wake us up? Is the devil sitting back and chuckling? Both?

Abortion and Gay Marriage.

The two issues MOST likely to rile up a group of people any where, any time. The two issues that, when portrayed in a certain light, are most likely to make my Church appear to be living in the dark ages. The two issues that are most likely to make a person feel the heat rise up in their belly. Make a person feel sad, angry, volatile, hopeless, rejected, belittled, unloved or abandoned. The two issues that are so easily lost in jargon, misunderstood, and summarized in pithy short phrases that do not do them justice.

The two issues that twist my heart up in different ways and make me feel all worn out, like at the very end of a big exhale.

Abortion – because I do believe that the fetus in the womb is a person. She has a heartbeat, fingerprints, brainwaves, smiles, hiccups, yawns. She already looks like her parents, is right or left handed, and her placenta leaves a permanent mark on the inside of her mother’s uterus. Her survival age outside of the womb keeps coming down down down, thanks to medical technology. And, most importantly,  she has a soul. No doubt. A person. Worth giving a chance to live. Definitely worth fighting for. But I also have great compassion for the scared mother, abandoned, pressured, or forced. Who thinks her life might be over, who fears having to drop out of college, turning down that job, facing down that extra-marital affair, birth defect or medical crisis. After having 4 children in a relatively stable environment, I can only imagine what goes through their minds.  I desperately love both – mother and child!

Gay Marriage – not because I think it should exist. I don’t. I believe that marriage is the fruit of natural love, a gift from God, of that familial bond between husband and wife with the ideal purpose of having children.  Sounds archaic to you maybe, but that’s what I believe to be true. But I do see these people, and I realize that they want to be happy. They’re just like everyone else, trying to live their lives quietly. Often extraordinarily talented, generous and caring about the world they live in.  They want to love, and for some reason I cannot define, that is the way that they are pulled. And many may interpret our words and our votes as a denial of happiness. A denial of life, in the only way they can see. We become the enemy. My heart breaks. You might say, “but they have an agenda. they want to change our nation. they want to change the Church.” Some might, but I don’t think all do. I think most of these folks are just living their lives as best they can, just like you and I.  I also think of their loved ones. They are a son or daughter, a parent, a coworker, a childhood friend, a neighbor, a confidant. To them, they are not a statistic. They are not a news story. They are a person. To be valued and loved.

And all these people, they listen to our answers and comments and thoughts and hear:

“you cannot love. you cannot be happy.”

That’s not what we’re saying, but that’s what they hear from rants on sidewalks, from stupidly worded signs, social media graphics and hashtags.

My friends, that is not how we have this conversation. I don’t know how we have it, but that’s not it.

We have to ‘say’ more carefully, more clearly and more lovingly if we want any of them to hear us.

All in love. Definitely. And with prayer. And with compassion. We see past the issues to the person, and start there. We recognize our own weaknesses. We all have stuff. We all have sin. We all struggle each and every day to live a good life. Every. Single. One. Of. Us.

We honor those who have chosen the hard road – the road of the Church. Those who have trusted, who have sacrificed. You are our heroes.

And, we trust in our Church, who, after over 2000 years, still stands strong and true and full of love. We may not understand everything completely now, maybe not until we are in heaven. But it’s okay, because we are faithful in love. And we can’t turn away from Her, because She saves us. We remember Jesus’ words to St. Peter:

‘He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.’  Matt. 16:15-18

 

That’s all I have to say.

 

(I reserve the right to delete rude comments.)

 

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Comments

  1. Jessica says

    Beautifully and sensitively written. It was a very hard day for me too but you were much more charitable than I was in my thoughts. Thanks!

  2. Laura Bergh says

    Beautifully written and expressed much of what I feel even though I am not Catholic. I am a Christian and even though I don’t attend church as I’m not a big fan of organized religion, I feel the “church” as a whole is under attack. Quite a few of my friends in animal rescue are liberal or homosexual so I’ve had to refrain from posting comments on Facebook. My Grandma always told me if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. So I didn’t. This is a very troubling time in our society but we know where the road leads us to in the end………..God bless!

    • Lauren says

      Thanks for your thoughts Laura. Yes, social media is dangerous sometimes. We have to be careful what we say, and where. And you’re always welcome to join us crazy Catholics! We’d love to have you! :) God bless!

  3. Heather King says

    Lauren, thank you for this. Thank God for you and people like you. Both and instead of us vs. them. All I could think was This is going to make it harder for everyone. Parents, teachers, and of course, as always, especially women and kids.
    Wonderful homily this morning. The leper prostrating himself before Christ…may I be on the ground with him…

  4. Elena says

    You have been given the gift to say what many of us hold in our hearts but are unable to articulate. Thank you.

  5. Trish says

    You put my own sentiments into words better than I could have. I share in your sense of frustration and sadness, and I hold the same stance on these two fundamental, non-negotiable issues. But I also appreciate your sensitivity and kindness toward the individuals who may be on the “other side” of the divide, because there are so many wounded people out there and so much family dysfunction in the background. I think back on my own family and realize now — having learned of so many other cases — that I was extraordinarily blessed. I want to pass on that same blessing to my own children… the certainty that they are unconditionally loved and cherished, and model the values of life, committed love, and marriage… because I think so much dysfunction is also a reaction of cynicism to the failures of families, to deficiencies of love. Our kids are blessed, but so many are not… so they have a great obligation to be kind to everyone, to become sensitive to the wounds and struggles that so many other people carry, and that might be driving some of their behaviors.

    • Lauren says

      Wow, Trish. What a beautiful thought you’ve shared. “because I think so much dysfunction is also a reaction of cynicism to the failures of families, to deficiencies of love.” I love that. Very true. Thank yoiu for sharing your thoughts!

  6. Lori says

    You have expressed what I am feeling so perfectly. More than anything I feel incredibly sad for us all and especially for my friends who are celebrating these legal “victories.”

    Thank you so much for your words, written in love. It makes me feel better to know I’m not alone. God bless you!

  7. Emily says

    These are both very difficult issues to talk about. Both involve seeing the human dignity of every person. The problem is we want everyone to be happy, but not everyone sees the costs of what they believe to be happiness. Like any good parent God gave us rules because he knows what is best for us. Like you said the church has been around for over 2,000 years, and it does not need to change its teachings on Love. Recently I have been praying more for the conversion of the hearts of people who attack the Church. Today at mass Father talked about “destroying your enemies by making them your friends.” You did this through your love filled words. I believe in objective truth, but, and I still struggle with this, I have to realize that not everyone feels this way and to remember to always use words of love and not hate. You will never be able to win someone over if they think that you hate them. The Church does not hate anyone.

  8. Jenna@CallHerHappy says

    I’m finally getting a chance to read this today. I am so glad you wrote it. I am usually not super shy about writing controversy, but lately it hasn’t been on my heart.

    Anyway, the way you wrote this is so loving and well thought out. Muy bueno!

  9. Jordan says

    I don’t think it is a bad idea, Lauren, for you to venture into controversy. Having conversations about these issues, after all, is the only way that we as a nation will make any sort of progress regarding these issues. We all have our beliefs, but many of us lack the gift that you have – to be able to piece together what you believe to be true and present your ideas in a respectful way that is well received by both “sides” of the debate.

    I completely relate to your thoughts on abortion. I am a 21-year-old guy and I have to admit that I find myself experiencing exactly what you described. My heart hurts and feels all twisted when I hear my friends, co-workers, professors, and so on, fighting for the choice to end a little child’s life.

    As for gay marriage – reading what you wrote actually brought me to tears. Being gay and Catholic has been the single most saddening and emotionally taxing struggle that I have had to deal with and process since around age 14. To me, it is exactly how you described. I am just trying to live my life quietly and wanting to love. My heart breaks too, because I do not know how I am supposed to love and be happy when everything inside of me is urging me to go against everything that my faith believes in. I am afraid this will be a struggle that might not be fully answered in my time here on earth, so for now my only answer is prayer and trusting he will guide me down the right path.

    • Lauren says

      Bless you Jordan. You are one of the brave ones. I will pray for you on your journey – that our Lord will give you comfort and peace and the strength to stay faithful to our beautiful Church. Thank you for speaking out and sharing your thoughts with us.

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