Friday, October 29, 2010

The Glass Philosophy, part II

I have a loved one who is firmly entrenched in not being able to see the glass at all. She is a champion at reciting past hurts, insults and transgressions at dizzying speed. I'm not saying that she doesn't have reason to be hurt, but how long is long enough to carry around that garbage?

I don't have all the answers. Not by a long shot. I still find some people hard to love and I struggle. But I am learning. These are a couple of the things I've learned:

1. Different families have different expectations of what is 'normal' or 'expected'. You can't hold people to the same standard as your own family. That's asking for trouble.

When buying our house, we asked my sister and her husband for their opinion, trusting it more than our own and trusting they would tell us what they truly thought. When my daughter and her husband were looking seriously at a house they asked our opinion and his parents opinion. They said nothing, we said lots. I could not stand back and watch them make what in my opinion was a serious mistake. Nor could I understand his parents' silence. Perhaps they couldn't believe my 'meddling'. Different families, different ways.

2. It does absolutely no good to carry grudges and look for the bad. It takes a lot of energy to do both things. It is not being strong to be able to cast people out of your life for petty things, it is weak. Forgiveness takes strength and work. It takes humility since we can't do somethings all on our own. We need to ask for help and grace.

3. The book Crucial Conversations -tools for talking when the stakes are high was an eye-opener for me. It wasn't a fluffy, feel-good book. It had a lot of common sense to it. One of the most interesting pieces was how we fill in details about something we have observed. We stray from facts - the action or statement of someone else - and color in our own details, based on nothing and how that filler we provide gets in the way of our having a conversation with someone else; at the very least it makes that conversation difficult.

4. Take things at face value and assume positive intent. Don't go looking for motive. Don't be suspicious.

5. Accept people as they are - warts and all. If you have a friend who always wants your help but is scarce when you need her or isn't well acquainted with the truth - don't be surprised if she's not around when you need a friend but if she is, bonus! Don't have unrealistic expectations.

Nothing I've learned is particularly creative, original, earth shattering or particularly new. But it was new to me. Now I need to figure out how to help my loved one. If you think of it during your prayers, please pray for my loved one.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! Mary, look with favor upon us, grant us the graces we most need. Amen.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Glass Philosophy, Part I

We've all heard of optimists and pessimists being described as seeing the glass 'half-full' or 'half-empty'. I think there is a third category of people, far beyond the pessimist, who can't see the glass at all. Those whose thoughts are so distorted and dark that they are unable to recognize good when they see it. Those who cart around grievances, hurts and slights with the ease and dexterity of a professional mover.

I lived in the suburbs of that dark city for a long, long while. I moved there bit by bit each time I had an opportunity to forgive and said, 'yeah right'. I didn't know how to forgive and had not the slightest interest in learning how. I'd been forgiven in a beautiful, generous and complete way but I never recognized that's what it was. I'd discarded friends and family who, in my mind, crossed uncrossable lines. The most recent casualties were a couple of my sisters. They resided in the discard pile for nearly a decade. Twice, one of them offered a olive branch. Twice, I scoffed and rejected it. Oh, I knew that not forgiving was wrong. The part of the Our Father that talks about being forgiven as we forgive poked at me. I didn't know how to move out and didn't really have the desire. Sometimes I'd half-heartedly ask for the desire to forgive but it was a weak prayer.

I eventually was booted out the dark land and I'm not sure how. I know it was not my doing. I believe it was through the intercession of my guardian angel and praying the divine mercy chaplet that the incredible Mercy of our Lord Jesus worked a miracle in my heart. I am not using the word miracle lightly nor in a joking manner. I have no other explanation for what happened other than that. I truly believe that it was a miracle.

I finally saw there was a glass. I finally learned how to forgive and how to ask for forgiveness. Well, I'm still learning but I want to forgive and quickly. I learned that there are many sides to a story and I didn't own all the hurt. I've come to recognize that the story I tell myself isn't necessarily a true one; that I color in all kinds of untrue details instead of looking at just what I know.

This post may come across as overly dramatic but it was a dramatic change that Jesus wrought. It was His doing and His Mercy. All the old, ugly feelings and hurts are gone. Gone. Nothing bubbles up or lurks beneath the surface. It is really and truly gone. If that is not miraculous, I don't know what is. I was and am reconciled with my sisters. From as fractured as we were, we've come a long way. We have a long way to go.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee! Please intercede for those who struggle with letting go of ancient history and forgiveness. Grant us peace, through your Son Jesus. Amen

Friday, October 15, 2010

National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss day. Did you know every single day 2000 women suffer from pregnancy or infant loss? Every single day. 730,000 babies are lost every year yet no one talks about it. Why not? Is it due to shame? Embarrassment? The culture of death?

I had a miscarriage last year in January. I was so overjoyed at finally being pregnant after being married nearly nine years. Finally, we were going to have a baby! I was so thrilled I wanted to take out billboards to announce our joyous news. I wanted to tell absolute strangers God had gifted us with a baby. My husband wanted to take a more low key approach and not get our hopes up because we knew right away that our chances of my being able to hold on to our baby were very low because my pregnancy hormones were low. But how could anyone pray for us if they didn't know? I wanted every single prayer I could muster in order to keep our baby and to accept God's will for us.

To our great sorrow, I was unable to hold on to our baby. I don't know if the baby was a boy or girl. Sometimes now it doesn't even seem very real. But, I think about her. I thought about her yesterday as I held my grandson. I thought about her on what would have been her birthday.
I have a ring that I bought in her memory.

I can readily call at least six people to mind who have all suffered one if not more miscarriages or stillbirths. Talking about it opens the door for others to talk about it, too. It is entrance into a 'club' that no one really wants to join but are now a member.

For more information or to read inspiring stories visit I am the Face or Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. I have a friend whose story is there. Her strength is amazing.

Please pray for those who have suffered and are suffering from a loss of a child at any age. O Mary, conceived without sin, you who wanted your Son die a horrible, painful death, help us to trust in the Lord, trust in His Mercy and cling to Him. Amen.