Saturday, March 31, 2007

the tiny little bit I do

I wish I could do more than the tiny little bit that I do. There’s the whole email thing with Amnesty International, Pax Christi, Network, Move On, and the others that these groups work in conjunction with along with emailing my elected officials and letters to the editor. I also have this Blog. I want my position on all this horrible nonsense that’s going on in this country to be well known especially to my family. I want my grandchildren to know that their Grandpa had the courage to take a public stand during these interesting times we all seem to be thrown.

Citizens of countries that let tyranny reign either through direct involvement or through welcomed ignorance and laziness or fear have found they’re faced with guilt and shame for several generations. I predict when things are said and done everyone will claim to have opposed Neocon excesses, abuses and crimes when in actuality they were either blind followers or apathetic or just to scared to speak up.

I know this may sound like a lot to someone who does absolutely nothing but I know it’s very little compared to those participating in the meet-ups and rallies and especially all those on the front lines of the peace and human rights movements. All of these good people truly need all of our support and prayers. I would love to participate more but once again the illness (MS) and its associated poverty get in the way. MS gets in the way of this little Blog of mine far more often than I would like. I do what I can.

The truly remarkable lady from Africa, who, a couple years back, won the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai, tells a story of a hummingbird that flies back and forth to the river scooping up mouthfuls of water to spit on a roaring jungle fire. All the other animals, just sitting around hopelessly, laugh at and belittle the poor hummingbird and inquire as to why such a small animal is even trying to put the fire out. The hummingbird just looks at them and replies,” I’m doing what I can.” I’m trying to follow that example in my own stumbling bumbling off the beaten path kind of way. The illness constantly interferes.

It is well known that honest dissent takes courage and is the highest form of patriotism. People say they have love of nation and faith in God but once again it is necessary to point out that the greater part of faith is trust. If we love Jesus it’s imperative that we at least struggle to trust in what He taught us. We all fall short, I know I have a whole stack of demons I wrestle with and I let them win far more often than I should. I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve. If you were to see me rolling down the street in my electric wheelchair you might be able to think I was capable of what I write on the ‘Circuitous’ page but not on the ‘Musings’ page.
But, as a Christian community, as varied as it is, for us who are so bold to refer to ourselves as followers of Jesus to outright deny His teachings in favor of fear and hate in order to grasp at some illusion of earthly security is just wrong. We should all be encouraging each other in this struggle and not be putting pressure on those who disagree to join in an orgy of embracing evil. Hate is evil, it always has been and it always will be the largest obstacle to fitting through the needles eye.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

How can anyone remain Catholic?

Sometimes people wonder how anyone can remain Catholic these days. I stay Catholic for the same reason I’m not in Canada. I’m furious with United States leadership but I love the country and I’m not about to leave. I’ll stay and do my bit for positive change. I’m angry with the Church leadership and saddened with the political naiveté and insincerity towards Catholic Social Teaching among conservative members of the congregation but I’m not about to leave.
I love the Mass and devotions. I believe in the Eucharist. I have a devotion to Our Blessed Mother Mary. Even if I did decide to leave I’m not really left with a lot of choices. I suppose I could consider one of the Eastern Rite churches such as the Greek Orthodox or maybe even the Episcopal Church. But, I was born and raised Catholic and this is where I belong.
We’re going through another rough time in our history but I have faith we will survive it and become a better church because of it. There are many Christ-loving progressive voices within the Church; the sisters are doing a great job, trying to wake up the congregations. The more light that is let in on the leadership because of the press and courts the sooner those abuse cases will hopefully be resolved.
Other changes slowly advance at a snails pace.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

a tad bit in the open

I’m a married father of five and grandfather to two beautiful little identical twin girls. My wife and I have been married for thirty years and we are both U.S. Air Force veterans. She was in for ten and I was in for four. We are both disabled with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As a consequence we both are no longer able to work, in fact we need a considerable amount of help at home to just kinda keep up.

Cognitive problems hit me first and started showing up while I was still in the USAF. I just knew, because of my fractured brain, I would end up in a lot of trouble before the military doctors ever figured out what was wrong with me. My wife also possesses all the cognitive problems now. The civilian world also diagnosed me with a Rapid-Cycling Bipolar Disorder.

The shrinks ignored all my physical symptoms and the regular MD’s weren’t sure what was going on. Once you get the mental illness label it seems everything that occurs to you fits nicely under that label. If it wasn’t for the good efforts of Dr. Tammy I would still be an ‘interesting case’( I was told that) on some shrinks couch. My wife and I were both diagnosed with MS within a couple weeks of each other. We are a bit of an oddity since no one has ever heard of both partners in a long time marriage both developing MS. It’s been very hard on the family but doubly so for the kids. Bipolar is exceptionally hard on every one especially during the undiagnosed years. The illness has brought us into poverty with all the commensurate lack of respect.

How did we both get ‘The Illness’? Was it old Air Force days? We both grew up about a mile apart, as the crow flies, on the Illinois side of the Saint Louis area. Was it something in the water or blowing in from the factories along the Mississippi? Or did God just decide we were both so ornery that He would just go ahead and inflict us on each other? We’ll never know. We just have to keep going and hang in there the 'best we can'.

My wife and I and the three kids still at home struggle along by ourselves as 'best we can'. It’s amazing how society still expects us to jump through all the hoops everyone else does with equal success and enthusiasm.

Thanks to the 109th Congress they just took away, as of the first of this year, my disability money and medical. I’ll keep going but there are people out there who will lose there lives as a result of these cutbacks.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society