Under Construction

So in my job for the past month or so I’ve had to interact with a utility company whose customer service probably made it into the rough draft of Dante’s Inferno. Anyway, I’ve had quite a time working with this company to make a certain structural repair and I was more than a little annoyed by the end of everything with the fairly polite but completely ineffective service calls I spent hours of my life making.

So when I got a report that a similar repair needed to be done at a different property you can bet I whined internally at even the thought of starting the whole song and dance all over again. However, this time I placed one call to request a repair and my call was returned (a first) by the manager who was extremely polite and gave me both a repair time estimate and his contact information (another first). He was one of those good old fashioned guys who takes pride in his work and does his best to keep the promises he makes to his customers.

Afterward, I found myself having a moment of genuine appreciation, but also one of genuine humility, because earlier in the day I had completely roasted that company to a coworker in a way that was scathingly hilarious and at the time felt completely justifiable. Yet I never like when I go down that path because such an unsavory talent makes it socially allowable to say extremely mean things without qualifying yourself as a mean person because you veiled it in humor.

I mean I suppose it’s one thing to vent, I think few are truly literal when they are speaking in the heat of the moment, and it is also true that venting invites exaggeration by it’s very nature. But this is a slippery slope for me because I don’t want to fall back into saying things that are sharp and rather merciless and get away with it because it was funny and full of the snark that the world loves so much. Because in my experience when the world loves something that they know is wrong or mean they start to rationalize the behavior to make it acceptable.

As comforting as it can be to hear these lies, the truth is I always feel bad when I speak candidly without thinking and I always regret when I allow myself to be judgmental because I am annoyed at the person or corporation in question. It may be a very human flaw, but I never want to hide behind my human weaknesses by softening them as something justifiable or twisting them so I can remain in a virtuous light.

I’m Catholic which means I prefer facing my many, many weaknesses head on with the patient faith that God will help me overcome them and the joy that I am loved tremendously in spite of them.

And that merciful love is certainly what keeps me going because this process takes a while and I know I’ve still got a long way to go…

 

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Isn’t It Ironic?

So today I came across an interesting comment which read:

Isn’t it ironic how Christians/Catholics are “pro-life” in the sense that life is important to them, but if that life happens to be gay, like me, it’s suddently worthless. So you’ll fight for fetuses but applaud Russian men who beat homosexuals?

This certainly reeks of a bad experience with the Church and I actually feel compassion for this guy because while he may be believing a lie it doesn’t mean the lie doesn’t give him genuine sadness. And in light of that revelation it bothers me that I get accused of hating things all the time, whether directly or indirectly, not based on my actions but as a “natural” result of my beliefs.

I would not deny being pro-life after writing so many pieces about the topic but I reject the notion that because I believe in something I must by default hate everything else that is not that something. This is an absolutely baseless assumption because the nature of choice implies exclusion. By choosing to wear my cute gray sweater from Kohls to work today I rejected every other top in my closet not because I’m anti t-shirt or against my navy blue sweaters or because I hate cardigans (I love them), but because I had to pick a top for work today and this one is pretty, weather appropriate, and convenient as I had a limited window to make my choice since I overslept.

But there are more important choices in this world than which top to wear and when it comes to religion I’m never sure whether I chose Catholicism (I did) or it chose me (also true). But to be Catholic is to believe it’s teaching to be the truth revealed to man through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And I do. Call it mindless submission to authority if you like, but it is my free choice to be Catholic and that decision binds me to its teaching because if I profess it as my faith but don’t believe or practice its teachings then I am a hypocrite.

And with Catholicism, it is often explained to me that because I follow Church teaching which upholds traditional marriage I automatically hate all gay people. False. That because I follow Church teachings on chastity I’m a prude who looks down on everyone and has “unrealistic” expectations about life and men. False (and rather jaded). And that because I follow Church teaching on contraception I’m against women’s rights. Also false. The list goes on. I’m thinking you get the idea. The ironic part is those I have argued with and who bring such claims forward are using their own bias to condemn my perceived bias and demanding I apologize for their incorrect perceptions.

I can tell you I’m not against the individuals of the LGBT community, women, etc. but I have no control as to whether or not you believe it. I would hope my words and actions demonstrate as much to you but that’s the tricky part about bias, if people are looking to hate or denounce you they can certainly find a way and once the claim is out there our shallow world cares very little about whether or not it’s actually true so long as it fits the narrative of Christians as bigoted, oppressive, ignorant etc. And to use such a narrative to justify hating me because of my religion, to use that ill will as the basis for assuming that I would do something so callous as to cheer one man beating another solely because of his sexual preference is perhaps the most ironic of all because in that moment this anonymous man becomes the very type of person he is condemning, one who chooses to hate others based on nothing but their life choices.

And that is an irony of the worst kind.

Dog Days

So the other day I was taking care of my dog and since I’ve been working a ton lately it was extra fun just hanging out with her while everyone else I live with was away. Anyway, eventually I really needed her to go outside and do her business so I could put her to bed. She took forever to find a location that met her high maintenance needs, but she finally peed and without even meaning too I cheered her on like those cliche dog owners do in movies, cooing “good girllll” like Glinda the Good Witch. And for whatever reason I thought that if my dog could talk she would put me in my place, because that must be so condescending.

And I only say that because I cannot imagine how that process would go in reverse. The restroom would be the absolute last place I would want anyone cheering me on. And, if I’m being honest, at the very least my dog is smart enough to put together the fact that I’m faking my enthusiasm. It’s far from the first time I’ve witnessed the spectacle and she’d probably prefer if I just skipped straight to the treat.

But at the end of the day my dog still has that magical man’s best friend halo, because no matter where we are or what we’re doing she never seems to mind (as long as there’s not a thunderstorm!)

Lucky to have that cutie in my my life.

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