As we move into November and begin to think of things we are thankful for (one for every day of the month) I think back over the month of October and recall how God taught me a good lesson on three separate occasions.
Probably the most blatant lesson I learned was at the very beginning of the month while I was standing in line for confession. I must confess (haha) that I was there to grasp that Franciscan plenary indulgence (it was October 5th, the day after the Feast of St Francis of Assisi). And while I waited in the line I was praying to rosary… it was pretty quiet in the church, being 3:00 on a Saturday afternoon with maybe ten people waiting… but then a guy 2 people back began to talk politics… yeah. he did. So at first I did not say anything … until he started ragging on Republicans… “Hey I’m a Republican..” I piped up. Bad move, Kelly. I should have let it be and continue on with my rosary.. but no… lil’ ole me has to chime in. So what does he say, “You Republicans hate Obama because he is black!” wait… WHAT?! … My mouth must have hung open… I still can’t believe people believe that nonsense! So of course I HAD to say something, “It has nothing to do with his skin color. I don’t like his politics. There are plenty of black Republicans who I like…” and the man continued to bait me with more ridiculous liberal talking point lies… so I just had to respond (HAD TO!)… “I am pro life that is why I don’t like Obama’s policies…” and the man kept going… all crazy irrational… he barked at me …and in a church! I finally put my hand up and said, “I am not arguing about this in church!”… but he kept at it …so I said it again, “I am not arguing in a church!” … but at this point I was FLAMING MAD! There I was in line for confession ARGUING!!! And actually I thank God I was in line for confession because the first thing I did when I got into the confessional was confess arguing with a fellow parishioner! But I was so flustered I couldn’t remember half of all the other stuff I was going to confess! O.o … so the wise young priest told me, “As a reformed ‘know-it-all…’” he began and went on to discuss how sometimes we should just let it go and not argue with others. I learned that I do not need to be right all the time and I do not have to defend myself all the time. Stop arguing, Kelly. I just need to be loving and kind to others. I can explain myself, if needed, but in a loving way. Meet people where they are, listen to them and be loving. This is a message our wonderful new Pope has been trying to convey recently… so as I left the confessional I went over to the man and hugged him. Yes I did. I hugged him and it felt good.
So yeah wow. I took that lesson with me into the month… and there I was sitting with someone at work and politics was brought up …again. Now this someone was a lovely woman I work with who I had just met the month before. We always had nice conversations and I really liked her… but then she started saying things … well, let me put it this way… that were of the same mind-set of that crazy guy in church… so again I started to go back and forth with her… but then I remembered … and I stopped, “Hey, let’s not talk about politics,” I said. “Good idea,” she responded. And then life was good again between us.
When John Paul (The Great!) II’s feast day came I was posting pictures of him all over my Facebook wall. Pictures of when he was young (and cool… though he was always cool!), old, and my favorite funny one of him with his fingers making the funny glasses…
well, that seemed to bother a lovely Christian friend of mine who posted, “Is he still alive?” .. I knew where she was going with it… Protestants don’t like the whole “saint” veneration thing we do (because they don’t understand it) so I replied that he died in 2005 and was going to be a saint the week after Easter this coming year. I believe she asked me a question in her next post … so I then answered her, for I do believe if someone is legitimately inquiring about my faith then I should respond the best way I can (Holy Spirit inspired, of course)… I even used bible quotes and some wording from some apologetics I had (I have several books)… But … no matter … She then began to tell me how wrong I was and she explained what she believed and said she would pray that someday I would see this… etc… well I could have gone on with more apologetic quotes and why Catholics believe what they believe… but I didn’t … I told her that I answered her question, that I loved being Catholic and that God had put it on my heart recently to not argue with people but to meet them where they were and with what we have in common which is Jesus … I ended it with an ‘I love you, sistah.’ … I refused to get sucked in and argue… even though I wanted to … and it felt good. Praise be the Lord, alleluia!
So this past month I learned to control my urge to be Mrs. Know-It-All … well… I am sure this will be an ongoing lesson….
“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.” 2 Timothy 2: 23-24