evolution…mine

English:

English: “The Barnum & Bailey greatest show on earth Wonderful performing geese, roosters and musical donkey”. Chromolithograph. Français : Affiche originale pour le cirque Barnum obtenue par chromolithographie vers 1900. Traduction du texte “Barnum & Bailey, le plus grand spectacle sur terre. Ses merveilleuses oies et coqs dressées, son âne musicien. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been 2 years since I gave birth to hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul. I did it in response to events that unfolded in the media like Barnum and Bailey‘s Three Ring Circus. The first was the 2008 Presidential Election; the second,  Michael Jackson’s death. Like many, I remained glued to my TV set for days on end.

What finally got me to put my thoughts into a blog was hearing the same refrain over and over again…”The American people feel…”

I often babbled to myself  “How the heck do they know what I think?” and “Who said they could speak for me?” Tell me you don’t have the same thoughts when you hear the pundits spinning their half-truths, or downright lies?

Well some things never change.

Here we are again…smack dab in the middle of another Presidential Election. Complete with the same spinning…day in…day out.

I won’t lie though. I love the high octane excitement, the back and forth, the “he saids” and the “he meants.” However I still cringe when I hear…”The American people feel…”

While little has changed on the outside…there’s been movement within.

I’ve evolved.

The change hasn’t been seismic. On the Richter scale…maybe a 2. Just enough for me to notice.

Two years ago, blogging was a new adventure for me.

At first I dabbled, writing more introspectively. I regurgitated the beauty I saw in the world around me. I reveled in happy thoughts and memories. My words were measured. I had no desire to tackle controversy, not wanting to offend. Never mind that I might be offended.

As I broadened my horizons to include other members of the Word Press community of bloggers, their realities seeped into mine…and mine into theirs.

Not all the stories I read had fairy tale endings. Not all writers came from happy places. Some came from dysfunction, as had I. Many sought encouragement and confirmation, as did I. There were safe havens. Places to go…for kind words, compassion, hope.

I was emboldened to take a stand. Speak my mind…my truth. And I supported the efforts of others to do the same.

Strangers…some who became friends…affirmed my thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Feeling encouraged, I moved forward taking control of my own life.

There was no looking back as I made my way, a day at a time.

I realized however, that my newfound confidence must be tempered with a large dose of humility. Having a following of readers is heady stuff. It can become an ego trip. Focusing too much upon becoming popular, as in how many hits are garnered, can lead one astray from one’s goal.

My goal has always been to write, and write well. If I publish a book someday, as some have suggested I do, that will be a bonus beyond what I’ve already accomplished.

With a lot of help from all of you, I’ve learned to accept who I am. I’ve gained the strength to stand firm in my convictions. I’m comfortable in my own skin. Others’ opinions matter, but no longer to my own detriment.

I matter…finally. 

Like the caterpillar that metamorphoses into the butterfly and the chameleon that adapts to its surroundings, I’ve gone from being a wise, old coot at 61…to being a wiser, older coot at 63.

Perfect I ain’t. I’ve still got the same body in need of repairs now and then. I don’t always eat right…and exercise regularly. I’m always behind the eight-ball when it comes to paying my respects to fellow bloggers…and accepting awards from some. I still lack some technological know-how.

I still make mistakes.

Think Tank

Think Tank (Photo credit: Robiwan_Kenobi)

In spite of my shortcomings, and who doesn’t have a few, I’ve planted my feet firmly and proclaimed to the world…

…i have arrived…and i ain’t going back…

………hugmamma.   😆

 

 

discipline and community

My mind may wander during Mass, I may glance around looking for familiar faces among the congregation, smile when a friend recognizes me, admire Father Brian’s recently purchased vestments, puzzle over the types of flowers arranged in vases around the altar. But when we sit and Father begins the homily, he has my undivided attention. My husband agrees that our pastor has a gift for public speaking.

I’m sorry to say I’ve no idea what the Gospel was about. I was lost in thought attempting to make sense of the previous reading, the Epistle. The woman seemed not to understand what she was reading so she stumbled over the words, saying “disciple” instead of “discipline.” I’m always impressed by these volunteers who must appear to understand the words set in front of them, even though they may not grasp their full meaning. Some may take a few minutes before Mass to familiarize themselves with their task, but it’s not always possible to do so, I’m sure. So while Father was reading the Gospel, I was probably feeling sorry for the previous speaker, and thanking God that I had not been in her shoes. Unlike her, I would have been blushing to my white roots.

My ears perk up when I hear Father speaking “regular” English for it makes comprehending simpler; narratives in the Bible require that I focus. And as I’ve said, my mind is multi-tasking. When Father begins with some personal anecdote everyone seems to straighten up, and tune in to what he’s saying.

Father spoke of his early days as a seminarian, and how difficult it was to learn discipline. He did not relate well with the first person charged with instructing the novices. He did better with the next person, the “student master,” who would explain the reason for leveling discipline upon those in his care. When students at the UofW Newman Center asked Father Brian to join them for a weekend retreat, the ‘student master” denied the request. When Father asked if he might attend the wedding of friends elsewhere, he was again denied. The explanation given for the denials was that he needed to focus on the vocation he had chosen, and the community in which he lived. He needed to learn discipline, understanding that he could not have his way in everything. As Father’s words washed over me, I pondered their meaning for me.

Over breakfast my husband and I discussed the homily.  I explained that as Father spoke, I could feel myself turning inward, humbling myself as Catholics of my era are wont to do. Talk about “glass ceilings,” I think Catholicism cornered the market on that centuries before it ever occurred to feminists trying to work their way up the corporate ladder.  Throughout the 12 years I was schooled by nuns from Boston, we students were constantly reminded about our need for humility. So I wondered if I was confusing the need for discipline with the need to be humble, as taught by my religion. 

I was interested in my husband’s perspective since, having been a seminarian, I assumed he’d had more theology than me. Ever the pragmatist he replied that his theological schooling had not exceeded mine and furthermore, every person needed discipline within himself, that it had nothing to do with religion. He was right.

Without self-discipline, we usurp the rights of others, including other species which share our natural resources. Without self-discipline, personal happiness eludes us because we are never satisfied unless we have more. Without self-discipline, we set ourselves apart from our community. Without self-discipline, we are unable to teach our children the values necessary for their evolution as good citizens. 

I think having humility might make it easier to learn self-discipline; but having self-discipline doesn’t guarantee humility. Being a Catholic raised in the 50’s and 60’s, I have to be careful not to mistake being humble with self-reproachment. Catholics of my generation bought into the guilt trip, “hook, line and sinker.” So while I humbly acknowledge my gift for writing, I realize that with it comes the need for discipline, knowing that I have a responsibility to my readers in what I say, and how I say it. I think all writers have that responsibility, though some may not think so.

While I paid no heed to God’s gospel, I think I got Father Brian’s homily. I think I’ll need him as a middle-man to gain entrance to Heaven. Father speaks my language, “regular” English.

pray for me…hugmamma.