Like many people I know who blog, I have found myself experiencing the “gee, I am just too exhausted to write today” phenomenon lately. Thus, my best intentions have been thwarted by simple physical and mental fatigue.
It’s not that I haven’t written a hundred different blogs in my head. No, material is not at a lack. By the time my brain wrangles through five or six scenarios, I am to wiped to write.
So today, I am choosing to sally forth and put pen to paper, er, finger to keystroke. Where to begin…
I almost find it silly to share sewing plans, fashion observations and cosmetic buys with you when my conscience is prodding me to speak prophetically to our national and international nightmare.
On the one hand, life goes on, clothing is made and sunscreens that function as foundations are a nice idea. Reporting on these little items brings some sanity and breathing space from scarier topics.
On the other hand, I find myself profoundly challenged to dig deep within, to do an examination of conscience in an extreme and personal manner to ferret out the demons that cloud my responses, or the truths that underpin them.
As I flip the great coin this afternoon, it is landing on the side of examine.
If you didn’t sign up for this type of post, it’s okay to stop reading and move on. No prob.
If you are curious, let’s walk through this together, okay?
Here we go…
An examination of conscience is done before receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation in the Catholic Tradition. That said, we all have the power to do a “lookover” of our day before we fall asleep each night. I like to imagine myself sitting with Christ, on a hill somewhere, and just chatting about the day—the challenges, the delights, the goodnesses and the disappointments. That look back is fodder for what I may have learned or where I could grow.
The examine I am proposing here, is deeper. I am aware that I need to confront the toxic atmosphere in our various societies by first, as the Christian Scriptures say, plucking the log out of my own eye before I attempt to yank the splinter out of anyone else’s eye.
I humbly present these questions and thoughts as my own. You are welcome to respond however you wish. You may be mortified or consoled…
- What is my first reaction when I see a person of color—especially a man—in my neighborhood? Why does my head turn and jerk at this? I do not have specific rights to any area!
- Why do I first presume shootings and violent crimes have happened in particular neighborhoods, when in truth, every area is open to crime and violence by people of all genders and races?
- What stops me from seeing beyond stereotypes for any person of any culture?
- What is the true fear driving the current demonization of immigrants? Is it really that someone will lose a job or an opportunity, or does it go deeper? Is the real issue at hand, that people who are white fear that they will become the minority?
- Why would I be frightened to be a minority? Do I really believe that white skin makes me better than anyone else?
- Where do I weigh in on that fear? Am I willing to be vulnerable to a mix of cultural gifts, even if it means that I am no longer the final word in society?
- Can I name what I most value about my religious and faith experiences without devaluing another’s? This concept is not simply and “I’m Catholic and you’re not:” it extends to traditional vs. progressive and conservative vs. liberal theologies within Christianity, as well as embracing the many traditions of faith throughout the world.
- How well do I listen to another person speak their understanding of and their truth?
- Am I respectful in response or am I a simple reactionary?
- Do my spending habits reflect the attention to social justice that I claim to believe?
- Am I choosing to promote healthy actions in social media responses?
- Am I striving to be an informed citizen, voting and encouraging others to do the same? Do I allow the good of all, the example of Christ, to inform my choices at the voting booth or am I a one topic voter, failing to make connections to the Gospel?
- Do I see myself as intimately connected to all people, everywhere, and to this earth we share? Am I willing to make sacrifices and choices to promote the common good?
- Do I look critically at actions and words of leaders in church and country, to attempt to understand intention, and to speak out against injustice?
- Am I stretching myself through education and listening to examine and change the source of a problem, and not just apply a bandage?
- At the end of the day, can I honestly say that I tried to walk the walk?
Still with me?
These are some of the angst producing questions I have wrestled with during this summer. I know more are brewing within. As I write them down, I realize that I simply could not blog about anything else before confronting these issues.
I do encourage you to ponder your questions, to do an examine. Perhaps if we all try this, we can start to talk with each other and see each other through loving eyes.
Shall we try?
Now please excuse me while I try to yank that log out of my eye…