Saturday, March 29, 2008

Breakin' the Rules

I knew that once I made a post about the things I won't write about that I would eventually break the rules. Which is what I'm about to do - go figure.

2 years ago I worked for a national portrait company. It was my job to live for 5 days a week in a new location...mostly Nebraska. I worked in the evening taking member portraits for church directories. When there was a lull between clients, or I was bored in my hotel room, I would write. The following is something that I wrote...and then after that some explanation.

How do we measure many by only a few?
Sex --
Why do we allow ourselves to become so narrow-minded?
I spent this week, along with last week, at a Catholic church. On both occasions I was afforded the opportunity to meet the man that so many called Father. Perhaps I have allowed myself to form narrow opinions, for reasons other than the current issues of the Catholic church.
So far I have found serenity, kindness…not only in actions, but in their faces.
This particular week I observed a man…53, who has devoted his entire life to God.
His footsteps - soft and purposeful.
His stance - hands folded together in front of his body.
His voice - soft and unobtrusive.
His speech - humorous jokes, but beyond that he said nothing that wasn’t necessary.
I know there are horrors of this world, I’m not saying otherwise. I am saying we must not lose sight of individuals and that the world is so much bigger than ‘a few’. Think this way - Even 1,000 out of 6 billion is incredibly few.

The 'horrors' I spoke of: during the time of this writing the Catholic church was involved in a LOT of scandal - you all now what I'm talking about. Every week was another report of child molestation by a priest. I, like nearly everyone else who isn't Catholic, wondered if all priests were corrupt.
I always saw priests, up to this point, as an enigma. I admired their dedication to God...but secretly saw them as pious snobs. I was raised to see God as a friend and loving Father that I could talk to, on my own, any time I wanted to. I read the bible for myself and worshipped freely.
When I thought of the Catholic church I saw everyone stoically reciting after the priest when it was their time then filing out of the pews ready to sin again knowing that for a few Hail Mary's the priest would absolve them. I'll admit that I let many things that I heard, or saw on tv, sway my judgement - including all the things I learned about the history of the Catholic church.
It turns out that I was the pious snob.
I won't go into how this photography job changed my attitude - I hope you can see some of the change in the writing above. But, I did work closely with a Catholic woman who opened my eyes to a LOT of things. We talked about the levels of 'priesthood' - and I'm probably way off base as to what its called, but I'm talking about priest, bishop, cardinal, pope. She explained anullment and the policy on birth control.
No longer an enigma it IS now a fascination.

I'm grateful for eye-opening situations :)