Friendship can be hard with our different habits, distance, and how busy we all get. But if I’ve learned anything through trial and error, it’s that friendship is worth it. We need it. We were not created to be alone or isolated. We are made in the image of God, a communion of persons, to do life with other people. It’s easier said than done, but it’s something we know we need.
It’s been a quiet year since graduating college. And if you told me in the months leading up to graduation what life would look like now, I don’t know that I would have believed you. It’s not because life is crazy, but because honestly, life has been status quo and at times mundane.
In college, my schedule was packed most of the time: classes, weekly meetings of different sorts, babysitting, event planning, group leading, spontaneous adventures and everyday living with people, etc. The funny thing is: none of that comes with you after graduation. I knew that. But now I’ve lived it too.
I started a new job, moved, and found a parish. But I’m not super busy anymore.
As someone who was so used to being busy, it was and still is strange to come home from work and have nothing that absolutely must be done. It’s freeing in a way: I’ve read so much, explored creative things, gotten a bike, taken group exercise classes, killed some plants and kept others alive. But it’s also terrible. I feel a responsibility to spend my time well and give back to the world, which is easier said than done – because hello, where do you start?
When you graduate and are starting life all over again, having a world of possibilities is empowering but also frustrating. Yes, the sky’s the limit. But where do you start? I’ve tried out lots of things and have met great people since graduating. But it’s just different. And I haven’t found exactly the things to commit to yet.
I’m learning to be okay with that.
This is a time not everyone gets in their life, and really I am grateful to breath in the stillness of hikes and read and cook and work on myself. I count it as an accomplishment that I’ve grown comfortable being by myself (in a healthy way) and finding new things to try out. People say kids need to be bored to spark their creativity and imagination – is it true for adults too? Seems like it. I’ve been thinking and writing so many posts in my head to share. Maybe one day I’ll remember to!
My faith is so important to me, and the gospel from last Sunday had me thinking: it was the story of the seeds sown in different areas and how you need fertile ground for seeds to grow and thrive. Do I hear and understand God’s word and take action because of it? Do I nurture and prioritize the most important things in life? Yes, I know the power of God’s love at the capacity I can understand it right now. Have I let that soak into every part of me and radically change the way I live?
. . . a challenging question for us all to ask.
I have no idea what life will bring, but I do know the future is in the hands of a God who’s got my back.
There’s so much I could write and rage about, but really – what else matters? I mean, there’s a lot that matters and we can’t be apathetic. But this time is giving me space to read and learn and grow and seek and find what’s really most important in life. It’s been the perfect time to read Cardinal Sarah’s book The Power of Silence. He Says:
“Without noise, man is feverish, lost. Noise gives him security, like a drug on which he has become dependent. With its festive appearance, noise is a whirlwind that avoids facing itself. Agitation becomes a tranquilizer, a sedative, a morphine pump . . .this noise is a dangerous, deceptive, medicine, a diabolic lie that helps man avoid confronting himself”
Did you need a truth bomb? Because Cardinal Sarah has you covered. I want to come back to that thought and really challenge myself to use this time well: confronting what needs to be, giving how I can, working hard, and finding God in the stillness that can be so annoying.
Have you experienced a season of life like this? I’d love to hear about it!
If you’ve been on social media lately, you’ve probably seen someone post about Charlie Gard, the 10 month old London resident who will most likely die soon due to infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS). For us non-medical professionals, it’s a genetic disease where muscles and the brain progressively deteriorate and lose function, leading to death.
There’s only so much you can do in a situation like this. So Charlie’s parent’s wanted to bring him to the US to undergo an experimental treatment. They made a treatment plan with a leading expert and raised over a million pounds to cover expenses. Under their socialized medicine, though, Charlie’s specialists decided it would be in Charlie’s best interest to not pursue the experimental treatment and remove life support.
Charlie’s parents appealed, but lost their legal battle. They cannot take Charlie to the US or home to die naturally. The State has the final say.
Understandably so, many people are enraged at the State’s usurping of parental rights. I am too. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to receive such a diagnosis for your child, and then to be prevented from pursuing your last hope of treatment. So what’s the point in writing about this?
The Pontifical Academy for Life recently released a statement on this, and some people are losing their minds over it. So let’s clear a few things up:
The issue here is not the removal of life support – in this case, a ventilator. The issue is the State (using that term generally to refer to various local and national legal entities) usurping the parental right to pursue a treatment plan and decide, in consultation with specialists, if and when life support becomes burdensome and should be removed.
Removing life support is not always (though can be) equal to murder. Some of the headlines are absolutely ridiculous on this. Catholic bioethical standards are clear on ordinary versus extraordinary means of keeping individuals alive. We must take advantage of ordinary means of maintaining life. But we are not obligated to pursue extraordinary means of prolonging life when they “do not offer a reasonable hope of benefit, do entail an excessive burden, or do impose excessive expense on the family or the community”.
This is not something we as the public can decide for Charlie, as it’s a delicate line the medical professionals involved need to determine with the parents.
So when The Academy says: “we do . . . have to recognize the limitations of what can be done, while always acting humanely in the service of the sick person until the time of natural death occurs” – they’re absolutely right. Charlie’s doctors and parents seem to disagree about those limitations, unfortunately, which is where the problem exists.
It’s true that parents “must be helped to understand the unique difficulty of their situation”, as The Academy says. That doesn’t mean in this particular case the specialists or State were correct. It doesn’t mean the Vatican “sided with the State” as irresponsible journalists are titling their pieces. But I think we can all recognize that parents naturally would fight for their children. In some cases, they may fight beyond the time when a reasonable chance of recovery exists, which I think the Academy is making a point to recognize as a possibility in cases like this.
What can we gather from this?
Bioethics are extremely complicated. We know that any “act or omission that of itself or by intention causes death to alleviate suffering” is always morally wrong. So no, we shouldn’t advocate for “pulling the plug” to get it over with already. Life support should not be removed to hasten death.
From what I’ve read, that seems to be the problem here. The State seems to be hastening death when Charlie’s parents were prepared to pursue one last treatment that might have been able to reasonably help and improve Charlie’s life. The State is dead wrong to usurp parental rights, that’s for sure. But that’s the problem, not the removal of life support – which is a difficult decision we’re not qualified to make.
We need to be clear in our language, and try to understand this as best we can if we’re going to talk about it.
To learn more about issues like this, The National Catholic Bioethics Center is the best resource I know of to explore these kinds of bioethical issues. You can even email or call one of their ethicists for a consultation if you are facing an ethical dilemma or difficult medical decision.
If you’re left with questions still, let’s talk. And during this extremely difficult and tragic time, let’s pray for Charlie’s family and medical professionals.
You probably heard about the men who recently intervened between a man and two women he was verbally “racially harassing” (one of the women was black, the other was wearing a hijab). Three men intervened and two ended up being killed. The other was injured.
In response, Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler has been addressing free speech on his Facebook page. He addressed the people behind two unrelated upcoming events (Trump Free Speech Rally and March Against Sharia):
I am appealing to the organizers of the alt-right demonstrations to CANCEL the events they have scheduled . . . I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland. There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now.
Now hopefully any reasonable person would agree that harassment, murder, bigotry, racism, and hatred are all terrible things. There’s no place for those anywhere. I have no idea what the purpose of those two events is, or if they plan to be peaceful. A more recent posting in reference to the event says:
We need to reckon with the fact that racist attitudes lead to racist words, and that racist words lead to violence. And we need to decide what we’re going to do about it.
What are we going to do about it? There’s this growing idea that to prevent violence, we have to prevent people from holding and expressing certain ideas and attitudes. Now, we can agree that certain things are always wrong and terrible to even think.
But what do we do when the thought police go after people with opposing views who are reasonable and not murderers? When we get to ideas and attitudes, who gets to decide which ones we’re allowed to have?
In comment sections, articles, and everywhere on social media, I see people saying it’s “hate speech” to believe in traditional marriage or be against abortion. To some, it’s not just a personal or religious belief. Those are beliefs that personally offend other people, and they want to get rid of that uncomfortable reality by getting rid of your idea.
I think it says a lot about us when we’ve become so sensitive to differing viewpoints that we want to remove those people from our communities instead of attempting to live in peaceful disagreement.
This is not about murder and racism and violent, terrible crimes. This is about the thought police trying to appease people who disagree by silencing the people they disagree with.
I’d like to ask such individuals when we started thinking the whole world was our safe space.
Because it’s not.
When we walk out the doors or connect to the internet or have contact with another human being, we are going to encounter people who think differently than us. Of course we all think some people hold ridiculous opinions and beliefs. I’m Catholic, so I think people who are Atheist are wrong about God. I think people who are pro-choice are wrong about abortion. I think people against the right to bear arms are wrong about gun control. I think Scientology is creepy and that some animal rights activists need to chill.
But you know what?
Here in America, we are free to express and live out our beliefs, no matter how wrong we may be (as long as it doesn’t hurt people). None of us are entitled to lives without having our ideas questioned or opposed.
If you are after an eternal safe space, I’d recommend never getting on the internet or leaving your home, because there probably isn’t anyone you agree with 100%. We can’t deny that and try to live in a bubble by ostracizing people we think are wrong or ruining their livelihood.
We can disagree. We should shut crime down. But free speech is something I hold dear as an American, and infringement on that has got to go. If my ideas bother you, great. I’m glad that you have an idea too. Let’s talk and see if we can figure out what’s right. Or if it doesn’t matter. Ideas exist to be debated and researched and challenged and embraced. We can’t do that if we ignore or purposefully stifle ideas different than our own.
Time for some quick takes on this Friday afternoon! Head over to Kelly’s place for more.
1. This week I served jury duty. I was on standby the night before. Then when I checked back, I had 1:30 to report downtown. We all sat in a giant room (at least 200 people), and then I was one of 84 people called into a courtroom to start the jury selection process. The charge was read to us, and we filled out a questionnaire about related past experiences of ours. The next day, I was one of 24 called up to the jury box to begin questioning. It was a loooooong day. And I was SHOCKED at the number of people who had difficulty following instructions. I had to come in for a third day, and was thankful to be excused then. It was fascinating to see part of the process, but I have a trip coming up and it would have been too much time away from work.
2. Speaking of, I’ve officially been at my job for a year! It was quite the experience ending up where I am, but it’s good to be here. It’s not what I expected, and who knows what the future holds. But I’m thankful to be gainfully employed.
3. In other adulting news, my sister and I have been thinking of starting an Etsy shop with greeting cards and prints. We’re experimenting with watercolor and calligraphy. Anyone have a favorite quote or type of card you’d like but can’t find?
4. Have any favorite summer recipes?This salad is the bomb diggity. This lemon ice is refreshing and light and originally from an American Girl cookbook.
6. In better news, this is an interesting article about the boom in young Catholic women starting initiatives and organizations. I’ve noticed this trend, and am grateful for so many fellow young Catholic women living out their faith and fulfilling needs of our world hungering for our authentic witness. I do honestly wonder if guys have the same wealth of resources, though. Hmm. Any thoughts on that?
7. Lastly, Happy Memorial Day. Let’s give special thanks this weekend for those who have given their lives for our country.
That’s it for now! What have you been up to lately? Have any thoughts on my takes?
We hear it in the media, our cultural sensitivity training, and even from the Pope: who am I to judge?
Tolerance, open-mindedness, and understanding of people with different beliefs is the anthem of the correct, the battle cry of those fighting for the love and acceptance we all long for (right?).
But there’s something about this 100% acceptance rate that bothers me: we forget to differentiate between people and ideas.
We can probably agree that the appropriate attitude toward people is love. Sometimes love challenges and confronts, because it cares for the good of the other, right? It can call people out and change us. Love doesn’t stay the same. Think about a marriage or good friendship. Do you stay on the same level forever? No. The relationship grows and stretches with highs and lows. And that’s beautiful. We sacrifice and do hard things when we love people. We accept and love people because they are people, whether or not we agree with what they think and believe.
Now, we might disagree on how to handle ideas. I think we have a major problem when we treat ideas the same way as people. Ideas are concepts that we should examine, not accept because of what they are. We need to think deeply about and ask ourselves if it is true. Ideas can be wrong or disordered or stupid, and it’s okay to recognize that. Many people, I think, have lost this distinction, and assume that if you hold a disagreeing belief you must be the thing that is stupid, not your idea.
I recently made the mistake of entering a comment box regarding the redirection of funds away from Planned Parenthood. I replied to some (false and stupid) ideas in the comment section with facts and sources, explaining my belief and backing it up. I had to laugh at some point about the replies, because they were absurd.
For example, people assumed I was a mean-spirited Republican who voted for Trump, just trying to defend my stupid political affiliation. I am not a Republican and did not vote for Trump. But even if I did, that wouldn’t make me stupid. It’s the same concept about how we tell kids nowadays “that was a bad choice” and not “you are bad”. There’s a difference.
According to those people, I am an “embarrassment to intelligent women” because I have a belief different than theirs. But that thought out position of mine is on an issue I have researched and continue to read about extensively. I’m happy to talk about it. And I understand why people think differently. So let’s talk about and see what’s right.
When we put up walls between us and people we disagree with, we can’t talk about the issue we’re facing. We’re not going to get anywhere except our own heads, which are already filled with ideas we think are right. But what if we’re not right? If our idea is wrong, and we believe things that aren’t true, we’re never going to realize that if we stay stuck in a bubble. And doesn’t that matter?
I will listen to you and your story. I will love you and try to understand you. I might call you out if you have a stupid idea too. And you know what? I hate being told I’m wrong, but I’d want to know. It’s important to judge whether or not our ideas are right, or we’ll be stuck in our own heads forever.
Who am I to judge?
I’m a person who wants to know the truth.
So I’m going to keep researching and judging ideas in order to reach the truth.
Recognizing truth and providing evidence to support your belief isn’t an accusation of your being stupid. It’s an invitation into debate and truth-seeking that is only possible if we admit we might be wrong.
A year ago I was paining over finals for the last time. My future was so uncertain. But then all of a sudden, I had a job, graduated, and roadtripped home. Now it’s been just about a year since graduating college.
Work started 4 days later, and though it was a lot to adjust to, I’ve learned. Most of my prior job experience was summer internships, so it’s an odd and nice thing to be committed to a long term job. I moved closer to work in October. And since then life has just been plugging along.
I heard lots of people talk about how hard the transition into realadulthood can be. But honestly, I was already living in an apartment before graduating, paying for groceries, and taking care of myself. Being self sufficient isn’t hard for me.
What I have found extremely strange is how boring this season of life can be.
Since college was halfway across the country, friends and organizations didn’t come back with me. I loved living with four other people (and some honorary roommates who frequented our place). I was constantly busy doing something. At first it was going to ALL the things freshman year. Then I led the campus pro-life group for the next two years. Senior year I’d passed on the head role and participated by receiving requests for baby items I then delivered to families around town. I taught CCD and helped a mom out once a week, more than occasionally got up at 4:30am on Saturdays to be on the sidewalk outside the nearest abortion facility, and always had an assignment or project to work on. There was always something.
Now I go to work and come home.
For the first time in my life, I’ve had huge amounts of time where there’s absolutely nothing I’m expected to complete and no one to report to. It is weird and wonderful. Mostly weird.
I feel a certain sense of responsibility to spend my time well. But oh my goodness is that HARD. I can’t just walk across campus to adoration. I don’t know families near me I can go help. Places don’t respond when I ask about volunteering. Church doesn’t have much for young adults. Life isn’t what it used to be, and I have to rebuild with new people, places, and things.
Even though I’m somewhat of an introvert, it is incredibly tiresome to have so much time to myself. Who knows how long this season of life with so much stillness and quiet will last. While it does, I want to give my time away. It’s too boring keeping it to myself.
So what am I going to do about it?
My sister and I hosted a Blessed Brunch, and have had people over. I joined a gym recently and rediscovered my love of group exercise classes. Perhaps the Etsy store I’ve thought of for months will finally launch. The sky’s the limit. So one awkward get together at a time and attempt at building life all over again, it’ll happen. It takes a lot of patience and wow-I’ve-tried-that-and-will-never-do-it-again, but it’ll happen.
And just like other times in life, I’ll look back and smile, realizing life was happening, all of a sudden and all along.
Do you have any words of wisdom for people in this season of life? I’d love to hear from you!
Growing up in the Bay Area, I knew drivers around here were a little cray cray. But I did not come to fully appreciate the true depth of the California driver brand until I went to college in Kansas and realized some people actually kind of follow the rules of the road. These people may move out of the right hand lane when cars are pulled over and sometimes wave at you just because (I know, what?!). Anyone who visits this great state (or big cities in general) might be a bit shocked upon witnessing our driving. So I thought I’d throw together a little how-to in case you ever need this vital information.
Here are 7 commandments to follow if you want to become a true California driver (or more specifically, Bay Area, because every area has their special brand of crazy):
1. Thou shalt lose thy s#!% at the sign of any type of inclement weather.
Which in California includes rain and . . . yeah, rain. Maybe fog if you live close to the coast? Let’s be real, guys. It can ruin your hair, AND HAVE YOU HEARD OF HYDROPLANING?! You need to go at LEAST 33mph under the speed limit for a drizzle, and slow to a crawl for anything heavier. It’s basically this, except in cars:
2. Thou shalt chillax in the left-most lane at 29 mph under the speed limit to teach those entitled speed limit breakers a lesson.
This is especially advisable if you’re driving a Prius or electric vehicle. Oh! And while you’re at it- don’t pay attention to the carpool lane rules.
3. Thou shalt significantly reduce speed and gawk at any unusual sights near the road.
This includes accidents, tow trucks, fallen branches, and rabbits. The best technique is to brake abruptly so you’re going slow enough to get the low-down on the situation. As soon as it’s out of sight and you’ve backed up traffic enough so evvvveryone can stop and see, resume normal highway speeds.
4. Thou shalt work thyself into road rage when traffic is slow and let others know about it by revving your engine and speeding in a zig-zag through said traffic, slamming your brakes only occasionally enough to narrowly avoid an accident.
Bonus points if you’re driving an expensive car because then everyone know you mean BUSINESS. There’s also the option of flashing your brights to shine some light into the souls of people who annoy you. Weaving in and out of cars on the road is an art. So release your inner Bob Ross.
5. Thou shalt not learn how to merge.
How does it work? One car from their lane to every two in mine? Big spaces between each other? Who knows! Who cares! Go when you want and don’t look.
6. Thou shalt catch up on social media and texts while driving.
Seriously, when was the last time you texted your Grandma? She is overdue for some love from you! Driving is the perfect time to check your notifications. Bonus points if you can do Facebook live or an Insta-story about the latest political upheaval without rear ending the person in front of you. And if you do hit ’em? You will get tons of responses and shares and followers so yay!
7. Thou shalt basically do whatever you want on the road. It’s about getting from point A to point B, not what happens in between.
So let your hair down and get there! Drive on the shoulder if there are too many people in your way. You got places to BE for crying out loud! And if the people turning in front of you weren’t fast enough during a green light, just go during the red one. People will avoid a collision. Most of the time. Talking and yelling at other drivers is also awesome, especially if you use the universal Italian hand signal.
Okay, but in all seriousness, I’m glad to have only been involved in one real accident in my life (plus a recent person who rear ended me with no damage). I’ve come very close to increasing that number more times than I care to count, but thankfully haven’t yet. And no, I’m not claiming innocence from doing some of these crazy things myself. This is a crazy area to drive in, but it’s kind of nice that this is where I learned. I just expect people to be crazy and un-courteous.
I also pray the rosary going to work each morning, so that helps me take deep breaths and enjoy the scenery instead of swearing. And I’m giving away an identical rosary CD! Because I have two. Would you like it? I prefer a CD over an app so that I’m not messing with my phone. It’s a simple version (just the prayers, no meditations), and their voices are thankfully not annoying or too slow.
To enter, leave me a comment about driving! Do you have a lovely commute? What crazy things do people do while driving in your area? Have a pro tip for other drivers? A funny story? One comment/entry per person. I’ll choose a winner at random on Sunday, so leave your comment by noon pacific.
Do you know something kinda fun? Being on Planned Parenthood’s email lists.
They’re feeling very defensive right now (obviously, they’re going to be funded!), and are constantly asking for money. I found this email today a bit hilarious, but also sad: they feel threatened by 40 Days for Life.
If you don’t already know, 40 Days for Life is a pro-life campaign that happens twice a year where people commit to prayer and fasting, holding vigil outside abortion facilities, and community outreach for that time period. People literally stand outside praying, holding signs, or offering life-affirming resources (or a combination of those). It’s peaceful and prayerful if you’re into that.
I find it lame that they use scare quotes around this legitimate organization’s name. They can’t even give 40DFL the dignity of calling them by name. Their contempt for this peaceful, prayerful, campaign goes to show how deeply wrong they are about how we should approach this issue. Shouldn’t women be treated with this peace and understanding and empathy instead of these hideous and tiresome fundraising emails? What speaks to the heart of who we are as people? Yeah, not the emails.
Also, wow. Totally makes me want to back off from ending abortion when they use this campaign to raise $5,000. (LOL, nope, I’m not intimidated either.)
They are correct that this isn’t letting up, though.
Planned Parenthood is going to be defunded, I hope very soon. And we’re not going to rest until then, and until abortion becomes unthinkable. This is not an attack on women’s health, but our desire to see human rights for all – and BETTER healthcare that doesn’t kill people and lie to women. You want to know what good healthcare looks like? Check out The Guiding Star Project. I’ve known about them for a while, but was so impressed and inspired listening to their founder Leah Jacobson in this podcast yesterday. I’ll definitely be writing more about some things she said.
Get yo facts straight, PP. Anyway, I just popped on to talk about this because I don’t want PP to keep doing what they’re doing without being called out. I see them. I see you. And together, we’re bringing down this lying Goliath one step at a time.
I don’t usually post about work, but I am today because it’s a #DayWithoutWomen at some workplaces. This campaign was created to encourage women to go on strike from both paid and unpaid work today to “demand justice” in honor of International Women’s Day. But I’m not going on strike today. I commuted in just like normal, and will leave just like normal right before the sun sets.
There are lots of interesting things I do in my work for the Catholic publisher #Iworkfor. I get to bring my faith to countless people while earning a living. This is #whyiwork
I am so grateful for the stay at home and work from home women and moms out there who do the valuable work of raising families in loving homes. Maybe I’ll do that one day. I’m also grateful for the women in workplaces making a difference in that way. I’m grateful that I have a full time job to support myself. And I wouldn’t disrespect the women who came before me by sticking it to the people who gave me a job.
On this #DayWithoutAWoman, I just wanted to encourage you to show up. Like Edith Stein said,
“’The world doesn’t need what women have. It needs what women are.”
It needs us, and whatever our unique personality brings to the world. It needs our compassion, our creativity, our knowledge, our passion, our empathy, and our perspectives. The world needs us to be there in the office, in homes, hospitals, schools, laboratories, studios, and wherever we are.
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
So wherever that is right now, give it your all. Show up. Work hard. Be a strong and brave example. Demand change when necessary, of course.
And know that you are needed for who you are, not what you do. Going on strike to make people miss you takes away the unique and unrepeatable gift you have to offer. Give. Love. Show up.
[I posted this on Instagram earlier, but it was so long I thought I’d put it here too.]