08 January 2015

We are Charlie Hebdo... We are more.

For those who read this in an honest manner without ill will and negative intent, thank you.  For those who have taken my words to be what they are not, and who have used them against me or against those I love, here's more fodder.  (have fun!)

For those who have been following the saga that is my life, especially my service as a priest, last night I sat to write an angry letter.  As it turns out, my former Superiors all came together to make a decision about me and my standing in the Church.  As I come to find out, they used Facebook to search for evidence of my misdeeds or whatever they used.  (to my surprise, I thought those "superiors" were adults, but I guess they are teenagers with no other better resource for finding out information on people)  Whatever decision they made, no one bothered to inform me.  I guess that works too, my nephew does that (make decisions that no one else knows about)  but my nephew is 5.  Anyway, as it turns out, those priest and brothers used Facebook to decide that I was not worth talking to, they DUMPED me and I guess, in some realm, I was excommunicated or something from the church (woe is me!)  Getting back to my blog, last night I chose to write an angry letter to this secretive group of men.  I clarified for them who I am and who I am not.  I spelled out the details of my life that they were so anxious to know and as it turns out, my life is not that exciting.  I wrote until I had nothing more to say.  And then I said to them that I forgive them, and signed my name.
This letter will be refined and sent out, eventually it will make its way to this blog and beyond (I'm sure).  All this happened last night.  Then today happened.  Early this morning, I received a phone call from a dear friend.  Right away I knew that something was wrong, and when she came on the line, I mentioned two names.  Sure enough, it was Felix.  He was gone.  Shock took over and I went on a sort of autopilot that allowed me to do what I had to do the rest of the day.  Numbness was there, but more than anything, it was a sense of loss.  A friend, gone.  A friend, dead.
And then, the news about the massacre in France came across the news wire.  At first, I wasn't sure what was being said, but once I focused on the words and the sentiment that was being expressed, my shock was deepened by a profound sense of loss.  Throughout the day I have thought of why the France killings were so difficult for me, and while some would say that my friend's death plays a part in how I feel, I believe that there is more.  Especially since I left the active ministry, I have made it my goal to express a sentiment of joy and love to all.  I have encountered people battered and worn, and have shared with them as best as I can.  My mantra has become "You are beautiful.  You are loved." and I recite this (almost annoyingly) as often as possible.  And this is what scares me, not that I have chosen to take on a (as a priest once said about me) saccharine way of being, but that far too many of us mosey on throughout our lives just getting along.  In the past year, I have faced struggles, but when I wanted to quit, I made the decision to love.  To love myself.  To love my neighbor.  To love those who are difficult to love, and to love those for whom love has been limited.  This has not been an easy task because many people fear love, and expect that words of love are a primer for something else.  This is what bothered me so much about today, not that death took a friend, or that death was so prominent in the media today, but that for far too many, death is a selfish act that tries to replace love.  Death is a business, and just like my superiors, it is used to help those in power get their way.  As I reflect on Felix's loss today, and even the attacks of terror that take place far too frequently, I am reminded to love.  Love because I could go tommorrow, and love because death is too easy.  I don't know if I have made any sense, but I guess that the point I am trying to make is that love is the challenge in living.  Love is what makes us hurt when we lose someone, but love is also what reminds us of the good that can be achieved when love is shared.  Felix, I love you my friend, rest in peace.  And to you, the reader (whether good or ill) I love you too.  Peace and Good to you.  Rick.

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