Monday, January 30, 2012

Civility: Week 5: January 30, 2012

A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.

Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third U.S. president

   Wow, interesting how our goverment is trying to detract from our morality in its attempt to force a change in how private organizations, schools, churches are run. 
   I think we have as private citizens, let our nation guide us in our choices. I think we need to take back our decision making on values, morals and behavior!

   We can do this civily. We don't have to rant and scream. BUT, WE DO HAVE TO ACT!

   My experiment this year is beefing up my own civility towards others. So far, in Week 5 I've been doing okay. But then this healthcare issue (   hits me in the face, and I have to ask. Just how far can you take being calm about everything?
   Yet, I see Jesus being calm in the face of his detractors, even toward his jailers, the guys who used the cat-o-nine tails to whip him bloody, the guys who hammered nails in to his hands and sides. Was he cursing them as they hammered? Was it because he was too tired and beat up to scream "stop it!" at them?
   As I think about being civil, I have to really delve into what it means to be...civil. And Jesus was the most civil person I could imagine.
   Through all his pain and agony, he showed civility. He was considerate to Veronica who wiped his face with her veil as he dragged that heavy cross through the city. He was considerate to the criminals who were hanging beside him on Calvary, telling the Good Thief, "This day you will be with me in Paradise."
   Yet in all his civility, he never rescinded his faith in his Father. Even when asking if this cup could pass him by, it was a request, not a demand.
   Jesus' civility in all his trials shows me that I too can be civil in matters of standing up for what is right without threatening someone about it.
   Afterall, showing people the right way, God's way, is by living an example of peace and good will, of trying to educate people to God's love and mercy. It's not by giving in to their imposed "values" or demands. It's standing up for God's values and explaining the reason why I stand up for God's values.
It's not by giving up and going along with the crowd.
   So, write to your legislators and speak up, with civility, about the unconstitutional way our present administration is trying to change our morality and values. You can click here and get there:

   Meanwhile, at home I'm working on being civil with our new puppy. Don't ya just love puppies, unless you are training them, working on their behavior, pulling them away from eating your shoes one last time or pulling his mouth off the cat's head for the 159th time?
   Having pets, inside pets is assaulting my sense of civility. It has been a really trying lesson in letting go and trying to be patient with an animal. When my kids were babies, they did crazy stuff too, but somehow they always seemed to learn to stop doing it, at least out of my eyesight!!
   The puppy is not learning this trick, and it seems at times, he even trying to get a rise out of me by doing more and more to erase all sense of civility in me toward him.  So as I work on my civility toward society, educate my government's leaders toward a more value based way of thinking, I am also working on the behavior of our new puppy.  Which one will cause me to break first this week....the puppy and the government are neck and neck right now!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Civility 4 : Failure!!!!!!!!

Rats! I lost it this week! My civility I mean…it’s been a very stressful week, new priests to look after at Mass,  the office workload is crazy and I’m trying to prepare for our first Confirmation session on Sunday.  So much craziness I totally forgot my Civility new year’s pledge……..argggggg….. and once again it was while driving…

Maybe I should have a chauffeur or take a bus, which by the way doesn’t run all the way to my house or church…or maybe the dog and I should begin walking at 6:00 am and make it here in time to open up at 7:15.

Anyway, the point is I lost my civility. I was driving home to lunch, going up Independence which is a detour from William Street right now because of sewer work. I am following six other cars that are slowly following the trash truck. We are all stopping every fifty feet so the mechanical arm can grab a trash container, dump it in the back and set it back down again.

Just at the moment when I am amazed everyone in front of me is being so patient, a car comes zooming up on my left and darts into the bumper to bumper space in front of me.

Really? Did he just do that to me? Jerk!!!

I begin my rant and begin fuming when one block goes by I realize I just broke my resolution.

And I blamed him!!!

Rats…sigh….here I go again. Fall to the ground with my cross, pick it back up again. By the time I got home I had settled down and forgot about it, which is better than I have done in the past when I was still mad and spouting off to my husband and kids about idiot drivers.

So, I did better, but no pat on the back for myself for sure.

This civility thing is harder than I thought…

So back to walking to work with the dog…hmmm….I could work off weight, improve my health… three miles isn’t so bad, is it????!!!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Civility: Week 4 - January 23, 2012

This week I am hoping and praying for all those who are marching in Washington, DC for Life. I am praying that those who see them are civil toward them and that we can all be civil as we explain how important it is that we protect life.  While we may think that violent means to something violent happening to an unborn child is one way of dealing with stopping abortion, it is not the right way.

We don't turn hearts to the virtue of protecting life by becoming violent ourselves.  We turn hearts by showing them pictures of those babies who are so viable and are people. We turn hearts by lovingly explaining how they have fingers and toes and a beating heart. We turn hearts by caring about the young women who are looking at abortion as their only choice.  It is not the only choice.

Choose life, in all stages, from natural beginning to natural end.

Working on my own civility this week is really being trying. On Friday the city decided to tear up the street that runs in front of my home. While I welcome the loss of pothole after giant pothole, I didn't realize the slalom driving I would be forced to use while trying to enter and  exit from my driveway!!!

But, this morning, seeing my plight, one of the city workers was so very civil to me, when he went out of his way to remove an orange cone so I could exit my driveway! He even waved!!  Thank you!!! And thank you for fixing my street which will be so much more driveable after the work is finished!!!!!

So let's get on with the rest of this week... and see how it goes!!!!
Smile, relax, let your frustrations melt get out of bed!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Civility-Week 3:January 16, 2012

“I don’t believe in confrontation. That seems to me outside civil discourse and we all have to find way to be civil to one another.” - Condoleezza Rice, NPR interview, March 4, 2009

Week 3 and we're still going...
I was talking to my mom the other night. She had been talking with her older sister who is in her eighties. My Aunt Tecky and her husband have been faithful Catholics all their lives, raised 10 children. They live in Arizona  in a town with an abortion clinic.  My aunt and uncle pray every day for those young women going to and from the clinic. They sit peacefully on a sidewalk across the street praying. They are not confrontational, they are not jeering, or judgemental. They sit there and pray, my uncle in a wheelchair and my aunt on a lawn chair holding one sign between them that asks women to consider life.
Last week a young man was passing by the clinic and saw my aunt and uncle sitting across the street from the clinic praying. I guess it made him mad.  Why? I have no idea. Maybe he didn't like the sign asking women to reconsider giving their children life.  But, according to my aunt and the police report, he came across the street. He first grabbed the sign out of my aunt's hands and tried to hit her with it. A huge gust of wind yanked it out of his hands before it hit her. But then he turned and slammed his fists into my 85 year old uncle knocking him out of his wheelchair. 
At first I was shocked. Then very, very angry.
All thoughts of civility went out of my head.
I don't know the rest of the story except that the police did show up. I don't know what happened to the man. I know my aunt and uncle are still recovering from the assault.
I know it was not my first thought to pray for this man. And it is still hard to consider praying for him although I know that's the only thing I can do at this point. I wasn't there to defend my aunt and uncle and their right to free speech. Their right to defend life. All I can do is pray.
This blatant act of NON-civility is becoming more and more accepted.
Please join me in praying for our country to be one of civility - toward all people - unborn, aged, young, middle age, no matter our color, class or creed, immigrant, whoever.
This violence toward any kind of life must stop.
And it all begins with civility.

Friday, January 13, 2012

You Can't Take Jesus Without Religion!

The author of "Bad Catholic" who really is a good Catholic trying to help all those uninformed people out there, Catholic and not, makes a really good rebuttal to a YouTube video make by a young man who seems to think you can have a relationship with Jesus, but not a religion.
Try this:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Civility: Week 2-January 9, 2012

“Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James
  Whew, got through one week working on my civility. Caught myself several times starting to blurt something not too civil or Christian...but I did at least catch myself.  I think I rolled my eyes once at something...but that was all.

  So to continue in the vein of the quote above, what does kindness have to do with being civil?
The definition of a kindness can also mean being civil. Usually an act of kindness we think of as being something special we do someone, bake cookies, give them a ride. But an act of kindness can also mean not doing something, like telling them off when they have insulted us.

  Being civil is like Jesus telling us to turn the other cheek. We’re not setting ourselves up for abuse, we are just trying to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. The benefit that maybe they are having a really bad day and don’t mean to take it out on us. The benefit that they are mad at someone else they can’t ream out and we were just in the target.

  Being civil means we have to stop and think about our words, instead of striking out in an emotional barrage of anger and hurt.

   It’s hard!

   We aren’t exactly trained for that in our society. In our world of social media, instant messaging, quick on the draw call anyone, text and report or video tape anyone doing almost any bad behavior, sometimes our quickness leaves little room for discretion.

  And being civil means having a sense of discretion that what we are about to say, write or do will possibly last forever, if not on the airwaves, paper, at least in someone else’s mind and heart.  Obviously the media people who made fun of Mr. Santorum's family grieving for a stillborn baby need to think before ever opening their mouths again. Before I get really uncivil toward them, I'll just end by saying I'm working on praying for them.

  So, just like the quote above, we need to remember to be kind, be kind again, and just in case, be kind some more. 
  It works you know...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Does Evil Exist?

If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist?
To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice.
Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin, and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenents, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance.
There is not a single aaspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.
             -- The Catechism of the Catholic Church 309

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Civility-Jan 2, 2012 - still....

Egad, this is going to be harder than I thought! Being civil doesn't have any rewards...besides not making a jerk out of yourself, receiving harsh looks when you forget to be civil and hold your tongue, oh and that march to confession...
Just today, only 4 days into my new resolve to keep my mouth shut I'm plagued with the desire to spit out, "You moron!" to the driver in front of me driving 10 MPH in a 35 MPH and then just as I calmly think, I'll just move over into the next lane - see aren't I being civil, for not yelling, or even thinking a nasty thought,  this driver pulls into the next lane just as I moved over forcing me to once again brake hard and not hit them. I going to make it 361 more days????? The world is against me on this!!!!!
(and I hear you snort!!! )

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Civility: January 2, 2012

What is Civility?
Apparently it's a little known aspect of today's society where people treat each other like they want to be treated!!!
This term has been in the news and many blogs across our nation because of the lack of it.
Civility is treating people with manners and decorum even if they don't act that way. It's smiling when you feel like yelling at them, it's saying please and thank you to people who don't.
For the next 52 weeks, I plan are working on my own civility towards people (especially when I am driving my car) and keeping my mouth shut when I feel like "popping" off at someone who has stepped on my toes.
Will you join me in this new kind of New Year's Resolution?
Let me hear from you! Leave a comment, give me some ideas on how YOU practice Civility in your life, at home, work, school, out and about in the world.
Maybe if we all practice it, the entire world will join in???
   (You never know!)

January 2, 2012

Quote:  Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are -present.”                --George Washington

According to  Meriam Webster Dictionary: Civility means:
Civilized conduct, especially courtesy, politeness;   A polite act or expression.
In it’s old meaning: training in the humanities

   In the real old days, young men and young ladies were taught civilities. That is, how to be polite in conversations, in actions and in writing to others, hence the old meaning: training in the humanities or how to be a good human being!

   Some how we’ve lost that training. We let ourselves spout off about things that anger us or just aggravate us, whether it’s something big like another driver almost causing us to have an accident, to trivial things like the grocery bagger cracking our eggs while packing them in the bags.  Some days I can deal with it, other days I’m thinking “What a moron! Come on, didn’t anyone ever teach you how to bag my eggs?”  So I hunch my shoulders down and get mad as I walk out of the store, pushing my cart brusquely ahead of me, determined to tell everyone when I get home about this incident. I mean, come on, those eggs are expensive….what was that idiot thinking?? 

    Ouch, it really sounds bad when I type this. In my own mind I deserve to be mad about it, but while writing this I’m thinking, readers are really going to think I’m off my rocker and a horrible person.

    I don’t think I can point to any one thing that caused me to learn to not be civil. It has seemed to grow more in the last few years. Age?  Hmm… I am middle aged so could be. And the more I do it, the worse it has seemed to grow in me. Ack!

   Some of it I blame on watching comedians poke fun at people and saying outlandish things about other people.  It made me laugh; now I do it, not always for laughs.

   Violent movies and tv? Possibly, you are what your watch as well as what you eat!  Junk you put into your brain also comes out of your brain. The more you slide into using curse words and bad grammar, the more you do it. I know I do that.

   Blame it on a bad day….well that works sometimes, on some days, but every day? What about people who are in the news…are they ALWAYS having a bad day?  It would seem like every person the camera person aimed at was having a bad day.  So that can’t be all of it.

   Maybe I’ve gotten too familiar with the whole world, I mean, some days  I don’t hold anything back, you get Lisa in all her grumpiness, bad hair day, lacking patience, you name it.

  So what to do about it?  Well, I’m starting to make a conscience effort to stop doing it. Stop making fun of people for laughs, stop getting mad about trivial things like eggs and the person stopping their cart in front of me to put her receipt in her purse.

  I’m going to work on it.  Whistle a happy tune, think good thoughts… pray for myself and others!