Friday, September 30, 2011

My Denial

                Last week, I read a comment to a post which I shared on September 27, 2011.  The first time reading what the reader had to say, I felt so violated on so many levels.  Considering I don’t get many comments, I couldn’t believe I would receive one of such fury.  Also, all of my life, the Holocaust has been a part of me in unique ways.  For someone to deny my beliefs in a historical event so well documented, pierced my intellect. 
As a child, I began to watch the television miniseries “Holocaust.”  When my grandmother realized the violence shown in the movie, she sent me to rest in her room until my parents came to get me.  She didn’t turn down the volume, so the sounds haunted me.  My best friend’s mother came from Germany.  There were many times on the playground kids would call her names because of her heritage.  I always tried to defend her, but I am sure the comments hurt her.  I was hurt for her.  I read “The Diary of Anne Frank” in middle school.  I cried at the end.  In high school, I had the fortune to play Miep Gies who helped Anne’s family while in the attic in the school play.  I felt one with Miep and prayed I would be as brave if I were ever in that situation.  Tears came to my eyes the day Miep died in January of 2010.  I said a prayer for one of my heroes. 
In my adulthood, I have read Elie Wiesel’s “Night”, Corrie ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place”, and Miep Gies’ “Anne Frank Remembered.”  I finally did see “Holocaust.”  I have also watched other depictions of the Holocaust and read other fiction stories of this time frame.  How can someone deny this history?  How can they deny the stories of our Christian and Jewish neighbors?
I tried to put myself in Mr. Gharst’s shoes.  At first all I could think of is the absurdity of denying the horrible treatment of the slaves in the Southern United States or deny the United States had ever bombed Hiroshima or Nagasaki.  It is in the history books.  How do you argue with that?  Yet, my thoughts turned to the Deep South.  How many times has the Southern Belle and Southern gentleman been romanticized during the era of slavery?  Too many times to count!  The story in my own family goes something like this.  “Yes, we had two or three slaves.  But we were so poor that they lived with us in the house and they were family.  In fact, when they were freed, they took our last name.”  They were still slaves with no freedom.  They probably didn’t even know what other names were an option to take when freed.  The ugly past is still ugly no matter if we deny it or paint it in bright friendly colors.
One of my uncles brought another topic not only to my doorstop, but right into my house.  The Catholic abuse that has taken place in the United States and all over the world for years has been denied or hidden by moving the priests to new parishes when trouble arose.  Many innocent lives have been crippled by these men who were to bring the love of Christ to the community, not the nightmares of sin.  When each new story comes out in the press about the abuse, I pray for the victims and for the Catholic faith because it is a victim as well.  I then wrap up the information and store it in a cubbyhole in my mind resting in the fact all is good in my community.  I don’t deny what has happened, but I do hide from it.
Years ago, I was talking with friends about the old days and mentioned a priest from our childhood.  One of my friends a few years older made a comment filled with loathing for the priest whom I have such fond memories of and love.  An older adult basically shushed up my friend.  The conversation changed.  I never pursued the topic.  Was this one of the priests in our Diocese who abused children?  I really can’t believe it.  Yet, I didn’t really know him.  I wouldn’t ever deny my friend’s statement.  Yet my lack of disbelief is just one step away from denial.  In fact it isn’t a stretch to say we all deny historical events that have happened in our small lives that don’t affect the world, but do affect the people around us. 
The anger I felt toward Mr. Gharst who wrote the comment has dissipated to a sad understanding and empathy.  When we have a strong loyalty to a country or even a person, we are going to deny an event unless we live through the event.  There have been a few gossips in my family who have said things about certain family members that I will always deny.  Unless these close family members were to tell me they were lazy on a job or addicted to drugs in their past, I will believe it is just a gossip trying to stir up trouble.  These family members have never shown me any reason to doubt them.  I know loyalty can lead us astray.  We need to open our eyes and our hearts.  With the Holocaust, there is a ton of proof.  With a gossip, there usually is none.  But we must be aware of what our denial will do to the victims and those around us.
Please say a prayer for all victims of the Holocaust and the Catholic sexual abuse cases and the cases that haven’t brought forward.
Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Denial of the Holocaust

            Here is a comment I received last week on an old post I did about Noemi Ban.  The post was on February 9, 2011.  She is a Holocaust survivor that I went to see whom I believe is an very amazing woman.  This is what he had to say.

Of all the autopsies performed during and after the war, not one single autopsy reports a single person dying from poison gas. Not one gas chamber in any form has been proven to have existed or the apparatus to gas a single person ever been found. The chemical compound “Zyclon B” is an insecticide used by the Germans to kill lice because it is not harmful to humans. The International Committee of the Red Cross reports only 330,000 deaths of the 6 million enemy combatants/aliens taken captive by the Germans during the war (over 5 million being captured Soviet combat troops). The ICRC reported no special treatment of the Jews over others and reported no breach in the Geneva Convention by the German Military Government (outside Hitler’s order to execute every Red Commissar taken captive).
Noemi Ban is a fraud. For eleven years after the war she helped her fellow Hungarian Jews – Laszlo Rajk, Gero and Rasiko subjugate this surviving war populace of Hungary under total Jewish domination at the direction of Joseph Stalin. During Noemi’s stay in Hungary over 2 million Christians were murdered and up to a million women and children were brutally raped by Red Terror Units and their Commissars. Why doesn’t Noemi ever mention this to our high school children (whose attendance at these Holocaust Survivors “political education” seminars is mandatory)?
The “Holocaust” is a hoax dreamed up by Jews to justify their murder of tens of millions of Christians in Europe – and to subjugate the entire world to Jewish organized crime! The entire world is on to this vast “Ponzi-Scheme” that these people are famous for – we know that they have the same diabolical plans for the rest of White Christendom - and the whole world is sick of these hucksters! Let God’s justice come! Karl Gharst

Mr. Gharst,
            Thank you for commenting on my old post from February.  I have heard there are people out in the world that deny the atrocities done during World War II (WWII), specifically the Holocaust.  However, my mind could never quite wrap around this way of thinking.
            Though I am far from a scholar, I do consider myself a historian.  Seventeen years ago, I received a major in history.  I later choose the military as a career, so I am a hobby historian at present.  I will not debate the facts.  However, as a historian, I find it quite disappointing that you failed to document any of your statements with reputable sources.  My blog is sited in that I gave all credit to the speaker.  And what she says is up to interpretation.  Just as what you say with no sources, is up to interpretation. 
I am also not going to try to change your beliefs.  Nor would you be able to change mine.  Yet, I would like to make a couple of comments.
When Noemi came to our community to speak, the high school sent out a notice.  I, as a parent, had the choice of my son attending the lecture.  I have that freedom.  I deleted the letter, so I can’t sight the reference.  However, I could have called my son out of school.  Instead, I insisted he go and talk with me about it later which we did.  Also, at the lecture hall I attended, the talk was standing room only with people crowded at the doorways to hear this woman speak.  No one denied her story.  In fact, all of us gave her a standing ovation.  This was not mandatory for my son by the school, but it was mandatory by me.
Noemi did speak of her time in Hungary after WWII.  The picture she painted was not pretty about this part of her history.  In fact, it is from Hungary that she and her family fled to find a home in the United States.  As for her working for these people you list, I don’t know if she did for fact.  However, I know there were good German people who worked for Hitler and his officers that didn’t kill the Jews.  Either from fear or ignorance, they did not stand up for the inhumane treatment to not only the Jews, but also the gypsies, Catholics, and American soldiers.  (Where I am from, this is common knowledge and does not need citied.  I can find it in three or more sources.  However, if anyone would like me to site this, I can do it in a later post.)
I have never done an in depth study of Joseph Stalin or the events in Hungary after WWII.  I have stopped by the library to do a little study on this topic.  I would like to see if I can find history which will help me hear the voices of the two million Christians you claim were killed under his leadership.  Their voices are as important as the victims of the Holocaust.
In the last couple of days, Mr. Gharst, you have made me look deeper into myself.  You have given me thoughts for future posts.  For this, I thank you.  I believe you found my post by merely doing a Google search for Noemi Ban or the Holocaust.  You probably have no interest in my ideas about the journey to holiness, but I challenge you to read my current posts.  I have some ideas you may find interesting.
Blessings to you.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Free Will: Yes or No, Good or Bad

Mass Reflection               
                Yesterday at Mass, Father said something that hit home for me.  He talked about our freewill to say yes or no to God.  Even if we say yes or no, we also have the freewill to change yes to no or no to yes.  In the area of ministry, I have said both yes and no.  About eleven years ago, I said yes to the Pastoral Council.  When I became pregnant with Madelle, I asked to resign.  In essence, I changed my mind and said no.  For a number of years, I said no to working Cursillo.  Three years ago, I changed my mind with some prodding from both my husband and the Holy Spirit. 
                Father went further with the homily.  The first concept rang true in my understanding of faith.  Those people who make bad decision after bad decision don’t have to continue down that path.  They can change their heart and start making good decision.  Yep, I have always believed that.  Okay, I have struggled with this concept from time to time with the people who have made bad decision that affected me, but for the most part, I accept this thinking.  Than Father threw in the thought I hadn’t expected.  A person who makes good decisions can fall and begin to make bad decisions.  In other words, those of us who consider ourselves basically good may not stay that way.  We should not rest on our laurels.  Definitely something to think about.
                Blessing to you all.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sin of Gluttony

Redefining retirement, Saint Francis of Assisi, and the sin of gluttony have been the potential themes of the next entry I have wanted to write in my blog.  I started with 573 words to talk about how I wanted to redefine my retirement.  I read through it quite a few times trying to tweak the post but could only feel the words rambling on.  Plus, I reread my last blog entry to only realize that was the basic theme.  Who really wants to hear a writer go on about their life woes?  A day or two later I wrote about Saint Francis of Assisi’s concept of want verses need that spoke to my heart about eleven or so years ago.  It turned into the same drivel.  I haven’t yet tried just talking about the real point of the post, sin of gluttony.
On Catholic Radio, there is a host who does the Catholic Guy show.  When Jerry told me about him, I was hooked.  Here is a guy who made me laugh and think about Catholicism in a whole different way.  Plus, he is a sinner.  Boy can I relate to that!  So I listened as he shared his struggles in life.  I enjoyed the whacky things he and his staff did over the radio.  After about a year, he started to irritate me.  He whines all the time about his terrible life while he just returns to New York from Italy.  Italy!  How can you whine after returning from Italy?  There were a few times I wanted to call the show and tell him, “enough all ready.”  I would give my eye teeth to go to Italy.  I have never had all that much empathy for whiners and try really hard not to whine myself hence the not posting the two entries I have written that are whiny. 
As much as Lino annoys me, I still like him.  He is a kooky Italian American from Minnesota who is almost forty and single.  Most of his whining comes from being single.  I can understand that.  I love being married with children.  However, I could fine enjoyment in Italy as well!  At any rate, Lino wrote a book called Sinner which is about his life.  He is so candid about his sins.  I find it very refreshing.  We all sin.  Why can’t we just say it?  So here it goes….
Gluttony is one of my bigger sins.  I fight it daily.  Well, that isn’t quite right.  In high school and in the military I fought the temptations of food daily.  I took a break from the war while I was pregnant with all three kids and gained too much weight which proceeded to take too long to take off.  When I started struggling with my health, I kept fighting, but losing badly.  Part of my strategy to fight the gluttony was running, biking, and lifting weights.  I lost this at the intensity I loved.  A ten minute walk drives me crazy.  So, when I retired, I quit fighting altogether.  Not a great tactic, but it is what it is.  I also succumbed to my favorite hobby, baking.  My prayer was acceptance of who I am.  Of course, I would squirm when the word glutton crossed the battlefield or I stepped on the scale. 
This summer I was determined to not gain any more weight.  The D[iet] word kept creeping into my thoughts as well.  I thought about exercising, but I knew I would start aching, hurting, and end up on bed rest.  I hate bed rest!!!  When I went out to Creations Northwest, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to stop eating 24/7.  No, I did eat just three meals a day without the tons of snacking or eating my delicious cookies.  Due to the enormity of the event, I had to walk about half a mile to the main stage.  I still kind of cringe at the thought of only walking a half mile.  I so miss my running days and mountain biking excursions.  When I got home, I actually had lost two pounds.  Hum….  Small walks and eating right do make a difference.  Yes, I realize this as an intelligent concept and I am an intelligent person, but sin never talks to us when we are intelligent.
To make a story shorter then longer like I so love to do, I started a diet on Saturday.  I need to redefine my retirement by not baking for every occasion (my boys are pouting, but trying to be supportive).  So far the new eating style has been fine, but yesterday I struggled with not baking.  Wednesdays are my slow day in the house when I always baked and I was getting a bit stir-crazy.  But, I keep thinking of the want verses need concept.  Do I need to bake or do I want to bake?  It is just a want, so I will ignore the urge. 
Our bodies are a temple.  Doing a quick search, I found three verses that discuss this.  The one I am most familiar with, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17.  So I will leave you with this.  My body is a temple that I need to take care of in all ways.  I will probably not hit the standard the military set for me, but the extra, extra weight on my joints will only make my rheumatoid arthritis worse in the long run.  In essence, I will be destroying my body.  I need to fix it.  Besides, gluttony is a sin and I don’t want to destroy my soul either.
Blessing to you all.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Plugging Away

            Looking at my blog, I am ashamed of the fact that I have done nothing on it for a month and a half.  In my last entry, I mentioned the writer’s block that is still with me today.  The conference I went to didn’t help with my lack of enthusiasm in all things creative: writing, crocheting, gardening, painting, and crafting.  So, I am still listening and resting.
            While at the conference, well all summer, I kept asking myself what I want to do with my life.  How am I supposed to be serving God?  Do I really want to edit the writing I do?  I tell you what, with all this retired time on my hands, I think way too much!  I must also confess; I don’t feel very productive since I am no longer out in the “real” world.  But, I believe answers have been coming to me.
I want to have a cleaner house and exercise more which I have been doing.  Of course, I want to also keep doing my projects, but unfortunately, I am not motivated at the moment to do any of them.  It is so unlike me to not be playing with yarn, paint, or dirt, but there is no desire for any of it.  I am not excited to write either.  Just getting these words down seems daunting and boring.  I can only imagine how bad it is to read! 
I reflected on my service to God in a letter I sent to my oldest while he was at BASIC training for the military.  He wrote back and said that there are many forms of service that we do throughout our lives.  He believed I am serving in many ways already and to not worry.  What a young man I have helped raise!  And yes, this is one of my services to God, raising my children. 
Editing.  It is the bane of my existence.  The reason I have been blocked is because of the four letter word edit.  I even had a nightmare about editing earlier this month that took the form of a big pink jelly fish destroying all of my beautiful little fish (stories) by pulling back the computer screen letting all the water out.  Dreams of critics have also flowed through me during the night.  Yet I can’t imagine not putting words down on paper or a computer screen.  All my roads lead to writing, so I need to just stop thinking, whining, and talking about the horrid task and start doing it. 
I am trying not to reflect on these questions any longer.  Instead, I reflect on one question only per day.  What am I going to do today to make my life productive?  Laundry, cleaning, and family time are always at the top of the list.  I also try to accomplish time with the piano, a writing article, a journal entry, and the pulling of a weed or two.  Last night I pulled out a baby afghan I started in the spring for charity.  My desire/energy/heart is not in the projects, but if I keep plugging away at them, it will come back to me. 
Blessing to you all.