Sunday, May 26, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Blog Hop

by M. J. Joachim

It was 1999, if I remember right, Thanksgiving Day. This was no ordinary Thanksgiving. This was the day our little nuclear unit of five moved into our very first home, all the way across town. The U-haul was ready for the weekend, when all the furniture would follow. Several small trips with cars loaded to their gills had been made throughout the week, providing necessities, without large furniture items. Everything was either in boxes, stripped, packaged or taken apart. Sleeping bags were ready for all of us to sleep in the living room or our new home.

The kids were little – ages 4, 5 and 9 respectively. They couldn’t have been more excited. We were moving to a house with a big tree and a pool in the backyard. It’s an older home, a “fixer-upper,” one where mom wouldn’t freak when kids were being kids, because this house was pretty much kid-proof, if you know what I mean. No worries about grape juice staining carpet with tile floors, type thing.

As we sat on boxes in the kitchen area, exhausted after moving all day, I looked at my husband and said, “I saw a grocery store around the corner. I’ll bet I can get us something a little better than fast food for Thanksgiving dinner tonight.” He looked at me and said, “I don’t know. It is Thanksgiving. They probably close early today.”

The kids were clearly hungry, and I needed a moment to collect myself anyway, so I took the car and headed to the store. Once there, I went straight to the deli section. It was almost 6 p.m., which is when the store closed. I must have looked a sight. The lady behind the counter took one look at me and said, “You must have had a busy Thanksgiving today, dear.” I nodded, told her we just moved to the neighborhood and had three little ones with no furniture or electricity yet. We were having a campout tonight and I needed to come up with our first meal in our new home.

She smiled and said, “I’ll be right back.” A few minutes later, she came back out with a box. Inside was a fresh, hot Thanksgiving dinner, complete with all the trimmings. She even tossed in paper plates, napkins and plastic silverware for us. Then she slapped a half price sticker on it and told me the family who had ordered it, cancelled their order at the last minute.

You can’t imagine my family’s surprise when they saw me bring the biggest and best Thanksgiving feast we’ve ever had through the door. We all sat down on a big blanket in the center of the kitchen floor and ate like kings. It’s one of my very favorite Thanksgiving memories, one I’ll treasure forever.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

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Big 10 Countdown – #7

by M. J. Joachim

Before we go on with the Big 10 Countdown, I must make a small confession. I’ve heard the 10 Commandments all my life and I do my best to live by them. What I didn’t realize is that there are two separate versions of them, one for Catholics and one for Protestants. So here I am looking each one up by its respective number, doing searches for “10th commandment, 9th commandment, 8th commandment,” etc. [It appears Google brings up Protestant 10 Commandments much more than it does Catholic ones, so my Big 10 Countdown uses the Protestant version of the 10 Commandments in this series. However, each commentary highlights all of the 10 Commandments according to the law God gave Moses that was handed down through generations to all of us.]

Along comes #7 – I finish my write up and am looking for pictures when suddenly two completely different commandments appear in my searches, prompting me to see where the confusion lies, ultimately revealing two sets of 10 Commandments. Call me crazy, but I really didn’t see this one coming. We’re all Christians, after all, and Moses did stand on the mountain and receive the stone tablets. Centuries have passed and interpretations have been shared. Somewhere along the lines, Catholics and Protestants got their wires crossed, resulting in two versions of the 10 Commandments.  Who’s right? Who’s wrong? I’m not so sure it matters, since Biblical teaching is being adhered to in both communities. To learn more, please see one of my references for this, Catholic Bible 101.

Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery

For better or worse, you married your spouse. Infatuation goes out the window quicker than it arrived. Lust and longing from those weeks, months and possibly years of dating “your better half” … STOP THE PRESSES! Backspace on the computer…

Who are we kidding? Most people don’t wait to have sex until they get married anymore? Touchy feely is a well-known part of the game almost everybody plays these days. Quite a few couples even go so far as to test the waters by living together first – to see if the roof doesn’t cave in and the wars aren’t too testy in their relationship. Wouldn’t want to make a big mistake about something as important as who to marry now, would we?

The honeymoon phase is usually grand. It’s a time for overlooking the small and not so small grievances you may find aren’t so easy to overlook later on. It’s a time to indulge on spoiling each other and making googoo eyes still. It only lasts so long, because sooner or later, she’s going to be praying to the porcelain god with morning sickness, thanks to all that spoiling and googoo eyes. He’s going to see a whole new side of her and life will enter a new, not so infatuated, lusty phase – the one where complaining about aches, pains and bills all too easily becomes the only thing to talk about together. She’s going to wonder what happened to that big strong man who made her feel like she was his world, the one who now resembles all the guys in those sitcoms only too eager to get a break from their loving, but ever too matronly wives.

Once that happens, no holds bar, everything else can either survive or land with an over extended splat, as if it were being tossed directly out of a 4-story window of some high-rise building neither partner has a right to be in in the first place. It’s probably not a lack of love that leads to taking in other views from a different perspective, as it is a decision to be complacent in one’s relationship. The thrill is gone, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your family, after all.

Well…yes it does, because complacency wasn’t part of your vows – for better or worse was, and to be complacent is non-committal, something not even remotely related to getting, being and staying married at all.

Marriage isn’t an “I” proposition, a choice that solely affects one person. It’s a joint proposition where two people agree to be faithful to each other and spend the rest of their lives together. Now I know the divorce rate is high, and I realize some of these people really do need to be divorced. I also know that getting divorced for any number of reasons is a far cry from cheating on your spouse.

Divorce if you must, but keep your pants on until your relationship is over. Don’t pour gallons of vinegar on your already wounded relationship, because you knew you were going to end up divorced anyway. Why make it harder than it has to be?

As for those who just get bored or for whatever reason – maybe they like the thrill of keeping secrets or something, I don’t know…the spouses who have no intention of getting divorced and like to fool around anyway…SHAME ON YOU!!! This is your marriage and family you’re messing with and you really need to cut it out!!!

Aside from the fact that it goes directly against God’s 7th (ahem, 6thCommandment, that is...I mean, no biggie, it’s only eternity we’re talking about, unless of course you don’t believe in God. Then it’s still from dust we came, to dust we shall return, which doesn’t make it any less wrong.

Thank you for visiting Being Catholic.

M. J.

Photo credit:  Moses & the 10 Commandments, James Tissot (1836 – 1902), US - PD

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