Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Here I go again…

Note: Yes, I’m sounding off again. If you are a conservative Christian who still thinks our current president is a secret Muslim and you vote based on whom you think is the most Christian choice, then you probably won’t like what I’m saying here. On the other hand, that’s exactly why I think you need to read this today. So no alternative websites offered to you today. Just keep reading. I can pretty much guarantee that God wants you to know this. 

I have finally reached my breaking point with posts on social media about how we need a president who believes in God in the White House, or about the 'need' to bring back God/Christian values/Jesus to America. All the while extolling the joy that will come of living in a country that has freedom of religion as long as that religion is nominally Christian.

Enough people. Let’s look at a couple of facts:

  • Adolf Hitler based his genocide aimed at the Jews on his Christian (actually Catholic) upbringing and education. One article I read tonight on this said that the German Social Christian movement, which influenced Hitler’s beliefs strongly resembles the Christian Right movement in America (http://www.nobeliefs.com/hitler.htm). So, this man, raised as a Catholic, who wanted to be a priest, committed one of the most heinous acts of genocide in history aided and abetted by the Christians of his country. Who joined in all in the name of religion.
  • America may have been founded on Christian values, but by virtue of the fact that our constitution does guarantee freedom of religion, that means in actuality America really is not a country of any specific religious belief. Or it should not be by the law of the land. 
  • Fanatics exist in virtually every religion out there. Evil exists. It is not exclusive to any one religion. In every religion, including Christianity, there are those who will turn the teachings of that religion to their own evil purposes. Christianity does not hold the franchise on virtue and goodness. Neither does any other religion. 
Going on from there, a few personal observations:
  • While I am myself a Catholic, I respect all faiths and prefer to not stereotype those of different beliefs based on the lunatic fringe element of their faith. And there are lunatic fringe elements in every single faith that exists.
  • I also firmly believe that those who feel God will reward them with the joys of heaven for killing others in His Name have a big, hot surprise awaiting them. Since I was taught in my religion classes that the fifth commandment prohibition against taking life also covers actively (or passively) hating another human being, hating any one simply because they are a Jew, Muslim, Catholic, Atheist, Southern Baptist or what have you is therefore a mortal sin.
So, have you figured out where I’m going with this yet or do I have to spell it out for you?  Just in case…here’s the deal:

As I see it, posting anything or saying anything that implies in any way shape or form that any religion or belief system is the ‘right’ religion or belief and that other religions or beliefs are lesser or wrong and that their believers should be disenfranchised or eliminated from the face of the earth is an act of hatred, and therefore a mortal sin. If you are guilty of this, stop right now and sin no more. Then, and only then, will the world (and America) be a better place.

Disclaimer: No, I’m not perfect or claiming to be perfect. I’m actually quite a bit less than perfect. And I freely admit it. But I do have a fairly well developed worldview of good and evil. And right now I’m seeing way too much evil in how people are using religions of all types to justify hatred on a global scale. And that worries me greatly. Hence this: my version of a wake-up call.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five Months Later

Today is my sister Mary Claire’s birthday. She would have been 56 years old today.

I wish beyond all things that she was here, so that I could bake her a cake like I did last year and celebrate with her. I would give anything to see her sitting on my couch in the den and holding her newest great niece, Ellen.

But she is not here. Instead I have spent the last five months mourning my little sister and coming to grips with everything that has happened since she told me about the lump near her collarbone.

I miss her every single day. I think about her every single day.

I have second-guessed every single decision we made about her treatment. And come to the conclusion again and again that we did do everything we could.

And I have relived the week and half while we cared for her in hospice over and over.

Ultimately, I have had to make my peace with not only what we did, but with what how it all ended.

This experience has changed me in ways I never expected. I am no stranger to losing those I love to death. I watched my father die in front of me when I was just seven years old. I lost five relatives between the ages of six and fifteen. And because of the experience of watching my father die suddenly of a heart attack, I developed a deep-seated fear of death that has haunted me my entire life. Until now.

Watching Mary Claire fight the inevitable those last weeks changed my perspective forever. She fought so hard for every moment, even though at the end the moments she was fighting for were moments where she was incapable of truly living. When I think back over what happened, the only thing I would change is that I would no longer deny the truth of what was happening to her.

By this, I do not mean that I would not have fought for her as hard as I did over those two years after we got her into M.D. Anderson. I would. Absolutely. But once we had no further options, I wish beyond everything that I had had the courage that my sisters Julia and Jane had to face the truth and the courage they had to tell Mary Claire the truth about what was going to happen. And if I am ever in Mary Claire’s situation, I hope that I have Julia and Jane there to tell me the truth. I promise I will believe you two.

I love you forever Mary Claire.

And I love you forever Julia and Jane.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Goodbye

The eleventh post in my series on my sister, Mary Claire.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
At 9:30 tonight, my little sister, Mary Claire Chesnutt Luce, died. 

Only memories remain. Along with anger. Sadness. And relief. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Prayer for the Dying.

The tenth installment in my series on taking care of Mary Claire while she was in hospice care. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Another day and Mary Claire still hangs on to life.

She has not eaten anything since last Thursday night.

For the past three days, the only thing she has taken by mouth is liquid morphine and an anti-anxiety med which we dissolve in the morphine.

Watching my beloved sister die a fraction of an inch at a time has been a nightmare.

When this all started, my only goal was to save my sister. Having now faced the reality that there will be no miracle for her, no cure for her, no way for her to live a full and loving life, I only want her to go and to be at peace. It is the most painful realization I have ever had to deal with. But it is the truth.