Saturday, June 20, 2009

When all else fails...

I had a curious conversation with my 9 year old daughter today, as I washed her hair. Her hair goes all the way down to her bottom, so it is an ordeal that usually involves bending, wringing and soaping a couple times. Ironically, her conversation escapes me now. I don't know if this means I'm getting old, or if I just wasn't listening.

Listening is an art. It doesn't come easily. It requires concentration and integration, both of which I am deficient in. However, I fake it well. I learned how to listen better when my son was diagnosed with Autism. You would think it would be the reverse, since Liam rarely spoke. But I tuned my ear to listen to anything that might remotely sound like the word "Mommy." Funny, since I hear it incessantly from my 3 year old control freak. But with Liam, it was a precious moment and I listened intently for the day when he would finally utter the words.

He did...and does. Once he figured out how to say it, he soon discovered it was the fastest way to get what he wanted. It took over 5 years, but at least he says it now. Within two years, he went from a couple word vocabulary to a plethora of words, sometimes mixed up together in weird combinations. How? He listened. He googles You Tube to find it on the internet. He goes to and plays the same trailers over and over and over. He reads everything he can find. (We later discovered he was reading all along since about 3 1/2...but like any genius, he also realized he had more attention when WE thought he couldn't understand us!)

Now Liam listens...too well. Every word I DON'T want him to repeat, he says. He has a unique way of painting a picture with words. When he has his hand slapped, he tells me his daddy has 'angry hands.' When he wants to eat something, he asks us if WE would like some first. (Knowing the logical next step if we don't want it is to offer him This worked for a little while. Then we figured out we were being played.) Now, he almost sounds like any ordinary kid. He says, "Wow, it's so cool!" and "What the ...?" Of course, he says it three or four times in a row, but as long as he doesn't fill in the blank on that last phrase, I'm good with it.

Autism doesn't make your kid stupid. Quite the contrary. It exercises a part of his brain most of us probably never use. Liam is intuitive, too. Each morning that I am determined to be romantic with my husband is the one morning he just can't seem to find something and he requests my help. Of course, when he requests, it is like hearing SpongeBob laugh over and over and over. (Thanks Gayle.) It is the best form of birth control there is, and I am a firm believer that the Catholic church should exploit this idea if they want to win a few friends.

He also knows when my husband has bought popcorn, even though he can't see where my husband put it. He loves popcorn, and lives for it when we have it. God only knows why. Something in the chewing I guess. But if the world ceased to have popcorn, Liam would find it somewhere on the planet and ask for more. And when he can't find it, he will suggest it...again, and again, and again.

Autistic kids learn through repetition. A LOT of repetition. The autistic mind learns best by doing things over and over and over. Thus, the reason why Spongebob is so popular with them. He is just LIKE them! This repetition has trained my mind in the process, even though I'm not autistic.

So I was surprised when I couldn't remember what I had discussed with my daughter. I usually pride myself in knowing what my kids are thinking and needing. This time, I was gone. Nobody home. The brain took a holiday and left the body behind. Sad. I think it had something to do with our planned return to California, an owl sanctuary in Ireland we were supposed to visit before we left, and a determination that her best friend is not very friendly when around a little boy that teases her (but we secretly know the kid has a horrible crush on my daughter.) There was also something about me promising to let her take only showers in California (the water pressure sucks here.) Oh yeah, and a question as to whether horses in California make me sneeze like the horses at Markree Castle did last weekend.

Finally, after rambling endlessly about the glories of locking bathroom doors and more than one toilet in the house, she looked up at me with a look that defied her years and said, "You haven't listened to a single thing I said, have you?"

I said I didn't. I guess I did afterall.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Parenting Our Government: The Cost of Giving In

My three year old has mastered the concept of verbal assault like a professional special interest lobbyist. She lurks in a room, just long enough to take stock of the situation. Once she sees an opportunity, she pounces like a lionness. The attack is swift, and I rarely have time to think, much less consider her demands. "What is that? Why are you doing that? What is that thing for? Can I have that? I want that...can I have it? I want that NOW! Mom, can I have it? MOOOOOMMMMM! I want that NOW!!!"

After ten minutes, the neural synapses fire simultaneously, driving me to acquiesce, in order to stop the hammering in my head caused by her incessant begging. Half the time, she gets what she wants and simply starts asking for something else. Like any pre-schooler, the power and control isn't in the getting, it is in the demanding after being refused, and THEN the getting. In a way, she could mentor a Washington lobbyist in methodology. Moreso, if what she wants isn't possible, she just demands louder and screams until every nerve in my body is raw. I become willing to give her ANYTHING, just to preserve my sanity. Just shut the kid UP!

As a parent, I know to give into her rants and demands are only going to successfully create a monster. I have to be firm in my parenting and nip the manipulation in the bud by putting her in another room as soon as the pitch on her whining reaches a certain decibel level.

Special interest groups operate in much the same way in our country. They scream and kick until they get their way, or they simply bombard us until we grow so weary, we just want to shut them up. And much like my three year old, they are never satisfied when they achieve their objective. They just change the demand. As long as their demands are being heard and eventually met, they are in control. That is really all they want.

Those special interest groups represent the business people whining about the cost of health insurance, insurance companies complaining they can't control the costs of medical care and medical care providers complaining too many people are showing up for care that don't have insurance, forcing them to increase the costs of health care to the patients. The funny thing in all this is one simple reality: In the early eighties, the government gave into fear mongering (by hospitals) that the baby boom generation was going to meet untimely deaths unless they had government health insurance. Medicare and Medicaid were born.

But by placing a third party between the producer (physician/hospital) and the consumer (patient), we unwittingly created a delayed reaction in the supply/demand cycle. Throw licensing boards into the equation, and the ugly truth is, we were better off 30 years ago when the average person didn't have medical insurance, and simply paid out of pocket to see a doctor or go to the hospital. If you examine the cost of inflation rate to the rate of medical care costs, you will be able to pinpoint exactly when the government got their grubby little hands involved in healthcare the LAST time:

The perceptive person will notice the dramatic increase of costs just in the last two years when the discussion for government sponsored healthcare for all reached a fevered pitch in the last few months. Coincidence? I doubt it. You'll notice a dramatic increase in medical care inflation right about the time Billary were introducing their idea for socialized medicine in the early 90's. Wow...what a real coincidence! Talk about frothing at the mouth!

You see, there was a time when the cost of medical care rose only as high as the cost of inflation. It changed when the Medicare program was introduced, along with Medicaid. The 'costs' were suddenly through the roof when hospitals and doctors noticed there was an open ended check from the government. They found it was very lucrative to buy up hospitals, make major corporations out of them, and bill up the wazoo to get every dime out of the government. Of course, after the government realized the stupidity of care without cost controls, they introduced Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG's to those of us who have spent too much time in the Medical industry.) This meant, if a patient showed up with a diagnosis of heart attack, the government estimated the average amount of time for being in the hospital, bypass surgery and recovery time, and paid only the average, regardless of where the care was given, who gave it or how long the actual recovery rate was. The flat rate was born, and hospitals now had an incentive to push people out of the hospital before they were ready to go, if they had exceeded their max number of allowed days in the hospital. Add to that the need to deal with a new onslaught of patients who now 'bought into' the Medicare system and you have a nice little nightmare just waiting to be experienced.

Now Pres. Obama (PO as in, I'm PISSED OFF, from now on) wants to take over the current medical care system to "reduce costs." Um...maybe he hasn't noticed, but that was the objective the LAST time they did this, and it only drove the costs UP. Now, if PO doesn't want to force his plan on every tax payer, he won't be able to afford it. If he does, he hasn't fully understood the definition of socialized medicine. And the concept hasn't really been presented honestly to him. If he wants that, he wants to destroy the medical industry in the U.S.

That is because socialized medicine in every country that has it does two things: It drives up the cost of medical care for everyone, and it reduces the quality of that care. Rationing isn't a 'fear mongering' concept. It is real, here in socialized medicine Ireland. Ask anyone who gets cancer. They must wait in line to get surgery (12 months in some areas.) They must wait in line to see specialists. (It has taken me two full years to get an appointment with a neurologist for my M.S.) A psychologist's evaluation for my autistic son is still a pending issue, and it took over 18 months to get occupational therapy for his care. This is AFTER having a diagnosis (which takes a psychologist AND a neurologist.) Ireland does boast the lowest rate of a lot of conditions, but then again, noone bothers to get diagnosed, because it takes so long.

Now understand, I appreciate the care I have gotten. Our GP is very kind, and the nursing care is very good. But overall, it isn't top of the line. The structure discourages the best from getting the best appointments, and the appointments to the highest positions are very politicized. Imagine Barney Frank appointing the Department Head for Dietary Nutrition...or Nancy Pelosi selecting the Head of Psychiatry. Better yet, imagine Katherine Sebilius appointing the Head of Obstetrics. We would all have dead babies.

There aren't any socialized medicine systems that have a single payer system and advanced quality medical care. I believe it will never work in the U.S. Our culture in the U.S. is too conditioned to demand the best. But they can't hold up to the bureaucracy of the Federal Government. It will drive us back into non-participating physicians who only want cash for care. We will be forced to select from a small minority of doctors, and we will be locked into paying for a government system that is ineffective, administration heavy and not cost contained. Either that, or they will be something reminiscent of Logan's Run.

My point is, be careful about giving into the whining on this one. It is like the constant badgering from my three year old. She begs, whines and screams for a piece of cheese, but within an hour, the cheese causes her to develop asthma that chokes her airway almost to the point of suffocation. I can't give in on the cheese, so she will survive, and thrive. It is the same with the healthcare system. It simply takes looking at other models for socialized medicine and evaluating THEIR success. (Yes, Ireland has a two payer system too...doesn't mean a damned thing except the wait for a neurologist is shaved down to 12 months.)

It may be better to just return to the direct payment system, where doctors and hospitals have to set their prices based on the amount people can reasonably pay. We can always go back to paying for major medical insurance. Insurance should be insurance for the unlikely eventuality that we are hit with a catastrophic situation...not a common cold.

Otherwise, the whining is just going to intensify, only it will be coming out of our own mouths, in order to just get in for a test or for a visit with a specialist.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vices and Virtues: When the Church Cleans House, Try Using a Broom of Humility

Every time I attend Mass, I have to ask myself my motivation for being there. I know I can no longer look to a charismatic leader as justification for attendance. I had better be there to see Jesus, and no one else. And as much as I like my own pastor, I don't know if I trust any other priest is what they claim to be. Bottom line, priests are human, no matter what they think of themselves.

When I was a little girl, it was tantamount to a mortal sin to believe a priest was capable of sinning. Grandma said we were supposed to pray for them, because they are shepherds for Christ. The past few weeks, nay, the past few decades, these shepherds have shown to be subject to the same human weaknesses as the rest of us. In some cases, much worse. And when they weaken, the whole flock is put at risk.

Canada, Belgium, the U.S. and now Ireland have seen unbelievable atrocities committed "in the name of Christ." Some include physical violence, but most were of the sexual nature. Everyone is asking how this could have happened. I can tell you in one simple word: Power. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely. The clowns running the show at the top were either unable or unwilling to force the clowns running the show at the local level to clean house and get their act together. So rather than clean up the mess, they brushed it under a rug. However, it didn't change the problem. The dirtbags were still there...just not as visible to the people attending the show.

I just discovered a 'secret' Vatican document (not so secret because the BBC has it posted and available at BBC News expose. ) So, way back in 1962, probably before most of us were born, Cardinal Ottoviani, approved supposedly by John the 23rd, put forth a letter, basically threatening the faithful with excommunication for discussing any sexual abuse they endured at the hands of a priest:
Lawyers representing victims of sex abuse have claimed that in 1962 Ottaviani wrote a policy that stated that anyone speaking out about sexual abuse (or attempted abuse) by priests could be expelled from the Roman Catholic Church.[6] The Crimen sollicitationis document imposed absolute secrecy on the conduct of investigations of priests, even after it had ended and its verdict, favourable or unfavourable.

The 69 page document was titled, On the Manner of Proceeding in Cases of the Crime of Solicitation and was stored in the "secret archives" of the Vatican. It was discovered in the Vatican's archives by a lawyer pursuing cases on behalf of victims of abuse by Catholic priests.[7] The document instructed Bishops to pursue these cases "in the most secretive way...restrained by a perpetual silence...and everyone (including the alleged victim) to observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office...under the penalty of excommunication."

No wonder Grandma silenced me. She was of the mindset that to discuss anything that would lead the world to think priests weren't perfect would lead to excommunication! Great. Well, now we know. Ultimately, Cardinal Ottaviani was single handedly enabling every pedophile priest on the face of the earth, in perpetuity. Remind me to thank the jerk when I see him on the other side. Better yet, I'll pray for his soul. I hear Purgatory is lovely and warm this time of eternity! Now, in fairness to the Cardinal, he referenced a plethora of documents on the handling of these and the "Worst Crime" (homosexuality) that were dated from 1867 onwards. What in Hell??? You mean to tell me we've been hiding this muck in the Church for THAT long????

OK, now my blood is BOILING! Remember Fatima, Medjugore, Lourdes and all the other places where the Blessed Mother appeared? Were these Church guys NOT getting the message, or what? Hellooooo???!!!! If your mother comes all the way from the OTHER side of eternity to tell you to get your shit together, and you ignore it, what do you think is going to happen to you when you finally DIE? How much more important must it be to listen if it is the Mother of Jesus Himself??? Is He gonna be real happy with your idiot reason "But we were trying to keep it secret to protect the image of the Church" as an answer to the THOUSANDS of souls destroyed in the process? Bear in mind, this is the same guy who told us how He would leave the entire flock of sheep to go looking for the one lost sheep. That is how much each lamb means to Him. Do you seriously believe He's going to buy your answer? SHEESH!!!

Now, let's put this all into perspective, shall we? The Church dealt with the longstanding problem of pedophilia by mandating secrecy, and now the top dogs are surprised when the flock dwindles and those who abandoned the Church start talking? Better yet, they all act 'shocked' when they see the report in print, despite the fact that Pope after Pope since 1867 have had to address it in documents! Where have they been? On Mount Ararat looking for the Ark? In other words, a Pope paved the way to silence witnesses and protect the abusers. Now they are all backpedalling to look like they were on top of the problem all along. Talk about the biggest bullsh*t stunt in history! If you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Death Valley, California to sell you!

So what do we, as the REAL Church, do with the muck that has surfaced? Frankly, cleaning house, as John Waters eloquently wrote this week, is the only way to prove we really believe Jesus is coming back. (Frankly, I hope it is a long way off, because if He comes back now, He's going to be pissed!) Pope Benedict the 16th has the right idea. He is not going to sit back on the Throne of Peter (by the way, the original one was a simple, wooden chair...not very regal) and wait for the political Church hacks to come up with an idea. He announced he is taking a hands on approach (code for 'he's not buying the con job') and is going to monitor the actions of the Church in Ireland.

I have a couple ideas for His Holiness, if he's even slightly interested. First, think it through. Jesus allowed His Mother to address the issue. Perhaps what you need more of within the hierarchy of the Church is a mother's perspective. Stop hiring all the academia types to 'advise' you on how to deal with these child rearing issues (pun intended.) Hire a few moms with kids (preferably those with more than 3...any less is not enough experience) and get THEM to find the right solutions when this crap happens.

Second, don't make it secret. Encourage the victims to report it to the police. It is NOT your job to judge it. Your job is to teach the world about Jesus. Jesus told the apostles in the Great Commission to "go forth, teaching all nations, baptizing". No mention of acting as mediator between victim and perpetrator in criminal cases. Keep to your own job.

Third, consider allowing married priests in the Western Church. The Eastern Rites have had them since the beginning, and I don't recall hearing of the same volume of pedophile priests on that side of the aisle. I am only guessing, but it might be due to the influence wives tend to have on their spouses to keep them honest. That, and a priest with his own kids is going to be less likely to inflict sexual aggression on children because he wouldn't want it for his own kids.

Finally, tell the Bishops in Ireland to stop hobnobbing with Robin Leach and his Rich and Famous. Get back into the business of shepherding the flock. If power and riches weren't so much of a distraction, maybe the "Princes of the Church" would have more time to notice when the children are being raped by their priests! (Ok, that was a stretch. They all knew it was going on, based on the documents. They just didn't want to do anything about it.)

In other words, LIVE among the lowliest, not just among the wealthy! Get rid of all the palaces. If I recall correctly, Jesus didn't even have a place to rest His head, much less a palace. Make the hacks that claim to walk in the footsteps of the apostles actually try WALKING. Get rid of the chauffeurs, plush carpets, personal chefs and expensive furnishings. Give each of them a chair (wooden preferably...if it was good enough for Peter, it's good enough for them!) a desk, a small bed (like the small bed the Pope uses) and simple food. I've seen a bishop around here enjoy the pleasures of a good meal. It seems to be required if you want his attendance for anything anymore. That should NEVER be the case. (Hint, hint!)

Note to all Bishops: While you're at it, get your rugs outside and start shaking out ALL the dust that is under them. You won't win any brownie points from God because you intimidated people to keep silent when CRIMINALS were molesting and beating children. (However, you might get a nice cell in hell with a guy who wants to make you his girlfriend.)

Humility is a wonderful virtue. Unfortunately, the fastest way to obtain it is through humiliation. (Take it from one who knows!) Get a good dose of it before you try to pass the Church off as being rehabilitated.

As Saint Teresa of Avila said, don't beat yourself up over your flaws....CHANGE!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nutcracker Sweet Revenge: The Left, High School and Sarah Palin

What is it about the Right that brings out the acne-ridden, caustic, high school vicious Super-Id of the Elitist Left? First, Tina Fey relived her "Mean Girls" persona by mocking Sarah Palin with a bimbo idiot impression of her that made Tina Fey look more like a bee-atch than anything else. Next, Wanda Sykes cut down Rush Limbaugh with what can only be described as a wish for his death. Now, David Letterman goes after Sarah Palin AND her daughters with sophomoric...or sophomoronic...cutting remarks that are clearly threaded with more hate than humor.

This leaves me baffled. Sarah was appearing for a fundraiser to benefit Autism Awareness. Why did David Letterman take that opportunity to cut Sarah down? Does he not realize one in 150 kids deals with this condition? What happened to the empathy of the Left? Is this only reserved for empathy for THEM? Or did he think everyone was a lemming and would agree with his opinion?

Okay, David Letterman was probably not a looker when he was in high school, but he is a classic example of someone who was likely, the butt of the high school joke. He might have deflected attention away from his own gawkiness by making fun of someone else while throwing humor in it to make himself popular. The high school oppressed are now the adult adolescent oppressors.

Wanda Sykes and Tina Fey are the adult version of the class clown and high school cheerleader who would target the meeker, brainier kids because humiliating the less attractive ones was the fasttrack way to elevate their position in the social group. Keith Olbermann and Janeane Garofalo are classic example of the bitter, gothic types that hated everyone, and didn't care who they insulted. I used to know like each of them in school

In high school, everyone that was good looking, athletic or funny at the expense of another were allowed 'in'. Those who never grew beyond this method of self-preservation are doomed to live it eternally in their adult lives. Every one of them had their emotional maturity cease at high school graduation.

So why do they target Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh? Probably for the same reason they ridicule anyone who disagrees with them. Emotionally, they don't have the maturity to consider an opposing viewpoint. They can only tolerate speaking to someone who is like-minded. So they speak, no, froth at the mouth, about it to one another. However, it is all the same thing as what occurred in high school. The more inadequate they feel, the more they need to use the Right as a target.

Where David miscalculated was in his prodding. As long as he kept it at Sarah, it was ignored. But when the eedjit went after her daughter, Sarah's 'mother bear' instinct surfaced. In Alaska, mother bears are grizzly bears. Just as any grizzly bear would do, Sarah bit back hard. Now she is asking for an apology on behalf of all women. And damned right too.

You see, David made the mistake of showing his cards. He, like many on the Left, view motherhood with hostility. This is because motherhood means responsibility. If he gets a woman pregnant, HE must GROW UP. As long as abortion, birth control and sex without consequence is possible, he won't have to grow up at all. It is the classic Peter Pan syndrome. So the men on the Left hide behind a "woman's right to choose" as a justification, but in truth, they just want to boink without backlash.

He showed his hidden hostility towards women though, when he referred to Willow getting knocked up by A. Rod, or Sarah Palin dressing like a "slutty stewardess". He objectified women, and inadvertantly, displayed his real feeling towards them. He is prochoice, because it means HIS choices won't be affected. Why else would people like Hugh Hefner promote pornography and abortion, all in the same breath? They are hostile towards the power that motherhood offers. Instead, they marginalize and reduce women to mere playthings for their own pleasure. It puts them back in power and control. And the feminists fall for it, every time.

If feminists had wisdom, they would realize where the REAL power is. Their power is in the ability to create new life, and usher it into this world. It is the one thing men will NEVER be able to do.

It is in the power to influence that new life to live a virtuous life, to be compassionate and wise. It is in the ability to raise children to be a president, a philosopher, or a comedian that uses humor to build up others, not tear down fourteen year old girls that already have overwhelming challenges with public attention. True feminists realize when they are being played for fools. And they shut it down like a mother bear.

In a sense, Sarah is a nutcracker. She cracked down on the male chauvenism nut, David Letterman. She brought attention to his true opinion of women and shut it down with a simple response. Furthermore, she cracked down on his ego by refusing to appear on his show.

For the rest of us, it is a Nutcracker Sweet Revenge to see David Letterman apologize. Humble pie is always a dish best served cold, and David's lips were blue when he ate his slice of it! Perhaps he will learn the lesson and avoid sticking his hand in the cage of a mother grizzly again.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Everyday Theology: Finding Joy in an Unlikely Place

My three year old asked me to take her to the bathroom for the third time during Mass today. (Any coincidence it was Trinity Sunday? I wonder.) If there is a patron saint of weak bladders, my daughter needs to do a novena to that saint. While I hated climbing over all my children to get out, it was a relief to exit the church The last few weeks in Ireland have been a test of faith for me. Everything I thought I knew about the Catholic Church has been turned upside down and the people I thought were entrusted to preserve the faith have turned into her biggest enemy. The depression has become a dark cloud in my life. St. Teresa of Avila called it the dark night of the soul.

I decided to listen to the advice of my patron saint, Teresa of Avila. She advised her nuns to go outside when they were depressed so they could gaze into the sky. I wondered why she did that. Rather than question it though, I simply looked up in the sky and admired the clouds, listened to the singing of the birds, the gurgle of a stream and the peaceful quiet, occasionally interupted with the passing of gas by a small child. I couldn't help but giggle, and it was then that I understood why Teresa said this.

Life has plenty of things to make us depressed. St. Teresa used to say, "May God protect me from gloomy saints," meaning the morose, downcast version of piety was not what God wanted. Instead, St. Teresa was renown for a good sense of humor. She never took herself too seriously, and despite her holiness, she was lighthearted. She was often criticised for enjoying her own form of prayer, which bordered on fantasy conversations with God. While during life she was chastised for taking such a familiar approach to conversing with God, she was later declared a Doctor of the Church for her writings on prayer.

St. Teresa, like me, didn't much enjoy the long, drawn out, rote version of prayer. Carmelites are known for meditation and contemplation, but Teresa, a Carmelite, saw this as a chore. In fact, she used to dread the hour of prayer and would have gladly traded it for some form of heavy penance instead. Her mind was constantly going, and making her mind stop was akin to stopping a train moving at 65 miles an hour. So, she let her mind imagine speaking to angels, saints or Jesus himself. In a sense, she wrote about the development of a personal relationship with Christ. And for this, the bishops and many other religious criticised her.

Often times, she was not welcomed in a region because the bishop didn't want to hear it. They were too busy doing the "business" of the Church, and acting as God by condemning the people. This was the time of the Great Inquisition and the Church was taking an active role in the condemnation of souls, as they still walked the earth. It was a dark time in Church history, but it produced some incredible saints too.

As I thought abouth this, I realized this was the case again. The greatest good often exists where there is also the greatest evil. I'll leave it to the theologians to figure out why. Suffice to say, the things that are depressing me now are simply due to my inability to see the great saints that are in the making. But if I stop and listen, I can spot them around me, and thus find the joy that St. Teresa knew was out there somewhere.

So, I turned on the television and saw Father Jonathon Morris exchanging witty banter with the other Red Eye guests. It made me laugh at myself, and, for a little while, forget the depressing events of the past week. I went on the Internet and read some of the funny stuff written in the Activity Pit and on MySpace (Tammy Bruce has a wonderfully witty quote.) Only then did I realize, here is where God really lives and breathes. He resides in the hearts of those who do good. God doesn't need us to carry a label. We need that. He exists and acts through each of us. This is how the greatest good can exists in the same place as some of the most horrific evil. God works through us all, in our uniqueness and our ability to see joy in everyday life.

As the sound of a flushing toilet reminded me it was time to return to my pew, I was grateful for the few minutes of relief, both for my daughter and myself. I vowed to write it down, and thank those who allowed God's joy to spread through them, despite the great efforts of the evil in this world. Even though we disagree on some issues, God still speaks through each, and it is wonderful.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Interpret the Dream

Last night I had a very frightening dream. I was in a very tall building with many windows. There were many children around me, and I was responsible for guiding them through the building. A noise came from above, and there were windows right through the roof, even though the building was many stories high. I looked up, and saw what looked like the Space Shuttle or a very large plane falling to the earth. I could see the fire coming from the exhaust of the engine, or it could have been the engine itself falling through the building.

As if in slow motion, I gathered the children and instinctively dashed for a long, cement corridor. Turning into another corridor, I saw the fireball barrel through the hallway, and towards the children and me. The building we were in was coming down all around us, and it seemed as though a bomb hit. I could see waterpipes above falling to the ground, and I could feel the thunderous movement of the earth, as though the floor was being pulled out from us.

Oddly though, through all the chaos, the children were calm and unharmed. I could feel the burning of the air, but I myself was not on fire. Despite expecting to be consumed by the fire, it did not harm us. We walked out of the building, intact. When we emerged from the building, we couldn't believe the destruction around us.

Now, I have had plane crash dreams before. The first was when I was about 5, and I never knew if there was a major air disaster at the time, but it occurred again the night before the AeroMexico/Cerritos plane crash. Most recently, I saw the Air France plane crash in a dream. In each one, I often have little details, like an all white plane over the ocean. Although the details are never enough to know if it is going to happen, I almost always get it within 2 days of the occurance.

I was once told by a spiritual director that these were given to me to incite me to pray. Unfortunately, I am a lot like my patron saint, St. Teresa of Avila, in that I'm not the best at prayer. Oh, if I can imagine talking to someone directly, I can. But usually to meditate on just a rote prayer, I'm gone. So if this is sent to me, it seems a bit of a waste.

However, if this is to incite me to get others to pray, if only to say a simple prayer of protection for the sake of children who may be affected by a travel accident, then I'm good with that. I tend to have the gift of gab, and yakking to others to pray for one thing or the other seems benign enough.

This one has me concerned though. If it is a prophetic dream, and it is NOT an air disaster, I am worried this is actually a dream of symbolism. If so, I have to piece the damned thing apart and figure out what each item represents.

Since I am weary of these dreams, and since I am also very lazy, I ask you to help me understand it. Being a mother, I can understand the symbolism of the children in my dream. But the rest is odd. Why the large building? Why the window to the sky? Why the plane crashing through it? Why did I go to the cement corridor? Why, when I expected the fire to consume me, was I not destroyed by it? Why were the children there with me? What did the water pipe signify? Most of all, when we stepped out and emerged from the wreckage, why were we the only ones left?

I hate these dreams. Some say it is a gift. I must agree with St. Teresa when she said they are a curse. The raw emotions, the fear, agony, dread, panic and amazement are as real as if I were actually there. And until I am able to decipher it, it will haunt me.

Any insights are welcome.