Monday, January 29, 2007

So what would you do?

So what would you do?

What would you do if you had been me? The situation is this – I was trained as a minister of care for a local Catholic church. For those of you who may not know what a “minister of care” does, simply put, they bring communion to those to sick to come to church. In my case I brought communion to a local nursing home. Each Sunday I would go, and do a small service with Mother Superior before distribution communion. Not long after a situation arose where the lay individual called me up to tell me that the church did not want “people like me” (and by this she mean someone who had once been a hermaphrodite) bringing communion – as if there were somehow something wrong with me. If this were not bad enough, the Sunday before this occurred, the head priest gave me a big hug and told me “If they reject you they reject the church.” (here he used the name of the church which I will not).

These are the same people who told me that I should not give communion to someone who is not Catholic, even if they ask for it – what would you do in that case? As for me, I was not about to deny communion to another human being to sought it and usually desperately needed it.

So I had been rejected as being unworthy of bringing communion to the sick because of how I look. Nothing more.

What would you do?

Would you forgive them? Christ said, “love one another as I have loved you” -- even if they fail the “God’s little dipstick test” (a reference to an earlier column I did).

But here is the big question…

Would you go back to the same church later? I didn’t – not at first. After all, this isn’t football. If someone treats me like I am a “thing” not even human, nothing says I have to put myself up against the same people for more hurt in the second half.

That was all before I was before a nun.

Things change. Years later, for whatever reason her reason may be, Mother Superior went back to the same church to sing in the choir. I don’t know what her reasons are, you would have to ask her. Did it bother me to go back to the same place where they treated me like a thing?

You bet – it cut like a razorblade with salt rubbed in to the wound.

Did I go with Mother Superior to hear her sing?

Yes. But here is the change. Then I was not a nun, now I am. I went back just to hear Mother Superior sing. Normally I go to a Carmellite convent for services. Did I get any of the looks as if someone had on their mind “why does this nun have a dead baby hanging out of her mouth?’ Sure.

Is there a lesson here? Certainly. But like the cartoon with Linus building a
Sandcastle on a beach – that soon gets washed away – “There is a lesson to be learned here somewhere but I don’t quite know what it is.”

Does it mean when someone goes out of their way to hurt you that you have to not only forgive them but give them the opportunity to do it again?

I don’t know.

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