Friday, January 3, 2014

The Pope's Resolutions Are Better Than Mine

It's a little annoying.  I mean, I know he's Pope and all, which presumably puts him on a higher plane, but I thought my resolutions were pretty good until I read this.  Then I was kinda bummed.

You know, when Benedict was reigning Pope, I never once thought of what he'd do.  I never looked at lists of Stuff Benedict Said.  Which is maybe why I like Francis so much.

Still.  Gossip?  Number one is "avoid gossip"?  What happened to abortion?  I'm 46 and have been happily married for nearly 25 years.  The chances of me being tempted to get at abortion is pretty much zero.  The chances of me being tempted to gossip, on the other hand--is this a day that ends in Y?

Drive a humble car, that I can do.  (Ride a humble horse, that's more challenging.)  those of you who know me well know that it doesn't bother me one iota to be driving a 2004 minivan.  Which is of course why I'm still driving it.  I don't, however, live in a humble lifestyle otherwise.  Sure, I mostly wear jeans, but I also bought a pair of purple knee-high boots this fall simply because they were fabulous.  And the doggone Pope won't wear his red shoes.

One item on his list where I think I've made progress is in engaging with both the poor and those who believe differently than me.  My life can, if I let his, proceed primarily in a world of my own making, cocooned with family, friends, and the imaginary characters of my novels.  I am not forced to stretch myself.  I used to listen to my husband speak, anonymously and tenderly, of some of his patients.  The senile woman who peed in his examining chair.  The elderly man come for cataract surgery whose face was black with grime.  My husband washed him.

My work at Faith in Action has made me a better person.  I can't lump people together anymore, "those people on food stamps who won't get a job," "those Baptists who believe everyone's going to he'll.". Not when I see Jackie, a staunch, life-long Baptist, embrace a child's child, her face suffused with joy because she loves children, s much, and she never had any.  Not when a client swings by on a Wednesday just to check in with one of our other volunteers, because he cares about her and she has very few supportive people in her life, and that volunteer invites her to his home for Christmas.  Not when a woman threw her arms around me and wept on my shoulder because I was paying the $40 bill that would get her water turned back on.  (She smelled horrible.  Of course she did.  She'd lived 6 weeks in a house with no water.)

I've got a long way to go, but at least I can see a small change.  Next year maybe I'll even make progress on this gossip thing.  (I'm afraid the purple boots will be last to go.)

What do you think about the Pope?  And what are your resolutions? Really, I'd like to know.