I saw the neatest thing one day…
It was a beautiful spring Saturday morning and I was walking out the front door of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Branford, Conn., where I had stopped in to make a little visit. As I headed down the front walk, I saw a huge guy on a Harley Davidson who was driving past the church and he definitely fit the part: long hair, goatee, lots of leather and tattoos. But what really caught my attention was that as he motored loudly past St. Mary’s, he made the sign of the cross.
My parents had always taught me and my siblings to make the sign of the cross as we passed by a church, telling us it was a way of acknowledging Jesus’ Eucharistic presence from afar (of course as very little kids, they told us it was like waving hi to Jesus).
I felt a little tickled at being able to witness that moment as I left the Church….who in the world would have thought some big, burly biker dude would be reverencing the Eucharist in public as he roared down Main Street?
And that’s my point: who would have expected that from a guy like him? I think people are far too quick to judge others these days and in doing so, they miss out on some incredible things simply because they have placed a label on a particular person and then discount them or don’t give them a second thought.
- “Oh, he’s a biker, so he must be a pagan.”
- “Oh, she’s over 35 and has never been married, there must be something wrong with her.”
- “Oh, he’s divorced and obviously is a failure. Not a good Catholic.”
Oh, how we deny ourselves of the gifts other people have to offer – gifts that would surprise and overjoy us – if we could only stop labeling and judging!
When I went through my divorce so many years ago, I went forth to rebuild my life and felt as if I was wearing a Scarlet D on my chest for everyone to see and judge my by. I was horrified that I had to identify myself on an employment or loan application as divorced. I felt I needed to explain to everyone that the divorce wasn’t my choice, but that’s not always possible, and you have to just be frustrated by the fact that the person who gets your personal information is just going to think what they’re going to think.
But I had to remember – and often times it was a friend or a family member doing the reminding – that there was so much more to me than being divorced. I had gifts, I had talents, I had a heart that wanted to love! The suffering I had endured through my divorce and afterward had deepened my faith in God and I became a better Catholic because of it. I had accepted the fact that I had faults that contributed to the breakdown of my first marriage and worked hard to change that. In a way, I felt like I was better prepared for a relationship than I ever had been before so I had to believe in myself and ignore the ones that judged me and my D.
So I hope that if you are divorced and have suffered much because of it, you will remember that your divorce doesn’t define who you are. You are so much more and have many gifts to offer someone else. But more than that, you have a treasure to offer others: the gifts of understanding and compassion that are so rare these days. You don’t judge; you offer your shoulder in consolation. You don’t label; you listen.
Always remember that in God’s eyes, you are the most beautiful creature ever and He will do anything to be with you!
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