The Men in Blue

I can’t say that on some level I didn’t expect it. I just prayed that it wouldn’t happen.

But it did.

People, being (rightly) upset over what appears to be incredible racial injustice and flagrant abuse of power, do the worst thing possible and retaliate.  Five police officers were killed and many more were injured.

They are calling it, “the deadliest day for United States law enforcement agents since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

I am prior Navy and have a strong solidarity with the men and women of other uniformed services, including our police force.  I respect the job that they do, recognize their sacrifices, and know that it’s not an easy life.

Note that I said, “not an easy life,” instead of “not an easy job.”  This is intentional.  Some jobs are just jobs.  Others define who you are.  Police work is more like the latter.  I had an opportunity to meet with some of the police officers in my city at the library’s Summer Kickoff.

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I went to each of the areas and spoke with the officers there, asking them what they did and what they liked best about their jobs. To a man (or woman), they all said that public outreach events like this one were their favorite parts of the job. Too often, their interaction with the public is a negative one. Usually when someone encounters a police officer, it’s because they’ve either done something wrong, or something bad has happened to them. It’s rare that people get to see them for a happy occasion.

The reality of their life is a lot different that what we might expect from our brief interactions with them or how they are portrayed on television. I know after the reports of late, most people are tempted to think that all police officers are one bad day away from a horrible abuse of power. But this is grossly unfair. Most officers that I know live a life of sacrifice. They don’t command a great salary. People, even friends, can act weird around them, expecting them to judge their every action for “rule-breaking.” They are not thanked for the job they do. They put their lives on the line every day. They are always “on,” even when they are off. Their personal lives and those of their families are put under closer scrutiny and are expected to live up to higher standards of integrity and moral behavior.

These are our protectors, but so often they are cast as the villains.

Yes, there may be some bad people who abuse their position and do horrible things. This can happen in any profession. But we do not wholesale slaughter an entire group of people based on the actions of a few. Isn’t this exactly what we were trying to say at the rally in Dallas? That treating a group of people differently, and making them fear stepping out their door in the morning, and killing them for no reason, is WRONG and HORRIFIC?

Where is this going to end? What are YOU going to do to end it? How can we fix our broken society?

Certainly, we cannot let violence and persecution continue against black people.

Certainly, we cannot kill the people who work so hard to protect us.

Certainly, we cannot live in a society where there is so much fear and hatred.

What CAN we do? What can YOU do?

I don’t know. But I will listen, and I will pray, and I will love.

Thin Blue Line Peacemakers

#BlackLivesMatter

Okay.

I’m a white female. Or, technically, I’m bi-racial, being both Native American and Caucasian. But I look white and people generally treat me as such, and I typically identify as Caucasian.

So.

Can I even enter into this conversation with any sense of legitimacy?

I don’t know.

I certainly don’t know what it’s like to be black in our culture. Or Latina or most any other minority group. I can’t talk about their experiences, or the prejudices they face, or the struggles that they have, or even the best way to fix these problems.

I don’t have any answers.

What I know is that every person is made in the image and likeness of God, and because of this we are all equal in dignity, have a right to life, and need to be treated as what we are: the holiest thing you will ever encounter in your life apart from God Himself.

Every person.

Doesn’t matter your skin color, religion, able-bodiedness/disability, mental acuity, or whatever.

I don’t spend a lot of time reading the news or catching up on current events, but I have heard a lot lately about cases of suspected [I say this because I think they are still under investigation] police brutality and unjust use of lethal force against some African-Americans.

If this is true, and it seems like there is pretty solid evidence that it is, at least in this most recent case, my heart is breaking.

It’s unimaginably horrible to think that there are people who are afraid of going outside their homes. Afraid of being pulled over or stopped in the street. Of paying for a small infraction with their lives because of their skin color.

While white people who are seemingly guilty of horrible crimes beyond a shadow of the doubt are being acquitted and their good attributes are touted in the media; whereas for the black offenders, every rule they have ever broken since that time when they pulled Susie’s hair in 2nd grade is being published for the masses to see and use to justify whatever was done.

I don’t understand.

It is too easy in our society to marginalize people for the reason of the day.

Right now, it seems to be skin color. But tomorrow it could be Catholics, or Hispanics, or obese people, or whatever.

If I were persecuted, I would be afraid. I would be enraged. I would not understand why every other person in society was not on my side, fighting with me for justice. I would seek out other members of the group is was in which was being persecuted and I would identify with them perhaps even more. There is strength in numbers. There is a voice in numbers.

I am just a white girl. I know nothing. But I do know that #BlackLivesMatter

Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. You may not like people of other races. You may have prejudices. Your heart could not be where it needs to be. But it’s what you DO, and how you ACT which really matters.

Choose to love people the same.

We are all people.

We all deserve love.

I typically stay silent on matters because I feel that my voice is not welcome. Or that I’ll offend others. Or that it’s not really my place to say anything.

Well, I think too many of us are silent. These are our brothers and sisters. These are MY brothers and sisters. And I am angry, heartbroken, and repulsed by what I’ve seen and heard.

Discussion is welcome. Please comment below.

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Faith Life at Work

Every Tuesday at our church (St. Anastasia), we have a Mass at 7 pm. Every First Tuesday of the month after Mass, we have Young Adult Night. We gather in Meeting Room B and typically have pizza, a talk, and some trivia (or other game).

Since Fr. Jim had forgotten to ask the Catholic Trivia guy to come out this evening, he devised a quick game of Modified Family Feud, using answers from Family Feud episodes from, like, the 70s or something. (Who replaces a TOASTER if it is not broken?)

Anywhoo, after our quick game where we never really heard who won, we heard a talk by Denis Veneziano, our resident Italian architect and part-time language instructor. His topic was “Holiness in Your Daily Work.”

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Disclaimer: This is the cover of a book I have sitting on my desk at work. I’ve been meaning to read it for a couple years now. There is no review of this book in this post because lazy and haven’t read yet.

I jotted down a few notes, then a few more, then decided that I had enough fodder to create a blog post and share with y’all, so here you go! 🙂 In bullet points, because my coffee is not working yet.

  • Genesis 2:15 states, “ The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  This tells us that work is not supposed to be seen as “a necessary evil,” but something which adds to the dignity of man as being in God’s plan for our lives.  Denis continues to point out that even Jesus worked for most of His life, and He is our example of what it should look like to live a perfected human life.
  • Because of this, we should ask ourselves:  What pride to we take in our work?  Do we see the work that we do in a supernatural light?  As promoting, or capable of promoting, the Kingdom of God and sanctifying ourselves and those around us?
  • Beware of “professionalism” — where your work becomes the end purpose of your life.  It can be important, but it is a means.  Your work is just one part of your life.  You certainly shouldn’t give it inordinate preference over other aspects of your life.  But don’t go to the opposite extreme either and not give it its due importance.
  • How can I use my time at work to sanctify myself and others?
    • I can pray before I start my work — dedicating my work day to God and asking His help.
    • I can dedicate individual hours during the workday for a specific person or intention.  This can make the entire day into something of a prayer.
    • I should show interest in my coworkers and try to help them as much as possible.  Before being a worker, I (and they) am a person.

What are ways in which you bring God into your workplace?

What struggles do you have in showing God’s love to your coworkers?

One final thought:

A holy person is

NOT

a perfect person,

but is one who gets up

one more time

than they fall.

Greektown!

After work, I caught Mass at Christ the King in Ann Arbor, then headed to Detroit to meet up with Allie in Greektown. We snuck into Old St. Mary’s, piggybacking in the building as others were exiting for about 10 seconds of Adoration.

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Allie had already eaten, as I was delayed in getting there, but she graciously had First Dessert while I had some delicious Pastitsio at New Parthenon.

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Next, we went about 2 doors down the street and salivated at all of the desserts and pastries at Astoria’s. Finally, we made our selections (each of us chose a macaroon and one other item) and sat down for more conversation. We ate our French dessert in the middle of Greektown with NO shame. 🙂 We talked for hours and I laughed until my abs hurt.

It was a perfect night: warm, but not hot; no humidity; a slight breeze. There were street musicians and a ton of people walking around. The city was beautiful. I left with my key lime cheesecake as a souvenir to be enjoyed at a later date. (Allie may or may not have had an entire day’s worth of leftovers to take home, including an eclair from Second Dessert.) Allie may be making Old St. Mary’s her home parish, and I definitely think I’ll be returning soon to check out more of what Greektown has to offer.

A Pretty Day at Work

It’s hard, sometimes, working in a building that has (almost) no windows.  I never know what the weather is like outside.  Usually, we can hear the rain (like a thousand cats on a hot tin roof), but whether it is overcast or sunny, hot or cold, is rather a mystery.

The smokers among us escape every so often and go outside, and there are a couple of people who take daily walks at lunchtime.  I tend to eat at my desk and work through lunch and take no breaks.

But today, I decided to order Jimmy John’s.  It was so pretty out, that I went back upstairs to grab my phone to take a couple pictures of the building.  (That and the Jimmy John’s guy was stuck at the gate and I had to call him.)

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