October 2006 Archives
My dad died this morning. It was both an expected event and a big surprise. His health has been failing steadily over the last year, and he has been in and out of the hospital. But it was still a surprise. Yes, he had been transferred from the rehab hospital (where he had been recovering from a below the knee amputation) to the acute care facility. But that has been happening with some regularity lately. And yes, he had been transferred to ICU Saturday with blood pressure issues - but that is just another of the bumps on the roller coaster ride he's been on for years. I asked my sister on Saturday if she thought we needed to fly out to California. She told me that the nurses thought he'd make it out of ICU again - he just needed to consent to go on dialysis. He really didn't want to go on dialysis - and he didn't.
He apparently suffered acute heart failure sometime this morning. His second wife was there with him, he had eaten a good breakfast, and he looked like he was going to sleep. But it was the final rest. I got the news this afternoon, while I was at work. I thought I was going to be ok to finish the day but by the time I got off the phone, I knew that I had to go home. Even though there is precious little that I can do on a practical level from 2000 miles away, I needed to be where I could talk on the phone freely and not worry about other stuff.
My brothers in CA will be helping my stepmom with details. I am waiting to see what the plans are before I make my plans. I guess that it is a good thing that I hadn't scheduled the housewarming yet - I'm going to push it to after Thanksgiving, I think. Make it an Advent/housewarming event.
If you can find a moment, pray for my dad's soul. I am morally certain that he was not in a state of grace, and I can only hope that at the very last he came to an acknowledgment and repentance. I take hope in the private revelations given to St. Faustina about the Divine Mercy. Pray, too, for one of my sisters. She and my dad were estranged, and now she is just torn up inside and out. Pray that she will find the peace that I know God wants her to have.
It's at times like this that I remember that forgiveness is more healing to the victim of ill-doing than to the perpetrator. It is possible to forgive without it being a justification or excuse for the evils done to one - it is possible to forgive even if the perpetrator never acknowledges the injustice, never apologizes, never makes even the first step towards reparation. Jesus from the cross asked forgiveness for those who crucified Him - and we are called to do likewise.
Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
but congrats anyhow to Arwen/Elizabeth!Joy comes in the morning
crazyacres...: 14 years and counting...
John and I are also both firstborns - it has made for an interesting three plus decades!
God bless Renee, and I hope that some day soon we will meet in the flesh.
when the blog's front page is limited to the side rolls.
Sorry folks. It has been a long few weeks. Every time I think that I have a few minutes to blog, I discover that I need to go with John to Menards to buy some essential bit of houshold hardware. Or to Home Depot. Or somewhere. And of course, sitting in an office 40+ hours/week takes up its share of the time. It's a busy practice. But it has its perks!
Last week, Saturday, I went with John to a chili cook-off sponsored by his new employer. That took up pretty much the day.
Friday night (the 13th) I went with John to a party for one of his new co-workers. Turns out that one of the things these folks like to do at parties in play cards. I like to play cards. Not as much as I like to play Scrabble, but darn close. Well, they like to play poker. My grandpappy taught me to play poker when I was knee high. When John and I were first married, we spent many a Friday night sitting around with friends drinking wine and playing penny ante poker. Remind me to tell you some time the story about the next door neighbor and the flaming pork chops.
Well, these folks play Texas Hold-em. Its a version of poker that I hadn't played, but I was figuring that when in Rome shoot Roman candles, so I said sure, I'll play. Then it turns out that they play for real money - not a lot, but everyone puts in ten bucks and starts with the same number of chips - and usually the one with all the chips at the end takes home the whole pot. But this time there were enough folks playing that the pot was divvied up $50 to the winner, $20 to second place, $10 to third. I ended up, after several rounds, being one of the last three players, then it was me against the guy that I later found out was the most frequent winner, and at the very end, I wagered my entire pile of chips in an all or nothing move - and won. Beginner's luck? who knows. But it was fun. And it paid for a few hardware items!
Yesterday was the Breast Cancer walk. My office has a tradition of trying to raise more money than the other OB offices in town but hasn't so far managed. But there was a strong encouragement to show up and walk. So I showed up. I did walk part of it but I found that my knees and back were not being co-operative and my asthma kicked in (I hadn't been truly prepared for just how COLD it was!) and so I wussed out about 1/3 of the way. Maybe next year. One thing that helped a little was that some ladies were selling scarves as a fund raiser - boy did I need that! And John ended up also buying and wearing one (real men aren't afraid to wear pink)
some pics - a little over exposed because I was using the Palm to take them!
I heard a homily today on Humanae Vitae for what was arguably the first time in my life, in a family parish, at a regular Sunday Mass. It was wonderful - it almost compensated for the musical choices (which, I must say, were masterfully played and sung) from the Gather Hymnal. The homily was given by the pastor. He opened by reflecting briefly on the readings from the Mass. He also mentioned that the Deacon, who had given the homily last year for Respect Life Sunday, had arranged to be at this particular Mass just to hear what Father pastor would have to say! Father did a great job of talking about a delicate topic in such a way as to get the message across without getting into details that might upset the parents of young children. He also mentioned theology of the body and talked about a talk he had recently heard on just that topic.
Our new parish really seems to be trying hard to be faithful and faith-filled. But the architecture is more suited to an ampitheater than a church. It was built in the late 1970s I think (dedicated 1982?) and the crucifix is truly awful. It is one of those where the crossbar is about at Jesus's navel and His arms are extended as if He is about to fly off the cross. Give me a cheap plastic dashboard Jesus dripping with carmine over the stylized version any day. But the church has a lovely life sized statue of the patron saint and several other statues as well, and a full set of stations of the cross evenly placed around the inner outside wall, and nice hard pews with soft kneelers. The tabernacle is smack dab in the center behind the altar, everyone genuflects or bows as required, and there are regularly scheduled hours of adoration. The musicians are skilled and faithful, and I think that they are doing the best they can with what they think is right. Still, I find myself wincing over and over again. Too much first person God hymnody, too much social gospel and inclusive language with borderline theology. But even in that, a couple of phrases hit my husband between the eyes to the point where he teared up.
Tomorrow night there will be a speaker on "Voting the Catholic Conscience" who we will try to catch, God willing and work doesn't keep us too late!
Today being Life Sunday, I was thinking about a snippet of conversation I overhead earlier in the week on Relevant Radio. (Yes, we can sort of get the signal from two different sites during the day, depending on where I am in the car.) It was at lunch time and I was driving home to do something (one of the joys of being here is that the house is only 5 minutes drive from the office!). It was a call-in show with a priest and the host and they had apparantly been talking about the Church's position on IVF (in vitro fertilization, aka test-tube babies). Two callers called in very upset and talking about how this was among the reasons that they had left the Church, that the Church condemns these ART (assisted reproductive technology) conceptions.
Poor Father! He seemed to be having a really hard time reaching these women. He kept telling them that he was glad that the children had been born, but he was also trying to explain just why the Church considers ART to be immoral. I think that he might have done better to remind them that God can bring good out of evil, that the children are not evil or immoral but that the circumstances of their conception were, just as a child conceived through rape is not evil but is rather a survivor of evil. Father was trying to explain the natural law, that the intended route of creating new life is through natural relations between a husband and wife - but he was repeatedly interrupted by one woman who was rather vociferous that the child she was raising had been conceived in love, just in a Petri dish rather than in her body. And I am sure that is her point of view, that the location doesn't matter.
I wish that Father had been a little more knowledgable about the full scope of ART. Many folks don't realize that much of what is done, even short of IVF, is immoral according to natural law and Catholic theology. All too often, folks who are not conceiving as fast as they think they should get on the infertility bandwagon and before they know it, they are thousands of dollars into what can all too often be a real racket. From what I have heard from many sources, mostly patients, there seems to be no real effort to diagnose the cause of the infertility before going through a cookbook set of interventions, each with its alphabet soup. And all too often, the suggestion is to just jump to IVF, because no matter what is wrong, IVF can bypass it. The sad reality is that the folks for whom IVF is the most likely to succeed are the folks who probably could have conceived without it...........
In all my years as an L&D nurse, I NEVER saw a normal labor and birth in an IVF mom. Never. Don't know why, but I have theories. Saw tons of preterm birth, pre-eclampsia, severe gestational diabetes, placental problems, you name it. I worked at that time in several hospitals in Southern California, ranging from the elite private hospitals to the Kaiser HMO hospitals to the LA County hospitals and I saw better outcomes in the poor and underprivileged moms than in the well-to-do IVF moms. Maybe infertility is one way to protect women from pregnancies that are risky to them, maybe there is something inherently pathological in the ART process. I don't have a clue, but I do remember the old saying, "It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature" (or in this case, the natural law).
I also wish that he had referred folks to another papal writing, Donum Vitae. See below a couple of relevant excerpts.
The connection between in vitro fertilization and the voluntary destruction of human embryos occurs too often. This is significant: through these procedures, with apparently contrary purposes, life and death are subjected to the decision of man, who thus sets himself up as the giver of life and death by decree. This dynamic of violence and domination may remain unnoticed by those very individuals who, in wishing to utilize this procedure, become subject to it themselves.
Why Must Human Procreation Take Place in Marriage?
Every human being is always to be accepted as a gift and blessing of God. However, from the moral point of view a truly responsible procreation vis-a-vis the unborn child must be the fruit of marriage.
For human procreation has specific characteristics by virtue of the personal dignity of the parents and of the children: the procreation of a new person, whereby the man and the woman collaborate with the power of the Creator, must be the fruit and the sign of the mutual self-giving of the spouses, of their love and of their fidelity. The fidelity of the spouses in the unity of marriage involves reciprocal respect of their right to become a father and a mother only through each other.
The child has the right to be conceived, carried in the womb, brought into the world and brought up within marriage: it is through the secure and recognized relationship to his own parents that the child can discover his own identity and achieve his own proper human development.
The parents find in their child a confirmation and completion of their reciprocal self-giving: the child is the living image of their love, the permanent sign of their conjugal union, the living and indissoluble concrete expression of their paternity and maternity.
By reason of the vocation and social responsibilities of the person, the good of the children and of the parents contributes to the good of civil society; the vitality and stability of society require that children come into the world within a family and that the family be firmly based on marriage.
The tradition of the Church and anthropological reflection recognize in marriage and in its indissoluble unity the only setting worthy of truly responsible procreation.
34. Cf. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et spes, no. 50.
35. Cf Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris consortio, no. 14: AAS 74 (1982), 96.