September 6, 2011 by Nicole
It’s been a few days since I last posted, but a lot has been happening over here. School has started up again, and I am eagerly counting the days until my next vacation. Okay, not really–I am excited about what the new semester has in store, though I don’t really relish the though of grading a pile of papers in about four weeks.
It’s funny to think about this semester starting up–Randy and I hadn’t really believed that we’d be here at home gearing up for another year of teaching. It seemed so likely (twice) that we were going to be gearing up for a major move to a new state and city. But, here we are all the same. There’s another potential pastoral position (How’s that for alliteration!) on the radar–Pennsylvania this time, which would be a really nice place to live, but it remains to be seen whether this job, like every job before it, will go through the same frustrating process of interview–“we’re really interested!”–“What?? You’re wife is Catholic?”–“Sorry, but we’re going to look elsewhere.”
Frankly, I am amazed that I am holding it together as well as I am.Sometimes, I am tempted to think that I am some sort of a job liability. It’s hard to watch your husband all but have a job and then lose the opportunity because according to the last two churches, he is not married to the “right type of woman.” Sometimes it makes me angry, sometimes sad. But, I keep praying for those people and when I really thought about it, my prayer shocked me.
In the course of asking God to forgive them, I inadvertently added some words which I felt really odd about using, considering who said them and when they were said. I asked God to forgive them for their prejudices against me and how it affected their decision, because “they don’t know what they’re doing.” On one hand, it feels really strange to pray using the words Christ spoke while He was hanging on the cross. When you think of the agony he experienced in the garden of Gethsemane, the brutal scourging he endured followed by the mockery and humiliation of the soldiers, and the physical struggle to haul His cross to Golgotha where he was ultimately crucified, well, it feels a little silly to try to compare the horror of His ordeal with my little struggles in the whole job situation. It’s like trying to compare apples to oranges. His suffering was so much more than mine, that it makes my suffering with these circumstances that, when held up next to Christ’s, are just downright insignificant. Am I really worthy to speak those words for myself?
On the other hand, it’s both fitting and extremely appropriate to the situation. People who don’t know me judge me because I am a “Roman Catholic,” not a “pastor’s wife.” I don’t fit into their picture of Christianity. As far as I can tell, and what I have come to conclude, is that some people have a very distorted picture of what Catholicism is. They’ve probably never actually sat through a Sunday Mass, or thought about the ways in which my own beliefs are founded on Scripture. As my husband says, many of their beliefs are part of that generation, and there’s been a long history of conflict between our churches. Essentially, these people are acting out of ignorance, and they really don’t know what they are doing when they behave the way they do. Their attitudes towards Catholics like me is one that is founded on fear and ignorance, and it makes me sad.
When I pray for these people, I have no doubt in my mind that a lot of them are good people deep down. As hard as it it to remember sometimes, God loves them just like He loves me. The biggest irony, though, is that we all share the bond of baptism in Christ. By the virtue of our baptism, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Isn’t that what really counts anyway?