Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fear, Faith, Colored Girls and Day 16....Erma

I have said often recently that my mind knows no end to this blogging thing. Once again I woke up this morning blogging in my head and thought I knew exactly what today's blog would be about. Then I went to Mass! Funny how sometimes the spiritual side of things over rides everything else. Fr. Mike was back and he told this story:
There was a man hanging from a cliff. He began yelling "HELP! Is there anybody up there?" Then he heard a voice that said...."Yes....I am here."  
The man said..."Who are you?" 
The voice replied..."I am God!"
The man said...."Please help me."
And God said....."Okay. Then let go." 
The man's reply...."Is there anyone else up there?"

The story while amusing.....was a gut punch to me. This story hit home in a big way. It is all about faith and walking the walk....not just talking the talk. I DON'T walk the walk!

The other day a person who has only recently gotten to know me made the comment that I must be bulletproof with all that I have been through. I wasn't sure exactly what she was referring to....but the word bulletproof really took me aback. I am a lot of things (mostly cranky, narcissistic, and irritable) but the word bulletproof has never crossed my mind. And this morning Fathers words hit home....that above all.....I so lack in the faith department. I am so afraid that if God told me to let go.....I too would be looking for another opinion. That is truly sad and even kind of scary. I am so afraid of so much and I don't really see fear and faith walking hand in hand. In is the opposite of fear. It is the believing and trusting without question. My biggest fear? Death! How totally without faith is that? It is counter to everything I say I believe. Also fearing death keeps you from living! There was a time after I lost both Tim and Mom that my fear was almost debilitating. It kept me in a constant state of worry and also it kept me from enjoying the "life" that I had. I was told that because of what I had gone was almost a post traumatic stress disorder. I eventually got much better.....but the fear (although not to that extent) still visits me from time to time. This tells me that my faith is sorely lacking and really needs some work. Well....why the heck not???? Everything else in my life needs I might as well throw another log on the fire! (Have no idea if that last sentence makes sense....but it sounded good at the we will go with it!)

Well...this week I have a goal. This week I am going to work harder at handing things to God and having faith instead of fear. It is going to be a course with many obstacles I am sure....but I am going to give it my best effort. Aside from the gut punch of a sermon...Mass seemed to center me today and give me a sense of peace and I am always good with peace.

Yesterday ended with me feeling better and a movie. I watched Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls. I am a huge Perry fan and I dearly love his Madea movies. They are always filled with humor amidst a terrific story line. For Colored Girls was a bit different in the fact that Perry didn't write it (it was adapted from a stage play by Ntozake Shange). It was deep, somewhat dark and very serious. It is about a group of black women whose lives intertwine through their experiences. All women should be able to relate. There were even points where I cried.....and I DON'T cry! If you want to see a movie which will make you think about yourself and the other women around you.....this is a must see.

It is time for the 30 Day Challenge

Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you.

This was a tricky one in the respect that throughout my life I have had many inspirations from my friends.....and even saints. So many people have traits, qualities and strengths that I admire and would love to be like. However....there is one woman whom I have wanted to be like since I first picked up her book....and laughed until I cried.

When I was about 12 years mother had bought a book at the store (which she rarely did....all our books came from garage sales)....but this book was one that had been recommended to her. My mother was a voracious this little 200 page book took her all of about 2 hours to read, but the whole time my mother read it....she was laughing so hard she had tears rolling down her face. I knew this was a book I had to read. Mom said...."you can read it...but you probably won't get it. It's about mothers!" I took that as a challenge (as I read almost as much as she did) and I dug in the minute she put it down.

I wasn't two paragraphs into the book before I too was laughing out loud. My view of the book and my mothers were probably worlds apart as she was reading from a mothers/housewives perspective....while I was reading from a kids perspective (which was every bit as funny!) Who was the author of such a laugh inspired book? My favorite author of all time...Erma Bombeck!

Erma Bombeck was a housewife and mother who took ordinary life and showed us the humor in it. The humor I found was that she so reminded me of my mother and my aunts all rolled into one. I could see the very things she wrote about going on in my own home. Her frustrations were my mothers....and then as I got older and would re-read her books....they were mine. In some ways I think she made us all feel that it was okay that our house had dust bunny's, all our kids did their own version of swinging from ceiling fans, and....she made us wonder if the grass truly was greener over the septic tank?!

Over the years....Erma wrote about a dozen or so books and I read each of them. All of my copies were paperback and they became dog eared with my going back and re-reading them when my mood was less than sunny. No one could make me laugh like Erma.

Through the years her humor became famous and not only was she a syndicated columnist who gave Dear Abby and Ann Landers a run for their money....but she also made many appearances on Good Morning America.

The things about her though that made her someone that I wanted to emulate was her love of family, her devout faith (she joined the Catholic Church in the 1940's and stayed involved until her death), and most of all.....her humor. I always felt that if I could write something that could make someone laugh and turn their day around....then I would be a success. And if success is measured in laughter....then Erma was the queen.

Several years ago I wrote a blog about Erma that included a letter I wrote when I found out that Erma had died. Her death was crushing to I sort of felt that all the humor in the world died with her. Of course it didn't and there have been many....who like me would love to be just a fraction of the writer, mother, humorist and person....that Erma was. But honestly....I would have to say.........those are pretty big shoes to fill.

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