Thursday, August 5, 2021

I NEED TO QUIT COMPLAINING AND SO DO YOU!

I know we are all under a lot of stress from many sources these days, but it occurred to me that much of the stress we feel is actually being exacerbated by having to listen to all the whining, complaining, back-biting, personal attacks, mean talk, name-calling and physical violence coming from others and from our own inner self-talk.    

I keep a journal and I do a lot of writing so I get to see how I think and what I am feeling probably more than the average bear! Sometimes, when I look back over what I have written, I am disgusted with myself when I see that I have been angry and have tended to lash out at some of the stuff I see in public, hear from others and watch on the news. 

It seems that, not only is everybody angry about something, they have granted themselves a new level of permission to spew it onto everybody else. I have tried to monitor how much gratitude and how much complaining is being expressed, from myself and from others. I can say, with some confidence, that complaining is winning the race hands down. I have come up with a very simple one-step solution. Keep reading!

      



Father Knott's  Tried and True Magic Counseling Solution

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

MOVING CLOSER TO MY TWENTY-EIGHT YEAR OLD DREAM


FROM 
"HOPELESSLY CLOSED" 
TO 
"HOPEFULLY REOPENED"

My "closer to home" project is coming along quite well. We have a long way to go before it is finished, but we are making more progress than many thought possible. Little by little, we are turning the now closed (1993) Saint Theresa/Cross Roads School into a new Saint Theresa Family Life Center to serve the whole community, from youth to the elderly, into the years to come. Personally, I would like to see us rededicate it on the Feast of Saint Theresa of Avila on October 15, 2022.  As she herself said "Whoever is favored by God is capable of great things!" 


We Hope to Have the Outside Done for the Annual Parish Picnic on August 14


THE EVOLUTION SO FAR















GETTING CLOSE TO FINISHING PHASE ONE - THE OUTSIDE

                                


NOW ON TO PHASE TWO - THE INSIDE

NEEDED SOON
FOR PHASE TWO

Phase One is paid for! I have invested a big chunk of my own retirement savings in this project, but I am going to need the help of many more people to finish it. If you would like to become a Saint Theresa Heritage Partner and follow the progress of this evolving project and help it along, please let me know. I will see that you get copies of our newsletters as they come out, either by e-mail or snail-mail. 

You can even contact me directly to discuss ways you might help. I believe there are still a few heroes out there! Let's help this 203 year old country parish find new ways to keep itself going. I, for one, know that this is where I want to place my gifts and talents in what is left of my retirement years. Please help us finish the next phase, the most complicated phase, of this hope-filled project by October 15, 2022, the Feast of Saint Theresa of Avila. 


Rev. J. Ronald Knott
1271 Parkway Gardens Court
#107
Louisville, KY 40217

jrknott@bellsouth.net
1-502-303-4571



 



 




Sunday, August 1, 2021

YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN

    IDEALIZING AN IRRETRIEVABLE PAST

The film, Trip to Bountiful, set in the post-World War II 1940s, tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts (Page), who wants to return to her home, the small, rural, agriculture-based town of Bountiful near the Texas Gulf coast between Houston and Corpus Christi, where she grew up, but she's frequently stopped from leaving Houston by her daughter-in-law and her overprotective son, who will not let her travel alone. Her son and daughter-in-law both know that the town has long since disappeared, due to the Depression. Long-term out-migration was caused by the draw-down of all the town's able-bodied men to the wartime draft calls and by the demand for industrial workers in the war production plants of the big cities.

Old Mrs. Watts is determined to outwit her son and bossy daughter-in-law, and sets out to catch a train, only to find that trains do not go to Bountiful anymore. She eventually boards a bus to a town near her childhood home. On the journey, she befriends a girl traveling alone (DeMornay) and reminisces about her younger years and grieves for her lost relatives. Her son and daughter-in-law eventually track her down, with the help of the local police force; however, Mrs. Watts is determined. The local sheriff, moved by her yearning to visit her girlhood home, offers to drive her out to what remains of Bountiful. The town is deserted and the few remaining structures are derelict. Mrs. Watts learns that the last occupant of the town and the woman with whom she had hoped to live, has recently died. She is moved to tears as she surveys her father's land and the remains of the family home. Having accepted the reality of the current condition of Bountiful and knowing that she has reached her goal of returning there before dying, she is ready to return to Houston when her son and daughter-in-law arrive to drive her back. Having confronted their common history in Bountiful, the three commit to live more peacefully together. They begin their drive back to Houston.


THE IDEA OF A "RETURN TO EGYPT" HAS  SELECTIVE MEMORY AT ITS ROOTS


Would that we had died at the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!

Exodus 16:2-4 

Change is a fact of life and there would be no life without it. Changes are coming at us faster and faster, making some more and more nervous. We need to know some facts about how change takes place and how to handle that change as it unwinds.

Let’s imagine that you have made a decision to initiate some changes in your life – maybe quitting the old job you hate and setting out to look for a better job! Let’s imagine that something has happened in your life that is forcing you to make changes you don’t like – maybe your spouse has suddenly died, maybe you have been served divorce papers or maybe you have to go to a nursing home. What can you expect to happen after those changes, whether they were initiated by you or forced upon you by others? 

In my estimation, the best scriptural story to explain what happens during a major change, welcomed or not, is the story of the Exodus. We read part of it today. Exodus is the story of people being called to something new, setting out in excitement at first, being tempted in discouragement to back out of the process when things get tough, the decision to keep going and finally arriving at a new level of happiness and satisfaction. 

In the story, the People of God are trapped in slavery in Egypt. They get an opportunity to escape and go to a country of their own.  At first, they were excited and filled with joy thinking that happiness would be theirs almost immediately. They did not realize that making a drastic change like that meant they had to personally change and that change would be hard for a while. Making a decision to change and setting out is the easy part and so many simply try to “go back to Egypt” when the “harshness of the desert” gets to be too much.  They yearn for “the good old days” and start telling themselves that things weren’t so bad after all back then, compared to the change they had to go through to get to their “promised land.” They begin to idealize the good parts of their old life and forget about the bad parts - the slavery they had to endure by telling themselves that “at least in Egypt we had meat and bread to eat!"

Take the example of an abused spouse who gets a chance to escape her abuser. She is happy to be free at last, but once away from her abuser, having been stripped of her self-esteem, she begins to get scared of what is ahead of her. She begins to ask herself, “What if I can’t make it? Where will I live? What if I end up living on the streets? Some tough it out and rebuild their lives, but many at this point often return to their abusers because the fear of the unknown becomes scarier than their abuse. They “return to Egypt” so to speak.  They go back to their abusers because, as bad as it was, it was not as scary as being out there on their own.

Take the example of the person who is an addict. One day, he finally gets up the courage to go to his first “recovery” meeting. He gets excited about a possible new life. He likes the program and the people around him going through recovery. Then a sober life gets to be too hard. It’s gets worse before it has a chance to get better, so he seeks relief by going back to alcohol, drugs or serial sexual encounters. He tries to convince himself that his old life may have been bad, but it was not as bad as trying to stay sober.

Take the example of the changes in the church initiated at Vatican Council II. For many lay people and priests, the control exerted from the very top had become a version of wearisomeness and frustration as lay people's freedom begin to evolve in the culture around them.  I remember the excitement after the Council. For me and many of the people who went through it, it was like “leaving the slavery of Egypt.”  Looking back, we were pretty na├»ve. It never crossed our minds that we would have to go through a “desert” and endure many years of confusion and disappointment. Now some of our members want to “go back to Egypt.” They idealize the “good old days” and tell themselves that they were not that bad after all and much better than the chaos and confusion that all those changes have brought! Others, refusing to turn back and determined to get through the chaos of major change, push on! Pope Francis, our modern day Moses, like the Moses of old, keeps telling us to keep going, keep going and don’t look back! Like the Moses of old, he is being cursed by those who want to “return to Egypt” and rebuild the old Pre-Vatican II church! Pope Francis knows that if the Church is to survive, grow and nourish the faith of the next generation, it has to change and adapt as it always has in the past. If it doesn’t, it is doomed to become an inbred little cult that will shrink even more into irrelevance. 

Our country is going through a similar time of chaos and crisis. Our country has been changing for many years now. Some, like women, minorities and immigrants, celebrate those changes and the freedom they now enjoy. On the other hand, these same changes are forcing others to give up their privileged positions of power and status. They want to “return to Egypt,” “the way America used to be,” when things were “better” for them. As much as they try to keep our country from changing, they are fighting a losing battle. Women are not going to stand back and shut up! African Americans are not going back to Africa. Immigrants are not about to give up their chance to experience the “American dream.” Women will lead! Our country will continue to become browner. Immigrants will continue to arrive, one way or another. Meanwhile, I am sure our Native American citizens wish they could go back to their "good old days" before all of us Europeans overtook them! 

The world will continue to change whether we like it or not! Personally, I am spending my time trying to discern between what it good and what is bad and then adapt and change with it. "Fear is useless! What is needed is trust."