Maybe I just wasn't paying attention in years past, but I don't recall ever having seen the dogwood trees blooming so magnificently as they are now. Especially in the little valleys or coolees between the hills, where they are joyously shining like so many bright snowflakes caught in mass profusion, one can't help but catch one's breath and in the next give thanks and praise to God for the glorious beauty of His creation.
Cherokee County is rough country, and the roads are mostly lined with weeds and brushy scrub oak like the kind pictured above. Against such a backdrop, the graceful, almost delicate dogwoods stand out like diamonds in a rockpile. The contrast is astonishing. This calls to mind what we are called by Our Lord to be in the world: the light, the salt, and the leaven, the sheep amongst the goats, the blossoming dogwoods amongst the twisted, barren brush of a fallen world.
"By their fruits, you will know them," said Our Lord, or even perhaps by their blossoms. When others look at us, do they see brave little blossoms of white, or leafless giants good for nothing but to house crows and vultures? Let us imitate the humble dogwoods, going unnoticed the rest of the year, but giving glorious testimony of the Heavenly Gardener in Paschaltide. Amen. +
"For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3.
My blog sidebar announces mine is "[a]n eclectic blog about everything." Recently, however, I am coming to the realization that in blogging or commenting about everything, I will ultimately say very little worth remembering. I have been a "Jack of all trades, and a master of none." I have decided it's time for a change.
Originally, my goal was simply to construct a website designed to promote my novel, In the Palace of the Great King, along with Catholic religious life. As time went on, and the divisions in the Church deepened and crises and scandals erupted, it became more and more difficult for me to separate the diverse threads of trad versus conservative versus liberal communities of nuns. Moreover, as a layperson I felt inadequate to the task. To make matters worse, the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland, whose fabulous monastery and admirable charism of adoration served as the inspiration for many of my novel's scenes, seemed not to be interested in the finished product after I sent it to them for a final review in 2019. I still don't know the reason why.
As the months dragged on, I struggled to reorient the website, the book, and the blog. A page I had dedicated to the nuns had to be taken down, and all references to them in the novel had to be changed. While I worked on the novel, I started doing a few blog posts here and there because I knew as an author it would be expected. At the same time and for the same reason, I became more active on Facebook. As as introvert, it was hard for me to be in the "public eye," but I felt I had to. So I plodded along.
After years of tinkering, I finally got the hang of the Weebly software and began to enjoy the process of creating blog posts. I added a webpage for my photo book, Wild Grace, which was published in November 2020. It felt great to finally have something in print! And I kept submitting my novel to Catholic publishers and asking friends for their input.
But the past twelve months have been beyond challenging for all of us, and the tensions many feel over the pandemic, the election, and the widening gulf between liberals and conservatives in this country have turned the formerly lighthearted Facebook into a mud-smearing, name-calling battleground over everything from the outrageous censoring of Dr. Seuss books in March to guilting people who choose not to wear facemasks. Trump-bashing has given way to Biden-bashing. Conservatives like me are freaking out over the Democrats' headlong rush over the cliff of promoting transgenderism even among the young, abortion on demand, immigration on demand, and now gun control. The memes are relentlessly cynical and sarcastic.
Day after day, I go to Facebook seeking a few minutes of entertainment and to see what's going on with my friends and former schoolmates. There are still some good things there, but the feel-good things are getting drowned out in a tidal wave of negativity. I see so much that makes me righteously indignant, and even outraged. But as a peace-loving introvert, I am afraid to speak up too loudly for fear of alienating my friends or getting into endless comment-box debates. I end up with all this bottled up anger, and it's starting to affect me emotionally. I feel like a coward. I feel completely at the mercy of Big Tech, Big Government, and Big Lies. And there really isn't much I can do about it, except pray.
It doesn't help that the negative memes are randomly interspersed with everything and anything else one of my chosen friends (chosen by Facebook--FB users know what I mean by this) may happen to post, whether it be pictures of flowers, sunsets, babies, weddings, prayers, new cars, old jokes, or disgusting food. All this is getting mixed up in our brains, and I have a very strong sense as I madly scroll at lightning speed trying to avert my eyes from anything disturbing that this is really, really bad for us.
Facebook isn't the only place where things are getting ugly. More about that next week.
For now, I am going to reduce, not eliminate, but greatly reduce my time on Facebook. My blog is going to take a decidedly more peaceful turn. I choose to write lighted candles of blessing rather than endlessly post pithy memes about the rabid, fearsome darkness. I hope you will join me.
The opinions expressed on this website are my own personal views and do not necessarily represent those of the Catholic Church.
If I have erred in any statement, whether directly or by implication, in any matter pertaining to faith or morals, I humbly invite fraternal correction.