So, nu?

31caQAhcgtLSo, nu? That’s a nice Yiddish phrase that, if you check this link (page down to N) you can read the defintion. I’m using it because I love Yiddish and it fits. Lots of things going on here, and if you care to know what they are, please read on. Ultimately, this probably-way-too-long-and-boring post is kind of a ramble through the tangles of my mind and my life in recent days and weeks.

First of all, once again I offer THANKS and GRATITUDE in abundance to all those who through prayer and/or donation have set me forth towards my Camino Santiago in September of 2016. A little over a year – gulp! I started my GoFundMe on July 25, thinking it would take me months to meet my goal. Imagine my surprise and gratitude upon meeting it after 3 weeks. To say that I am knocked down, overwhelmed, and full of gratitude would just scratch the surface. (If you are reading this and saying, “what camino what?” please see here.) Now I must be ready! This is just one element of how and why community matters – what can become real that is lodged only in our heart and not spoken aloud in the world? Thank you all again and again.

GUEST_9227249175_1256494673So I was walking 6-8 miles a day as part of my training. It was time to get into better shape as I prepared for the Camino, plus I lost 15 pounds! Whoo hoo! Well, at the moment, boo hoo. On Wednesday, August 19, I was rushing around, not paying attention and as I headed down the stairs in my house, I leaped off of what I thought was the last step, but… was… not…. *sigh* It was not just the fall, it was the horrible cracking sound that shook me up. Long story short, I was diagnosed with a fracture at the urgent care. Ouchie.

The original contraption to hold and heal my leg, the air cast, plus ace bandage.

The original contraption to hold and heal my leg, the air cast, plus ace bandage.

However, on Friday, a different set of X-rays at my orthopedist’s office revealed no such fracture. Miracle? Misdiagnosis? I just know I threw aside my crutches with gratitude and joy. (And yes, I am thinking miracle, thanking God and the intercession of St. Joseph and St André Bessette, because – well, just because.)

Crutches on the wall at the shrine at St Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, where St Andre Bessette lived.

Crutches on the wall at the shrine at St Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, where St Andre Bessette lived.

Here I am a little over a week later, and while I have an ankle brace, I am walking – albeit slowly, about 3-4 miles a day. For whatever reason, AMDG! I had just ordered (and received) some potential camino boots, so I will soon wear those and get back into the rhythm of camino training.

Pope_Francis_laughing_outside_of_St_Peters_Basilica_during_the_general_audience_on_April_1_2015_Credit_Bohumil_Petrik_EWTN_4_1_15What else? Many Catholics are very excited about Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the US. Personally I have zero desire to attend any of the events, not that I have opportunities to do so. I am not big on huge crowds, pope or no pope. His addresses to Congress and the United Nations interest me the most – what will he say? Any of you out there going?

The pope’s visit, among other things, has me thinking about what it means to be a family, and about different chapters of my life. During the 48 hours when I was on crutches, with my foot elevated, I decided to watch two movies; one a rewatch of a film I saw when it came out and loved, the other a film from the same era, but one I had never seen.

2-60aaxFirst up, Philadelphia, starring Tom Hanks. I can vividly recall seeing this when it first came out in 1993. Since I had not seen it since then, I wondered how I would feel about it. Result? It inspired even more tears, sadness, frustration, and anger than it did the first time. Why? Well, that’s another blog post for another day.

And_The_Band_Played_On_Film_PosterThis got me thinking back to that era – not the 90’s when the film was made, but back to the 80’s and the early days of the AIDS outbreak. What we know now versus what we knew then, changing attitudes on a lot of things. This made me think of the film, And the Band Played On, starring Matthew Modine. Somehow I had never seen this one – I’m not sure why, but I had not, so I watched that next.  Again, another blog post for yet another day, but I was teary-eyed, angry, sad, and even more frustrated.

people_magazine_ryan_whiteNo, I am not sorry that I watched these films, but I can’t really say more than that now. I will say that I recall those days when people were getting sick and dying and it seemed like no one really cared. It also seemed like people were (quelle surprise) even more interested in their own well being when it was clear that other members of the population beyond gay men got AIDS. First and foremost I think of Ryan White. If he were still alive, he would be approaching his 44th birthday. That is a sobering thought…

There is some natural tendency to want to conflate sin and sex all the time. I am very keenly aware of all the teachings of the church on these topics and I dispute not a single one of them here today. That said, I do worry that as a church, and as a culture, we miss a lot of opportunities for a better world. How? In our world very much of God’s making in my opinion, we miss a lot by not looking at and naming lust for power as evil. Doesn’t it seem that the lust for power leads many down bad roads that encompass a multitude of sins? As a result, there seems to be a root cause that we ignore there. I don’t know, just some of my thoughts. See what happens when I have 48 hours to sit around?

And with that, I leave you, but will be back soon. Here are 3 videos for you. One from Philadelphia, one from And the Band Played On, and one about Ryan White.


2 thoughts on “So, nu?

  1. Hi Fran, great article! I wanted to share with you an incident that happened this weekend. My wife Allyssa and I went to nearby Calistoga Hot Springs for a quick overnight stay and soak before the school year started for her. She’s a preschool Director / Teacher. When we got into the pool, two women started making rude and hurtful remarks about us and being gay. They finally gathered their things and stormed off. I was so shocked that I didn’t even realize that I had tears. Allyssa immediately went to the front office to complain. As we have been going to this particular hotel for more than a decade, we really do know everyone. The staff was so apologetic.

    The next day, the ladies (a mother and daughter) reappeared and got into the pool while I was in there. They stayed in one corner like prisoners. They kept looking over at me and averting their eyes. I was definitely not getting out of the pool. At one point I said in a mumble that I was surprised they weren’t afraid of getting AIDS. It was a standoff.

    Finally I went to another of the pools, a super hot one, for a bit. Allyssa took this opportunity to confront them and tell them how hurtful they were and to please look her in the eye. Everyone was miserable.

    Finally, I overheard them saying that they only had spoons for their meals. I immediately took this opportunity to offer them forks and napkins. To my surprise that broke the war, and they accepted and started talking to me.

    All of this really brought home how scary it still is in this world for gay people. I was taken back to times where many violent things were done, including the violence toward Ryan White and Matthew Shephard. I just started reading a book called, “Forgiveness -A Catholic Approach” and it really is wonderful. Unfortunately, I’m still working on forgiveness and each day I try to work it out.

    As always, I can look to you for inspiration on being a good human being. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Simone… I read your comment and could not respond right away, as I felt a mix of anger and sadness. It really does blow my mind that people are so afraid, but on the other hand… they are. I am so glad that Allyssa said something to them. And leave it to you to do the right thing and offer them flatware. Change is slow…

      As for me, I am always grateful to know you out here, and one day – in person. May this be so! I’d love to meet you and Allyssa.


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