This weekend, I was out for dinner and a movie. It was a really nice time. While I was out, I ran into a very old and a very good friend of mine. We actually grew up together, two houses down from one another. It got me to reminiscing about old times and the fun we used to have as kids.
He is a very athletic person, I'm no slouch, but he's better. Always was, always will be. He was the running back on the varsity my junior year of high school. No problems and no worries. He's also a grade ahead of me in school, so he was someone that I always looked up to, just a little bit. But, growing up in a small town, that isn't a bad thing. It shows healthy respect and it shows that there are people that you try to emulate.
Anyhow, I hadn't really talked to him in a number of years. We are "facebook friends" and from time to time we remember playing football on the front lawns and in what used to be a vacant lot down the street (a house has since been built there). As we were catching up, he made a comment to me that really showed me something and caused me to reflect on several things, in my life.
1. We are in different places. It is really funny how life works. We grew up together, went to the same schools, lived in the same town...literally on the same street, but we are in totally different places. It is refreshing on one level, but on another, it is sad, because it showed me how quickly losing touch with someone can be. He has become a counselor for criminals. That is noble work. It is something that I think I would struggle with, but he seems to really enjoy that field of work.
2. We have completely different ideas about how we live our lives. Again, I can't imagine living my life without being Catholic and without being able to express it. I know that I am a little more conservative than the average Catholic today, but adherence to Catholicism and having zeal for that which I believe in isn't bad. Something he said to me though struck me and it is what I would like to focus my post on.
He leaned in and in a hushed tone, he said, "Milam...you're killin' me with all this Catholic stuff on facebook. What's that all about?"
He wasn't looking for me to really answer that question and I didn't. I kinda deflected it and talked about something else that we have in common, the Pittsburgh Steelers (one of my two favorite NFL teams, along with the Packers). That changed the subject and it helped to reestablish a bond that we had as kids. But at the same time, I couldn't get it out of my head that he would think that my talking about something I love so much would be disturbing. Then it hit me. He's paying attention. He may not like it, but he's paying attention. So, while he was probably hoping that I would simply quit or that I would back off of posting about Catholicism, it has reinvigorated me to continue with my path of talking about and posting about things Catholic.
That doesn't mean I won't from time to time, on facebook, post about things like football or sports in general. It doesn't mean that I won't post about golf, which is my real passion outside of Catholicism. It doesn't mean that I won't poke fun at others in my satirical way, but it does mean that I will continue to post about Catholicism.
Being Catholic is part of who I am. I will not and cannot change that. If someone is going to accept me, he must accept me for being what and who I am. And being Catholic is part of that. What I've found through the years is that I have two unyielding passions....golf and Catholicism. The passionate aspect of Catholicism though, has an ulterior motive. It is the promotion of the Faith to as many people as I can, through a balanced and normal life, while applying Catholic principles as best I can. Do I always succeed? Nope. I'm human. I make mistakes. I'm one who makes big mistakes too. I don't just nickel and dime it. If I go, I go big. But that doesn't mean that I'm not striving to be someone better. That doesn't mean that I'm not striving to make myself the best person I can be. The funny thing about Catholicism, is that those who are not Catholic assume that because we have all these "rules" to live by, that being Catholic is a very limiting and stodgy life. It really isn't. Those "rules" make it easier to live, because they give us a compass by which to travel. Do I always stay on course. Heck no, but if I truly reflect, if I really apply what it means to be a Catholic, it's pretty easy to right the ship. I'm never left alone to just figure it out. And that is a big part of why I choose to post so frequently about being Catholic.
So, Nelly...this one is for you, buddy. I love you, man! You were a great friend growing up and I really appreciate our friendship. It was good catching up the other night. I'm gonna call you to have that beer. But, I'm not gonna stop promoting Catholicism. It's part of who I am. Just like the "orsk" is the play that will always burn you and Brian, when E and I run that sucker when it's 3rd and two sidewalks.....
Didn't think I'd work it in, did ya...well...BOOM!
Hit 'em long and straight. We'll talk soon!