So. I sit here on a glorious Sunday morning in Enchantedland, heavy of heart and soaring in spirit. I never in a million years would have thought that I would find myself enjoying a self-comparison between my veryownself and the Pope of all Catholics, but, and none the less, here I sit in precisely that seat. And having just evaluated all the selfnesses contained in those first two sentences, I find that my thoughts at this moment aren’t really all about me. OK, maybe my thoughts aren’t all about myself.
I’m growing to like this Pope Frankie. His recent firings of 400 abusive priests have pushed me over the line and into his court. My admiration for this humble man started when I heard that he sneaks out to tend the untended of Rome and grew greatly when he took a hard stand for the actual words of Jesus and against unbridled greed. I have a promise with myself that until the Holy Roman Catholic Church takes real steps to end its terrible culture of sexual abuse, I will use every opportunity to take cold, hard shots at it.
But for the first time in 2,000 years, a Pope seems Hell-bent to the leather to both preach the teachings of grace that his beloved Saviour left as the legacy for all Christians, and then follow through in his actions. The integrity that this Pope has so far exhibited is remarkable to me. That he continues to hold this sacred ground in the face of scathing opposition from every corner of the Earth is cause of my admiration.
To tell the world that you have values and represent that you will hold true to those values is easy. History is littered with the skeletons of powerful men and women who have promised personal integrity for advancement, and we live every day with the stench of the decay many of them left when their promises were broken. Unlike this Pope (to-date), most powerful people lose their integrity with the gain of that same power.
Integrity is a tough mantle to maintain. Like lies. How small must a lie be to not be a lie? I remember my college philosophy class back to what must have been 1968, when our professor opened an hour-long discussion on just that question.
“Is it possible to tell a lie without debiting your credibility?” she asked.
Me, having already taken Accounting 101, knew what the fuck she was asking, but most of the class was confused. “OK,” she continued to the questioning faces, “let me ask a different way. Is it possible to tell a lie that is not a lie?”
Now me, and once again I’m speaking only for myself, I saw the logic trap just set by the pretty professor. I forget her name, but she was one of those liberated Sixties college women with a fertile mind who reveled in her work. She covered her unfettered breasts with the billowing, flowery peasant dresses of the Hippies times, and I spent countless hours in my attempts to imagine with accuracies the definitions of the fertile female body beneath the loose fabrics.
Having already spent an inordinate amount of time in heavy discussions on the “chicken/egg” and “tree falling” philosophical questions that occurred while under the influence of any variety of mood-altering substances, I knew that I needed to be careful before entering this particular scholarly fray. Net result of the discussion was this: A lie is always a lie regardless if it is good intentioned or if it results in a positive outcome. And my conclusion is “egg”, and “yes”.
Have I ever told you that I have the dreaded ADHD?
For a public person or celebrity or business person in a position of authority to have and maintain personal integrity is an absolute bitch to do. Many times integrity must be compromised to get into those lofty positions, a conundrum all into itself. How can you maintain integrity that has no history, no foundation? Integrity has become a devalued currency because so many stake their claims without mining the ore.
I’m not a public person, not a powerful person nor do I enjoy celebrity. I now lead a rather simple life, choosing to only interact routinely with people I like and trust. With age, I’ve grown to understand that I should surround myself with people I trust and allow the others to go fuck themselves. I’ve grown to know that people you trust are far less likely to hurt you in unkind ways. And I’ve also grown to learn that I might not be as good a judge of those trustworthy traits as previously believed.
Which reminds me. One of the things I most liked about the Sixties was how we “Hippies” used to make up new words and phrases and how we added new layers of meaning to the existing. Like when I used “heavy” up there when discussing the chicken/eggie discussions. Groovy, doobie, spliff, don’t Bogart that joint, sock it to me, far out, wow!, ‘ere, gay pride, heavy.
God, I love those words. With a heart made heavy by the pain that can only be caused by someone you trust, I have the sense of self pride that can only come from holding firm to your values in the face of personal harm or loss. I find myself feeling a kindred spirit with the Pope.
Holy shit! Who would have thought I would ever say that?
Fuck Walmart, the Koch brothers, and fuck those first 400 priest rapists! Manana, y’all, and I mean it.