Holy Humor

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“The solution often turns out more beautiful than the puzzle.” ~ Richard Dawkins

Last week, after I posted a blog called “Towson, Now and Then,” http://bit.ly/1rRHEiX  I received a comment from a blog reader who I do not know. Her comment set off a whole host of memories of an era gone by.

immaculate conception towsonConnie, the blog reader said “she and her sister attended Immaculate Conception School in Towson.” I certainly have a life time memory of the church that school was attached to.

Chris, my childhood friend, used to rope me into going to church with her after school on holy days. The first time she suggested it, oh, how I wanted out of it. I had no interest – but, I’d do anything for her. We loved spending time together.

For Chris, being a good Catholic, not going to church on a holy day was out of the question. Besides, her place of worship, the Immaculate Conception Church, was with within walking distance of our junior high school so there were no good excuses.

During that era (the 1960s) girls and women couldn’t enter a Catholic Church without something covering their heads. The first time I went to Mass with Chris, I was not aware of this policy since I wasn’t Catholic so I didn’t bring a hat. Chris had a solution, so there was no “declining her invitation.” She gave me a clean Kleenex to spread atop my head. So I wouldn’t feel foolish, she left her mantilla in her school bag and topped her brunette hair with a white Kleenex, too. Well, if that wasn’t a source of amusement and laughter for two middle school aged girls, I don’t know what was.For me, trying to hold in my giggles as I sat in the pew looking at Chris with Kleenex on top her head was nearly impossible. I don’t think I heard one word the priest said. So much for being reverent!

Years later, I entered the Immaculate Conception Church in Towson, Maryland, this time in all seriousness, as I stood up for my best friend as a bridesmaid in her wedding.

Isn’t it lovely, how we make connections with people of different faiths throughout our lifetimes? It gives us a chance to experience spirituality from different perspectives.

All churches, not just Catholic churches, have gone through many transitional times since my childhood days. If you have any stories of how your church has changed since “back then,” won’t you share them with us by posting a comment on this site.

We’d love to hear from you! This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Now available in audio book (the treasure is in the voice!), paperback and e-book.

Gift of an Irishman

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 “These things, I warmly wish for you- Someone to love, some work to do,
A bit of o’ sun, a bit o’ cheer. And a guardian angel always near
.”~ Irish Blessing 

Are you wearing the green today? On this St. Patty’s Day, as I have for the past 35 years, my shamrock pin is placed over my heart on my lapel. The shamrock pin was given to me as a gift from my Irish in-laws. Just before I met my mother-in law and father in-law, they had taken a trip to Ireland and had brought the shamrock pin back as a souvenir. The gift of the shamrock, to me, represented a fulfilling sign of approval – I had passed “the test!”

My in-laws are no longer on this earth. Every March 17th I think, with appreciation, about their gift of the four leaf clover and what it represented to them and to me:

  • Faith – A chance to learn a little about their beliefs. My in-laws had a strong faith in the Catholic Church, as many Irish do.
  • Love – We reciprocated plenty of that. From day one they accepted me unconditionally as the daughter they never had.
  • Hope – My in-laws hope was for an enduring marriage for their son. When we announced the arrival of the greatest gift of all, the birth of a little leprechaun, my in-laws really danced an Irish jig!
  • Luck. As luck would have it, my relationship to my in-laws was nothing but wonderful. I don’t have a single “I Hate my In-Laws” story or joke to tell. 

There is a little sadness in this day for me. Six months after our “little leprechaun” was born, my father-in-law passed away. Our son never got to know his Grandfather Leonard. When he asks what his grandfather Leonard was like, I tell him “he gave me the gift of a shamrock and all that it represents.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you Irish men and Irish ladies! Drink a little green beer, dance a little Irish jig, listen to award-winning Irish independent recording star Mary Black. Her music has taken America and other countries by storm!  http://www.mary-black.net/ Enjoy this day of celebration of Irish heritage.

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