Friday, February 20, 2009

Missing Mardi Gras

One of the things I really miss about New Orleans is Mardi Gras. If you are not from there, when you hear the words Mardi Gras, you probably think about all the rude and crude behavior on Bourbon. But that is only one small part of it. Mardi Gras season is part of the glue that holds together the community of New Orleans. I am not speaking of the economic impact, but the social impact. For those who are in a Krewe, there are balls, supper dances, presentations, along with the culminating parade event. My husband did ride a few times in Zeus and enjoyed it immensely. But for us, that wasn't the heart of the fun. Our routine was a little more simple. On parade night, we would go to Gerry's grandmother's house and visit for a while. Then we would gather up all of our parade essentials and head out to Vets. We always stood across from shogun on the neutral ground and had a great time. Sometimes, we would dress up our dog Minnie and take her with us. After we had little Gerry, we would dress him in his favorite costume for the parade. One year on Fat Tuesday, I dressed up too and took little Gerry for a walk down vets before all the parades rolled. It was so much fun. We usually made friends with someone new and always ran into old friends. It was a time to catch up, have fun and enjoy time with family and friends. And at the end of every parade night, we would take those friends back to Gerry's Grandmother's house and have king cake and coffee(or a coke). I love all those memories. I had no idea that they would mean so much to me. They say that New Orleans is the biggest small town in America. If you don't know what that means, then head to New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Gift of Faith

Faith has been a complicated issue my whole life. I always thought faith was something you strive to have. It was something that you found in yourself. If you were a good christian, then you had faith. You worked hard and unearthed the faith from deep inside yourself. I have learned that this is not true. Faith is not something we posses innately. Faith is given to us. God, the Holy Spirit gives us faith. Jesus tells us to come to him like a child. All we do is come and he gives us the faith.

In my Catholic journey, I have asked myself and I have been asked by my Protestant brothers and sisters how can you believe_____________? I just do. I have been given the faith. Though I am completely unworthy of it, I have been given the faith. It isn't something I have to muster up inside. It doesn't come from me. I don't need proof or a complicated justification from the written word. God has given me the faith to believe and I do. He has opened my eyes and I have to believe. It's not a choice. And to give myself over to the gift of faith is so rewarding. To know that this is the Truth is so comforting. To silence the doubting, questioning little devil on my shoulder is ever so freeing. Now I can concentrate on God's work- to share my faith- to worship in the tradition developed over 2000 years of Christianity- to grow closer to my Lord.

Thank you Lord for this wonderful gift of Faith so I can know you on a level I never thought possible. Your Love leaves me speechless.