27 July 2014

The Virtue of Femininity

Men and women, women and men.

The relationship between the sexes is fascinating. One could spend lifetimes of analyzation and dissection and never be finished.

When it comes to "the problem with our society," a lot of people want to point fingers. If women would behave in a way that is worthy of respect and dignity, men would treat them that way. If men would stop being slimy, women would defer to them and allow them to lead the way they ought. It's a vicious cycle.

After years of formation in FOCUS discipleship and of studying the greats, I understand the need for me to let the men around me lead. It's not easy for me; if you've ever met me you know that I am loud, super type A, decisive, and very hard headed. I have spent a lot of time and energy cultivating myself to be quieter, kinder, and more gentle.... more like Mary. (Not an easy task.)

I'm not interested in the blame game as far as who is responsible for the way things are. The only person's actions that I can control is my own. (Most of the time.) So I have to start with myself. I have to be the woman who lets men lead. I have to be grateful for something as simple as a door being held for me simply because my gratitude could inspire further actions of service. I have to accept help and ask for it, even when I'm perfectly capable of doing something myself, just because it encourages men to be honorable and to lay down their lives in small ways. This applies to both physical things and mental/emotional.

In the work force, especially in my chosen career path, this is even more difficult. It almost leads me to believe that men and women were never meant to work in the same place, at least not in the same capacity. (Cue "feminist" rant.)

This sounds ridiculously conceited (may I remind you that humility is seeing things as they truly are?), but I am pretty good at my job. (Praise be to God.) I have a knack for all things financial and I don't have to work as hard as a lot of people to understand complex issues and find appropriate solutions.... which is what finance is all about. This is allowing me to excel quickly, and has given me the immense opportunity to have gotten 2 promotions in the last 8 months. (Again, praise God.)

So here's the question I have for you, blogosphere. While in CFP class this weekend, we were split into groups and assigned a case. We came across a question where we had a disagreement. I thought the answer was D, the guys in my group thought it was B. We go around one by one to voice our thoughts. I must not have been very convincing, no one was swayed. I decided it wasn't a big deal and not to push it farther, besides, it was two against one. So I deferred to them. And they were wrong, I was right. This is just a small meaningless example of things that happen at work where I either don't know what to do, or I think I know the right thing to do and it ends up being wrong. So here's the question: what the heck is a girl to do?!

How can I "submit" to men who aren't conditioned to lead in the right direction? And how do I come across in a way that inspires them to be real men, while still holding true to what I know and believe in, especially when it comes to things that I happen to have a talent for? How can I encourage them to step up when they're competing with me?

Patron Saint of complicated situations, pray for us!
Patron Saint of bloggers who use a ridiculous amount of parenthesis, pray for us!
Maria, untier of knots, pray for us!

14 July 2014

Wanting a savior, Needing the Lord

Ever since I started working in corporate America, I've felt myself subscribing more and more to fiscal conservatism. (Obviously not above other more pressing issues (life, liberty, etc.), just in the realm of budgeting and fiscal policy.) Fiscal conservatives come in many forms but ultimately can all agree on the necessity of a balanced budget, working to get America out of debt, and spending less than you make, even if that means raising taxes, but especially if it means decreasing government spending. I think that a country which wants to make financially responsible citizens, should, itself, be financially responsible.

I've always felt a twinge of guilt when voicing or even thinking about my opinions about how the government shouldn't just hand out money (welfare) or insurance (medicaid) or any of these things which are "human rights." The Church promotes social responsibility, and is the largest charitable organization in the world. I honestly think the way to end poverty is to show individuals how much they can receive by helping the poor and needy and forgotten. Raising taxes to take care of the poor is like a doctor writing a prescription only knowing one of your symptoms, and doing no tests to determine a proper diagnosis.

The town I grew up in was recently named one of Forbes' most affluent communities in the U.S. Growing up here, I knew that I was very fortunate. Not everyone can go to a high school where 94% of their 660 person graduating class would go on to graduate from a 4 year university. When your town has an average household income of nearly a quarter of a million dollars per year, people on the outside throw the words entitled, snobby, bratty, rich kids etc., around a lot. Of course there are bad apples but for the most part, we all knew how lucky we were, and because our town is a lot of "new money," we knew that our parents worked hard for what they had, and it was just that: theirs! We definitely had the opportunities that a lot of people would love, but we also made the most of them, and we understand that our parents don't owe us that lifestyle, and if we want to maintain it, we'll have to work hard for it like they did.

Going back to taxes, it's difficult to see so many of my hard earned dollars leave my paycheck and help pay for something I don't believe in. I know a woman who is "permanently disabled" and does not work because she has a severe case of night blindness. I know another person who collected unemployment for well over six months with an injury that was healed after two. When it comes to entitlement, these people take the cake! I simply cannot understand the idea that because someone else has more than I do, they OUGHT to give some to me because I deserve it.

Last weekend in Mass, Father preached about wanting a savior. A savior sounds awesome: someone who can take care of me when I'm sick, buy me things I want or need, do my laundry when I don't feel like it, and save me from boredom, sadness, tiredness, apathy, etc. A savior would be great! I am very fortunate to be born in the USA, but my government is not my savior, nor should it be for anyone.

But a savior isn't the ONLY thing that we need. Jesus doesn't JUST save us; He requires a response. Love ALWAYS requires a response; it pervades time and space and emotion and intellect. It alters who you are at your core. When you meet Jesus and know Love as He really is, you can turn toward him or you can turn away, but one thing is for certain: you can never be the same. And Jesus not only requires a response, but also a shift in the way your whole life works. Now that I know Him I have to live in the way He lived. I have to follow His commands and love the least of my brothers, even when it's hard. He knows I'm far from perfect and He forgives me when I fail, so long as I resolve to pick let him pick me up and do better. There are some things that He asks of me that are difficult, but I do them because my heart cannot turn away from His love.

I trust that people are good. Because I believe in humanity, I really think that taking care of the poor and needy should be left to the private sector. The individual, not the institution, has the power to change someone's life for the better, even by handing out a sandwich or providing a warm place to stay or a job. Cor a cor loquitor. Heart speaks to heart. That is when changes are efficacious and reciprocal.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.