“Well, actually, there’s a 100% chance we’ll ALL die.”
I made this statement the other day after someone was commenting on the prognosis of another person who is fighting cancer. Needless to say, I was met with raised eyebrows and sideways glances. And, you’re doing it right now, too. I can just feel it.
What? It’s a true fact. We’re ALL…GOING…TO….DIE! There’s a 100% chance of it. That person fighting cancer just has a better idea of when it’s going to happen than you or I do.
But, this blog isn’t about death…
Some people would read that statement above and say, “Wow, she’s a negative person.” In fact, people have said it to my face on many occasions. But, I find this really weird because I’m not being negative. I’m being factual. I’m stating a REAL truth. The fact that all of us, someday, WILL die is not a negative thing. In fact, the sooner we grasp this reality, come to terms with it, and understand that death is actually a marvelous thing (hello, HEAVEN is on the other side!), the sooner will enjoy and appreciate our life in a more meaningful way.
Again, this blog isn’t about death…
A couple of years ago while conversing with my mother about something going on in our parish, it finally dawned on me. I said to her, “I’m not being negative. I’m just being real. I guess I’m sort of a Catholic Realist.” For the first time, I actually found the two words that pretty much sum up who I am.
Sure, I’m a wife and a mother and a daughter and a sister and a youth minister and a friend, etc., etc. But, that just took me an entire sentence of nouns to say. “Catholic Realist” sort of sums up who I am at the core and how I function and perceive the world. I just want to break it down a little further so that I’m clear.
I am Catholic. It’s WHO I AM. It’s not something I do or something I participate in. It’s not just a title in my job description. It’s not just a “system of beliefs”. It’s the very core and center of my being. It’s Christ in the Eucharist, giving me the physical and spiritual satisfaction I need to make it in this crazy world. It’s The Church, guiding and directing me on the path to Heaven (aka. LIFE) so that I don’t screw up too much. It’s confession, helping me to reconcile with our God when I DO manage to screw up (which is quite often). It’s knowing that I AM NOT in charge, it’s out of my hands, that I believe in a God who’s got a plan and a reason for all things and trusting that THAT is the best for me.
I am a realist. What exactly is a realist? Dictionary.com says a realist is a person who tends to view or represent things as they really are. And, that’s how I try to assess the world around me, the realities of an imperfect, messy life – as they really are. Being pessimistic takes energy, being pissed off about everything all the time…but, things are rarely “truly awful”. And, optimism often is acting like everything is a hunky-dorey-root-a-tootin-super-fun-time even when that’s not the reality of a situation. Can I be pessimistic at times? Sure. Are there certain things that I am really optimistic about? Of course.
I prefer to identify myself as a “Catholic Realist”, though. When I write blogs, speak to people and teach teens, etc., this is the lens through which I see everything – Catholic because I am 100% in love with the Catholic Church, I am committed to Her teachings, and I am so thankful for my faith and Realist because I am just me and I comment on the world just as I see it – not too upbeat and not too down-trodden – as Goldilocks would say, “just right”.
Side note, I think Jesus was a realist, too. He enjoyed good times with his friends, drinking wine and celebrating. He cried when things were sad. He got angry when there was something worth getting angry about. And, he regularly needed breaks from everyone he “worked with”. He looked at what was happening in a given moment and responded accordingly. It seems like Jesus should’ve been the eternal optimist (he knew better than anyone how everything was/is going to work out!). But, he spoke frankly, recognized situations as they were unfolding, and responded to the world as it REALLY was.
So, there you have it, a Catholic realist in your midst.
There’s still a 100% chance we’re all going to die. But, there’s also a 100% chance that some really great things will happen in our lives and a 100% chance that we’ll face some struggles, too. Seriously, no one can make up these kind of stats. It’s reality.