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Attractive in a Berkeley-natural-type of way, she had the most uncomfortable expression on her face.Sitting alone, she looked like she wanted to hide under the pew.Knowing the discomfort that I was about to experience, I dreaded going to my favorite Catholic church this year for Mother’s Day.Frankly, I was pretty annoyed about it — and confused. I even thought (briefly) of not going to Mass at all. We Catholics have a Holy Day of Obligation on Sundays and other special days.This is why I think that Mother’s Day should remain a secular holiday and not be part of a Catholic Mass.Ironically, by elevating mothers and not others, the priest was inadvertently contradicting centuries-old teachings of the Catholic Church, as well as Scripture.Some women choose to forego parenthood, only to be catapulted into serious regret as they got older. I have nothing but admiration for mothers, even awe.There are stepmothers, some of whom do the heavy lifting that the biological mom may not do. But in the priest’s singling out only mothers for praise, he was disregarding others.
We prayed for our own mothers, whether they were alive or deceased.It is not up to me (or any Catholic) to decide when we should or should not go. I just couldn’t handle the sight of the sad and embarrassed childless women, so many of them victims of the 60s and 70s. While some people still think that we live in the land of the free, there is ample evidence to the contrary.Aside from being ill or an emergency, to church I must go. I went to another church in the suburbs — a mostly Asian one. My prayer is that the Catholic Church would return to focusing on Christ and not secular holidays that inadvertently stigmatize and hurt some people. This wasn’t the first time that I felt targeted for simply writing the truth, as I see it. I will share a truly surreal experience that I had a few years ago. As usual, I had no computer access on me — no Smart Phone, nor IPad, nor “I” anything else. To my shock, instead of viewing my modest little website, instead I saw large black and red words blaring. The Powers-that-Be snoop in our emails; they listen to our phone conversations; they irradiate us at the airport, while random strangers leer at our bodies through a screen.This was the first time I ever saw this woman in this church. I don’t know if this special tribute, and her own embarrassment, had anything to do with her not coming again.By having some women stand up and others remain seated, the priest inadvertently created a difference. I could see everyone looking around and thinking, “Oh, she’s a mother.” “Oh, I guess she is not.” Just like the society at large, women who have children are celebrated in a way that other women are not. I am certain that what he did was not out of insensitivity. and that is why this ritual should not happen at church. And in those cases, childlessness is a source of lifelong pain.