This past weekend I was forced to stay at home during the recovery process and during my time convalescing, my cable and internet provider decided it would disrupt my service and therefore scramble my life. And so for parts of three days, I was without what I had hoped to have to sustain me during my time down.
No internet. No email. No college football Saturday afternoon. Heck, God has such a great sense of humor that he decided to pull the plug on me during the one game of the Cowboys' abysmal year that they looked outstanding.
Yep ... I couldn’t watch it.
By the time Monday got here, I was pleading with the cable company in as civil a manner as I could to ... just ... fix it ... today. I didn’t care what it took, but I knew that if they weren’t there that morning, I was going to begin calling them every 30 minutes until I saw a bucket truck in the alley. Good for them that they put me atop their priority list. They did not want to have to deal with a wounded writer who had been without contact with the outside world for almost three days.
I thought maybe the isolation experience would lead me into quiet times and conversations that I might not otherwise have but I found instead that simply because I could not have my cable and my internet and my outside world contact I simply wanted it all that much more. Interestingly enough, when it was restored Monday morning, I didn’t even turn on the TV. But I did burn up the wifi lines for a few hours catching up with all that had to be done.
I did learn some things during my cessation from all things virtual:
-- Ken Burns’ "Baseball: The Tenth Inning” is another riveting example of why he is the king of all documentarians.
-- I actually like George W Bush a lot. His new book “Decision Points” has made for some good reading about his West Texas roots and it has been fun getting to know him better.
-- And I am finding the PBS documentary “God in America” to be both fascinating and maddening at the same time. If the first two episodes are any indication, the show will roast and baste the Catholic Church although it is simply retelling history. I hope that is not the case with the rest of the installments, but I don’t see much escape from it.
When not deriding the church for its sins of the past (and no doubt ultimately for its sins of the present), it has left me with a fascinating look into colonial America and the religions of the early settlers.
But even before America was settled, it was occupied by Native Americans who had religious ideas of their own. The Catholic Church was not kind to those Native Americans and in return, the natives were not much better to the Catholics.
Throughout my recovery process, I am left with one 30-second snippet of dialogue that came within “God in America’s” first five minutes. The words are those of a man named Porter Swentzell, who the show’s producers refer to simply as a Santa Clara Pueblo. Although a young man, his ancestors have no doubt left him with a keen understanding of faith, spirituality and religion. And what he spoke in those first five minutes of the documentary I cannot shake, probably mostly due to my internet and cable being taken from me. I don’t like what Porter said about me. So with his words and hopefully a dash of my own self-discipline I can make some changes as to what I consider vital in my life.
“Our whole world around us is our religion,” Swentzell said. “Our way of life is our religion. The way we behave toward one another, and towards others, is our religion. The very moment we wake up in the morning until we go to bed and even when we sleep, that's our religion.”
What is your religion?
Last week, the Vatican released its "10 Commandments for Drivers." It doesn't matter what faith you are or if you even have faith, following said rules of the road ain't such a bad idea.
'Course, Vaticaners have never driven in Midland or they would've released this list a few centuies ago:
1. You shall not kill.
2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.
5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination and an occasion of sin.
6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
7. Support the families of accident victims.
8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
10. Feel responsible toward others.
To see the story that goes with the list, visit www.catholicnews.com