Thursday, May 19, 2011

Called to holiness: an interview with Brian J. Gail

This fall and winter, I not only had the privilege of reading some great new books on the market called Fatherless and Motherless, I was blessed to interview the author Brian J. Gail, a former advertising executive, and ask about his motivations for writing the books. My interview with Gail was published by Celebrate Life Magazine in the May-June 2011 issue and you can read it online. Click on the box "Download as PDF of this article" in order to view it in its original magazine format with color graphics.

The final book, Childless which ties up his chronicle of the American tragedy in trilogy will be released this fall.

Many thanks to Gail for his wonderful insights. I am indebted to everyone in the Celebrate Life editorial office who did such a great job with design and layout. Stephanie Hopping is a gem to work with.

For those of you who subscribe to Celebrate Life Magazine, also check out my book review of Motherless in the same issue. For those of you who don't have a subscription, maybe you'll consider one.

Blessed reading!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

If you are listening, it’s amazing what you hear

It might seem strange to post a picture of my grandpa on Mother's Day, but in light of recent circumstances, this picture came to my mind and is staying there.

Just yesterday, the day before Mother’s Day, I was enjoying a refreshing walk around our neighborhood. I overheard part of a conversation happening within feet of me, at the end of a neighbor’s driveway. A couple neighbors walking their dog had stopped to chat with the couple in the driveway.

“She had a baby girl…” is what I heard first.

Then the man who was obviously the grandfather said loudly, “I WISH she had had twins!” He was bent over fussing with his Harley Davidson motorcycle. “One boy and one girl. Then she’d have it out of the way right away.” He laughed.

Not slowing my pace, I kept walking, now being shaken out of the silence of my walking. “Have it out of the way right away.” Have what? I thought. Obviously, the responsibilities of parenthood. Done. Over. Out of the way. Move on with life. As quickly as possible. One boy. One girl.

I can’t help feeling sorry for the child with a grandfather who talks that way. But isn’t this the kind of talking we hear all the time and our ears have been accustomed to? How common we hear the expression that this son or that daughter was “a mistake” or an “oops.” In other words, “we didn’t plan on that one.”

Is a child’s purpose in life a mistake if not planned by its parents? Does every child have to be planned? What about the child conceived through rape? Does he or she have a purpose and meaning to their existence?

No wonder there is so much tension between parents and children today. No wonder children do not honor their parents, who received them not as a gift but tried to take them as a right. No wonder my generation is wounded. Many of us are afraid of a marriage commitment and being a mother and a father. It is easy to understand why: we don’t want to put our kids through what we may have been subject to ourselves: parents deserting us, parents neglecting us, parents regretting us. Maybe that sounds harsh, but is it? What are we the children supposed to think when we hear our parents calling us a mistake? Would it not be better if they said instead, "God surprised us with you! You were an unexpected gift!"

Our existence would be wretched indeed without love and without meaning. Despite our parents’ failings, ignorance or shirking of responsibility, we can rest assured that God loves us, that God had a plan for our lives before one of them came to be, and that God has fashioned a future for us from before the foundation of the world.

He wills us to live; therefore, we live. He breathes into us; we breathe Him out. He has walked this valley of tears and shared our earthly joys, that we might walk with Him into heavenly paradise.

Yes, if only one has ears open to hear.

Happy Mother’s Day to all physical mothers, who have given birth to life in the world! And Happy Mother’s Day to all spiritual mothers, who have nurtured the gift of divine life in every soul!