—Fulton J. Sheen, Seven Words of Jesus and Mary
"Part of what it means to be a conservative is to learn from experience."
Yesterday, for the first time in my almost 55 years of life-after-birth, I voted Republican. I've always registered Independent, but always voted Democrat, for lots of reasons that I'm too tired, and it's too late, to try to articulate right now. But this time, I voted Republican.
It wasn't because I thought Romney and his running mate were perfect or right about everything. I didn't. I don't. It's because I agreed with, and trusted, them on a lot more issues. On issues that I have learned—too late to protect myself but hopefully not too late to spare others—are fundamental.
I know I confuse and upset a lot of people these days—people I've known for many years, decades, even their whole lives. I don't like doing that. For most of my life I've avoided doing that—to keep the peace, to be liked, to fit in—but I did it, I know now, at great and profound cost to myself. And to others, whether they realize it or not.
I can't be a wimp anymore. At least not in writing.
I'm still new, however, at this "conservative" thing. So I'm awkward. Sometimes very. I haven't gotten rid of all my anger yet. My regret. My sorrow. My fear.
It's lonely. It's frightening. But, like someone who is finally free after many, many years in prison, my soul cries out, "I won't go back in there!"
In Luke 7:47, Jesus says of the "sinful woman" who has just washed his feet with her tears and her hair, "Her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love." I'm still learning.
"No one is better," Fulton Sheen said, "because he knows evil through experience.... Would you not," he asked, rather unlearn than learn "the evil you know"?
"Would you not like to be right now, just as you came from the hands of God at the baptismal font ... so that like an empty chalice you might spend your life filling it with the wine of his love? The world would call you ignorant, saying you knew nothing about life. Do not believe it—you would have Life!"Exchange life for Life? "Yes! Absolutely!" I would say, I hope, if he, or anyone, asked.