Herein Be Dragons

What is it with women who get hooked up with men who are in prison and then marry them?  Do they really think that they can “save” these guys and/or reform them?  Is what they find attractive the men themselves or is there some un-named need deep within the woman, a need that is a mystery even to the woman herself?  We have all been puzzled by an un-named need at one time or another in our life, but for some of us the compelling urge of the-need-that-cannot-be-named is an ongoing event:  Why, really, do we buy all of those shoes?!  What need are we feeding with all of those shoes; after all we can only wear one pair at a time!  Imelda Marcos and her 3000 pairs of shoes come to mind.  If we allot one hour of wear-time per pair, and 8 hours of sleep-time when, presumably, she would not have been wearing shoes, this means she would have worn 16 pairs of shoes a day and never had to wear the same pair of shoes again until the 188th day, or… only twice a year!

Shopping is not the only way to feed-the-need, and the fact that we have only two pairs of shoes does not let those of us who are not Imelda off the hook.  What need drives us from relationship to relationship?  If flight is our modus operandi, do we ask ourselves “Why am I doing this?  What am I seeking?”?  Which brings us full-circle back to women marrying men who are in prison: Why do they do it?!  On a show about this issue I heard one woman make the following equation: She had once stolen a pack of gum from the candy-store; the object of her affections in prison had once murdered someone; therefore, there was no difference in what they had each done, which is why they should be together.  What immediately came to my mind was: WHAT?!!!  What need in her prevents her from thinking logically about this, what causes her to equate a stolen pack of gum with the murder of a human being?

Whether it is shoes, gum or relationships we each have within us an area which, on olden maps, used to be labeled “Herein Be Dragons”, an unexplored area which, precisely because it was unexplored, was terrifying.  The appellation “Herein Be Dragons” was placed on maps to warn mariners to stay away from these areas.  The good news is that when we are confronted by the dragons of our unexplored inner life there can be a choice other than running away and shopping, and that is: To explore that which terrifies us about ourselves, to get to know what motivates what we do, and in getting to know our dragons to rob them of their power to terrify us into making bad choices… like marrying murderers in prison or shopping for shoes.  So: What drives your choices?  Do you know where they are taking you?  And what do you think of my new shoes?

Kahu Kimo

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2 Responses to Herein Be Dragons

  1. Darryl Vernon says:

    Father James,

    As would have been said back in Mary Mother of Hope (St. Mary’s) Parish, East Springfield & Indian Orchard, MA: “Da Faddah Is BACK in Church!” I grew up in a blue-collar working-class neighborhood/factory town. Half my friends were old-line New England Irish & Italian & Polish Catholic. There was a greatly loved Monseigneur at St. Mary Mother of Hope (½ mile from my home out on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Page Boulevard at the outskirts of the greater City of Springfield). A true pastoral Priest, he welcomed the non-Catholic children in the area to ‘accompany’ their Catholic friends and school-mates when they came to Confession (so long as we sat very quietly while waiting). His logic was simple. Words to the effect: “If they (non-Catholic children) cannot be welcomed sit with their Catholic friends, how will they see how their Catholic friends are treated and loved by Our Lord? How will our Catholic children know that we want and welcome all children to the Presence of Christ?

    This great priest was sent on a long distant mission assignment. For the many months he was gone, even our blue-collar grown-up neighbors commented on greatly missing him on Sundays. Then one day my French Catholic best friend, Norman, who lived just two houses down runs over yelling, “Da Faddah is BACK in Church!” And he drags me off the ½ mile up the road from East Street to join (what seemed to a 12 y/o) to be many hundreds of people thronged around the Parish House yelling and cheering for “da FADDAH!” to come back outside and shake hands, get hugged, and be wept over. It wasn’t that the other 3-4 priests we ill thought of or in any way disliked. They were dedicated (from what I could tell) and competent and worked hard. It was that the Monseigneur was so extraordinarily warm and bloody-well Blessed! Although I never was able to recall is actual name, he was a great influence, one that contributed mightily to my 11 years later decision to enter the Trinitarian Abbey of St. Joseph.

    SO! Father James; it’s sort of the same visceral impact I had today reading your new original Blog posting, Herein Be Dragons.

    Really, really, really glad to read it!

    I know you want to BE retired. But it seems to a Centurion like me that you are still the hieromonk

    Bro. Darryl

    • I can’t thank you enough, Darryl, for your kind reflections
      that this post has brought to the fore! I am elated that
      you can truly hear my heart’s intention in the church-work
      I plow through week-by-week! That said, I will ALWAYS be
      The Hieromonk of Hilo, with the accoutrements of Orthodox
      Christianity, or not! You are a wise sage, and I’m grateful
      for your purview of my posts!
      Kahu Kimo

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