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I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz Jägerstätter

Friday, March 21, 2014

If I could write a letter to me...

Country singer Brad Paisley recorded a great song, "If I could write a letter to me" a few years ago and that is going through my head as I read a couple of internet exchanges. Emma Smith has been chronicling her engagement and marriage prep over at Catholic exchange. Her latest post entitled Marriage is Work is a reflection on how differently she feels about marriage than do her secular divorced coworkers. Emma is full of faith, hope and optimism. She really believes that her marriage is not going to be like theirs. She and her future husband are anchoring their marriage in a divine love, not a temporal one and Emma is confident that will make a difference. If she really did not believe with all her heart that her marriage is going to be one of faithfulness, unlike the marriages of her coworkers, should she even be getting married?

Well known Catholic blogger Simcha Fisher could not abide such youthful optimism and felt the need to bring Emma Smith back to reality. Simcha (Maybe I should say Fisher. She keeps referring to Emma Smith as "Smith" in her rebuttal piece.) is absolutely right in everything she says about marriage. However, what she says has been gleaned from years of experience. She even says that what Emma wrote is what she would have written at that stage in her life. So I have no idea why she feels the need to belittle Emma Smith's piece. When I suggested in the comment box that the view from a few years down the road could have been offered without personally attacking the bride-to-be I was told by all the Simcha fans that considering the level of snark Simcha is capable of, this was a kind and charitable response. "But I hope to God she is never involved in any kind of marriage ministry" does not sound very kind and charitable to me.

I really did not read Emma Smith's article as a declaration that because she is a faithful Catholic nothing bad will happen in her marriage. I read it as the reflection of a young woman who is immersed in a cynical, secular culture of failed marriages and she still has the confidence to go forward in marriage because she has faith in God and will anchor her marriage in that faith. Those of us who have been married for a few years know with all our hearts she is going to need that faith. She will be tested. Her husband will be tested. They will be tested together. So for now, at her stage in life, she needs that optimism and confidence to jump with both feet into marriage. If she just dips a toe into marriage now, how will she stand firm when the trials of heartaches, sickness, and whatever other misfortunes that are the reality of life strike?

Some have said that Simcha is just saying what a wiser, older sister should say. If I had an older sister and she had said these things to me as I was getting ready to be married I would have been crushed. I am way too old to be Emma Smith's sister, so I will speak as an old aunt. Go forward in faith. Be not afraid. You will grow. You will learn. But for now, you are where you should be.

UPDATE:  Mea Culpa to Simcha Fisher because she took issue with my parenthetical comment about referring to Emma Smith as just "Smith". It is AP style to write that way. Ok. I had been criticized in her com box for suggesting that her critique of Emma Smith was harsh as Simcha Fisher was just offering "sisterly correction". Well, I never called my sister by just a last name so that seemed an odd way of doing it to me. So noted. She is just following the AP style book. Since the gist of my concern is that Fisher's piece was critical of Emma Smith for not speaking with the wisdom of experience she did not have, it is a minor issue.

UPDATE #2: Wow! Dare to disagree with Simcha and the hordes descend upon you. Glad I have comment moderation turned on. One last word from me on this here.

UPDATE #3: Emma Smith has written her own response with maturity and grace. Do read it here.







11 comments:

Rosemary Bogdan said...

I agree with your assessment, Denise. Her calling Emma Smith "childish" was also unkind and over stated. Maybe naive. Maybe in love and innocent. Childish is derogatory.

theveilofchastity.com said...

Agree with you completely, Denise. Thank you for your support of Emma. We need more young Catholic couples like her and her fiancé. If a Sacramental life in Christ gains us no grace to live out our vocation of marriage faithfully, then what is it for? Of course people can choose wrong. But, it is not inevitable that infidelity will happen. Thank you again, Cindy

Barb, ofs said...

It's a shame that someone who is trying to do something the right way in a world that absolutely encourages the wrong way would become a victim of snark at the hands of someone who is supposed to be on the same team.

Denise Hunnell said...

And unfortunately the snark continues. After posting a conciliatory sounding post on my Facebook page, Ms. Fisher starts a new thread on her Facebook page lamenting how "tone deaf" some of her readers are and how they should just read Gwyneth Paltrow if they don't like her tone.

Laura said...

A lot of the anger was my fault, I spelled her name incorrectly. Several times. Which was stupid of me and embarrassing. What is bothersome to me is that I think she is a talented writer, but she's developed this following that freaks out if anyone criticizes her. She.encourages them by drawing attention to any disagreement with her and getting huffy. I didn't think this piece was snarky, just unkind and preachy and somewhat hypocritical considering she noted that she, herself, was once like Smith. Fisher mentioned being annoyed that certain readers were upset about her hurting Smith's feelings. I didn't worry about that at all. You can see that Smith is not the sort to need a defense against her feelings being injured. I just thought it was useless to go after someone with stars in their eyes. Why bother trying to burst that bubble? It will certainly rupture and then it's a good time to offer advice. My misspelling of her name was a ridiculous error and I feel bad about it, but it's interesting to me that she was unable to just simply correct me in a adult and manerly fashion. If I had been agreeing with her would she and her husband have acted in a similar fashion? I think you just can't comment unless you are going to agree with her. Not unless you want to end up in an ugly argument. I agreed with you. Brides, new mothers, young people just starting out-they sometimes just need experience. Even when they put their opinion out there publicly, I'm not sure lectures in response will help the way a smack in.the head from life will.

Simcha Fisher said...

No, I didn't call anyone "tone deaf." Someone else said that. I know you're mad, and I'm sorry you feel picked on. I have a lot of FB friends, and when you engage me on Facebook, you are going to get involved with lots of people, guaranteed. I guess you will want to avoid that in the future.

Many readers brought up tone today, and I have an ongoing frustration with the constant insistence that Catholic writers be all nice all the time. I meant what I said: all nice all the time is what you're looking for, then don't look for anything with any substance.

Here's the thing that bugs me: you persist in criticizing my tone, but you haven't responded to my repeated comment that Smith's IDEAS -- much more important than tone, right? -- are cruel and damaging to many women. You just keep talking about tone. I don't understand this.

Simcha Fisher said...

Also, my goodness, you don't like it when my Facebook friends agree with me, but apparently you've decided not to post comments here if you don't like them. Your blog, your rules, whatever you like, obviously! But you kind of lose the moral high ground if you're doing the exact same thing.

Laura said...

Ugh, "mannetly fashion," not "manerly." Shouldn't ever use a phone to comment.

Denise Hunnell said...

Laura, the anger is absolutely not your fault. We are all adults. You did nothing wrong other than make an innocent spelling error. There was nothing malicious in that. People who choose to be angry over such a small thing do so of their own free will. Obviously there are some wounded people whose bitterness just came spewing forth today for some reason. It is their problem. Not yours.

Denise Hunnell said...

For those who are reading this post and wondering, I have not blocked any comments from these posts. I always have comment moderation due to a previous problem with some people objecting to my pro-life views and wanting to leave vulgar comments or other personal insults.

Laura said...

Thanks, Denise. Hope you have a good weekend!

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