Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why Bother?

The blogosphere seems to be going through a period of reflection and introspection, which is never a bad thing.  Terry at Abbey Roads has offered some insights which I would encourage you to read.  He lead me to think about what I write and why.

There is probably a good reason why the major Catholic bloggers haven't taken to my epistles and that's because my blog is more of a diary that I'm dumb enough to make public on a daily basis.   I'm not like them in that I don't spend a lot of time on graphics and other technical matters. Truth be told, I'm not that creative and I'm a techno klutz.   On the other hand,  Crescat has pretty pictures and comical and self-deprecating stories that involve a cat that likes to sleep on the toilet and cockroaches who disrupt the blog-owner's nap in a hammock. I read her once in awhile.  I frankly don't follow the Anchoress or Mark Shea, not because I dislike them in any way, but because there are only so many minutes in the day for me to read blogs, and I'm a bit of a creature of habit. They'll survive without me because they have oodles and oodles of readers. What I do like is reading about Kelly's family, Caroline's reflections on the saint or feast of the day, and Patricia's poetry that I hope she will one day compile into a collection of prayers.  I love Terry's creativity and sense of mischief.  Ros seems to find the most adorable depictions of Jesus with children.  I learn a lot from Kathy about homesteading. I love Richard's dry sense of humor and how we can both commiserate about bad liturgy and the beauty of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  There are others I've probably overlooked and I apologize.  (That's what addendums are for.)

Then there's Father Z, who most likely has the lion's share of readers. Don't assume you know what I'm going to say next based on my previous comments about Father.  Read on.

If there is a Mensa society for priests, this man should be inducted without hesitation. He is undoubtedly one of the most intellectually brilliant priests I know.  If truth be told, at least for me,  he leaves something to be desired spiritually. But, no one is perfect, certainly not me.   Father often talks about how bloggers can help other bloggers out, and I think what he means is that we should vote for his blog, as often as we can, for every award for which he's nominated, BUT   we should not expect him to reciprocate in any way because, after all, he has condescended to speak to us in the first place.  I'll never forget the time he reposted something Colbert did on The Daily Show.  Twenty people posted. I was number 21.  Immediately following my comment was his complaint that his blog was being dumbed down, because no one commented on some thesis he posted earlier (that no one without a PhD in philosophy could decipher anyway) but 21 people commented on Colbert.  Still, although the man either insults or completely ignores me, he's like a stopped clock in that at least twice a day he posts something I find useful or of interest.  I actually think it must be very lonely to be as smart and culturally enriched as Father is.  Like the Goldfinches he complains about, he can drive me nuts but he often has worthwhile information.  So I treat him like the eccentric microbiology prof I had in college who acted like she was going to catch a disease if  we  spoke to her after class but who gave us an education that was priceless.  The insulting part almost becomes amusing.  Almost.

For awhile, I contemplated going to Rome and just letting the blog die a slow death, especially after the vitriol experienced on Labor Day,  but I've met some people who really are precious to me, so while I'm not going to win any awards or rack up stats, I can continue the friendships and exchange words of encouragement along the journey.

I was trying to think of a new name for the blog.  Story of a Fool keeps popping up for some reason, but I think I'll stick with The Little Way.

How could I forget Anne at Imprisoned in My Bones or Theresa at Carmelitemom?  But I did, and these are also daily reads for me, as well as new friend Allision at Totus Tuus Family.  You cannot help but be put at peace when you click on Theresa's blog because of the beautiful chant that greets you.  And never a word of malice from any of these folks, including those noted above.  God Bless!


  1. It does appear many people are taking time for reflection indeed, including myself : ) I find one of the things I miss most when I step away is the support and the friendships I have made through my blog. Their posts or their comments kind of give me a boost to continue. The more I step away, every so often, the more comfortable I am with taking a break and not feeling pressured to blog constantly. I think it's good to have time for silence and time for words and the good God does give them in silence. Bless you! ~Theresa

  2. And I have learned a lot from you too! I think we all learn a lot from each other, even if only in bits and pieces, often from bloggers we wouldn't always read or necessarily agree with.

    The homesteaders are wonderfully informative be they Christian, Jewish or Amish, full of kindness, offering only to help. They remind me to be nice, love thy neighbor. I don't think I've ever seen a condescending post. They work off each other to build a simple, sustainable lifestyle while also thanking God for what they have been given, even if that is a dismal harvest- every small thing is a gift.

    The Catholic blogs teach me a lot, especially the way things were before I converted- I have no knowledge of that. Ros and Cheeky Pink crack me up, Richard makes me laugh. I do miss Mary Christine! I don't want to say that I miss you too.

    Then there are the uncatagorized ones like Manny, a little political, a little family oriented, a little comedy. I love reading about everyone's families, especially as their kids grow.

    Some say the blogs are only about the "me". I think that's true in a way, but often about "me" as a road to discovery, that's why we offer up our personal lives in a public forum, take comments good or bad in a constructive manner, weigh in on them and try to make the good choice. Disregard the attacks- trolls, are usually insecure about themselves or just bullies.

    Hang in there! I can't wait to read about Rome- and rats (but not rats in Rome).

  3. Thanks Theresa, I think you are exactly right. Please see my addendum, btw.

    Kathy, I agree with everything you said. I guess it does seem like "me", but the only perspective I can offer is my own, so I guess it's inevitable.

    God's blessings to you both!

  4. I don't have any sisters or daughters. All men with strong views invade my life!

    If I did have a female close relation, I would like her to be like you.

    On a blogging note, you often stop me in my ever so often, cazy tracks and make me think.

    You also brought me great spiritual comfort regarding the relative of a friend you visited when she was close to death, and looked out of the window at the hospital room. I don't know exactly what it was you wrote now, but it made me see that God is in every corner of time and space, in each moment, watching and caring. I cried with joyful relief that day.

    Thank you.

    I also enjoy hearing about your daughter, her respect at Mass. I feel very inadequate in my attention at Mass. Critical people put me off even bothering to try to improve, but you inspire me to. I've bought a mantilla and will be going to the Guild Mass in October, an EF one. I hardly know what to do, but I have the desire in my heart to learn, even if I mess up with the rubrics (don't even know what that means)!

  5. Thanks Joyce, and I heartily approve of your Fr. Z. assessment. Brava! It's funny,m I don't usually think of myself as a complete dumb-dumb. If I did, I wouldn't be attempting court reporting. But as soon as I go to certain blogs I feel like my IQ goes over a cliff...
    anyways--I'm glad you're going to hang around! I am a creature of habit too, and your blog is one of them!

  6. Thank you Ros, for your very touching and kind words. Criticism, if you can call it that, need not be condescending and judgmental. The point, after all, is to get someone to reconsider what they're doing. I detest the whole "if you're not with us, you're against us" mentality. Don't worry about messing up at the TLM! Sit toward the back, behind someone who looks like they're a "regular" and just follow their example. With the exception of the Canon, or Eucharistic part of the Mass, I find that if I follow the example of the servers so far as sitting, standing, etc. I'm usually on course.

    Kelly, I often think of a scene in Jesus of Nazareth where the Lord advises one of the apostles not to open his mind, but to open his heart. There's not too much I can do about my intellectual deficiencies but thankfully, it's never too late for my heart. Yours is definitely in the right place, which is all that matters.


  7. Thank you for the post. I like Terry too! :)

  8. I luv reading your blog daily, Joyce. I am so grateful to the blogsphere for the people that it has led me to, like you.

    Thank you for mentioning me. I blog like I used to scrapbook, to capture thoughts and memories. Initially it started out for my family and that's still it's focus but, like I said, the side benefits are the acquaintances made along the way. I know what my focus is, what my blog will never be. And I like to leave comments, when my day permits because I know I like them! Just seems polite. Need to do it more often.

    Like a daisychain, one blog leads me to others. Thank you for updating my reading as I now visit thought-provoking Terry, Mundabor , Anne and others from you sidebar. (I already luved Therese.)

    I enjoy your blog very much and thank you for sharing it.

  9. Oh Joyce, where would I be without your blog? Even though I am a cradle Catholic I haven't been devout until a few years ago (and the horror of it is that I was an atheist for a number of years as well) and I too have learned so much from you. Your blog is not just a diary; it's wealth of information.

    I admit I'm on Anchoress a lot. If you see a "Manny" comment there, it's your humble Ok, not so humble. ;) I like the given and take there. I don't care for Mark Shea or Father Z. I think both are pompous if you ask me. Shouldn't a Catholic blogger be humble? I find you much more the model Christian than they. Your patron saint Theresa was not very well appreciated in her lifetime. Just like in the movie "It's A Wonderful Life" you never know all the different connections where one has made a difference.

    You may not get the huge number of hits that the big name bloggers get, but you are certainly loved by the people who stop by regularly. If you stop blogging, I'd certainly miss you.

  10. Thank you Allison, and thank you Manny, for your generously kind comments. And Manny, I'd certainly miss you too!

  11. Joyce, I've thought several times about ending the whole blogging thing. Didn't feel like I fit in, not good enough, slim traffic.....not smart enough..OMG every thin skinned woe I could come up with. And who would have ever imagined the cage fighting that goes on? But then like you I met all these wonderful people. When I started a friend told me to write about what I love and be true to who I was in Christ ..if that means I generate 7 hits a day..than I have ministered to the ones the Lord has brought my way. I love who you are...and I'm glad you're here. +

  12. I totally understand the blog name thing.

    I love my blogs name... but it doesnt shorten well: DUIB.

    I think that your blog name should stay, just as mine should, something drew you to it at the outset, and it needs to help define you and your blog... even if it isn't always what you think or want :)

  13. Caroline, thank you, sending a great big hug your way. I love who you are, too!

    Joe, I love the name of your blog, too. Don't worry about how it shortens.

  14. I certainly get what you're saying, but I kind of get Father Z. too. While I'm no brilliant man, but I occasionally try to make my blog go a bit higher and be more intelligent than it usually is, and this almost always fails. No one reads the posts that I put far more thought into. Perhaps it's just that they aren't quite as good as my other stuff, I don't know. Still, it makes me sad when I have put about twenty times as much thought and effort into a post, only to have it ignored in favor of some commentary that I made on recent news. I think Fr. Z puts a lot more love into his intellectual posts, and so it hurts to have that which he loves be rejected in favor of his less worthy works. Also, I grew up with an MIT grad for a father, so I know someone who for his whole life has felt some distance from others because of his massive intellect. It's tough for those great intellectuals high above us.

    As for blogging, I must admit that yours is one of my favorite ones. It's nice simply to read the life of a devout person. It's why St. Faustina's diary is one of my favorite books. Reading about someone's love for God is always something that cheers me up. Keep up the good work Joyce.

    I also find it interesting that this blog, being one of my favorites, is one of my biggest sources of traffic. I don't know what it is about your list of blogs, but something about it makes people read mine. I'm quite grateful.

  15. Joyce, I have been out of the blogging loop most of the past week, but saw this post and wanted to say that I love your blog. It's the first one I read each day, and I never know what to expect: poetry, a funny story, personal reflections, challenges at work, family updates...and much more. Your blog is so eclectic in the most wonderful way.

    And through it all, you communicate a most humble, wise and pure spirit. And you are truly kind...someone I wish lived right next door.

    Keep blogging. You are making a difference..I know you did for me!

    Have a glorious time in Italy!!!!!!!

  16. Daniel, I have to say I read your comment at lunch time on my Blackberry (from which I can no longer publish comments -agh!) and I had tears in my eyes. Thank you so much. I totally get what you're saying. I have to tell you that a lot times I am so tired by the time I get around to writing and reading that I leave some of the deeper posts for another time. I will make more of an effort to go back and read your gems. I know just what you mean, though suffering from a gift of intellect is NOT one of my problems LOL. Thank you for the comments, but I feel anything but devout. The whole vitriolic episode with Carol McKinley has me feeling less than holy. For the record, I think Carol has good intentions most of the time, but I cannot abide by some of the things she has said and done, not to me but to others who may be weaker than I am. That's all I want to say about Carol, who I still admire for a lot of reasons.

    Patricia, I could not stand myself if I thought I was anything but kind. Certainly I hope I'm humble. And would I love to live next door to you, too!

    Perhaps some day in the future, we bloggers will get together on our own pilgrimage to some holy place. And hopefully, Daniel will be a priest by then (we'll be calling him Father) and can celebrate Mass for us, as the priest friend who is going on this trip with us to Italy is going to go do.

    Thank you!

  17. Joyce, I'm stunned that my comment moved you so much. I didn't think that it would be quite so good. I'm glad I was able to make you happy that way. Perhaps you may not seem devout to yourself, but regardless of that your blog is wonderful to read. There's too many blogs just commenting and complaining about stuff going on in the Church, and not enough just talking about life with God. Yours does that quite well. Those kinds of blogs are always my favorite.

    Father Daniel...celebrating Mass at a pilgrimage for bloggers. I must admit, I can never get used to the idea of myself doing such things, or having that title. It seems so far off, what with seven years of seminary left to do. Though if I am so fortunate as to be ordained in the future, I will gladly partake in this pilgrimage of bloggers.

  18. Daniel, and you have all of us to pray that you get there. And Sts. Faustina and Therese will do their part as well!


Comments which reflect true Christian charity are always welcome. Comments which attack the Pope, the Church, priests or other bloggers will go in the dustbin, especially if they are anonymous. Thank you and God Bless you!