Well, the Lord has given me a look back on a reality of how kindly were fellow parishioners when this hermit was early on a Catholic, and despite people knowing well that there were negative factions at work, some came to incredible depths and heights of charity and kindness.
It was back when I had started a soup ministry that grew into quite a program of helping the poor in a town. It grew so successfully that it was a movement that became ecumenical in some aspects, although the base was solidly of Catholics from the two parishes in town. Yes, the people who volunteered to help with the soup kitchen and its outshoots of charity--the inner group assisting me--were some of the kindest, supportive, and helpful souls.
I recall needing to cut down a tree in the backyard of a house I'd gotten across the street from the parish--a move that was financially more feasible for me as two daughters were in college then, but also was convenient for operating the growing soup kitchen movement. I asked to borrow a chain saw from a man who with his wife helped in the soup kitchen in a major way. Rather than have me use the chain saw, he showed up to do it for me, with reservations, though--safety concerns!
Turns out he was right. I was to pull on the branch with a rope, and he was up in the tree using the saw. On an otherwise idyllic Sunday afternoon, the branch slipped, or rather my grip on the rope, and we took out a major power line. The power company emergency crew arrived and took pity on me even then, and did not charge me for the mishap repairs.
The man helping me or perhaps it was one of the others in the soup kitchen inner group, heard of a man who cuts down trees professionally, who did the work as a side job from his college professorship job. The price was quite reasonable; people had come to be very helpful to me as many knew I was doing much good for the poor of the community, and the acts of kindness reverberated among many people, in many ways, including toward me and my son who remained yet at home.
[And another man, who I helped with tutoring his daughter and helping his family in whatever way I could, helped move me not once but twice. And another man lent me his truck when I needed, and also helped. And yet another man helped by replacing a furnace that blew its motor at the start of a cold winter. All this in the time period of the soup kitchen efforts! 'Twas a beautiful phase of my Catholic existence that did not last, however.]
The power mongers, stirred by the devils that arise in any holy endeavor, got involved, as well as my sensing something very evil about a school principal the Catholic priests had hired to run the parochial school. I had encounters with him that only God could have arranged, in which I learned things that were horrible; the man was a fraud. I also had mothers come to me (I suppose by then some realized that I would speak up and expose evil), and sure enough the man was inappropriate with several 8th-grade girls.
He also was intent on forcing the soup kitchen to not have access to the school kitchen on weekends, which if course our base of operations then. When matters got severe enough with the principal, including his plagiarizing a large grant I'd written for the school of which he'd not adhered to the grant I wrote, to begin with, and was vamboozeling more money by presenting the grant with his name on it to another entity--I asked the priests to do something about it.
I let them know in writing the various awful events and problems with the man and the evidence I had; and I said if they did not contact me or do something to protect the situation, I'd need to approach the bishop. Well, I had to approach the bishop, and immediately there was action. Turns out the man they'd hired was a charlatan, not even with an license to be a school principal. Mercy.
But the priests were very angry that I'd exposed this to the bishop, as I guess it did reflect upon their wise judgment and bit their pride. I had to circumvent them to bring about decency and justice. The short end of it is that I was driven from the soup kitchen; the good part is that the volunteers kept it going and still do to this day, even if some aspects were trimmed back.
So there have been and still are some lovely, kindly, charitable, and brilliantly Christian Catholics in my life. And I hope that I have been a kindly, loving, and charitable Christian Catholic, as well. True, in these past few years of strife and hardship, I've not had the means to donate nor to do good for others besides prayer and some encouragement.
I pray that changes! But even today I've gotten next to no work done. The body pain is high from the weather shifts occurring. Not much sooner than I'd gotten some caulking done and painted a bit on the roof overhang than the weather forced me to stop.
Lord have mercy on me. What is my purpose? Well, we shall keep the hand on the plow, face forward, follow Jesus along the as yet untilled, unplanted row. And I'll force this body up off this mattress, head up the ladder to upstairs, and see about what is needed to cut out more of the upper hall floor so as to install the short flight of steps from a landing that has been constructed.
Yes, the stairway in here was way too narrow, shallow, and treacherous: not code. It was from the olden days in a farmhouse not elegant, for sure, but functional in the basics. I tore it out to rebuild, but the man who was hired to do the work made a mess of it, measuring incorrectly, installing unsafely. Had to tear it out. Was thinking "back" on that, too, for the parish man who is not going to help lift the microwave, said I need to hire a handy man.
Oh, I think not. They are more trouble and expense, often on drugs, overpriced or incompetent. And I don't have the funds to hire costly help at this point.
Well, up that ladder to the upstairs! Ladder to heaven? Heaven is here, now, if I place my heart in Jesus's Heart. Praise God for all the most loving and kindly people in my entire life. Forgive me for my negative thoughts and remembrances of negatives. I must live and lead by love and charity.