Father Moore was the only true spiritual guide I had solidly in my life. I would talk to him about anything, no holds barred. He would give me sound advice, not something full of religious fluff. Relevant and usable advice. Oftentimes these conversations would occur in the confessional and we would ramble on for a lengthy amount of time. It caused more than one conversation to occur with my Dad who was worried that people were wondering what it was I had to confess that took so long to discuss. There were times that, instead of 100 Hail Marys, Father would make me go out into the world to perform a task as my absolution. Once I had to call my ex-husband and tell him that Father wanted to know how “his kids were doing” and that if they were continuing with Catholicism that they needed to be confirmed. I would have gladly taken 100 Hail Marys instead, but I completed the task as requested. Once I had a nightmare of a demon walking down the hallway toward my bed, threatening me with words of angst aimed against my family. He scoffed at my thinking my soul was damaged and told me to think about the things that were bothering me on a primal level to get to the root of my “dreamed up demons”.
I was poor then. Like, working multiple jobs for long hours, knowing I still could not pay some utilities and continuing on while deliriously tired poor. I would tell him that I had no money to pay tithes but I would be happy to pitch in to help around the church. He took me up on that. I stained the wood of a fence adjacent to his residence. I worked BINGO like it was a job. When he asked me to run for president of the PTO, I did.
One time I was struggling with being a bartender. That I was serving drinks to a particular person who was leaving with someone who was not their spouse. That they were spending a lot of money in the process. That they were basically taking money away from their family to “play” with this other person, this other “not their family” person. And I felt it was wrong. And I felt like a conspirator because I knew and looked the other way, even when I saw the person at church functions. I felt I could not say anything because it would be frowned upon to upset a regular, “good spending”, customer. Father listened to me as I rambled and explained my feelings and even cried a little.
Then we had this back and forth:
Father: Do you have to have this job?
Father: Like, can you afford to quit this job?
Me: No. I can work around my day job, the kids’ school functions and BINGO (chuckle) and whatnot. It pays more than the day gig in two nights but the day gig has insurance. So no, I cannot feasibly quit any of them.
Father: Then that is your answer. You are not working this job because it is a passion. It is because it is a necessity. So stop feeling bad because of things other people are doing that goes against your beliefs and your soul. Say a little prayer when you see it. But say a prayer for yourself. Let God lift the burden from you and let him deal with “them”.
Some days, more than others, I wish Padre was around. Oh, the talks we could have. How curious I am of the advise he would give to me now that I have moved passed the “poor young mother” stage of my life.