Friday, November 28, 2008

Standing All Alone in the Twilight

The day before Thanksgiving, I attended an after-school party at my children’s Catholic school. Only a few mothers were present, and I soon gave up on being included in any adult conversation. So I sat with my children and made chit-chat with their friends. Later a mother whom I was on friendly terms with came in. She had known the other moms for years and was my passport into the circle.

No sooner had I sat down than I was ready to leave. First the talk was about Black Friday sales, which I had no interest in. Then came the shocker.

“Have you and your daughters seen Twilight yet?” asked my acquaintance.

I knew this was the number one movie, a romance based on a series of books about vampires in high school, and that high school girls were crazy about the series. I never expected it to be a topic among Catholic mothers of middle schoolers.

“No,” I said, simply. The other mothers replied that they had seen it, or were planning to see it, and were reading the books along with their daughters. They found nothing objectionable, and even thought the stories to be “sweet”.

I was troubled, yet my tongue was mute. For one thing, I knew nothing I said would make a difference; they would just think I was weird, causing them to pity my daughters as being “overprotected”. The other thing is that I had not actually seen the movie or read the books. But I don’t have to try drugs to know they are bad for me; where there’s smoke there is often fire; and a wise man hides from trouble. I have taught my children how to spot literature and media that are wholesome vs. not. The symbolism of subject-matter is important in the quick identifying of the sheep vs. the goats in this arena.

Unicorns, for example, are a symbol of Christ, and many beautiful stories can be found based on them. I have heard that vampires are the antithesis of Christ. He gave His blood that we might live; vampires take others blood so they can walk the night. I have also heard that the first pornography was based on vampires; both are based on the degradation of the human body.

As Leticia Velasquez says in “Catholic Media Review”, “This is a phenomenon which Catholics must examine before embracing; anything that the Culture of Death embraces with such ferocity can't be healthy.”

Perhaps this is why I am not quickly embraced into social circles at the school. Half the time I stand there dumb-stricken because I have nothing to say that would be both honest and socially acceptable!

In homeschooling circles the opposite was true. During the peak of Harry Potter’s popularity there was big controversy over whether or not to let your kids read the series. Homeschoolers could agree to disagree on this. But whatever your opinion, it was respected.

In mainstream schools, there is a peer pressure among mothers that parallels that of the children they are raising. Different is weird and discouraged. Trying to live up to the golden standard of Catholic morals can put you in a lonely place.

Driving home, I was saddened by what had transpired. But then I was lifted up, as I thought of the friends I have found. I thought of the courageous stands they have made in their own circles, whether at work, school, or church. I thought of the mother who had questioned the movies being shown in kindergarten and donated a Christian video series as an alternative. I thought of the teacher at a Catholic school who was criticized for bringing up Obama and the abortion issue as part of a current events discussion in an eight grade class. I thought of the pro-life coordinator who is viewed as a radical by the religious education office at her own church. I thought of my own mother, who refused to give the devil a foothold into her home by allowing occult literature into the house.

And as twilight approached, I knew I was not standing all alone.

Venice Twilight by Claude Monet, 1908

1 comment:

Leticia said...

That is an interesting point about vampires being the antithesis of Christ. A Franciscan Friar here at the Friary mentioned the fascination with bloodletting as part of the culture of death. It has ties to abortion and the horrible trend in suicie and self-mutilation in teens.

Thank you for your clear stand on this issue, Elizabeth. Now I don't feel so lonely in my little corner!