My cousin Bruce and his wife Deborah paid a visit to Mary Beth and yours truly recently. They had left their home in Colorado Springs to travel to the lower peninsula of Michigan, where they were both born and raised.
Bruce loves all things “family” and told us they planned to make stops along the journey, to see other cousins, the last aunt and uncle of my mother’s side of the family, and ultimately their siblings, nieces and nephews in Michigan.
They stayed the night at our house, and Bruce and I were able to delve deeply into the well of old, often told stories.
Deb and MB had their own family stories, which enriched our conversations. What a great time we had, looking back to an era far simpler than today. No smart phones. No Facebook. No 24-hour news shows where “truth” is dependent on who writes or expresses the messages. (How did we survive?)
No legal marijuana. Not even for medical purposes. Two bathrooms in the gas stations, and everyone knew which one was which.
Bruce shared that he had voted “yes” for legalizing medical and recreational marijuana in Colorado. “I voted for it,” Bruce told us. “So did Deb. We are both aware that a lot of people smoke it, so we assumed making it legal for them was no big deal. Live and let live.
“I was wrong,” he said.
With God’s help
Perhaps things will settle down over time in his community, but the more Bruce and Deb shared about the changes since legalizing marijuana — often thought of as a “gateway drug” or “harmless” — the more I felt a cold shiver slide up and down my spine.
Growing up in the small town of Two Harbors, I recall being fearful of what others thought of me. I remember putting popularity far ahead of “doing what is right.”
God, in his everlasting mercy, has, for reasons I cannot fathom, helped me, a sinner, to get outside of myself and rely totally on him. I realize I am nothing without God, and I am comforted in that realization.
Good stewards, the most valuable and most powerful gem in all the world — especially taking into our hearts the little amount of time that we have been given to have our feet on this planet — is our family.
I believe with all my heart and soul, that Satan wants the family unit to go away.
We live in a mostly rural diocese, where the beauty of God’s creation overwhelms us. Yet, count the deaths here in our 16 counties that are caused by drug overdose, violence or driving under influence. Let’s live stewardship in our families, who we cherish, and God will lead us, through our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, to the promised land.
Curt Hanson is executive director of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of St. Cloud and director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development.