I heart Catholic radio. I need it. I pine for it. I crave it like it's pure audio mocha (which is probably the closest thing I’m going to get to a real mocha from they-who-shall-not-be-named for a very long time.)
So why did I resist affixing a Catholic radio sticker to my car for so long?
Stupid, stupid, stupid reasons, which nevertheless, effectively stopped me from announcing my devotion to my beloved Immaculate Heart Radio to everyone on the road.
Someone, anyone, please tell me that you can relate and that I am not alone:
1. A bias against bumper stickers in general.
Bumper stickers are reductionism at its most grotesque. Some egotistical blowhard’s attempt to bludgeon other drivers with their own beliefs. I felt this way even before Catholic radio came to town.
You see, I live in the Bay Area. As I describe it to people out of state: near San Francisco (where the Church is really popular) Berkeley (where shoes and shaving are illegal) and Santa Cruz (which has outlawed taking showers, but their awesome mountain bikes kind of make up for this). So you can imagine how many times I have had to swallow my own upchuck when I've come across “I Voted for Kerry” “Coexist” "Go Vegan" and “Arms are for Hugging” (get it?).
|People put this on their car.|
To be asked to be another bumper sticker out there, even though I heartily believe in the mission of Catholic radio, still feels like someone is asking me to wear a garment made out of tie-dyed tree bark that my kids have finger painted all over.
And yet, I admit, that every time a car with a Catholic radio sticker passes me on the road, I actually do become hopeful knowing that someone out there shares my Catholic values (which, I guess, would be the antithesis of the ones I just mentioned… “not Kerry,” “Divide and Conquer,” "Steak..."and “Hug my leeettle friend, Mutha…”).
In other words, I’m genuinely encouraged when I see one. How great is that? And how silly is it that I resisted doing the same for others for so long?
2 - 4. I would feel guilted into obeying the rules of the road, driving politely, and I would cause scandal to others and the Church if I failed to do so.
I reasoned that having a Catholic radio sticker on my car would be the automobile equivalent to having one of those Jesus portraits where the eyes follow you. I would feel it staring at me. All of the time. The bumper sticker, that is.
It would also 'ping' God every time I drove slightly above the limit in school zones and didn’t make complete stops at stop signs. And each time, my status in heaven would decrease half a wrung (though I doubt its ever been higher than ‘maintenance staff’ anyway). You get it – I would feel so stressed at the very thought of driving and being good at the same time that I wouldn't make it out of the house.
Which was also the basis for my third reservation: I’d have to be a polite driver all of the time. Right now you're thinking, "But, aren't you supposed to be this way anyway?" To which I say, "Yes. But have you ever driven in California?" ( I confess that this is my usual rationale for forgoing traffic etiquette).
Should I dare creep up close behind a slowpoke (i.e. impolitely pressure the slug in front of me to actually drive the speed limit), I could just imagine the other drivers sniggering when they saw that it was a Catholic radio listener doing so. “Oh, so that’s how a Catholic drives?” “Looks like the Immaculate Heart really hasn’t done that gal any good,” “Ghandi was right about Christians,” etc. But if they didn't know which station I listened to, I didn’t have to worry about all of this, you see?
And this fed into my fourth reason for not displaying a Catholic radio a bumper sticker. “What if I do get pulled over?" I worried, "What will people think of me? What will they think of the Church?” Better not risk giving scandal to anyone which meant no bumper sticker, of course. What a chicken.
And here’s my stupidest one of all:
5.) I don’t want the other van driving, homeschooling moms to think I’m trying to fit in.
Because my massive van, the homeschooling cooperative, the NFP and meeting up with them at daily mass once a week doesn't already make my affiliations obvious. Pathetic, I know.
In short, all of my stupid reasons were mostly concerns for my image. Dear reader, can you ever forgive me? Immaculate Heart Radio, can you?
I promise the bumper sticker is there now! I promise to make a good pledge this spring (oh wait, is that already over with?) And I promise that I will try to drive more like a Catholic Radio listener should: with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy blaring at red lights, and in the background in drive throughs...
Hey, this gave me an idea! The Theology of Laundry is now launching its own bumper sticker! Vote on which one is the best (or worst):
#1 The Theology of Laundry: Because God’s Mercy has a Rinse Cycle!
#2 God <3s Laundry Piles: Read The Theology of Laundry
#3 The Theology of Laundry: WWJD? Fold the Laundry (Jn 20: 6-7)! U Shud 2!