By Marge Fenelon
I was at the bakery ordering a cake for a special event. As I stood at the counter, I noticed a sign that said, “Now Featuring Gender Reveal Cakes.” Thinking it was yet another encroachment of the gender identity rights movement, I became irritated and considered cancelling my order even though our family had used that same bakery for years. Since the place was absolutely swamped, I decided to go ahead with my order—just this time—and call the manager at a later date to express my dismay.
Once home, I shared my disappointment with my husband and Son #3, who immediately began asking me questions about the sign itself. Then I started getting irritated with him, thinking he was defending that stance.
“Mom, come over here,” he said. “I want to show you something.”
Still huffy, I went over and stood next to him.
“Look at this,” he said, turning his laptop screen toward me. “Gender reveal cakes are a way to announce whether it’s a boy or a girl.”
The cakes were beautiful, creative, and clever. And I, on the other hand, felt stupid, judgmental and uncultured.
Score one for the “baby” of the family.
In reality, he did me a great favor by ever-so patiently showing me how I’d jumped to the wrong conclusion about the sign. Later that day, I posted about it on Facebook, claiming I’ve been taking in far too much news lately. An overabundant of troubling headlines skewed my perception.
Perhaps that’s true in part. But it’s not the whole reason.
It’s not just the taking in of news; it’s how I process it and allow it to affect my reactions to the world around me.
I do believe that we absolutely must stand up for what is right. That, to me, is a vital part of spreading the Good News and making disciples of all nations, as our Lord commissioned us to do. (Mt 28:19, Mk 16:15) When someone is violating God’s commandments or leading others into sin, we should speak up in a way that will encourage conversion. The objective should always be to show that there’s a better way, a godlier way.
On the other hand, the news feeds are filled with headline after headline about very sensitive issues and blatant nose-thumbing at both natural and God’s law (one in the same, but that’s fodder for another blog post). It can leave our senses raw and our psyches overwhelmed. And, as in my situation at the bakery, it can lead us to jump to false conclusions. The rights of those who defy God have become priority and the blows come so quickly and from so many directions that we become conditioned to expect the worst.
We don’t mean to be this way—it’s reflex.
So, when I saw the sign at the bakery, I accepted the meaning that first hit my brain without giving it another thought. It was a gut reaction, a shot from the hip. I’m glad now that I didn’t immediately complain to the bakery management and that God, through my son, revealed the truth to me. I hope to take a breath and ask God to reveal the truth in every such circumstance in the future, because I know for sure it will happen again. And again. And again. But next time, by the grace of God, I’ll be ready to figure out the whole truth before reacting.
Oh. And the cake I was ordering that day at the bakery?
It was a baby shower cake for my son and daughter-in-law!
About the Author:
Marge Fenelon is a Catholic author, blogger, speaker, and journalist whose writing has appeared in dozens of media outlets including National Catholic Register, Our Sunday Visitor, and Catholic News Service/Faith Alive. She blogs regularly at National Catholic Register and is a columnist for the Milwaukee Catholic Herald. Marge is the author of several books on Marian devotion and Catholic family life, including Imitating Mary and Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena. She is a regular contributor on national Catholic radio programs and has also appeared on Catholic television.