A Little More Serious · Adventures in Imperfection · Inspirational People

The “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and Mother Teresa


Even though I watch very little TV, I don’t judge the people who do. It’s entertaining, escapist and fun. The problem is, I can’t sit still for anything much longer than a commercial. When I’m not slaving at my day job, even a beloved football game plays second fiddle to laundry, yard work and kiddos. But today I promised compromised with my husband and bestie that I’d try to get some rest so that the nasty cold that has hijacked my normally healthy body would be gone before Christmas.  As soon as my “to do” list became my “to done” list, I sat my butt on the couch for some mindless TV.


I was on my 3rd straight episode of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” when I texted Kelsey (the bestie) to make sure I had my stories (and plastic surgeries) straight. It was like watching a collagen infused, silicon-wrapped train wreck and I couldn’t look away.

Me: I’m watching Real Housewives of BH and I may not move off this couch. I’m also filling up an online shopping cart of loot from Athleta
Kels: I’m sooo proud. I think I may love you even more now if that’s possible
Me: Back at ya!
Kels: Those girls are SUCH evil $*(%. But fun to watch.
Me: I know! I can’t stop!
Kels: They are mean hateful %()^#. They make me look like Mother Teresa
Me: You are ALREADY like Mother Teresa. She was such a cool chic
Kelsey: Really?
Me: Yep! She was smart, sweet and had a clever sense of humor

Light bulb! Writer’s block temporarily averted and a new subject to write about.

Consider this my first installment in, “People who inspire me.” I’m still building my list, but Erma Bombeck and Benji Franklin are up near the top along with this cool gal.


Founder of a religious order and a Nobel laureate, Mother Teresa lived as she died, in Calcutta tending to those in need. She communicated to others through tireless service, prayer and in her own very personal, vulnerable writings that I’ve only begun to read Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta

Even though she had an aura and charisma that drew the most powerful and public people to her, she remained humble and grounded by her imperfect human existence. In my childhood, I loved her for her perfection and dedication to God. In my adulthood, I admired her for her less than perfect struggles with doubt, darkness and faith.

“If I ever become a Saint–I will surely be one of “darkness.” I will continually be absent from Heaven–to light the light of those in darkness on earth.”
–Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Admittedly, among other areas, I fall short in following her example of  “tireless service.” Even though I’ve vigorously signed up  for volunteer events, my own weak emotions and overactive empathy often get the best of me. Many times, it’s so bad that I cancel and shrink away in shame leaving the stronger souls to pick up my slack. The life situations of the people I see (and serve) at the Rescue Mission make me feel so bad that I often ignore the e-mails calling for last-minute volunteers.  

“Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love…the smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.”

Several weeks ago, when I was combatting my own demons, a friend told me about the saint’s battle, something she called, “The Dark Night of the Soul.” Mother Teresa revealed her insecurities and wrestling matches with faith as well as the darkness and pain in her life. Her many critics may have called her “a fake and a liar” but I only see her as vulnerable, authentic….and human.  Even now, I’m a little hesitant to put Mother Teresa and the Housewives on the same page, but I know that Teresa would have embraced those poor souls just like she embraced everyone else.

Long story short, at the end my text session with Kelsey (and before we could be interrupted by a Housewife cat fight), she shared with me a favorite writing that has been long credited to Mother Teresa. It’s simple, beautiful and relevant no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs might be. As we come out of a challenging year and head into another one, I think of her words as we all face private battles and uncertainties moving forward.

Found written on the wall in Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta 

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
 In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

Thank you, dear reader, for this little detour into my intensely private spiritual side. It don’t openly reveal it often, but it’s always there and part of who I am…vulnerable, authentic and imperfectly human like my favorite saint.

Many blessings to you and yours during this holiday season.


12 thoughts on “The “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and Mother Teresa

  1. This is beautiful. Mother Teresa is also one of the people I find most inspiring, as her heart for selfless service and charity is exceptional. I especially love the final passage you quoted, as well as another of her quotes that goes, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” — It’s a thought that motivates me whenever I also hesitate to join in rescue missions and relief operations, thinking I won’t make any much of a difference anyway.

    P.S. Making a list of people who inspire you (and writing about each of them, if you’re planning to do so) sounds great! Looking forward for more! 🙂


    1. Thank you so much! I absolutely love the ocean quote…what a great reminder for the future.
      I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my words, I’ve spent most of last 24 hours in front the keyboard and am feeling renewed and healed. Thank you again for your kind words.
      I look forward to reading more of yours as well.


    2. I love that ocean quote. It reminds me of the story of a man who was walking along a beach throwing starfish back into the ocean. “What are you doing?”, a passerby asked. “It’s low tide and these starfish will die if I don’t help them back into the water.”, the starfish thrower replied. “But there are thousands of starfish on this beach”, the passerby argued, “you cannot possibly get to them all. Can’t you see that you cannot possibly make a difference?” The thrower bent down and tossed another starfish into the ocean. “I made a difference to that one.”

      Every face that Mother Teresa held lovingly in her hands, every sip of water she gave, every dying hand she held made a huge difference to someone. I think of that as I pass the many people in my day who don’t make eye contact. Who have shielded themselves against the ambitious, aggressive town in which I live. I try to catch their eyes long enough to smile and say hello. Lord knows they could use a little warmth and human kindness.


      1. What a kind reply…I can’t believe I missed it the first time. Thank you again for stopping by and know that your words blessed me beyond measure 🙂


  2. Beautifully written, Michelle. What a great insight into yourself, and a powerful reminder to all of your readers!


    1. Thank you so much, Jen. Your words mean more than you know. You have no idea how scared I was to write this. You may have noticed that this particular one didn’t get “facebooked”…I’m a bit squeamish to broadcast anything religious at the risk of sounding like a preacher or righteous…neither of which I am. I feel so blessed to have you in my little ‘circle of trust’…the more I get to know you, the more blessed I feel 🙂

      > Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2014 15:51:49 +0000 > To: mt_rd@hotmail.com >


  3. If you share your admiration for Mother Teresa, some may ridicule you. Share her anyway.

    I have found there are lots of people who would like to talk about spiritual things but don’t for fear of mockers. Way to be courageous.


    1. Oh thank you! It’s baby step courageous…because there’s more that I feel and don’t always say. It’s a start though, right?
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. This is an older post and it always makes me smile when someone else finds Mother Teresa 🙂


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