Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I'm So Sorry!

The last two weeks have been a blessing. I found a friend. I called her after I learned that her 30 year old child had taken the opportunity while alone to end her suffering.

Last weekend was both bitter and sweet. Just like life is generally. Like a mountain trail some parts easy and beautiful and others steep, rocky and difficult. My friend, Jane had told me that Victoria's daughter had shot herself. She explained that at the age of 28 and after experiencing domestic violence and adultery in her short marriage; Sara was coming home from a night out when two men posing as undercover police officers pulled her car over. One man broke the side glass of the driver side window with his flash light and began to beat Sara. Both men drove Sara's car to the desert and raped and beat her near death.

Sara later reported to her mother, Victoria that in the darkness of that desert night a "black angel picked her up and carried her to her car". Sara reported seeing figures motioning her to walk towards them, but the black angel instructed that "it wasn't her time to go". The black angel placed her in her car and somehow Sara made it home.

As was their custom when they got home, who ever was arriving knocked softly on the other's bedroom door to let them know they were home safe. Sara softly scratched on her mom's door that evening. It was very late, and Victoria knew that she would probably have to wake up a little earlier to take Julia, Sara's daughter to school.

The next morning, Victoria found Sara enveloped by the bed sheet head to toe. She grabbed one of her feet and pulled her toes playfully. "Time to get up, Sara." Her mother unaware that a hang over was not the cause of Sara's fatigue.

Victoria was surprised when a cousin came over very early and happened to walk right in the house as the door was obviously unlocked. The cousin walked right into Sara's room and began screaming when she saw the bed drenched in Sara's blood.

For two years, Sara attempted, I believe with great courage to rebuild her life. The rapist at times would make his presence known prior to his arrest, filling her life with fear. Sara was recovering from a bout with cancer. She got an apartment at one time and moved from her mother and grandmother's home; only to return again driven by so much torment and fear. Victoria tells me that Sara was always apologizing. When her mom would rock her to sleep during one of her panic attacks.

One event presided by one too many violent events, changed that soul's life forever. I never met Sara. I feel that I know her intimately by my conversations with her mother. I know that Victoria came back to the Church shortly after the rape because the cross handed to her was too much to bear without the help of our Savior and Lord. I know that the church community in obedience to the Lord began to protect and make a home for Victoria years before Sara would find no other recourse than to end her own life.

At Sara's funeral mass, her mother, Victoria read the second reading. But I will write more about that blessing in another entry. Today, I just want to say that although, I could never imagine the suffering of that one little soul, her mother says that I say: "I'm sorry a lot, like Sara."

I say I'm sorry because I remember the person I was before I got sick. I say I'm sorry because I see in the eyes and I hear in the voices of the people I love, and that I acknowledge that they don't understand the darkness and the separation from life itself that mental illness takes you. I'm sorry because I can't help you with your kids right now. I'm sorry that I get so tired and so sad. I'm sorry that I'm not the person that you deserve. I want you to know, that with all my heart
I do try, and I pray because these days, that is all I can do.

I too, pray for death. I know that God will not allow me to interfere with His Plan which is perfect. I tried once, and I promised I would never try again when I awoke in the hospital. Yet it is hard to see the disappointment in the faces of the people I love when they seek the person who no longer exists in this body. I want a great wife for my husband and a terrific mother for my children. But these days I'm broken and worth so little. I know that I disappoint and hurt the ones closest to me. I can try and try and still it would never meet the expectation and I am left defeated and tired. And all I can say is: "I am so sorry!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

From Thérèse to Céline

Carmel, 2 August 1893
Dear little Céline,
Your letter filled me with consolation. The road on which you are walking is a royal road, it is not a beaten track, but a path traced out by Jesus Himself. The spouse of the Canticles says that, not having found her Beloved in her bed, she arose to look for Him in the city but in vain; after having gone out of the city, she found Him whom her soul loved! . . . Jesus does not will that we find His adorable presence in repose; He hides Himself; He wraps Himself in darkness. It was not thus that He acted with the crowd of Jews, for we see in the Gospel that the people were carried away when He was speaking. Jesus used to charm weak souls with His divine words, He was trying to make them strong for the day of trial . . . But how small was the number of Our Lord's friends when He was silent before His judges! . . . Oh! what a melody for my heart is this silence of Jesus . . . He made Himself poor that we might be able to give Him love. He holds out His hand to us like a beggar so that on the radiant day of judgment when He will appear in His glory, He may have us hear those sweet words: "Come, blessed of my Father, for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I did not know where to lodge, and you gave me a home. I was in prison, sick, and you helped me." It is Jesus Himself who spoke these words; it is He who wants our love, who begs for it . . . He places Himself, so to speak, at our mercy, He does not want to take anything unless we give it to Him, and the smallest thing is precious in His divine eyes . . .
Dear Céline, let us take delight in our lot, it is so beautiful. Let us give, let us give to Jesus; let us be miserly with others but prodigal with Him . . .
Jesus is a hidden treasure, and inestimable good which few souls are able to find for it is hidden, and the world loves what sparkles. Ah! if Jesus had willed to show Himself to all souls with His ineffable gifts, no doubt there is not one of them that would have despised Him. However, He does not will that we love Him for His gifts, He Himself must be our reward. To find a hidden thing one must hide oneself; our life must then be a mystery. We must be like Jesus, Jesus whose face was hidden. . . . "Do you want to learn something that may be of use to you?" says the Imitation.1 "love to be unknown and accounted for nothing . . . " And elsewhere: "After you have left everything, you must above all leave yourself; let one man boast of one thing, another of something else; as for you, place your joy only in contempt of yourself." What peace these words give to the soul, Céline. You know them, but do you not know all I would like to say to you? . . . Jesus loves you with a love so great that, if you were to see it, you would be in an ecstasy of happiness that would cause your death, but you do not see it, and you are suffering.
Soon Jesus will stand up to save all the meek and humble of the earth!. . .

Still Waiting

I believe that waiting demands patience. It demands the surrender of control. To me waiting can sometimes be like time spent while a jury deliberates your freedom. Waiting to recover from an illness. Other times, waiting can be the time in between seasons, with each new one bringing its special characteristics and activities. We can't control the seasons, each is uniquely and wondrously made. As we grow we accept each within their own awaking, maturing and death.

Spring- new life found in all of creation, Resurrection, the promise of eternal salvation, Easter egg hunts, children in crisp pastel dresses like decorated cupcakes, new hope, a new baptism candle, and all of it a glimpse of Heaven.

Summer- hot especially in New Mexico. Longer days the sun doesn't surrender it's throne until past eight in the evening. Celebrations, cook outs, cooling off in the pool, enjoying the refrigerated air of a shopping center upon departing a car who's air conditioner requires more freon. There are fireworks, and ice cream, and re-runs of the programs you missed in the fall because you were so busy with real stuff.

Fall- my personal favorite because of all the gifts this season brings. Brand new school supplies where brand new ideas and learning can be transcribed. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream, scary and very sweet costumes, the availability of much too much candy hidden away where only the grown ups have access; there is the turkey feast where we come together to share our excess food in thanksgiving for our excess belongings. The colors in nature are an amazing transformation of warmth as those all of nature is snuggling in one last time in their clothes prior to exposing all when finally the leaves must die and fall. I love the fall, not only because my birthday is in September, but because I see in God's creation a grace in preparing to die. It comforts me, it always has because, so much life is raked up and mulched or placed in bags and it reminds me that we are all here like these seasons; each with it's own time for the showcase each with it's time to pass, awaiting the following year. No one season overstaying it's visit, but graciously departing with class, like a lady or gentleman knowing the precise moment to leave a gathering.

Winter- is truly about waiting. Everything living lies dormant under the earth. Above the ground, cold, sometimes snow. The trees bare. Too cold to venture out too far from the warmth of friends and family. In that stillness, we busy ourselves to the point of silliness for Christmas. We give those we love gifts to celebrate the greatest gift given to mankind. Fires in the hearths, remind us that soon warmth will come. In the quiet of nature's pregnancy lies a promise, that once again each season will present itself. Each unique and glorious. And we know that in just a few months the winds will kick up all the pollen and new flowers and blossoms will come forthCan there be a freedom associated with waiting?

Only if I were truly resolved to accept with grace any decision I am handed. Like the seasons. Each one symbolizing a time of my life that has passed too soon. Did I really enjoy the spring of my life. Yes. Yes, Lord I did. Thank you for the parents that I had that worked so hard to ensure that my childhood would be fun and yet disciplined. Thank you that my innocence was guarded and protected by these two people. That I never had to worry about food or where I was going to sleep. Thank you that I knew that I was loved. I praise you for my grandmother in who's body I climbed into for comfort and saw in her eyes my first example of unconditional love.

Thank you for finding my first and only love. Thank you for his heart of perseverance while I grew up as a wife and mother.

For my daughters, I really can't begin to express my gratitude for these women. They teach me each day what motherhood is by their amazing example of love and patience.

Have I been hanging on to Spring too long? Have the wrinkles on my face like the crisp leaves ushered in the fall of my life? Has the snow on the roof of my head which I diligently cover with color and some terrific high lights alerted me to the fact that winter has indeed arrived, and it now time to prepare for the quiet sleeping of eternal life until the resurrection?

I'm waiting.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A Letter for Jeanette

I was talking to Carrie this morning and asking for you. She asked for prayer on your behalf. I can't say that I understand what you are going through, because I can't possibly know the weight of the cross you're having to carry. Today during my meditations and prayer a common theme came out. I want to share the message for you because it is not only for my heart but for yours as well. Here it is:

My beloved little ones, how I love you! I beg you, no matter what may be going on around you be not afraid. Keep me in your heart and close to your every move and breath. Keep focused on what is good and what is love and mercy and not on what the world would have you focus on. My peace I instill and infuse within your hearts and all the hearts who follow My Light and My Truth. Let faith rule your very beings. Do not fear for I am with you at all times. Call on me and I will be there. Let hope and joy permeate your very beings and you will know My Presence. Put me back in your lives, in your hearts, for this is where I belong. Please pray for those who have become so tepid and lukewarm. Those who have put Me first in your lives, please pray for your wayward brothers and sisters. Come back to Me. Adore Me. Praise Me. Pray with Me and to Me. Love Me. I love you.

It's when we are at our weakest, that God can be strength for us. He is a God of mercy and you need to cry out to Him. Ask him for the grace not to be scared but rather to face each day with His strength and hope. Call the church and ask that a Eucharistic minister visit you and bring you Jesus. You need him now more than ever. If that's not possible then ask Jesus to come into your heart and heal your pain. I love you, Sweetheart! My prayers are with you as together we ask God for a miracle.

You say: "It's impossible"

God says: All things are possible
(Luke 18:27)

You say: "I'm too tired"
God says: I will give you rest
(Matthew 11:28-30)

You say: "Nobody really loves me"
God says: I love you
(John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )

You say: "I can't go on"
God says: My grace is sufficient
(II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: "I can't figure things out"
God says: I will direct your steps
(Proverbs 3:5- 6)

You say: "I can't do it"
God says: You can do all things
(Philippians 4:13)

You say: "I'm not able"
God says: I am able
(II Corinthians 9:8)

You say: "It's not worth it"
God says: It will be worth it
(Roman 8:28 )

You say: "I can't forgive myself"
God says: I Forgive you
(I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You say: "I can't manage"
God says: I will supply all your needs
(Philippians 4:19)

You say: "I'm afraid"
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear
(II Timothy 1:7)

You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
God says: Cast all your cares on ME

Litany of Humility

Thank you Lord for the time I was given in front of your Blessed Sacrament today. Thank you for the necessary humility to apologize in obedience to your will. Thank you for the mental illness I suffer so I may decrease daily as your presence in me increases. Your grace is sufficient for all you ask of me. Jesus, I trust in You.

Thank you, O Jesus, Meek and humble of Heart and hear me..
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being esteemed ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumnited ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged ...
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected ...
Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I ...
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I ...
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease ...
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should ...
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

I want my God, to love you face to face.