Okay, I have had this huge debate going on in my heart. You see, I had this real serious problem at the end of last month. It was too big for me to handle. I knew I was in trouble, soon to be over-my-head kind of trouble. So I sent out distress signals. I reached out to a few of my closest friends that things were not going well, that I needed help. They responded as good friends do, but up to a point. I needed them to go further. They didn’t. I can deal with that now because maybe they just didn’t know what to do or say. I’m disappointed, but I understand.
Now, the immediate crisis is over. It’s been over for nearly two and half weeks. None of these friends checked up on me. No follow up, no follow through. That’s not completely correct. Shortly after the episode, I did have a little talk with one of them one morning, and another did text messaged me once or twice, but otherwise, no checking up on me. It was a f-ing serious problem and no follow up from my friends!? I see these people practically every day and there has been no reaching out on their part to me. They have barely spoken to me. I feel alone and isolated. And as a result, I have not reached out back to them.
I knew that I needed to forgive them. So I did, or rather, I have. By the grace of God, that was the easy part. Honestly, it was. At Mass last Saturday night during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I offered up all of my pain and sorrow and anger on the altar to Jesus. I told Him that I did not know how to “offer it up” or how to let go of it all, but I couldn’t handle it on my own. I wanted desperately to forgive them, that I loved them very dearly and I needed His help. A peaceful happiness came over me after Mass and stayed with me until the next evening when God handed it back to me. Something happened to me early Tuesday evening, a subtle but rich moment of consolation, and so I asked help in forgiving them again and offered up my suffering once more to Jesus. That night he handed it back to me once again. Each time, the ache of it all came back more intense than the level it was before.
I believe that God kept handing it back to me because He knows that I had to quit trying to avoid the problem by ignoring it, or going around it, or even by handing it off to Him. He will help me through it. He will be with me as I walk through the center of it and face the cause of my pain head on. He will use this to transform me into what He wants me to be. Ah! I’m at the heart of the Paschal mystery. A little death of myself, of my selfish, hurtful, prideful ego, followed by a little resurrection, a new and transformed part of me, along with deepening faith and trust in Him.
I think I have gone through this transformation. The wound feels healed. There is a scar now, and it is still a little tender. My whole attitude has changed. There is a sense of deep peace and strength within, a strength not of my own.
Now the problem is reconciliation. How do I reconcile this episode with my friends? I re-visit the parable of the Lost Son and wonder, am I the lost son or the father? If I am the lost son, I know what to do. I would go running back to my friends and tell them I am sorry for putting them through my mess. If I am the father, then do I have to wait for them to come to me?
Bitterness and Resentment are whispering, “Yes, wait.” Fear adds, “And watch them not come.” Pride chimes in, “Demand your justice for your broken heart.” Self-Pity reminds me, “Awww, your poor little broken heart.” And then the small, gentle voice from deep within my heart, a voice that has been there the whole time but I just didn’t want to hear, didn’t want to face its truth, quietly continues to say, “But you love them…”
I have been on the faith journey long enough to know that it is usually not a matter of either/or but one of and/both. I am probably both the lost son and the father. Last night, I finally faced the truth of what I needed to do. God confirmed it was the right choice when I read the following by Carlo Carretto this morning:
I can reply only that in the world everything is problematic except one thing: charity, love. Love alone is not a problem for him who lives it.
I can only say, “Live love, let love invade you. It will never fail to teach you what you must do.” Charity, which is God in us, will point to the way ahead. It will say to you: “Now kneel,” or “Now leave.”
It is love that gives things their value. … It is love that must determine man’s actions, love that must give unity to what is divided. Love is the synthesis of contemplation and action, the meeting-point between heaven and earth, between God and man.
Live love, let love invade you. It will never fail to teach you what you must do. Love will point to the way ahead.
I know what I must do. I don’t know how I will do it, or even what the outcome will be. There will always be that scar between my heart and my friends, but I cannot let that stop me. For once, I am not worried about the future. I trust in you, Father. Thank You for all of it.