He and I

+ JMJ +

As a Catholic, I believe marriage is a Vocation. And I believe I’ve been called to it. Although the struggle has been real in this limbo between childhood/adolescence/20s/30s/when it is going to happen! and walking down the aisle. I would definitely put it into the suffering category for me.

I’ll be transparent. Even though I felt called a couple years ago, the questions have still come in: Is there something wrong with me? Are my standards too high? Am I going to be single forever? I could list many more, but those are some of the big ones–all of which I know I’ve heard before from many other single ladies.

Silence is Golden

This past weekend, I went on a silent retreat to the Abbey of Gethsemani. I had a good deal of time in solitude to pray and talk with God. In 2013, I started keeping a prayer journal and it’s semi-steadily grown in my many conversations with Him. One of the nights that I was there, I opened up my collection of heart-to-hearts with God and began a new letter of love. …well if you could call it that.

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I entered in with a line of desperation. “Lord?” He responded and I continued. “You called me to marriage, but I’m 30 going on 31 and no one has come. How long am I going to wait? I know all is done in your time. However, I don’t… I don’t… I don’t know what to say…” I didn’t know what to say. I felt as if I didn’t have any words to convey my emotions—my yearning for my own beloved. Then He answered.

He Speaks. I Listen.

He said, “In time. In time he will come.” He continued by describing to me the man that had many of the characteristics of the man I desired, but they were the ones most women desire. The height, the eyes, etc. Of course there were some that were personalized for me, “He [would give] you better hugs than anyone in your life.” Oh, how He knows me! 🙂 He said he could tell me He’d have him for me and that I’d probably be eager to wait if I knew that was a definite. However, He didn’t promise me that.

He told me that He has a man for me, maybe not with those characteristics, but He knows who is best for me. He says, “He’s not perfect. He makes mistakes. He isn’t always kind. He will upset you. He will try to take care of you, but even then, there are times he will fall short. He forgets to take out the trash. He leaves the toilet seat up on accident. He leaves the milk out on the counter. He doesn’t always want to cuddle. But. He loves you. He wants what’s best for you. He mirrors My love for you-in that cracked mirror that is his. I know you’d be content with [someone without the aforementioned characteristics]. I know you know these are superficial. My point is this: That I have someone that is great. […] A man that will be there to help you grow in My will. He could be 6′, but just know he’s not perfect in the world’s eyes, still, he’s perfect for you. Are you willing to wait?”

ohboy_spanky.gif

At first my response was, “I think so.” But shortly after His message to me, I realized something. If I know I’m called to marriage, which I do, I’m also called to trust. He told me that right now He calls me to patience. (I’m like oh boy! I’m on the struggle bus where patience is concerned.) In that patience I need to trust Him, because it’s true—He knows what’s best. He knows who’s best. He know when’s best.

In His Time

This is almost the equivalent to a cuss word when it comes out of people’s mouths. I know I’m not the only one that’s heard it a kagillion times. The issue with me, and I assume every other recipient of that comment, is that the answer is vague. I don’t know when that will be. However, when I talk to God and He tells me it will come in time, it digests a little better.

I’m hoping that, after this time in contemplation over my conversation with God regarding the big “I do”, I become more content with the waiting process. I know it’s going to be hard, because patience and I aren’t the best of friends. Still, He and I will walk hand in hand, until I’m joined with my own beloved.

+ Pax + | KK

To Be is to Love

+ JMJ +

Tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s death. What always comes to mind around this time of year are the memories of her life, how I was included and how I was impacted. Another thing that comes to mind every year, are the days leading up to her passing.

Anyone can understand that the loss of a loved one is the hardest part of life—even if they haven’t lost someone themselves. However, no one, whether they have or not, can ever quite find the words to console those that are mourning.

Friend Amongst Strangers

As a 9th grade homeschool student, I went to a weekly Christian co-op to take a Spanish class. This took place the semester before my grandmother’s passing and was the first that I attended. There were a lot of new faces and being a new kid in any school is a little nerve-racking. However, one of the new faces was a girl named, Paula. She had a very peaceful aura and was the first to reach out to me. We saw each other weekly from September to mid-December as we learned our newly discovered language. Towards the end of the semester we began to frequently talk to each other on the phone—for hours. 😛

At the beginning of the new year, my grandmother’s health began to fail. During this time, I was abandoned by my best friend due to the fact they found it too hard to be around someone in that state in life. This was very hard, as I’m sure you can imagine. My mother hurt for me not having someone there to support me.

The conversations with Paula began to become more frequent as I had no one else to whom I could turn. As my grandmother’s health continued to grow worse and my family knew she was close to the end, Paula discerned that she could be a great deal of help to me. She asked her mother if she could come stay with me. And it was then that I discovered the power of “being”.

The Art of a “Being” Human

I’m going to jump ahead a little bit. I’m not exactly sure the day, month, year, but my mom discovered this thing called “Affirmation Therapy.” “…it is a way of “being” with a person as opposed to “doing” something to or for her. Affirmation therapy can be formally described as a way of being affectively present to another human person in a therapeutic relationship in which the therapist reveals to the client his or her intrinsic goodness and worth. Affirmation is a profound way of being with someone that should not be mistaken for a set of simplistic techniques such as giving a pat on the back or a superficial compliment.” When we learned this and we reveled in the gloriousness of it, we looked back on the person who did it best—even though they didn’t know they were doing it.

They were Paula.

tobeittolove_paula

When my grandmother lay dying in her bed, I sat on the couch beside her. I sat with Paula. She didn’t do anything. She didn’t talk to me. Most people would look at this as say, “Well, yeah. Of course she didn’t have anything to say, she was a 16 year old. What kind of sage advice would she have?” As I said before, most people don’t know what to say—no matter what their age is. But my point here is: she didn’t have to. She didn’t have to say a word. And she was more than comfortable with not having that ability. She had something greater to give. Presence. She was “being” with me. She was letting me feel my emotions. She wasn’t trying to tell me words to “fix” me. It’s almost unexplainable. I just leaned on her and cried.  We did sing worship music and prayed with my grandmother. But for the most part, I just sat there. She just sat there. It was enough.

To Be or Not To Be

This world is going going going. No one sits with people anymore without “doing”. It’s so hard to “be” in this constant state of motion. To live the affirmed life “means learning to “be present to everything in creation” and learning how to live in a more quiet and unhurried manner.” Paula showed me, as part of God’s creation, that I was worth “being” present with. She was quiet. She was unhurried. She was content with not having words to speak. She was exactly what I needed.

We all have trials in our lives with which we need people there to support us. Some of those trials cannot be consoled with words. This power. This power of “being”. Of being allowed to feel those emotions that come on so strongly. Of being able to not be shut down for feeling sad. Of being able to be present with someone without them feeling as if they need to “fix” you. Harness it, my friends. Wield this power. Those you love will be forever grateful you did.

+ Pax + | KK

“You don’t know what I suffer!”

+JMJ+

Oh, how I love the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. Alison Steadman gives an unprecedented performance of Mrs. Bennet-quite the drama queen herself.

This start to “To Suffer For Souls” is just an opening line into the trials I’ve encountered and will continue to encounter as life is just life. It’s no surprise that I’ve been through struggles, because, you know as well as I, we’re human and that’s what happens as long as we’re breathing. (maybe even more so after we stop if we don’t make proper choices!) But that being said, that’s not the end to that statement.

What do I suffer?

My response to that would be another question, “Why do I suffer?” I do, because “I longed to suffer for souls as Christ had done, so that some day they might be with Him forever.” (The Little Flower | THE STORY OF SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS – Mary Fabyan Windeatt) That line I found highlighted in my book I read at age 10. I found it when I was 18ish (don’t remember my exact age) as I was preparing for a talk  at a women’s retreat on “Conquering Suffering through Love”.

As I prepared for that retreat, I prayed of course, but also reflected on all my past before the suffering started. It was reflecting back quite a bit, because the struggles began at age 11/12. It was true I did long to suffer. Why? Because I knew that suffering does not have to go without merit. I was a child-a child so madly in love with Jesus. I delved into the lives of the saints and there was something that they all had in common, they suffered. Life’s not easy. And they didn’t try to take an easy way out. They put on their cross and listened to Christ as He said, “Come follow Me.”

Okay. So, WHAT do I suffer?

The year or so after I told the Lord I longed to suffer, I started into an uncomfortable state-the state I found out years later was depression. This was not what I expected. I thought I would get tuberculous or cancer or something-something I was a little bit more familiar with as an illness-(yes, I know that’s crazy to be okay with that) but the depression led me to the darkest of the darkest.  At night, I cried myself to sleep for months on end-hiding it from my family as they were taking care of my ailing grandmother and little toddlers. This wasn’t a simple boo hoo-tears rolling down your cheek. This was a “get on the floor in my tiny closet, shut the door, curl up into the tightest possible position, and shake violently while remaining silent” kind of crying. I spent those nights racking my brain trying to think of what could have possibly gone wrong? What did someone do? Why was I hurting so badly? I just couldn’t understand.

Many other symptoms unraveled my life and then by the age of 16 it happened. I had what’s called a manic episode. I won’t go into the details of that now, but it was awful. I lost touch with reality. And I lost touch with all my friends-well most of them. The mania seems fun at the beginning. You feel euphoric, but if not tended to, it spirals out of control.

Soon after the episode began, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I had it stamped to my forehead for a little while, but once I got stabilized on my medicine, I peeled off the stamp and stuck it in my pocket-only taking it out for select people to see.

I’m writing now because of the reactions of those select people who saw. Those people had hurts, too. They had struggles. And some of them even had Bipolar Disorder. It’s a medical illness many people still misunderstand. From my knowledge of “Silver Linings Playbook”, it’s not the most accurate portrayal of the illness-at least not how I act. Through the love of my caregivers, I’ve learned to take care of myself and jump on top of my health whenever the symptoms start to arise. These tips and tricks are something I’m willing to share. I’m here reaching out with a helping hand, but I can’t help without the Hand that’s held mine. This blog with evolve I’m sure, but to start out it will be on what I suffer, why I suffer, how I deal with it and how I embrace it.

+ Pax + | KK