Sunday, June 15, 2014

Deliver Us Always from All Dangers

This is a meditation I wrote about four years ago shortly after getting dumped. Really dumped. I was totally blindsided and in something of a state of shock. However, I had done the same to someone in the past. Every sin has consequences. The story is not entirely autobiographical, but probably closer to the truth than I would care to admit.

Deliver Us Always from All Dangers
July 25, 2010

She laid on the dirty carpet of the hotel room rocking back and forth with a pillow held tightly to her face to muffle the noise of her uncontrollable sobbing and screaming. Her freshly ex boyfriend anxiously watched, begging her to stop, but she was not particularly aware of him. She got up off of the floor and frantically paced the hotel room like a caged animal mumbling confused and panicked dialog between her and herself. She asked herself how she could have been so sure that she had found her soulmate. "Oh God! How could I have been so stupid! How will I ever trust myself again?" She pulled hard at her long brown hair, using both hands to inflict pain that would distract her from the emotional torment she was currently experiencing. In a moment, she desperately snatched the pillow off of the floor to muffle several more screams, she could feel them coming on and felt powerless to stop them. In her brief, lucid moments she hoped that none of the other guests could hear her carrying on. It was long after midnight.

As she screamed her ex boyfriend tried to embrace her and she shoved him away. "Don't touch me! I have to learn to live without you," she hissed at him. "Don't try to comfort me after telling me that you don't want me anymore." More sobs tore out of her and the pressure in her head felt excruciating. The pain was almost a comfort. Overcome, she lay down again on the floor with her fists balled up against her eyes as the tears came pouring out. She rocked back and forth and pleaded, "God, kill me, please kill me, please kill me, please kill me..." This was the low point when she really thought she might die, unable to endure the pain. One part of her mind thought she might welcome the relief of death while some smaller part looked on in disgust, accusing her of being a drama queen and putting on such a show in hopes of causing him the same pain she was feeling. She never could have imagined that it was possible to feel such grief over someone still living. But then maybe that was the gist of it. The man she had called her soulmate, whom she may have loved more than life itself, was gone. Some change had occurred. This man who was with her now in the hotel room was some other man she had never met before. Her soulmate was dead.

She had just started developing a Catholic faith, partially inspired by this now ex boyfriend, and was currently embarrassed at her behavior and mortified to imagine God and the Virgin Mary along with the entire Communion of Saints watching this thoroughly unacceptable performance. She was also feeling humiliated to remember how just last week, in calm and comfort, she was marveling at the progress she had made toward behaving like a proper Christian. Here in a time of hardship, everything she had learned seemed to have been thrown out the window. She had taken two steps forward and about two hundred backward. She had recently been reading that during times of trial Jesus makes the most significant changes within us. This is when we grow the most. She had a feeling that would be true for those who suffer admirably, but worried that it might not be the case for the horrible brat she had become when her world crumbled around her.

Unfortunately, this awful moment between her and her ex boyfriend was the start of a long weekend together. He was working a summer internship which allowed almost no free time. All the interns were living in a house with strict rules including no overnight guests. And so even though she was currently unemployed she had booked a hotel room so that she could visit and attend his friend's wedding. In the end, his internship schedule made it such that she would hardly see him at all in exchange for $200 in hotel fees. So many of the details of this weekend visit and the summer in general had caused her bitter disappointment and stress and it was starting to take a toll on the relationship. But she had never imagined that her "soulmate" would give up on her. Give up on them.

.     .     .

She was quite surprised to see the Blessed Mother, although not as surprised as she maybe should have been. She was not particularly surprised that the Blessed Mother lives and that she decided to make a visit to the mortal realm, but she was very surprised to be the recipient of such a visit. "But I'm not even baptized..." Of course she was beautiful and serene beyond imagination, such that it's worthless to describe her. But she looked very concerned, like an earthly mother preparing to tell her child that the dog just died.

.     .     .

She sat with me and began speaking, since no introduction was necessary. I felt no urge to speak but sat listening. She told me that my life was proceeding down a particular path. A wide path. And she revealed that path. I had applied for a job and would get that job but not soon enough for my job to overlap in time with my boyfriend's internship. And neither would I be able to afford to visit him often. When I did visit, he would have no more than an hour or two to spend with me each day. I would make some visits and we would spend our time both angry and sorrowful about the situation. Our long distance relationship would be strained but the visits would make the tension even worse. I would become constantly angry and jealous and demanding of his attention. I would develop insecurities which would cause me to make outrageous accusations and to misjudge his intentions on a fairly regular basis. In this way I would hurt him beyond healing with a simple apology. On his end he would become depressed and withdrawn emotionally. He would lack compassion and his actions and words would hurt me without his realizing. The pain of his depression would cause him to withdraw into himself to the point where I could not reach him. Our relationship would be ruined beyond repair. Even if God's miracle restored our broken relationship the hurts we had inflicted upon each other would cast shadows which would dwarf the rewarding aspects of our relationship for many years to come. It was a path of darkness and destruction.

To be sure, I asked her if that was truly what would happen to us. She said yes. I began silently weeping and covered my face with my hands. I wondered why she would bring me this cruel news and hoped she couldn't tell what I was thinking. She came closer and put an arm around me and said, "My child, stop crying. There is another way. Another path."

I pulled my hands away from my tear streaked face and looked at her with wet eyes. I was afraid to speak.

"There is another way which will spare you most of the hurts inflicted along the first path. You will be subjected to a complete separation, and the initial suffering will be even greater. But you will find the True Love that your heart was made for, a precious pearl without price. The path is narrow and contains much suffering within a short period of time; the pain will be very acute. Because of your unhealthy attachment to this man, you will suffer emotional, physical, and spiritual agony such that you will wonder whether or not you can endure it. You will lose faith in yourself and in your ability to discern the will of God. Your trust in God will be brought into question among terrible doubts. Whichever path you choose, you will not remember this conversation and therefore you will live with the great uncertainty of not knowing whether or not your relationship could have been salvaged.

"The pain experienced along the narrow path will continue for much longer than you originally expect it to. But the Holy Spirit will be your guide and God knows exactly how much suffering a soul can endure. He will provide you with just enough signs, intuitions and encouragement to see you through to the end. Know that you will not be able to find a way to heal yourself or distract yourself from the pain. Only God can do that. At certain points you will be thinking that you want to give up but you will persevere to suffer another day. Endure you will, until the day when your prayer is answered and you are set free from unhealthy attachments and unbound to love freely and truly. You will be blessed with Chaste and Pure Love and your joy will be resurrected. Be consoled that many graces and favors will accompany the suffering and once your inner peace returns the memory of your suffering will quickly diminish. You will share in the Divine Life, for though your sins be like scarlet, they will become as white as snow."

And that's when I decided once and for all to give my heart to Jesus.

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot behold him; on the left hand I seek him, but I cannot behold him; I turn to the right hand, but I cannot see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. [Job 23:8-10]

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