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One More Time

Forgiving other is probably one of the most important things you can do.  Jesus tells us to forgive seventy-seven times seven, so it’s big on his list.

Last week, I went to Madonna House.  For two hours, I spent some time with two of the staff members. For the last few months, I shared with the two ladies about what issues in my life that I was struggling with. I wasn’t surprised to realize that I needed to forgive my Dad again.

I wasn’t shocked that it was him that came up because my healing from the beginning has been what I have lacked from him. Granted no earthly father is perfect.

For those of you have seen the movie, The Shack you’ll know that it is about forgiveness, I won’t go into anything else if you haven’t seen it, but six days later I still felt raw(from going through from the process)  the revelation that I still needed to forgive my Dad. I know we are like layers of an onion, and it was just one more level to be peeled off, but in some ways, I felt discouraged after so many years that it was still there.

Honestly, I don’t know if forgiveness is just a way of reminding ourselves of how much we are loved, or I really just need to let go. I can’t go on judging someone or thing that I have no control over. Or maybe just another of a deeper understanding.

 

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Confessing Your Heart

The associate priest at my parish dispenses the sacrament of Reconciliation, or better known as confession every second Saturday. He’s been pastoring at my parish for almost three years, normally it’s two years for the new priests, but sometimes they stay longer like three or four years. I was taught that it’s good to have a regular confessor to regularly hear your sins so the priest might be able to see certain paths that cause you to commit a particular sin. So when I go to confession, I make sure it’s the week that Fr. Bryan is celebrating Mass, which means he will be in the confessional from 4 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., Saturday afternoon.

Becoming acquainted with the language of your heart should be easy…right? Is riding a bicycle easy the first few times, not usually. I am trying to learn the ways of the heart, accepting what is in front of me and go! But sometimes I am left still watching everyone in front of me. Still trying to copy what they do, still not getting that the journey I am on is different. I might be similar, or have something in common with others.

Sometimes I don’t want to know what my heart or what the Lord wants of me. Inside of me, something is not right. Fear has leaked in, mixing in with peace and love. The tips of my toes wobble back and forth as something is played out in my mind. Am I ready to run or am I steady with courage?

What stops me from running the race?

Not knowing the end result even though it’s the depth of the journey that matters the most. In many ways, the destination doesn’t exist outside of a place to rest in His plan. Sometimes, it’s the running that makes me aware that I can talk about, and that I need to talk about why I keep my heart in seclusion. The language of your heart wants to live out loud, not in darkness or in anger.

I kneel on the one side of the grille, and the priest is on the other side. Most won’t look at you, but once I have listed the sins I remember committing, I will pick a ‘sin’ to discuss. There is no life, no fresh air in what I talk about. I am held back by doubts, fears, unknowns, and other people’s judgments on themselves. Maybe it is a judgment on myself, but the other is more likely acting something out that was planted in their life, long before you enter into it. Yes, I need to take responsibility for what is my part, but I also must let go, of my anger to see my part, my place in what is called this present time.

There is no man on the other side of your heart but Jesus. In the secret places of our heart, we render to what is God’s. Nothing that I take is forever. I may stash away what I believe are parts of my heart, but nothing physically can claim the language that takes an area in the place that is only hinted at.

But what if you speak and no one hears you… I mean really hears your heart

Do it anyway. It’s like a dialect with different clicks, nuances, and tones. Keep speaking it until someone, a small group of intelligent individuals nods their heads in appreciation.

 

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Connecting

 

connecting

 

We’re all connected in some way.

I spoke about isolating myself in my last post, and how easy it is for me to do.  Obviously, that’s the opposite of connecting. It’s in the relationships in our lives that we heal and grow, and connecting is just a link to that. I was scared of having it all wrong. I didn’t see how I fit into the equation. I wanted to be liked for who I was, but I felt awkward. All the girls in my junior high-class had it all together. They wore clothes from stores like Ralph Lauren, Roots, Esprit and Benetton. Their fashion style seemed so effortless, and the best I could hope for was finding a knock-off, or a hand me down from one of these stores.

I know now that they were likely just as scared as I was, but appearances can play all kinds of mind games. I believed that it was easier not to connect, easier to push away relationships because that meant being real but this scared me. Pain can do funny things to you, and out of that pain, you operate differently. So I choose isolation and the loneliness that comes with it.

Just the symptoms

Some of us are better than others at connecting the dots, starting up social clubs, starting up relationships, and allowing ourselves to be seen rather than run away. Being social is a part of who we are as humans, it feeds something that is needed by all of us. Instead of finding a connection, we hide from being relational because at some point it was just easier to not show your heart.

These are all these starting points that block our way that leads the way to our potential, our worth, the beauty struggles inside of us, and trembles at the glimpse of His light. Instinctively, I knew I wasn’t supposed to hide, but fear is very good at pretending to be the problem. Distressed at the thought of being social limits everything that you are.

I still think you need to unearth the memories that your heart holds because we may want the same thing, but that desire will be expressed differently, accordingly to our uniqueness. As long as I isolated myself, I never allowed myself to dream, to wonder out loud about what I would love to do. I kept it inside, but I don’t know if I even knew how to connect with others. There were a couple of things that I think blocked me:

  • I felt rejected because I had first rejected myself
  • I didn’t believe I had anything to give
  • Belief of lies fed through the lack of connection and communication with others

I wanted to give because we all have something to give, but too often the lies from childhood and adolescence take a grip in our hearts. It’s easier than the truth because we’ve told ourselves that we aren’t worth the time, but we give willingly to others who steal what was never theirs in the first place. Don’t ever give up on making the kind of connection that you know you need. Healing can come in many forms.

When you realize that pieces of you are lying on the ground, it is then that connecting becomes a real possibility. When the pieces of your brokenness leave you feeling raw, it becomes more than just a piece of something you hold in the palm of your hand. Connecting with others will always be a fragile process, and it becomes harder as you get older, but it never becomes impossible.

 

 

 

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Uncharted Land

 

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More people would walk into the unknown parts of their hearts if fear didn’t hold them back. But most of us don’t even know what holds us back.

What part of your heart have you not yet acknowledged?

The heart could be likened to an uncharted area or a territory of land waiting to be discovered. It’s a barren stretch of fear that limits any access to a part of ourselves that holds pieces that could change the very core of how we approach life. Some of us are waiting for the right moment, or they believe that it has passed them by already. But I think most don’t really know what their heart yearns for. I don’t have anything to prove my theory except that we don’t take the time to explore what really drives us. What is your passion and how do you want to experience it in this life?

Sure there are thousands of quotes and sayings that encourage its readers to take risks: to follow their heart, to live simply. This is a great start, but there’s a problem here. A lot of us don’t know what it is that drives them. They don’t know what is in their heart, AND they don’t know their heart, so they certainly won’t know how to follow [your heart] it. We react distinctly from years of doing just that, reacting to a stimulation that rubs us the wrong way. We complain to anyone who will listen, but did it occur to anyone that their trigger is something more than just being rubbed the wrong way?

Falling Deeper

I remember my doctor telling me that many of his patients when given the opportunity to find out what issue(s) they’re dealing with, don’t want to know. I didn’t really understand it because I am just naturally curious as a person, and I wanted to know what my issues were. Maybe I like suffering, but I don’t think that was the reason why. Learning about myself has been a wonderful journey, and even with the stretches that I would rather forget. Each step I took forward was a step closer to the woman that I longed to be, but I didn’t know what she was like. I had buried myself underneath all that anger, fear, bitterness, etc.

Today, I met with a friend who has been wandering in the desert without a guide for almost seven years. She doesn’t see the point of being positive by saying positive words, she doesn’t really like to journal, and she doesn’t have a list of wants and desires anymore. She just wants a job as a receptionist. I know she wasn’t created for just a receptionist job. The depression shows up more in winter, the lack of sunlight pushes out the negative. Something has died in her, and she admits to this as well.

We can extol all the virtues of being positive, but for some of us, it’s a hard thing to bite. I have in the last few years found myself thinking more on the positive side, and that’s a huge help to my normally melancholy nature. It’s easier to think of all the great things, but all the hurdles are all I can entertain in my mind. I have learned some tricks to take care of my gloomy thoughts, and this is something that helps greatly in the long Canadian cold and damp winter of doom.

Pioneers in a New Land

Camping in the wilderness for a couple weeks is great until you start running out of food. The whole idea of camping is to get away from the city. Proving to ourselves that we can rough it, even though we take for granted all our little gadgets that await us when we arrive home.

We’re walking in the untilled land, and the lack of tools makes our journeys hard. It’s easy to lose sight of your passion when you can’t see how this could possibly lead to anything. Just a light covering of dust sitting on you. Doing something that keeps you from doing what you really want. Wherever you live there is a history underneath you, just as there is one in your heart. It’s time to start digging.

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This is for You

 

Do you sit and let the silence from within you rise up?
It’s there you know.

His silencephoto-1452723312111-3a7d0db0e024 (1)
that prays,
that heals
that fills you with peace.
The kind that can’t be manufactured in a factory.

He is bigger than our hate of one another and ourselves.

He prays in you and
if you stopped, and listened
to your heart you would hear him

He gives life to what is considered dead.

Do you scorn the solitude
like when you hide from your shadows?

The shadows of regret, hate, fear, guilt, and shame
These burdens push out His peace.
He is not holding back his arms to you,
you are.

He’s not out to get you, he does not have an agenda
He is not trying to punish you
He is the peace you’re striving for.

He knows you so well, and that scares you.
You’re scared he might make you do something you don’t want to do.
Giving up what you don’t want to let go of.

But he has something that you don’t have,
and that is patience,
and mercy, to lavish on you.
It is unlimited to what he can do.

A photo by Austin Schmid. unsplash.com/photos/5Dga0T0x6GY

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Deep Beauty – Part 3

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A friend of mine believes gender is a social construct. In my disbelief, I kept asking her why she believed in this concept, but she refused to give me an answer. We have lost the truth of who we really are, and replaced them with lies. Whatever makes you feel good. The place I call home is no longer safe; it has become a foreign piece of land. I wait for the bus to pass me by and I feel bombarded by the confusion that lies in the hearts of the people around me. I might not know all of them by name but things changed by the minute, and they don’t question the why’s anymore. In fact, we’re being taught not to question what we see or read. If we don’t have truth then we don’t have justice, you can’t have one without the other.

Fear has delicately found a place in our heart. It masquerades as a friend, media, food, we need to have something to give us vitality. We live unfilled lives, which are vacant of the beauty and abundance that God meant for us to have; we are stuck in the cold darkness of superficiality. We lust after money and power, and step over others when the situation calls for compassion, kindness and love. Oh, and where has common sense gone?  Good old common sense that no doubt our grandparents had in abundance. It’s gone, slipped through the cracks. It’s something that you might get the kind look as if you have three heads instead of just one.

But he who acts in truth comes into the light, to make clear that his deeds are done in God. John 3:19-21

Even in the dark of the night, I cannot see, it is like being blind because I’m not sure of what I am seeing in front of me. Jesus tells me to shy away from those who are evil.

You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemies. But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you   Matthew~ 5:43-44

The early morning dawn has a quality of a flower that is beginning to open up. The dusk that plagued my being vanished, and an exchange of light has restored all that the darkness destroyed.

 

Our labour here is brief,

but the reward is eternal.

Do not be disturbed

by the clamour of the world,

which passes like a shadow.

St. Clare of Assisi

 

Stay clear of worldly, idle talk and the contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge. In laying claim to such knowledge some men have missed the goal of faith. 

Timothy 6:20-21

 

 

 

 

 

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Hindsight is Perfect

 

Michael stood in the last row on the very end in my kindergarten class picture with the biggest teddy bear. He had chocolate brown eyes, black hair that never seemed to be in place with his cow’s lick and a proverbial runny nose courtesy of his all season allergies.

He was this paradox in my life from the time I was five until I was 24 years old. He was a constant in my life. Being with Michael was always fun, especially on P.D. days. I learned how gross boys could be, but I chalked it up to boys just being weird, always dirty and entertaining. He didn’t like it when I was sick, and he would attempt to kiss me when I was feeling better. Even though I would pretend indifference as he attempted to kiss me when I felt better. I would never admit it ,but I liked that he missefile000202384719d me. I could just look at him, and that would send me into fits of laughter

In high school, we kept in touch mostly by calling each other once a week, and I think I believed everything would stay the same. But it was then that I saw changes taking place in him. Nothing concrete, but like bread crumbs being laid down, I saw, heard and sensed the confusion that slowly developed in him.

The entire time I was friends with Michael, I wanted him to notice me, but I was always in conflict with myself because I didn’t know where I stood with him. I had this bad habit of mixing his name up with my Dad’s name, and I would call my Dad; Michael. I knew something wasn’t right, but I didn’t know I was looking at Michael for what I really needed from my Dad. I knew psychology would probably explain why I kept mixing the names up. Communicating well was not in my vocabulary at this time. I kept everything locked up tight inside my head. I was quiet, shy and very observant but Michael was able to see beyond that. He would always remember me.

It wasn’t until he moved away for University that I began seeing a side of him emerge that I had never met before. He had purposely chosen a program that would take him away from home. The home was not the oasis that most would assume about his family. His parents were both teachers, and while it made for great appearance sake, things were fraying at the edges in his family.

I remember one year when Michael had come home a few days before Christmas, and of course, he hadn’t even started his Christmas shopping.   It was probably my only chance to really spend time with him. One such year, I remember as he met up with some friends and he started talking to them. It was like he pretended that he didn’t know I was standing right beside him. I had started becoming invisible to him. On reflection, I realize it had been happening longer than I wanted to admit to. I had him on such a high pedestal, I could only see his good side. There were some other situations that showed me that we weren’t little anymore. I began to doubt his loyalty and friendship to me. I even wrote him a letter at one point, about our friendship, and his solution a bouquet of a dozen red roses. At some point, I started hearing a silent voice, and I believe it was God, who spoke. “Michael is not the marrying kind.” I ignored this, but it was the truth.

Around the time of my initial conversion to Christ(1999) when it seems like God simply picked me up, and everything that I was avoiding and had suppressed was unearthed from me.  For me, that meant acknowledging my feelings. Every single one I hid from because they scared the crap out of me. It was around this time that I noticed that Michael had this friend that didn’t seem like the kind of friend Michael would normally hang with. Michael always had to work hard for his grades in school, and was in no way a nerd, but this ‘friend’ was very much a nerd. These bread crumbs that I saw while he was in high school had never disappeared.  He never stopped trying to tell me what he feared I think the most, at the time, was his sexuality.

I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I remember the age that we were when I last pexels-photo-105041saw him; he was 24 years old, and I was 23. He was four months older than me. My mom had heard the news on the radio, and a neighbour confirmed hearing his name as well. Michael had been charged with sexual assault of two young boys. I wish I could remember exactly what he wearing and looking the last time I saw him but I don’t. In fact, I don’t have a single picture of him as an adult, and I don’t think that’s an accident. I don’t remember my thoughts, but in the weeks and months ahead I experienced so much anger towards him. He had stopped being that person I thought I knew.

I don’t know where my decision to break off contact with him came from, but I knew couldn’t deal with his stuff and my stuff at the same time.  I did what I thought was healthy at the time. I told him I couldn’t be his friend anymore. I wrote him a letter. He never tried to contact me, he respected my wishes. The innocence of our friendship had faded a long time ago, but I had just assumed I would be his friend in some way for the rest of our lives. But he has never left my heart.

I always believed my heart was burning for him. I wanted a friend who would always be with me, always listen, always want and love me, but it wasn’t Michael; he was badly chipped. I wanted him to be what I needed, and if only he would truly ‘see’ me everything would be better. I pinned all of the solutions to my problems to Michael noticing me. It took a long time before I realized he was just a boy, who just wanted to be loved and accepted by those around him. Yes, he’s an adult now, but there are parts of us that never truly grow up, and stand tall to be that man or woman that we were created to be.

Published previously in 2014

Luke~24:30-32