The smell of the turkey roasting is a nice background to have while I write. It is Thanksgiving Sunday here in Canada. The potatoes are peeled and ready to be cooked. The cranberry sauce is cooling in the fridge. When I bought the pumpkin pie I didn't notice the expiry date was yesterday so we ate the pumpkin pie already.
With the time I have to spare right now I could either blog or phone my mom. I'll let you in on why I picked to be here.
I saw my spiritual director this past week. My emotions are still raw from that encounter. Some day I hope to stop stumbling over the fact that following Jesus is so friggin hard and then maybe I won't be shocked by what God is asking of me and how unwilling I can be to do it.
I brought Father Charlie the Full Monty post. I was reminded of being in grade 12 Enlgish class with everyone reading the same poem and the teacher expecting us to all come to the same conclusion without regard to how our life experience affects how we interpret what we read. What Father Charlie picked out to talk about from my post was so far from what I expected.
He started with my sentence that read, "...I think I was born mean. I'm not kidding. He talked about how we are always in the process of change and conversion. How we don't stay where we started from. The conversation took its twists and turns and at one point I told him how I've come to realize I can, and often do, make every conversation I have all about me. No wonder I like to blog. What is blogging if not a conversation all about me? And some days I sit here and wonder if you are as sick of hearing about me as I am.
We delved deep into underlying issues surrounding this part of me. How scared I am of being invisible to others. How much I doubt that I count in other people's lives. How surprised I often am when others remember me. "What didn't you receive from your mom that you really wished for," he asked. I started to say love and then acceptance but I realized what I really wished for was nurturing. We talked about how she couldn't give what she hadn't received herself. The most ugly bit of our conversation was when he asked if I could be a vehicle of God's love and grace to her. No way. Wasn't interested. I told him that she could go get it for herself where I got it from. I didn't want to be a part of it. I didn't even know those thoughts were in me. I was shocked when they came out of my mouth. In that moment I wanted to scream and rail and cry. And run far, far away. Oh Jesus, I'm not really capable of those thoughts am I? I thought of all the times I have sat in church and looked at the statue of the sacred heart of Jesus. How often I have felt He has asked me to lay bare my heart and let his heart touch mine and change me. I was so numbed in that moment of conversation with Father Charlie that it wasn't even on my radar screen that I didn't get to the grace and love of Jesus on my own. There were flesh and blood people involved. Bless his heart that he didn't remind me of that. He simply let my words hang in the air and have their own effect.
I had no idea I still have such issues with my mom. We talk regularly on the phone. We talk around certain issues to be sure. But I love her and pray for her healing. I just don't want to be a part of it. I don't. I had told Father Chalrie this day about how she had set me up as a youth to be preyed upon by a man in our community who she knew had a thing for young girls. That had brought up all kinds of feelings I didn't realize were still needing to be dealt with.
He had asked me earlier if I could tell her I loved her every time I called her. Nope, I said. Too hard. I thought of all the times when my kids were little and of when they fought - I made them say sorry even when they weren't. How they had to do the right thing even if their heart said differently. How they went along with it just to get me to shut up and off their case. He didn't push it. He let it be. He could see that it had to come from my heart. I have never thought of how telling my mom I love her could be anything to do with God. I've just thought of it being my own thing on my own time. The picture that has come to my mind is of me standing at my mom's door and telling her I love her and with me in the doorway is Jesus. My arms are outstretched for her as are His.
But in this moment I feel jittery. Today at Mass I sat there and told Jesus I wouldn't be faced with such choices if it wasn't for Him. Yes, I was a bit pissed for a bit with the reality that laying bare my soul to Him means never going back to not knowing the truth when I hear it. For He is the one who opens my ears.
There is no pretty package to wrap up this post with. I just am where I am. It's the hardest place to be. But conversion is an ongoing process. Of that I am sure. Thanks be to God. There is still hope. Plenty of it.