"The first quality that strikes when one looks into the eyes of a child is its innocence: its lovely inability to lie or wear a mask or pretend to be anything other than what it is. In this the child is exactly like the rest of Nature. A dog is a dog; a rose, a rose; a star, a star; everything is quite simply what it is. Only the adult human being is able to be one thing and pretend to be another. When grown-ups punish a child for telling the truth, for revealing what it thinks and feels, the child learns to dissemble and so innocence is destroyed. Soon it will join the ranks of the numberless people who say helplessly, "I do not know who I am, " for, having hidden the truth about themselves for so long from others, they end up by hiding it from themselves. How much of the innocence of childhood do you still retain, is there anyone today in whose presence you can be simply and totally yourself. as nakedly open and innocent as a child?The highlighted sentences I have underlined in my book because they continue to be food for thought as I journey.
There is another more subtle way in which the innocence of childhood is lost: when the child is infected by the desire to become somebody. Contemplate the crowds of people who are striving might and main to become, not what Nature intended them to be - musicians, cooks, mechanics, carpenters, inventors - but somebody: to become successful, famous, powerful; to become something that will bring, not quiet self fulfillment, but self-glorification, self-expansion. You are looking at people who have lost their innocence because they have chosen not to be themselves but to promote themselves, to show off, even if it be only in their own eyes. Look at you daily life. Is there a single thought, word or action untainted by the desire to become somebody, even if all you seek to become is a spiritual success or a saint unknown to anyone except yourself?"
The journey has been rocky lately, hence my silence. It takes time to process, pray and believe that beauty can unfold from the pain. While learning how to stop being one thing and pretending to be another I'm stepping on the toes of those most precious to me. Sadness has been the dominant emotion within. When people around me don't see the process as something beautiful it's easy to believe that any forward movement is simply a figment of my own imagination. Not only have I doubted I was making progress, there've been times when I've convinced myself that I'm only a bitch in hiding.
Sometimes it sucks that there is no going back. Sucks that the journey forward is uncomfortable not only for me, but also for those with whom my life is intertwined. It takes everything within me not to go around saying, "sorry, sorry" for simply learning to be me. Father Charlie has often reminded me that I'm in the process of being transformed and so too, those around me will feel the ripple effects and face their own transformation process.
To embrace my own journey I became willing this week to let go of all resentments, all the baggage I've carried with me since childhood in order to move forward. I also became willing to do that imperfectly. You know how it is sometimes? You decide a thing then wake up the next morning with the same issues plaguing you and it's easy to think you either didn't mean it or that the Spirit was busy with someone else, and that nothing really happened within you or else you'd be free from your humanity? That kind of thinking has only added to my shame level, it's never brought me any closer to real freedom. So for today I let go to the best of my ability, asking for God's grace to continue to be open to letting go.
I've spent a lifetime being quick to think of myself as bad. Someone's not happy with me, that means I must be bad. I make a less than stellar choice, I must be bad. I say the wrong thing, think the wrong thought, I must be bad. It takes so very little to label myself that way. No one is putting that on me, it's my own self talk feeding itself. During this rocky stretch of life I learned that the label no longer fits. There's a difference between being bad and being human. Something has settled within me, in that deep place, where I now know that any judgement I could make of myself will never be the full picture of who I am. I am so much more than my flaws. I have a hope that I can learn to live with myself, humanity intact, faith intact, look in the mirror and rejoice.
Today is the nine week mark of abstinence from sexual addiction for me. For all the turmoil of the past few days, I give thanks that my thoughts never even turned in that direction for relief. That was a gift of grace. I think that maybe I was actually living in the moment instead of trying to run away from it.
That, I know, is a most childlike quality.
There is hope.
God bless you as you embrace the journey.