One of the greatest aspects of the spiritual journey I have been on for the past 22 year involves the discovery of me.
I also believe that statement could be interpreted as incredibly narcissistic, so I think I should explain.
Growing up I was blessed with one sane parent and one incredibly damaged parent - both of whom loved their children as best they could and with what they had. Because one parent - my mother - was much better equipped to be a loving parent than my Dad does not diminish his love for me and my brother. It did, however, make it a very odd life.
It is difficult to know you are loved when the person charged with that has a horribly violent temper, does a lot of screaming and yelling and physical abuse. I don't care how one tries to paint that picture (well, he had a hard life, he was from the South, he was a combat vet, he was an alcoholic) the child that is standing in the middle of the portrait only knows one thing: for some reason this person thinks I am stupid, ugly, a liar, worthless and have little value until they suddenly don't - and then they tell you that if only you had not behaved 'that way' they would not have exploded all over you.
When you are ten, that marks you. I was not as damaged as some, but the damage was there and it caused me lots of pain over the next several years. Enough pain that, if it had not been for my mother and her family and Holy Mother Church, I would have been a runaway at best, a suicide at the worst.
When I began the journey of recovery I was told to look at the baggage I was carrying and I was asked to jettison it. It was suggested I not try to gussie it up by calling it 'survival skills'. I was told to just get rid of it and I was shown a process for doing so (thank you for steps 5 through 9!). It was also recommended that I find a way to forgive the person who had harmed me. Both those requests were difficult to do and were not one time events. It has happened slowly over the years and my ability to trust, to let you get to know me, has been part of that process.
As chronicled here without shame, letting people get to know me hasn't meant sunshine, rainbows and unicorns fill my world. Many people I thought would love me forever have walked away with a door slam, and I am locked out of their world. I am not their cup of tea and that has hurt more than anyone will ever know.
It has not, however, destroyed me.
For every person who has left God has put into my life someone loving, kind, amazing and like minded. I have become a par of a community that is filled with odds and ends and quirks and silliness as well as Love, Truth and Fidelity. I have watched those I once envied fall and fall hard and not gotten one bit of satisfaction out of it; rather, I have been filled with pity because I know how much it hurts to find out that basket into which you put all your eggs is rotting from the bottom up.
Today I am coming to an understanding of who I really am and while there are still those around me that have not been given a full access pass I am a lot closer to my authentic self with everyone than I was even 5 years ago.
My hope today is all those who are struggling recognize that the search for you does not mean you will stand alone; rather, it will lead you to a communion with Truth that is second to none.
I wouldn't have missed it for the world!