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Monday, May 16, 2016

Emotional Flashbacks

In Mass on Sunday, the Feast of Pentecost, I knelt after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist and closed my eyes in prayer and meditation.  I listened to the music and allowed my mind to fill with the wonder of what I was experiencing:  the immense Love of my Lord and my God being my actual Food. 

Without warning, I found myself sitting in the kitchen of my childhood home, dressed in my Catholic School girl uniform and watching my father spank my baby brother's bear bottom with a ruler because he had disobeyed him.  I felt the anguish, my eyes filled with tears and the horrible feeling of helplessness as the child I adored sobbed in pain.  I was only 8 years old.  I know that...I know I couldn't have done anything but to this day the memory fills me with shame because I was incapable of protecting my baby brother from injustice.

The big lie that I have told myself for years is that I am not enough.  I was not enough to keep my father from leaving us.  I was never enough to protect my baby brother from the sadness of not having a mother at home and having to be with babysitters or from a father who was not able to deal with his own moral lapses.  I have never been enough for anyone to love just as I am and so had to give in to what the world told me boys wanted in order to belong.  I am not a good enough daughter, sister or aunt.  I am just not enough.

The amazing healing power of God and His Church, along with the healing power of the 12 Step program I use to arrest my alcoholism, has brought me a long, long way from that helpless 8 year old girl.  I am much better today at recognizing that the occasional emotional flashbacks I experience do not have to define me or ruin a wonderful day.  I was able, that morning, to shed some silent tears, wipe my runny mascara from beneath my eyes and carry on with my prayer and the worship of Jesus Christ.  I had a lovely day at the Pentecost Pot Luck and got to take my dog for a walk as well as go to the gym for 45 minutes.   I watched my Zombie show, dealt with a billing issue with AT&T and got to bed early.  All in all, it was a lovely day.

What Sunday taught me, however, is that my journey is far from over.  My healing is not complete and quite frankly I question if it is ever going to be complete.  Perhaps it is the wound itself that allows me to remember I am vulnerable and I need Jesus Christ, His Church and Her Sacramental Life in order to function in the world.  Perhaps this wound, caused by the lie that I am not enough, is what keeps me humble and looking to Him for help.  Perhaps, if I was not aware of this wound, I would not be able to have the humility necessary for obedience.

My life today is pretty grand.  I have lovely friends, a great relationship with most of my family and a better understanding of how God has worked in my life even when I didn't know He was there.  I cannot complain about anything, really, except perhaps that I don't really understand the game of Hockey and I would like to root for the Sharks during the playoffs.

What I acknowledge, however, are the very real feelings of pain and sorrow felt by the little girl in that kitchen.  I wish I had been stronger at age 8.  I wish I had been like those kids today in parts of the world who are dying for The Faith and I suspect that if I had been faced with that kind of choice at age 8 I would have failed the test of martyrdom.

I also wish I had protected my baby brother.

Today, I ask for forgiveness for that child and I give it to her.  She wasn't the best she could have been but she grew up into a woman who knows how important it is to be strong - and where to go for that strength when it is needed.

Thank you, God, for my life today exactly as it is...I wouldn't change a thing.

Even if I could.

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