I am in one of those years where everything about life is being undone and redone, unmade and remade, unsung and resung, stopped and started, forgotten and remembered, cast down and lifted up. A year when everything is out of my control. A year blessed, so blessed, and yet so frighteningly raw.
When was the last time you had a year like this? I read somewhere that a person’s identity is refashioned several times in their adult life.
That’s the thing about understanding that there is a map to life, an expected set of transitions that are usually sparked by daily occurrences that aren’t quite pleasant. When you realize that they are a normal part of holiness, you know where to start to find the way through them.
This morning in confession, Jesus (through the voice of the confessor) finally heard and responded to the innermost cry of my heart. No mere moralizing, and preaching, explaining and psychologizing…the fallback responses when people can’t quite see their way to the person but stop short with managing what they think is the problem. (How often I do this to others!)
Instead, Father said simply this,
“You have suffered a long time.
This is an important transition in your life.
Live it in expectancy, the anticipation of where Jesus will be leading you next.
Ask for the gift of discernment.”
Once you are seen, heard, once someone reaches into your heart with true care, you have the key to emerge from whatever pain is entangling you. And you can put order to your soul.
Here are three things that can help put order to your soul.
Let Jesus love you.
Pray simply in a soul-shepherding contemplative method. For example, in a quiet place, slowly, resting in the Lord, pray:
- To you, Lord Jesus, I lift my soul…
- To you, Lord Jesus, I am lifted up.
- To you, Lord Jesus.
- Lord Jesus.
- To you.
- Lift my soul
- Lift my soul to you
- In you, Lord Jesus, I am lifted up.
- Lord Jesus
- Lord Jesus
- Lord Jesus…
Write a letter to yourself from God.
Go about this simply. On a piece of paper or in a journal begin, “Dearest child (or your name, or little girl, or my favorite one, etc. naming the way God speaks to you with endearment, or the way you desire to hear him address you.). I see you… (write what God sees and notices about you in your difficult transition or situation.) I get it (God says) that you are trying to…. I like this about you, my child, right here in the midst of this predicament…. When I see you this way I smile.
Then respond to God with whatever you feel you need. What you don’t understand. What you wish he would do or answer or change. How he would be with you….
Finally thank God for his kindness to you from the beginning of time to this very day.
Choose the meaning you are going to assign to the situation or struggle you are living.
When we are a little clearer, when our soul has been shepherded by God and we are freer from the entanglements of passions and thoughts, we get to assign the meaning we want to give to what is happening to us. Short phrases dropped into the heart can help here: Blessed be God in his gifts. God is coming. God knows what he is doing and I praise him for all he does in my life.
At the end of the day, this day which started with such a stormy soul-wrenching sorrow, I feel that I can embody dignity, compassion and tenderness. First for myself, for all the ways I’m not enough, for all the ways I struggle because of illness and trauma, for all the unanswered and unanswerable questions. And then for others. May I extend a culture of tender care in every way, at all times, with everyone.
Thanks for joining me on the journey!
Photo Credit: Cathopic: Yandry Fernández Perdomo
2 thoughts on “You have suffered a long time”
This could have been written for me too! It is just where I am and how I feel too.Thank you Sr Kathryn for sharing, this has been a great support to me. See how He looks after us all!x
Sr, Kathryn, thank you for a timely article. I got tears in my eyes when I read what Jesus said to you, & I felt as if He were speaking to me as well. He does indeed hear us.