Saturday, March 1, 2014

The…Trudge…To…Freedom…Is…Not…Free


Dawn carries with it a great sense of excitement. An excitement stemming from the coming, promised , guaranteed encounter  with the mystery of The Unknown, and The Unknowable. This encounter will take place in each and every moment we are allowed to draw breath. This will take place in the familiar, and the unfamiliar. We will not be able to schedule this encounter with Mystery. Mystery is revealed in "a time " that is beyond our ability to control. Oh how we as human beings want so desperately to be in control. We want to know the when, the where, and the how. The sad thing is if God does not choose, and God never chooses to fulfill our limited expectations, then we come to the conclusion there must be no God. The God of our narrow understanding, restricted, imprisoned is an idol. Idols cannot can have existence, and do not, nor cannot give life. To believe otherwise is a lie. How many unfortunately do believe in that lie, and as a consequence live lifeless lives. The idols we construct cannot enhance life, they only have the power to destroy life. Idols of our ego's construct do not possess the power to transfigure or transform. Worshiping at their altars always end in destruction and annihilation. This wisdom comes to us the hard way. This  wisdom comes after we foolishly spend many, many, years of seeking The Mystery in the places under our control and direction. Our desire for  control and The Freedom, that Is Mystery are mutually exclusive.  

 

In our 30's we are confronted with a side of ourselves that we much prefer to deny, or at least to ignore. The limitations of our broken humanity become a very stark, naked, reality. So much of what was once hidden, denied, buried now  appears front and center and does not want to go away.  Hence our shadow self, becomes a deeper reality. When we deny our shadow side we endanger  healthy spiritual  growth. The healthier practice is to bring all that we are ashamed of, feel guilty about, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Within the celebration we ask for the gift of honesty so there can be an unveiling of all that is so disconcerting, troublesome, and even frightening. We are all "perfectly imperfect" and we will never become perfect in the acceptance of said reality, of said human condition. Eventually we have to accept the truth as enunciated by Fr.Rohr when he points out that in our 30s we have to face the the fact that "all our plans have come up short." He goes on to say, we find, and consequently have to accept that we not the best at anything. We  are not the best wife, husband, son, daughter, employer, employee.  You may now add to this list the shortcomings you much prefer to hide, to deny...That list can be very long???  It will get longer as we grow in honesty with who we are. Our deepest reality, being spiritual beings immersed, enfleshed in the human condition will provide endless additions to our disturbing lists.

 

However, there is good news. The Mercy of our Gracious Father became incarnate in the flesh of The God-Man, Jesus Christ. We were recently reminded that He emptied Himself of His Divinity so to take on our broken humanity and all its sinfulness. He, by The mystery of The Incarnation, entered into our alienation from His and our Father. He came to reveal the wonder-full, mysterious mercy-full love, grace that is being offered to us in each, and every moment we are in existence.  Our existence speaks to us of God's dwelling within us.  It guarantees us of our presence in the mind of Presence Itself.  Were it possible, and it is not, for God to forget us we would go poof and disappear. The fact that He lives and moves within our being, guarantees us existence, not life. We are responsible  for the quality of life we live. The quality of that life is not decided for us, we are responsible for that ourselves. Of late when a person says to me as I leave their presence, "Have A good day" I now say thank you, and if "I do not it will be my own fault" Almost 100% of the time we have a great laugh. However, this is NO laughing  matter. This is serious stuff.

 

I have found out I am not the only one who has struggled and still struggles with the whole issue of taking responsibility for my own happiness. I cannot transfer that responsibility on to anyone, or anything else.  I have done it, and have learned, and am still learning this hard fact, IT DOES NOT WORK.  Being codependent is an every moment challenge of looking deep within, not without, for the source of happiness.  Will I be ever cured?  Of course not. I have wounds that will never cured, they must be cared for.(Moore)  So we will always be susceptible to shame attacks. Those attacks can lead to one looking outside for validation, rather than believing in his own innate goodness. Once we have been abused, whether, physical, spiritual, sexual or psychological there is a propensity to look outside rather than inside for the source of joy and happiness. For those of us who have been abused the inner journey is tough. The last place we want to look for that which will make the journey less of a trudge, is the last place we visit.

 

Those of us who have been victims of abuse are toxically shamed. That is we have lost, our "right to love, to be loved, (to be the beloved).  This right to be the beloved which is an essential foundation for  all healthy relationships. Once a victim always a victim until one make the decision to become a survivor. That is NOT a decision  one makes once forever . This commitment to oneself has to be repeated over and over, many times a day.  Remember one does not think one's way into a new way of acting, we act our way into a new way of thinking. This is a very slow and pain-full process. However, being faithful to a healthy way of living change does happen, but Not according to our expectations.  (Now where have you heard that before ???)  We cannot plan out what our recovery will look like.  In broad strokes there "will be a new happiness, and a new freedom. " Our understanding of happiness and freedom come from The Infinite one so the change will be endless. I can honestly share with you that it can and does happen. You can, as Baretta used say, "take that to the bank."  All this change  happens in the darkness of the inner journey, in the darkened depths of who we are. Since we are wounded in the depths of our being, it is there the healing must begin.  It is from those depths the healing waves of grace bubble up.  A Light will shine to slowly illuminate that inner darkness, and reveal secret treasures. Will this be an easy ride?  Of course not. Anything that comes easy is no good. All that has come to us that has lasting Value is the result of serious and pain-full struggle.  There will be interruptions, and distractions.  There will be the temptation to quit when we are faced with serious difficulties. These difficulties out of necessity have to happen before we move on to new freedoms and new happinesses. For this new creation of grace to appear the old must disappear.  What turmoil that triggers within the depths of who we are.  We will have to face the fear of losing everything that is most dear to us. We face death. We feel like we are losing all control, and we are. We are led by grace to surrender, as we have never surrendered before, to this new life that has mysteriously become a new way of living.  This will happen through the action of grace, through the mysterious, unseen, incomprehensible, action of grace.  Through these experiences we will come to know what; The Dark night of the Soul, and what the Dark night of the Senses is all about. As this too, is the workings of grace.  It is not for us to know how this works, that is ego, it is enough for us to know that it does work.

 

  I am then responsible for my own happiness, and the recognition of Joy in my life.  (One is about having; the other is about being.)  I am confronted with this hard fact, I cannot, as much as I want to, delegate That  responsibility  to somebody else, or to something else. That was not easy to accept. I still on a very regular basis, have to shake Joe up and remind him that no person, whatever their status may be, has the power, unless I surrender said power, to decide for me who I am as beloved son of a Gracious, Ever Prodigal, Father God.  I am growing in awareness, and acceptance that one has to know the hell of the prisons of guilt, fear and shame in order to relish the freedom that comes with choosing to live and not just exist."  The glory of God is the human person fully alive."    (St. Irenaeus)  My happiness, serenity, peace of mind depends on how I honestly answer this question, "Am I a victim or am I a survivor?" In each and every moment we are gifted to live the quality of my life which will depend on my lived answer. For that I am responsible.