Breaking the Silence

“Sometimes we’re up and sometimes we’re down, Sometimes the world goes round and round and we don’t stop to think that we got a lot in common…Just look inside your soul ‘cause we got a lot in common” -A Lot in Common by Group 1 Crew


At the beginning of this summer, my world felt right. There was so much good in life, so much good in everything I did. The people I called friends made me feel like we could overcome any obstacles, as long as we overcame them together. God was so present amongst our group, and it felt like we all had a strong foundation for our faith. I honestly believed we were helping each other grow in our faith; but what we were really doing was pulling each other in all of these different directions, and none of them towards God.


I didn’t realize how far we had all fallen until I was hurt by every single person I had called friend. I felt left out, forgotten, unimportant, unloved, and used. I had tried to love these people to the best of my ability, and they didn’t care enough to try for me.


After that day, I was prepared to tell those people exactly how I felt, but as time progressed, I convinced myself otherwise. I pretended nothing was wrong, and I told myself I was being forgiving by pushing the hurt away and not saying anything.


Unfortunately, the hurt stayed with me, and every time I was hurt by someone again, the pain would pile up. I would just push the pain away and tell myself I was being forgiving, but the whole time the pain was just piling up.


After a while, the pain turned into anger. I know I hurt people along the way; but I felt like they didn’t care, so I stopped caring, too. The sad part is that everyone pretended everything was good, great even. We were just one big, happy family…but we weren’t.


Deep down, we were all unhappy with something. Each of us with our own wounds and secrets…  Each one of us feeling left out and unimportant at some point…


I know I am as much to blame as everyone else for everything that went wrong with our friendship. The whole time I kept telling myself I was forgiving my friends for hurting me; but I wasn’t loving them, and there can be no forgiveness without love.


“He who forgives an offense seeks love…” –Proverbs 17:9


I rarely write down my feelings for people to read, but I felt like I needed to write these feelings down today because they aren’t just my feelings…


I know all of the people I have been talking about have felt or still feel just like I did. It’s sad how we all just keep living as if nothing bothers us, as if we’re strong enough to handle things on our own. We keep putting ourselves in bad situations because we think our life needs to be validated by people who are just going to lead us away from God. We keep fighting to bury secrets that are just destroying the foundation of our faith. We’re living lives that don’t bring any glory to God. We’re tearing apart the beauty of life and friendship through our silence and inaction… 


“…perfect in beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes and will not be silent…” –Psalm 50:2-3


If I can’t tell the people who I call friends how I really feel, then what kind of friendship is that? Where is God in a relationship like that? I’m tired of being silent and pushing my feelings aside; and if I continue allowing myself to do that, I’ll just feel further away from God than I felt before. So, I’m through pushing things aside and remaining silent and pretending that everything’s fine when it isn’t. I’m not going to just tell myself I’m being forgiving, instead I’m going to work on loving and trusting God more because then forgiveness and everything else will eventually fall into place.

“Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers” -Sober by Kelly Clarkson

 

Originally Written and Posted: August 31, 2010 at 9:16pm

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“To Be or Not to Be…”

“There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”
–Luke 10:42

All my life I had heard that I must serve others, that I must serve the church, that I must give of myself entirely. I was told that my faith could only get stronger if I spent my time praying rosaries and chaplets, reading the Bible, going to youth group, putting on retreats, giving talks, teaching CCD…always serving, always doing. 


By the time I realized that all of this doing was actually keeping me from growing in my faith, it was too late. I had committed myself too deeply. I had obligations to fulfill, but that’s all my acts of service became, obligations that I was tied to. 


I spent years trying to find more, but I was never able to find any freedom from all of the things that I was doing. Every time I tried letting go of some of my obligations, I would have to deal with the emotions of the people that I was letting down: anger, sadness, pride. Some people made it very clear they believed that if I wasn’t serving in the way they thought I should be serving, then my faith must be getting weak. 


I cared about it all, at first; but as time progressed, I just got tired of everything. I felt trapped, and instead of looking for a way out, I let myself become numb to all of my feelings. I sang, I smiled, I put on a happy face, but I didn’t find joy in any of it. I prayed for everyone and everything, in hopes that my prayers would fix someone’s life, if not my own; but after a while, my prayers became just words. I kept hoping and praying that God would tell me what He wanted from me, but the answer never came. 


It wasn’t until this past summer that I realized how far I had let myself fall into the emptiness and was finally able to find my freedom again. 


My freedom came when my question was finally answered: All that God wants from me is that I just be. None of my acts of service are any good if I’m not happy simply being with God. God wants me to find happiness in his presence without having to do anything beyond just sitting with him. To put it simply, I was too much of a Martha and not enough of a Mary (Luke 10:38-42). I had to teach myself to be more like Mary, and the only way to do that was to just stop. I had to stop focusing on serving and doing so much so that I could be closer to God, so that I could make my faith stronger, and so that I wouldn’t be empty anymore. 


It’s true that God calls us all to serve others, to wash one another’s feet (John 13)…but what happens when we run out of water? We can’t keep washing if we have an empty pitcher. We can’t keep serving if we have nothing left to give. Jesus clearly shows this when he washes his disciples feet. 


“I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”
–John 13:15


His model was not that His disciples should only wash other people’s feet, but that they also allow their own feet to be washed. The emptiness can’t be filled if we don’t allow others to serve us as much as we serve them. 


Faith doesn’t come from how much we serve or from how much we are involved in other people’s lives; it comes from finding freedom in the presence of God.



“We worship with the sound of broken shackles falling to the ground…I have been set free…” 

                                                                                                                    -Sanctified by Mercy Me

Originally Written and Posted: December 14, 2009 at 10:06pm