I've been blessed with several truly incredible friends in my life. I'm going to talk about one of them today.
He and I go back almost 15 years now. He is second in longevity to only one other person - my other bestie, Mary. Theresa, if you're reading this and trying to do the math, I actually met him a full month before I met you. *Grin*
Anyway, this particular friend has been a consistent source of humor, intelligent conversation, and sincere comfort all throughout our relationship. We "officially" met during auditions for a Christmas play (which would find us portraying brother and sister), but we'd actually met about 6 weeks earlier at the start of the school year. My brother, Ray, called out his name in the courtyard, causing him to cast his eyes back towards us. He adjusted his school bag and white sweater (notable because almost every other student in the school wore garnet) as he turned towards us and sheepishly waved "Hi."
We've come a long way since that half-hearted hello. I've always known what a blessing he is in my life, and I've always voiced my appreciation for our friendship. However, he recently said something that was like a burning arrow straight to the center of my soul. It actually rendered me speechless, and I've been thinking about it - almost nonstop - since he wrote it to me exactly 3 weeks ago.
We've spoken since, but I haven't really addressed it because of how deeply it affected me... how deeply it still affects me.
He read my blog entry about the divorce (something he's known about for quite some time) and sent me the following message:
Got to read your post. Pretty bold of you to share all this. One thing really got my attention:
October 2015: Lord, You keep at me with this whole forgiveness thing. It
makes me incredibly mad that You want me to forgive this POS when he doesn't
even see anything he's done as remotely wrong. He. Doesn't. Deserve.
And here You are telling me I don't, either. And You're right. I don't. But I miss
You in the Eucharist. My yearning for You has not yet outweighed my disgust for
him, however. Therein lies my Purgatory. Will my desire for You burn out before my
disdain for him, or will my desire for You grow to engulf and obliterate the misery he
created? My heart wants You, but my brain demands blood. Wait for me in the
At the very least - you haven't done anything. Please do not feel as if YOU are not worthy here. You're supposed to be upset, enraged, etc. You need the support of it.
I'm no priest, but I suppose I could be called a theologian. There is nothing theologically keeping you. Murder him (like I want to) then I suppose you'd be unworthy... until confession.
Pope Francis said in Evangelii Gaudium:
The Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”
Don't be afraid of that nourishment.
And don't be afraid to talk to me, k? Even when you want to talk, we have to spend 30 minutes of you asking me questions about my life, as if you needing to talk about something is selfish. It's not. Call, text, facebook, GChat, snapchat, Instagram, etc. me any hour, K?
His very simple message (containing no patronization, no "it'll be okay" BS, no ridiculous memes of "you're so strong, you don't need him" memes that tend to litter the feeds of divorced people) contained two things that I didn't know I needed so badly to hear:
1) You need Jesus. You absolutely, 100% need Him in the Eucharist, so go get Him. Now.
2) Not only is it okay for you to be upset / angry / murderous, I FEEL IT WITH YOU.
I don't think I can overstate how much that solidarity means to me and how I appreciated that he understood how much I actually needed the steel of those emotions! So far, the majority of people who know about the divorce have steered so clear of any mention of how horrific John's actions have been that you'd think they approve. Knowing that there was someone who understood and was just as repulsed and angry and indignant as I was made me feel so much better. It was like "Ah, thank you! Thank you for sharing this burden with me, because I am suffocating under the weight of guilt that does not belong to me."
For those of you who watch The Big Bang Theory, I felt like Penny after she'd discovered online gaming. I'd gotten so immersed in the battlefield of surviving divorce that I didn't realize just how badly I needed outside help.
Reading his message, I honest-to-God had a lightbulb moment of "Wow, I'm super jacked up and no amount of blogging therapy is going to fix this. He's right. I need the Eucharist. I need my friends."
And in truth, I suddenly recognized how much these friends have buoyed me these last few months. Theresa has checked in on me more times than I can count. JK has rallied her prayer warriors for months (years, really). Mary has offered sound psychological counseling. Brett and Sam have voiced their dismay, and God bless them, Hugh and Kim have hugged me from afar in New York. And of course, this one. This one. Dear God, this one.
So yeah. I needed to finally get around to processing my appreciation for that message. It's not often I get heart-tackled by an e-mail, but that's precisely what happened.
To this person - if you pop back here to see this - I hope you know how much I love and appreciate you. The Holy Spirit was with you somethin' fierce while you were typing that, and I still feel a bruise where those words smashed through me. But they were necessary. So thank you.
P.S. - Yes, you're a theologian. You paid good money to be able to call yourself that. *Grin*
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