Monday, July 6, 2009

My Little Secret

Okay, I am feeling brain-fuzzy because of sickness so I am going to do, under the influence of half-wittedness, something reckless and I am certain to rue the moment I write it. I am going to shear away the public mask and let you know some pretty intimate thoughts.

I LOVE BEING CATHOLIC..... no, I adore it passionately and with all my heart.  Here’s a little reason of the hundreds:

There has been shame in my heart my whole life because I get so emotional about certain people. I tend to heroize them and adore them and just believe they are above me and beyond me (my husband, my dad and mother and older brother, my sister-in-law, as examples). For some strange reason in Adventism I felt I was wrong when I did that. I got the feeling I should think people are innately wicked, not innately good and wonderful.

I told my Baptist friend about my secret adoration of people (in general) and specifically about pastors.

Dr. Steve Cobb (my Baptist Pastor from New Bern, North Carolina.) “Oh God, thank you for making such a man!” A true hero in my estimation. 

But when I actually let these words fall from my mouth, I was chastised. My secret enthusiasm for men who spend their lives dedicated to loving others was crushed once again by my fellow Christian. I thought somehow my eager heart would be accepted in this church.

“Don’t idealize people, they will just let you down.” I was told.

WHAT THE HECK? So what? 

So WHAT!! ?

Because people act miraculously wonderful and then fall, it does not take away the beauty of the goodness they did. Never in my naive, unabashed adoration of people have I ever expected them to be perfect. So they hurt me? So I am hurt or disappointed. Why is that so bad...??

I never understood that. Why must I forever hold back my enthusiasm and love of people because they will hurt me? Am I so important I should keep myself from hurt? (and can I not heal?) It has never made sense to me.

What a genuine relief when I became Catholic and I was told that these feelings were of God! 

When I go into confession and I pour out my sins to the priest,  I am so overwhelmingly thankful that he has chosen to be Jesus for me and listen to me with compassion, that I spontaneously fall to my knees and kiss his hand. I am not ashamed to grovel before such greatness. I want to express my eternal thankfulness that Jesus loves me enough to say “I forgive you” through the voice of His church leader. This man who patiently, lovingly cleans up my verbal vomit and still looks at me with tender forgiving eyes--because he was told by Jesus to do that.... 

We all want heroes. People can and are heroes and we should expect them to act that way as well as fall into temptation too. We shouldn’t be shocked when people act like people. They are in the image of God, so they can act God-like, they also have a tendency towards sin, so they sin. Both are natural. We can be breathlessly thankful when people behave naturally like their Father in heaven. We can be compassionate and understanding when they act our culture has told them to act. Neither behavior should shock us. There is nothing like unhindered, freely-given adoration towards the Jesus we see in people, even when it is just a little thing. How extravagant to shower love upon others, even when they do not deserve it. And all these years, I have held back.

But uncurbed enthusiasm is not welcome today, and so I  still hold back in public... but in my heart I still twinkle with love when I see certain people.  All I can say is that, though no one else seems to see them, “I see heroes.” 


Mike Senseney said...

Hi Teresa,

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts in this post. You are not alone in those thoughts, feelings, and joys. You may be alone in expressing them openly, but I venture to say that many people feel the way you do, even if they try to suppress those feelings.

It is the joy of encountering Jesus with all whose lives we intersect at any given moment of the day, and in all circumstances. The love of God that flows between people by the power of The Holy Spirit. This is Jesus in our midst! This is The Church!

As a former Adventist myself, I remember the fear and trepidation I felt the first time I approached The Sacrament of Reconciliation. How surprised I was at the joy I felt and experienced. It is difficult to describe the floodgates of Grace that are opened upon me each time I participate in this sacrament. My only regret is that I have missed out on this joy for the past 40+ years. But it is never too late with God as long as we draw breath and can make a choice.

Thank you again for sharing this. You do not need to rue the day you put these thoughts into writing.

God bless all!!!

Mrs.Pogle said...

I found your blog quite accidentally today and am glad I did! I too am a joyful Catholic convert, and love the Church! It has been great to read your enthusiasm this morning :¬)
Mrs.P xx