Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Secrets of the heart

Yesterday I was talking with a young woman who has a wonderful gift from God.

She said she hasn't been using that gift much lately, because she doesn't feel she's living out the Christian message she portrays to the world. She's been sinning, she told me. Doing what she wants to do, instead of what she feels God wants her to do. Miserable, but not repentant enough to change.

I can't imagine her having such a terrible weight on her conscience.

I see nothing but kindness and Christian love coming out of this young woman. I don't know what her sin is, and don't really need to know. I imagine she's someone who's really hard on herself (I spot it, 'cause I got it).

My advice to her was to write what she really feels, and tell God. You can't go around pretending everything's hunky-dory, when you're miserable inside -- how can you have a relationship with God when you're pretending?

God will honor her feelings, and what she tells him, spoken in truth. That's my belief.

The truth will help her, and I can see her helping others who struggle.

A glimpse into the many-chambered heart of another is amazing. How many carry around this pain and negativity, without any outward sign?

It reminds of a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson I read in school, many years ago:

Richard Cory

WHENEVER Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich -- —yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

I pray this young woman will keep talking, first, to God, then to me or someone else. I pray for her healing, and that she will use the gifts God gave her. I pray she will see herself as she is: beloved of God.


Pisco Sours said...

Oh, believe me, I know all about being hard on oneself. (Currently beating myself up for: breaking the Lenten fast several days this past week, although I'm back on track now.)

But I have a tendency towards "the arrogance of humility." I turn on myself before others can turn on me, and I do it with such ferocity that there's a bit of moral masochism there, priding myself on punishing my own moral failings while failing to change myself.

Pride in humility is still pride, and is a turning away from Christ.

I don't know what this young woman's sin is either, and don't know the details. I would say, however, that everything that turns you away from God needs to be addressed, but make sure the sins you think are keeping you from God are the ones that really are keeping you from God.

Poorly phrased, but you see what I mean.

And having read Reconciliation (really, such an incredible book--I wish I'd known about it years ago!), I half want to suggest reconciliation to her. Seems like M.Smith recommneded confessing even those things which you don't feel are sins, and saying that you don't think they're sins, but listing them anyway. I'm not sure if reconciliation is right for someone who isn't truly penitent, but it might still orient her to where God is, and let her know that Christ's love still shines on her.

Saint Pat said...

Pisco, I was deliberately vague about circumstances, to protect her identity. And I truly don't know her "sin."

But you're right, "everything that turns you away from God needs to be addressed." Obviously, this is keeping her from God, because it is an obstacle in her mind, no matter how we, or God, may see it.

It strikes me she is actually penitent, but feels powerless to change. Prayer with a minister and reconciliation will be very helpful to her, as soon as she's able to face that. Maybe soon.

Thanks for your insight.