It’s the eve of Confirmation and we’re sitting beside a waterfall, huddled in our winter coats with the sun preparing its descent. The roar of the water is just loud enough that the few words we exchange are barely audible, and it masks the sobs that escape from my throat. My tears are no secret however; I’m not known for my subtle crying.
“Why were you crying?” he later asks, as if I could’ve gotten away with it.
I merely shrug. “It just happens sometimes.”
It’s a question I asked myself on the way home. I wanted to take the hour-long drive tonight, though I could’ve easily spent the night at someone else’s place. I wanted to spend the eve of Confirmation in my own quiet, sleeping in my own bed. And part of me wanted that quiet drive, too.
Why are my tears a thing that “just happens?”
As we sat on that rock, not speaking, I was overcome with a sense of solitude. I was far from alone—I was surrounded by God’s creation, and thus God Himself, and my sponsor had come with me on that walk, even though we were both tired and wanted to go home and sleep. In that moment, I realized I didn’t know what was coming next. I didn’t know what the next day, the next week, the next months would bring. All I knew was that my plans weren’t anything like God’s plans. Everything had changed so drastically in even the last year—and so unlike anything I’d imagined—and I don’t know what He has planned next. It was overwhelming. And I cried.
I’m not the adventurous type. It’s not because I don’t like adventure—I love the idea of experiencing new things—but because I’m afraid. I fear failure; I fear the unknown; I fear being imperfect and the subsequent judgement of other people. Today, we went rock climbing. It was the first time I’d harnassed up and trusted my physical safety with a rope controlled by a complete stranger. And, yeah, I freaked out going up that wall. It would’ve been easier to not do it at all: Because I didn’t trust my strength. Or I couldn’t get my foot to the next foothold. I may have dangled from that rope sometimes to gather my bearings, to avoid breaking into frustrated tears. But I did it. I finished that climb. It’s a seemingly insignificant thing, but I’m committed to this metaphor now—it would be easy to simply not convert. I could go back to planning my own life, feeling completely helpless, because that’s what I know and what I’m used to. But do I really want to stand at the bottom of a rock wall, gazing longingly at the top, simply wondering what it’s like to reach the top?
I won’t lie—it’s scary. It was scary to tell people I was converting. It was scary to move to a new area for a new job. It was scary walking into a Catholic Church by myself for the first time. Because it was new. It was different. I sat in pews so many times in tears, across various churches, because everything was so different. Nothing was what I’d planned.
But aren’t God’s plans so much greater than our own?
I don’t know His plans for me. All I know is they won’t be what I expected, because nothing thus far has been what I expected. I’m almost okay with this. I trust Him, but I don’t yet trust myself. He spent a long time guiding me to the Church, but ultimately it was up to me to walk through the doors.
It’s time to overcome the fear of living. It’s time to truly live.