journeys

Where I Want to Be

For the most part, I think we’ve all done pretty well despite a bad situation. I was recently looking at photos of the Spanish Flu epidemic—everyone in masks and gloves, sitting on opposite sides of train cars to prevent contamination. It’s creepy in its now-familiarity. The big difference, of course, is our access to the virtual sphere. They were unable to work from home, received the latest news from an actual newspaper, and likely couldn’t attend church at all.

I was working on a completely different blog post this week. (We’ll discuss Bl. Justo Takayama later!) But I see that now as an attempt to ignore the way I feel about the world right now. Some days it feels like the world is on fire, and I’m having a harder and harder time focusing on my work. So let’s be honest—things are not okay. And all it took were a few text messages asking after my spiritual health for me to realize the depth of it.

Considering the circumstances, it’s not wrong to be a little panicked right now. It’s been so long since we’ve had some semblance of a “normal” life and routine. Lately, I’ve been keeping myself busy with little things I’ve been meaning to do: sew a shirt hem; do a jigsaw puzzle; finish that video game. That’s all fine, but I’ve been ignoring the bigger things. Like talking to God and being honest about my feelings.

We’re blessed that virtual Mass is an option. Even though the archived livestream is available whenever, I shut everything down at 5:30 Saturday to attend. It was weird at first, watching a live feed from a parish a mere mile away. But like other strange routines, it became normal. It wasn’t until I was in the church parking lot this week, staring at the locked front doors from my car, that I understood how much I missed it. And I cried.

In a strange way, it made me think of this blog. It began as a chronicle of my conversion, a journey I proudly and publicly shared. There was a lot to learn; I was absorbing everything and was unashamed about my feelings. I’ve lost a little of that along the way. Some weeks these posts are merely informative, or just a book review (books are very important, though). There have been a couple weeks I didn’t post anything at all, mostly for lack of time. But I’m rarely honest anymore. I don’t discuss what’s going on in my spiritual life. I’ll talk about my thoughts or opinions, but not my faith. It’s suffered the same fate as my life as a whole, when it was supposed to be my [virtual] spiritual retreat.

Where do I want to be? I want to be in church, certainly. But I also want to be myself, unashamedly spilling my feelings and crying over a love of Jesus. We all ache for “normal” again, where going to work or a restaurant is simple. We have no control over that timing, but I can control my own “normal” life of devotion. This is a journey, and I’ve been standing still for a while.

I’m sorting through a lot of mental and spiritual stuff right now. What I really want from my spiritual life, and how to hear God despite my fears and judgements. But it’s hard to be honest with yourself. I simply want to be joyful and unashamed, which is strangely difficult for me to do. But like any healing, the first step is admitting that you need it. Maybe I’m supposed to be stuck at home for a while. Now I have no excuse, with all the time I’m saving by not commuting or attending various volunteer meetings.

I want my normal life back, but more than that, I want that union with Jesus again.