It's only been about three months since I last wrote here, but it feels like a lifetime. This heart has achieved a rebirth and a new life. Much of what I wrote on this blog came from a heart unsure, a heart that wanted to believe, a girl who was living as the person she thought she ought to be, mostly because she feared who she really was. I saw how silly and unsatisfying that double-living was, so I decided to discover who I really am, down to my roots, deep in my heart, when all the walls were torn down.
I embarked on this new journey to discover the Truth and found myself on a twisted trail of thorns, suddenly painfully aware of my deepest miseries, my deepest flaws, wounds I had inflicted and wounds I had received. I cried out to God from these depths and asked why, why must there be so much pain? Why can't I move on? It was the most honest I'd been with God in a long, long time. For several days I was empty, but not in despair. I had given it all, all of my misery and pain to God saying, "Here. I. Cannot. Do. This. Any. More." And I waited to see what He would do with that, because there simply was not another thing I could do about it.
At first, I knew only emptiness. From that came a new knowledge of my littleness, my utter nothingness. I understood with new clarity that in the grand scheme of the world, I am nothing more than an insignificant speck. Once I let this knowledge sink in, I noticed that slowly, ever so gently, God was filling me with His own love. His gentle hands tuned my heartstrings and I began to hear the faintest notes of a new melody. Around me I sensed a force field of angels hacking away at the thorns that choked me. I dreamed that I was wandering aimlessly in the depths of a darkening madness until suddenly, the angry swirling around me turned to roses that fell from the sky like snowflakes (I'm sure St. Therese had a hand in that one). I danced in this garden, my mind and heart free from the chains that had imprisoned me. The Gardner embraced me and pointed me home. When I woke up from the dream, I knew in my heart that it was real. The mess was gone. There was peace and joy coursing through me. I was healed.
As I looked back at how I used to relate to God, I heard Him say (in the style of Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything) "I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen." My mouth fell open a little as I let those words sink in. I remembered that I had written entire posts here about "giving God my pen" to write my love story. As if that were enough! Every day, in every mass, He offers His heart in the Eucharist, to nourish, refresh, and strengthen us. He offers His love yet we continue to search for it elsewhere (like that Tenth Avenue North song "By Your Side:" "Why are you still searching, as if I'M not enough?"). He wants us, our hearts, everything we are--not just our pens! He wants to be a part of our love stories, not just the Author!
Lights went on everywhere. In the next few weeks, I slowly began to rediscover the relationship I once had with God. I no longer wanted to resort to my default, almost mechanical "this is how a good Catholic girl should act" mode. If anyone knows how imperfect I am, it's Him. He doesn't need or want me to pretend to be someone I'm not. In this way, I began to learn how deeply in love He is with me--with each of us. But not because of anything that we do, simply because of who we are. We give Him great delight when we do things out of love for Him, but His love for us is unconditional and He desires simply for us to accept it deep in our hearts, with our truest selves.
This is terribly intimidating, I admit. I had let God love me as a protective Father, but suddenly I realized that He wanted more--not only to love me, but also to romance me, speak tenderly to my heart, show me how beautiful I am to Him, to love me like a Bridegroom loves His bride. I knew that I was caught--I had never let Him love me this way before because of that silly, irrational fear that if I did, He would "make me be a nun." (You know that you know what I'm talking about!) But I looked at my situation and saw that He had me right where He wanted me. For the first time in 3 years, I was really and truly free--crush-less and loving it. So, because it was SO adorable the way He foiled my plans and sneakily took the pen I gave Him to write out this romance between He and I, I prayed:
Jesus, here I am! I am healed--help restore my heart! Make it new and beautiful. Tell me what you really think of me. Tell me You love me. Romance me away from all the stupid things that capture my heart for brief moments. Capture my heart for good, beauty, truth. Draw me in, draw me close. Cover me in love. Make me never want to turn away from You again. Make me forget ever wanting to love another creature. Make me know that You are enough. You are Love and Love is all we need. Show me who I really am. Give me the courage to be that person, that woman whom You love so deeply, so tenderly. Let me know You.
These are the words that He has written on my heart, and if you search your own, you'll find something similar written there. And don't worry--it doesn't mean you'll necessarily be a nun! All it means is that this is the kind of love we're created to desire, and it's a desire no man can ever fully satisfy because "only in God will we find the truth and happiness we never stop searching for."