Yesterday’s Gospel reading for Mass included a story of a woman who has suffered from hemorrhaging for twelve years. She was supposed to be isolated from everyone and yet she had the courage to seek out Jesus and touch His clothes so that she could be healed. She had enough faith to know that she just had to touch His garments and He could heal her and she also had the stubbornness of faith to get past everyone else in the crowd who were probably telling her she had no business there. Unlike all those who were just bumping into Christ, she reached out and touched Him. The priest at my parish yesterday gave a great homily pointing all of this out and I was sitting there listening to it with hot tears rolling down my face.
Someone awhile back posted a comment on my blog asking me to explain what it was that helped me go from where I was in life to where I am now. I have told the story many times of the priest who helped me along my conversion journey. I would stalk him and argue with him, go to his office with objection after objection and when I had my first confession in his office I was so angry that the first thing that came out of my mouth was “I can’t be Catholic, I don’t hate gay people”. It is easy for me to say that his love, compassion, kindness and fearlessness of telling the truth were part of why I changed my entire life to become Catholic. But the truth is that those things were just a door. All the people who met me where I was and never judged me all while not being afraid to challenge me and tell me hard truths about the way I was living were doors. Because of the love and acceptance that they showed me, I opened the door to God’s grace in my life. Through that Grace, I encountered Jesus. Not just once, but many times and I still continue to encounter Him.
During the homily yesterday, I encountered Him again as Father explained how for the woman hemorrhaging and the man whose daughter died, Jesus was the last resort. They had run out of options and because of that, they dared to seek Him even though it was unconventional and not the norm for people in their circumstances to do so. As soon as Father said those words I remembered the moment that I realized that Jesus was my last resort. I had tried everything else. I had tried sex, drinking, pills, having kids, getting married my way and living by my own rules. I had tried being a good girl and being a bad girl. I had tried everything and none of it worked to heal my wounds. I had run out of options and I knew Christ was my only option. I had to come to the realization on my own and those around me let me and they gave me the love the fueled my courage to seek Christ out when I did.
I came to the point in my life when I figured out that letting Christ really take control of my life after a very hard year in my marriage. Even though I had my conversion 5 years ago, I always still kept a little bit of control of my life. I still hid behind the teachings of the Church to help me feel good about myself and to feel superior to others. There are days when that still happens, especially being on social media, and I have to remind myself that we are all wounded creatures trying to find our way to happiness and healing. I know that happiness and healing come from loving God, but I also know that everyone has to come to know that on their own. Force doesn’t work.
I guess that is the simplest answer to the question of how I went from my old life to this life as a Catholic : I found Jesus and He was my last resort. Anytime that I get to that point where I have tired everything, He is my last resort. Even when I’m crying hot tears during Mass because someone hurt me. I’ve been a Catholic for 5 years and those moments still come, and He is still always there for me when they do.