I've been trying to write this since Sunday night but I just can't seem to pen my thoughts clearly.
I have always said God has his reasons for everything. He just takes his time in making me understand why. He gave me direction that I could not miss this weekend. Finally, at a faster pace. He usually takes his sweet ole time.
Hubby and I attended a Weekend Married Couple's Retreat. It was our second since we've been married 14 months ago. I've gone to the Women's Retreat several times through the years. I always come back refreshed, renewed and much closer to God.
In a previous post, I talked about my awkward experience with my Priest. It has bothered me since. As my post showed I was embarrassed, angry and confused. But as time wore on the anger subsided. But I felt a need that I needed to do something. But what?
I do not want anyone to feel like I did with this person.
I've had many of you responding with your suggestions and I am so grateful. Thank you for not just the advice but the compassion and love you have shown me.
I had a conference with the Jesuit Priest first. He is down to earth and actually has more realistic beliefs. Hubby and I are astonished how this elderly Priest has views that actually relate to the "real world'. He is kind and funny. And he has given me sound advice and direction through the years.
However, I was disappointed when I asked for advice concerning this exchange between the Priest and I. I thought he was joking at first. But his solution was since the church had more than one door, to use the other door. Again, I was speechless. My thought was "hell no" but I nodded.
After that conversation I really had to pray and reflect.
That afternoon we had a conference led by the Directors of the retreat. The directors were a married couple, Gloria and Francis Vanderwall. Gloria shared her story of growing up with a disability (Polio) and how she was judged. One of the points was to be careful what you call people because it can be a lasting effect on the person. Yes, we have all heard it said many times. But we all have to remind ourselves on a regular basis.
As I listened to her story, I realized how our lives were alike. We both had disabilities, her parents raised us similarly and we have the same distaste of the word "CRIPPLED." My view of the term "Crippled" is in a post I wrote here. My tear ducts filled as I listened.
During my reflection and prayer after the conference I told Hubby I really needed to talk to her. I had to let her know she touched me and that she had made a difference.
I asked Hubby to come with me because when we go alone to the Directors or Priest during these retreats, we lose some things that were said. Something like two heads are better than one.
She and I talked mostly with Hubby listening and periodically adding his thoughts. It was heartwarming to hear some of the things Hubby said that I didn't realize he even saw or realized. I'll leave that for another post in the future.
As we talked we were both near tears because that pain we have from being called Crippled came to surface spewing. I shared the situation with the Priest. I told her all the emotions I had felt. Or so I thought.
Then she said, "You were hurt. It hurts."
WOW! It was like a glass of cold water was thrown in my face. She was right. I never add hurt or pain when something like this happens.
During reflection later I asked myself why have I seldom said it hurts? I think I know the answer.
Subconsciously I think if I show the pain and hurt it makes me seem weak. Not to others but to myself. I do not want others to see how vulnerable I am. I do not want people to feel sorry for me.
By the end of our session I felt the weight lifted off my heart and shoulders. You don't realize how you are stressed until it is lifted..
I asked her for advice of how to handle the situation with the Priest. She told me unfortunately I will have to educate him. I knew that. I sometimes feel like I should not have to educate ignorant people. She, like so many of you, advised to tell him exactly how I felt face to face. She helped me with a scenario that I can handle. I m looking forward to addressing the Priest after mass. I will certainly post the outcome.
I firmly believe God made her his messenger for me. She helped me realize how I was actually hurt more than anything. How I have denied to admit it is hurtful to myself. I have to work on that and I can tell it is going to be a long road but then I know I can't fail because God is holding my hand.
These retreats give you a lot of time to reflect and pray. The silence makes you analyze everything about yourself. God. Your relationship with God. Your spouse. Your marriage. Your life. Everything.
I wonder what would happen if someone called me a name and I responded, "It hurts when you say that." I instantly think there response would be either laughing it off or sheer embarrassment. Or maybe they don't really care. And if they didn't care, how would that affect me?
I am human. It will always hurt. I do not want to deal with the insignificant ignorant people. But maybe that is one of my roles God has given to me. To teach people compassion. Educate them on things they have no clue about. Or at least try.
The important thing I have to remember is God Loves me. He loves me even with my sins. He loves me despite my limitations. I am one of his children. That is what I need to focus on.
I want to end with this. Before you open your mouth and call someone a name, any name. Stop. Think what kind of effect it could do to that person, for the rest of their life? If you are curious about something, and have the need to ask what happened etc, do it discreetly and in a respectful way.