I remember sitting in the crowded pub at my university, tears filling my eyes and anxiety welling up in my chest. I was nearing the end of my senior year of college and after months of searching LinkedIn, filling out job applications, and preparing for interviews, I was swimming in a sea of rejection emails and phone calls.
We sat there, my mom, dad, and I as the man in the white coat leaned against the counter next to alcohol swabs and sterilized medical things. When he said, “Stage III Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” I looked to mom as I always did when I didn’t understand the medical jargon.
Time and time again, I wrestle with the answers, I argue about it, I cry about it but then when it finally settles into my heart, I understand why it has to be the way it is. Everything points back to Love Himself and until we let that take shape in our own hearts, no answer will ever be satisfying.
Jesus gets it. He understands every human emotion we may feel. And when I’m feeling anxious, I often reflect on Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. The fear He must’ve felt is beyond anything I could imagine.
For the first time in my 25 years of life, I’m living what I consider to be an ordinary life. I work Monday-Friday, eight-to-five, as a receptionist for a Catholic non-profit. Most of my days are spent answering phones, sorting mail, forwarding emails, unjamming printers, and standing at my desk.
What has happened to you or to me does not make us any less of who we are, Daughters of Christ. The Lord wants to heal you, let Him. Do not let this consume you by pretending it does not exist or never happened. Go to Him as you are.
I know I am not perfect. But that is why I am still practicing. Practicing my faith so I can start my next climb. So I can share my stories with those who are placed along the way. So I can listen to the stories of those who are placed along the way.
My Chevrolet Equinox has seen a lot: over 92,000 miles of American highways and gravel backroads, nights of shared laughter and spilled Sonic drinks, flowing tears and back-seat napping, countless passengers (human and canine) riding shotgun, solo concerts and long phone calls.
If you’ve lost a child, I need you to know that you’re not alone. Our grief has woven together and we’ve found ourselves a part of this club that no one ever wanted to join. And it sucks, it’s okay to say that. It’s awful and messy and frustrating and ugly — but we’re here together, we’re not alone.
My faith was characterized by busyness: read my Bible, volunteer at youth group, journal, go to church, teach my children Bible lessons, read something spiritual, lead a Bible study—and I was exhausted.
Depression came like a tsunami, I was completely submerged and there was no coming up for air. People who I called friends turned their backs on me. I was judged because of my nationality and skin color. My relationship with my parents was struggling. I didn’t know where I fit in or where I belonged.
But many of us find that we don’t have clear models for what we’re supposed to do—what it would even look like to bring all our wild, weird, harrowing experiences to the altar. Especially if something in your life or your calling from God hasn’t been modeled for you by the Catholics around you, it can feel like you’re locked out of that small, perfect sphere of faith.
Nothing about life is certain. No amount of planning, organizing, preparing or dreaming will guarantee our desired outcome. I’m constantly reminded to loosen my grip and, like the song says, “let Jesus take the wheel.”
And yet, four years after my confirmation, I am still finding my way. I am still actualizing my identity as a beloved daughter of God and learning what it means to be a Catholic woman in this broken and beautiful world.
You have the strength to question any relationship or situation that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable. In the words of Edith Stein, ‘Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth.’ We are called to relationships built on truth in the same way that truth calls us to Him.