Closure. That’s the word.
As hard as some things are, it’s always more difficult without closure.
If one reaches an end and receives closure, it’s quite the gift. Some would rather do without it, but in many cases in life, I think it’s worth it. It’s the lightening of the heart from a weight you never really realized was there to begin with. That’s what the gift affords you.
I’ve lived nearly two decades, and I’ve made many mistakes, some of which I will forever wonder about, but just this once, I’m not left without a clear finish line. A clean break on the path, as it were; another marker to reference and be sure of as the next move is made.
Oh, there is or was pain involved, most of which I made myself, but it is outweighed somehow.
Here’s the thing: I’m not someone who thinks of happenings relating to one’s life as coincidences; I take it as the Spirit reaching out to me. Well, as far as noticing the signs, I believe it’s the Father pointing them out and teaching me; when I actually move and take action, I reckon it’s the Spirit working.
Before I saw all these… promptings… I felt overwhelmed, filled with a storm of anger thoroughly unwarranted by the situation. My mind was more of a mess of emotion, fueled by a sort of buried madness. Anyone else’s brains ever start to go into overdrive, becoming a blur, at which point hardly any coherent thought comes through? That’s where I was, often. I’d lost my sense of focus, and it became apparent throughout the days as I tried to work on a number of projects.
Maybe it was an experience at Mass… no, it was. I remember it. The first sign.
Father’s homily was quite the kick in the face, but it didn’t start there. That Sunday, I felt more attentive to praying the Mass than I had in quite a while. Reminds me of a quote from St. Irenaeus, actually (though there is some debate on whether he said it exactly or not).
“The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.” and that’s what I felt. As if all my senses, hampered by worry – not just over this one failure on my part, but also a number of matters related to my schoolwork – were kicked up several notches and suddenly unburdened. I was able to see and pay attention to everything, but not be distracted by it (which is how I normally am at Mass, unfortunately). This time, I felt right at home, truly in communion.
So when it came time for the homily, a time when I tend to zone out because of how hard it is to hear Father from the altar (shh, don’t tell, I do try), I was so there. Amazing how God speaks if you actually listen to/for His word *coughs*.
Father’s homily spoke of finding three things, well, finding two things and doing the last for both of them:
-Giving them a break
For this, I’ll focus on the things that really hit me in relation to what was happening, which were the first and last items on that list (the second – I’m pretty sure – is a push to continue my hunt for spiritual direction).
I’d heard it before, but he made note of the fact that John the Baptist sent his disciples to Christ. Good companions lead one another on a journey of growth, with Heaven as the high goal. Further still, he noted how Christ gives us specific companions, and… because they were given to us by Him… we shouldn’t easily turn our backs on them.
In a finishing blow, Father turned to the subject of expectations of others, how they won’t always meet ours, and sweet glory, how we’ll never meet theirs, so for Heaven’s sake… Don’t. Give up. Based on that.
Now, I must confess, I ignored this push for a bit, and as another day or so passed, well… it was St. Mother Teresa’s turn to smack me across the face, as I scrolled the endless Instagram feed:
“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person…”
Because that’s what I’d been waiting for. Initiative from someone else, anyone else, so I wouldn’t have to move on my own. Did I mention I’m a prideful person? It was pride that was keeping me back from admitting my failure, unwilling to admit that I remained restless in guilt. And so… in response to that, God made me see the caption underneath the St. Teresa photo, from Mother Angelica: “… start looking into your own life and attacking your pride in all of its many forms.”
So that’s two mothers smacking me upside the head. A trinity of smacks to the cranium, if we add Father’s words.
Suffice it to say, I did what I felt was right, this time with surety that I don’t normally have. And when it turned out the way it did, when it was over, I ran. Not away, but to.
I ended up in adoration, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. The chapel was mercifully empty, and there I stood before the tabernacle.
Those moments will forever remain locked within me, like a calm fire; not deadly or destructive in its ways, but comforting and warm. It was my turn to make a promise.
And so with clarity, and to quote Venerable Fulton Sheen, I say: “Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them.”
There, I admit it. I have a heart, and it’s broken. Don’t look at me all funny, I’m not made of stone. However, the gaps are closing, and faster than I expected, to be honest. Because right there, in the immediate aftermath, I can look back on what took place and see why God drew me back one last time: to right the wrongs, to fix what I had brought to ruin. To leave this artwork at peace with it and move on. Because it isn’t terrible, it isn’t faulty, it is… a beautiful ending. And oftentimes, you’ll find that the most beautiful endings are the ones that cause the greatest pain.
So I’m beginning. I am… me. I do have an idea about where to go, placed in me during what I now consider another era altogether. Who by? The voice, the whisper that follows me beyond the bounds, guiding me forward.
Am I a good man? Let’s find out.