I woke up this morning with a broken heart.
Yesterday was a full day without space to process. I dashed from school to lunch with a friend, to a quick hour in a coffee shop to collect my thoughts and tame my nerves, to that much anticipated meeting with the priest at the parish I’ve been attending, to a raucous extended family gathering where my only hope was that no one would ask why it was that I arrived an hour after the stated starting time, since I knew I wouldn’t lie, but I’m also definitely not ready to tell them that I was meeting with a priest! It was all a bit much for my introverted self. The family gathering went late, and then I crashed into bed, knowing I needed to wake early this morning and head for work – 2.5 hours of setting myself aside, and shoving down emotions as I care for the physically, mentally and emotionally handicapped lady that I work with – getting her up for the day and settled.
The dreams came fiercely last night. It’s not a new thing – my sleeping milieu has been as active as my waking one Since I was a child. I’ve had dreams that are so clearly from god that they left me breathless. I’ve experienced dreams so clearly demonic that I woke to my whole bed shaking from the trembling of my body, whispering “Jesus” with the minimal breath I could muster. And I’ve had processing dreams. These last have become more and more common as I’ve worked towards emotional health in new ways these last years. These are the dreams that are my inner self giving voice to the things I’d rather not say aloud, or the areas of my life where I am still in need of Christ’s healing. Last night was full of those dreams, and I woke with a broken heart.
In retrospect I shouldn’t be surprised – never yet has a step forward on this journey failed to stir these dreams. And yet, even in their familiarity they don’t cease to ache.
In my dreams time moves backwards. These last five years of healing, of chasing after emotional and spiritual health don’t disappear, but the pain of those years reappears boldly. I dreamt of her again last night – the one for whom I first pursued Catholicism. Nothing specific really – just the ache of an ended relationship compounded by the memory of the many wounds that relationship inflicted during its short, intense existence.
And I dreamt of family – of the people who I suspect this journey will hurt most. I dreamed of betrayal and pain and conflict – of wishing for any path but the one Christ has so clearly been asking me to walk.
And then I woke, broken hearted, wishing more than anything that my closest heart friends didn’t live in other provinces, countries and even on other continents. Wishing that I could get a hug from one of them today, share a cup of tea, and cry just a little.
And I woke thinking about a phrase in Spanish that first ingrained itself within me at a kitchen table in Malta. About sitting there stunned as I read Sara Miles’ book “Take This Bread” and came across the Spanish translation of the word incarnation. “En su propia carne” – literally to feel it in your own meat/flesh.
This journey with Catholicism has felt like a crash course in “en su propia carne.” The emotions and experiences have been incredibly visceral, and I feel their rawness today.