I got an email this morning that reminded me of this cartoon – one I first wrote about in a different blog space several years ago now.
Spotting this cartoon from ASBO Jesus elicited a form of wry laughter as I considered its relevance to how I’ve felt this week.
You see, this week of retreat and rest has been one in which the heavier realities of life have hit hard. It was easy to (mostly) ignore those realities when I was busy with full-time school, clinical placement, homework, family obligations, a social life of sorts, and my part-time job. This week, when I have this time for retreat, those realities have come crashing to the forefront.
I wrote about them a little bit a few days ago – how in some ways I’m grieving what I’m leaving behind as I move forward with following Jesus. I’ve been feeling that weighing on me this week in ways I didn’t expect. And with it I’ve felt the weight of isolation – of not having local friends with whom I can really share this journey – friends I can cry with, or call for a hug, and a reminder that I really am able to hear Jesus speak to me, guide me, and invite me to follow. I’ve felt the pain of the uncertainty of going from a life that was mostly planned out, to a somewhat blank slate – of wrestling with how a call to ministry fits with life as a woman (who isn’t called to a religious vocation) in the Catholic church. And I’ve felt the fear (and growing need to just get on with it) of telling my family about this journey.
If I’m honest, the combination of these things has elicited a lot of tears this week. I’ve been thankful for a couple of chances to Skype with faraway friends and share a bit about what’s been going on. I even cried as one friend (the only practicing Catholic I know!) listened with much grace. Truthfully, the weight of what I’ve carried this week has had me wondering if I’ve lost my mind by moving towards Catholicism, asking Jesus again and again if this is really Him talking.
And then I saw this cartoon this morning, and the laughter sprang forth just a little.
This journey has required a whole lot of surrender and dying to self. And I’m admittedly very bad at both of those things because they both involve relinquishing control. I rather like to be in charge, and my life in following Jesus seems to be a continual exercise in letting go of that control. And sometimes, just sometimes, after I make that step, I need to take a few minutes to mourn what was (because it certainly hasn’t been all bad – so often I’m leaving what is wonderful for something else Jesus is calling me to).
Sigh. I’m laughingly admitting that this is a season of not just dying to self, but mourning my loss!