Monday, December 26, 2011

Fruit of the Vine, Work of My Hands

I have done a lot of damage to myself through the use of my hands. And somehow, through the mysterious grace of God, through those instruments of destruction, I will also find redemption. I always thought that meant through my writing. I have been a storyteller since I could talk and writer since before I could really write. I dreamed of growing up and joining the ranks of the great authors, in fact, I told my high school English teacher I wanted to be a combination of Mark Twain and Emily Dickinson.

While I find much good coming from writing, I find that much more is coming in other ways. Through making and packing my husband's lunch for him, cleaning our apartment, washing dishing, holding my husband's hand or giving him a massage after a long day-- things that some would consider extremely mundane and ordinary. But these are the things that have provided me with the most healing. Why? Because I am no longer serving myself, as masturbation led me to do, but I am serving others and most importantly the one who I am one with. Service and healing start at home and then overflow from there to flood the world.

While addiction and masturbation were horrible, it provided me with two necessary things: strength and trust to carry on through the dark times and a deeper understanding and gratefulness for mercy. Time to go clean the kitchen from our Italian Seven Fishes meal last night :) Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Free At Last, I Am Free At Last

I was told love is the cure, that all I must do to find freedom from my bonds, my chains to "the habit" was to fall in love. To direct oneself outward, the easiest path is to fall in love with another person, be in relationship. I heard this from a friend who heard it from a priest. But we hear it all the time from the world-- love (in the shadow of lust and infatuation) is the cure to any problem you might have and it only has to be love a little bit. I'm sure the priest was well-intentioned and now I can see the higher wisdom in his words, but falling in love was not the cure to my addiction.

Love was the problem. Not because I could not "fall in love" (some friends described me as boy-crazy), not because I did not desire that, and not because I was not in love with the Lord. Contrarily, it was love of the Lord that brought me to this place of desiring to destroy this addiction and sin in my life. No, the problem of love was that I did not believe I was lovable. I did not believe I was beautiful or could be loved. And that fueled the infinite, fiery pit of addiction in my soul.

Only someone infinite could extinguish that hell and fill me.

Love was the answer. Not love for or from the Lord or another person, but self-love. I could list every minute problem, weakness, and failing I had, I could come up with every reason possible why I was not lovable or beautiful. It took Infinite Love for me to realize that it was not He who did not love me, but me who did not love me. I gazed upon the Crucifix like Mary Magdalen gazed upon Christ when caught in adultery and felt how she felt-- Love was standing before me, forgiving me, inviting me deeper, and I had one choice left, whether or not to forgive myself. The Magdalen followed Christ the rest of her days, even following Him to the Cross because she found she could not remain unforgiving to herself when so infinite a mercy was being poured out upon her. In a moment that can only be described as the Divine rushing wind in the small whisper of the Holy Spirit, I said, "Theresa, I forgive you for being too weak to stop masturbating."

Love is still the answer. Even though I have fallen in love and married a wonderfully godly man, my struggles have not magically left me. Those envious, parasitic temptations still vie for a place in my soul to dwell, but I recognize them now. I see them as they are now and I see me as I am-- Theresa, fallen yet good.

The chorus of "Martyrs and Thieves" (by Jennifer Knapp) begins:
So turn on the light and reveal all the glory
I am not afraid
To bear all my weakness, knowing in meekness
I have a kingdom to gain
I am a slave to sin nor to my own mercilessness anymore. I am free. And I am running and fighting, inching however slowly towards that Kingdom. I have left my chains and old ways behind.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Allow Me to Explain

...why I call myself the "Fetal Theologian". You see, fetuses are teeny, tiny human beings and in the realm of theologians, well, I'm about as far from a Doctor of the Church as a fetus is developmentally to a very old lady, maybe even further. But yet even the tiniest voices should be heard and so I give you mine. But perhaps St. Therese better explains my title when she writes:

"O Jesus, I know that for You the saints have done foolish things as well as wonderful ones, for they were eagles. I, however, am too little to do great things, and my foolishness lies in hoping that Your love accepts me as a victim; it lies in counting on the angels and saints to help me, my beloved Eagle, to fly to You on Your own wings."

For the First Time, In Technicolor

The day I found freedom from my addiction haunts me. It haunts me like a beautiful mysterious lady haunts you after a simple hello. And I desperately want to have a conversation. I had given up on conversation right before this. I had tried talking and conversing for so long and still I was saddled with this ugly, hidden "habit"; this thing that made me less woman in so many ways and made me certainly not worthy of God, and it seemed there was nothing He was doing about it.

I self identified not as Theresa but as Masturbator. It had been with me for so long-- 20 years of "the habit" itself and approximately 10 of those 20 in actual addiction-- that it seemed like who I was. I could no longer see Theresa as separate and innately different from Masturbator. I didn't think God could either.

But, as is often the case, I was wrong.

The day I found freedom from the addiction to masturbation hit me like I imagine dying and going to heaven to be like. The old self not just melts but is violently ripped away and you are submerged into so much glory there is no possible way for you to take it all in, except in eternity. The veil had been lifted. As though I were the in the nitty underground of a black and white picture, I saw color for the first time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Got Married!!

Just a little note to say...I GOT MARRIED!! Yay! It happened back on Thanksgiving weekend and I have been busy settling into my new life for the past few weeks now and loving every minute of it! Thank you, Lord, for the gift of my husband who is my best friend and for the gift of imaging You through marriage. May You bless us and help us be evermore a light of Your love and glory. All for the greater glory of God! All for the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, all through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, in union with St. Joseph. Amen!