Monday, January 09, 2012

Epiphany

This past summer I felt like a rock climber who suddenly lost her footing. Up until that point, I was overwhelmed by what life was throwing at me, feeling more and more hurt by a sense of abandonment from a God I usually had a knack for seeing everywhere. One personal crisis after another piled up until the pressure was unbelievable.

In the wake of it all, I began having trouble getting myself through the door of the church where I had formerly led a ministry for teens. I had difficulty facing the life-size statue of the resurrected Christ above the altar. I don’t want to say that I was angry at Him for the things I was struggling with since I knew He didn't cause any of it. Maybe I had just grown allergic. The form of Jesus, with his peaceful countenance and outspread arms, was making my eyes tear.

During that summer from hell, I met with the surgeon to discuss my dad’s prognosis, one of several issues that had knocked the wind out of me emotionally. As he spoke I couldn't help but imagine my spirit hovering over the scene, detached from my body like someone flat-lining on an operating table. I treated the meeting like an interview I might do for work; he could have been a school superintendent or local politician. I wrote down the answers of this man who had conducted brain surgery on my father calmly, pressing my out-of-control shaking leg down with my free hand under the table. I felt snapped in half, but inside there were no tears, just a hollow shell.

This image of the three kings comes from subversify.com

My dad quietly told the chaplain that with the Lord’s help he would fight this cancer and he would win. It was a grand, heroic moment not recorded in any textbook, but etched in my heart.

So I’ve been teaching my daughter’s religion classes since that time and all the while feeling a sense of emptiness and hypocrisy. Add to that an increasing disappointment in seemingly inflexible dogma and a repeatedly canned homily. I was "in the corner losing my religion” and so desperately missing it.

And that’s not what I wanted. So last Sunday I drove to my old parish 25 minutes away from my house, where I went during my college years when my faith felt the strongest. As I stood in the parish hall of the church where I was married the priest began his homily. He talked about the meaning of the Feast of the Epiphany.

“Sometimes our journey is long and difficult, but still we are compelled to find the Christ child,” he said.

And I couldn't help crying from a sense of relief.


6 comments:

Chris Ferraro said...

Hi Loren. I don't often get to read your column but today I did. Thank you for sharing your faith journey. Sorry to hear about your dad - hope he is doing ok. I'm glad to hear you had a good moment at St. Pat's. There are many good memories for me there as well.

Peace,
Chris

Loren Christie said...

Hi Chris. You are a part of my good memories at St. Pat's. Thank you for visiting here.

ubsueg said...

Keep writing Loren. It is good for your soul. Remember you are not alone in your journey of faith. We love you
Aunt Sue

Loren Christie said...

Thank you for visiting here Aunt Sue and your comment means a lot to me. Some of these blog posts, especially the faith ones, feel like vomit- sorry for the gross simile, but I always feel better after writing. I love you too.

Putz said...

why is it that we always {some} feel better after writing even if they aren't even faith words????i don't have n audience any more but i feel wonderful with people like loren<>><<>you are so with it all the time, well so is my wife tooooo, lucky people we two

Loren Christie said...

If you say I'm "with it" then I must be.:)

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.

Fondly,

Loren Christie

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