It's been a year. A year spent trying to discern where I am supposed to go, discovering who I am going to be when I grow up. The instant I knew things were changing (if I can really narrow it to one) was the moment the Gospel lesson being read on a Sunday about a year ago. That old story about Thomas - needing to see before he could believe. I was moved to tears listening to the story that day. And I felt pushed to action. I could no longer deny that life had to change, and change drastically. And it has. If I know nothing else, I know this much.
I left a toxic, destructive marriage. And unfortunately I really believed for a moment that I was over that experience - that I had indeed "moved on." In fact, I see clearly now I have a ways to go. The anger, sadness, pain of it all still overwhelms me some days. I am not "over it." In fact, all the honesty I've been trying in the past month has sucked me into some sort of vortex. I'm having difficulty concentrating, struggling at work and feeling down. Releasing the denial of the past 10 years has overwhelmed me. I feel close to tears a lot. And I'm having difficulty communicating how I feel to people around me. I'm writing more lately. And talking less. Perhaps it's time for that.
Today, I feel no closer to discovering what it is Thomas was trying to teach me a year ago . But perhaps that's not fair. I heard this Gospel again recently. And while I was still moved to tears, I was gently reminded that while Thomas couldn't get there - not on his own - that God still met him where he was. And that there was no condemnation for Thomas. Jesus didn't kick him out of the club because he was struggling with it all. My faith, I've discovered, is still at its core shaken, but not broken. I still believe there is a God. I still believe that God wants relationship. I still believe I want relationship with God. These certainties are about the only ones I've got right now. But, maybe, just maybe, these are enough for now. Rather than feeling as if some sort of metaphorical biological clock is ticking for me, and that if I don't have some pretty monumental decisions made by tomorrow, then I'm not accomplishing what I set out to accomplish; I feel strongly that whatever path is set before me, I'm going to walk it. And that I won't walk alone. And despite all my misgivings about faith, life and my place in it, there is still so much beauty in the world. There is still laughter. There is still indescribable joy.
I jokingly commented to someone today that "it's all a process." I was joking because that phrase has become so cliche these days. We say everything "is a process." But, we don't really mean it. We don't really give ourselves (or those we love) room to grieve. Room to just be sad. Room to feel a little off. Oftentimes what we really mean when we say this is "Gee, I'm hoping this part is over soon. Maybe if I say it's all a process then this part will pass and I can move on." But this is largely the lesson I have learned from this past year.
For Thomas his journey certainly didn't end in that room feeling the scars in Jesus's hands. No, for him life continued on, and he was forever affected by this man. He couldn't undo what he had seen, what he had lived with Jesus. He was deeply affected - and his hurt as evidenced by his refusal to believe - was evident, even palpable. I'm sure if Thomas had thought of it, he would have told us, "it's a process." This thing called faith - hope - love. All are in process. While I yearn for the answers, I have come to accept that for whatever reasons they are not clear to me today. I have to believe God is still with me. That is really all there is say. All I know for sure at this moment.