In the United States we are celebrating Thanksgiving. It’s a great time to stop and express gratitude for the many blessings in our lives. It’s also a great chance for me to reflect on this day a few years ago.
I returned to lay life not long before Thanksgiving. It made the transition easier and harder. It was fun to be with my family, whom I missed very much while in religious life. However, it was challenging to be back during the holiday season. Many people assumed I was home visiting. It was difficult to know when to correct this assumption and when to roll with it.
One part of the long story about the founding of Leonie’s Longing takes place on that Thanksgiving Day. I attended Mass and the Gospel reading was The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac (Mk 5:1-20). It’s a memorable passage with shocking images.This is where the demons call themselves Legion and the poor man is bruising himself with stones. It concludes:
As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But he would not permit him but told him instead, “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.
I heard this passage in a completely new way after being in the convent. This man wanted to follow Jesus. He pleads! And Jesus said no. Instead, he sent him back to his family. It seems a bit crazy because it often appears that Jesus is trying so hard to get people to follow him. And yet this? It challenged me to reflect on my situation. Jesus is not rejecting this man; he simply has a different plan for him. Could it be possible that this is true for me too?
I had focused my hurt and sadness on what I had lost. I missed living with Jesus and my sisters. My future was uncertain and I had no idea what I would do next. The list goes on and on. These feelings are very real and I still experience them somewhat today. But it did not dawn on me that the Lord had something else in mind until I heard the above passage.Each passing year has brought me more #healing and wholeness. I am convinced that will be your experience as well if you aren't there yet. Click To Tweet
Each passing year has brought me more healing and wholeness. I am convinced that will be your experience as well if you aren’t there yet. You should grieve what you have lost. But also enjoy and appreciate the opportunities you have gained. If you need help starting a gratitude list, please send me a message. I am more than happy to help.
Finally, I’d like to express my thanks for you, dear reader! It’s a joy to hear from you and know that you love the site. I also want to thank our volunteers and donors; without your help, this would not be possible. And most importantly, thank you to Almighty God for this mysterious experience and work to which you have called us. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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I completely agree with this. When I first left I had nightmares. And as happy as I was to be with my family, I felt like I had failed: myself, my family, the Sisters, Jesus… It was a very bleak time. I didn’t know how life would work out – IF life would work out. But now, with about 8 years of hindsight, I see the progress in my health and I can find those things about which I can be extremely grateful, even in sadness, such as being with my dad when he died. And I now recognize that things the Lord said to me during my time in religious life reflect the work He was doing and has continued, back out in the world. It was hard. It took a long time. But I don’t think God is done with me, or any of us.
It’s helpful to read about your journey Theresa. It gives me hope at this time in my life, when I have so recently (11/28/20) returned from my brief, but completely life-impacting, time as a monk and have been experiencing the most grief I’ve ever experienced in my life . Thank you for sharing your words.