Sunday afternoon, after a morning of intense physical pain and into afternoon with it, came an unexpected resurrection.
It came in the form of a phone call, after a Lent that unfolded as one of the most painful ever, for this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit.
Mercy, it has been dark as darkest can be (thus far), and I don't even want to try to recall much more than this: It has been brutal.
Friday's culmination in crucifixion of my mind, emotions, body--with the bodily pain being less than the mental and emotional anguish. (Usually it is the body that suffers most, at least in this body that has suffered for nearly 32 years now.) My soul seemed at its closest to disintegration, ever.
Only the words of Fr. V who called from Nigeria at some point last week, kept me hanging on, or seemed so. Of course, it was His Real Presence, utilizing Fr. V in calling and saying what he said. Then the spiritual father calling on Saturday, reminding of the suffering of Lent, and that this is crucifying.
What was unexpected about a phone call being instrumental in my resurrection from the tremendous suffering of mind and heart, in particular, is that the phone call itself was unexpected, and the content was itself, also, quite painful. My yes, what was said was like hard slaps, or buckets of cold water thrown at my face.
However, even with what the other person was saying, that hurt so much, a strength while listening to the caller, kept growing within. I got my spine back, in effect. I could see clearly again--and clearly that I've been quite foolish.
After, I realized this was the resurrection I needed, and what would have been just more pain and sorrow, became a power of determined detachment. There was more awe in the reality of the miracle of the personalized resurrection and how God delivered it, than in the reality of the additional emotional and mental suffering that the caller's comments would have or should have evoked.
It was raw, was the resurrection I received--raw but stimulating, pungent but clearing the senses, like a crunchy dill pickle.
Yesterday I journeyed for a final time, to say a better good bye to the family. Yet more antagonistic comments were made after a most chilly reception that took awhile after arrival for the daughter to come downstairs. We managed; I prayed to be gracious, and the strength was given me to take the bits of barbs, and respond with honesty and kindness, and also keeping silent when the son-in-law had some tense and terse issues.
The last time to see them and my leaving on a better note, one of strength in humility and charity, is a gift from God. On the return to the hermitage, I dealt with the painful reality that our paths had grown farther apart, and we were going off in different directions now, after a rather stressful and painful three years of unknowns and awkwardness. The word "antagonistic" settled in to describe the retorts that would come my way, off and on.
While yesterday there remained the strength given with the resurrection Easter Sunday afternoon (I had been out weeding when the phone call came), this morning there was yet the reality of much sorrow. It is not pleasant to realize that someone we may love and trust and always felt very close with, congenial, a confidante, no longer was such but rather was more an antagonist or adversary in some aspects--well, several aspects--and the relationship had grown apart.
What was most painful was to have to face the reality that the other person does not really "like" the hermit, nor enjoys the hermit, nor respects or reveres or admires the hermit, or the role the hermit has had for many years, as parent. In life, this happens when children become adults, marry, have children. They develop, they individuate out from their parents; they change views and adopt other ways of being and differ in interests, tastes, styles, likes and dislikes.
I realized that I there were so many aspects of my life that I could never discuss or share but had to mask off the bulk of my essence--which is not really that easy or entirely possible--so that it really was more exhausting and painful a balance to strike. I will not miss that exhaustion and pain. What I miss is how it used to be between us--and I'd never have dreamed, ever, that this particular one would not like nor love me, nor would be one to be less than kind.
This afternoon, I was able to continue weeding. On my return, I got a load of black bark mulch--finely ground--to continue on with efforts in the gardening process. Lay out cardboard, spread the mulch: It helps keep down weeds and enriches the soil. But my weeding is quite slow as the body is fatigued and pained physically. But while weeding, I did pray that the Lord heal my very wounded heart. I also prayed for the ways in which I surely have caused hurt for the other, and also for the other to not let the hurt cause such a change in attitude or kindness.
Well, healing does take time. A resurrection occurs suddenly and shifts the entire being; but there is time between resurrection and ascension.
So this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit waits. It will take time, also, for the very de-conditioned physical body to build up strength again. Today I tripped on a garden tool when walking to get another armload of vegetable stalks from last season, in preparation for seed-planting. I fell to the ground and fortunately went into a kind of roll which helped break the fall's force. A knee and wrist felt it, though.
I thought about St. Paul falling to the ground in his major conversion. Ah, but Pentecost is a ways off. Yet I will consider the fall as a reminder of the spiritual realm being lived out in our lives in very real and specific manner.
There is progress, always! Lent is past, the crucifixion completed, this time. Easter has come, bringing the resurrection. I'm so thankful. A bit of residual sorrow and fatigue, I suppose, are not that surprising. We are human, after all, still.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love God above all things and one another as ourselves. He is risen! And hopefully we have risen a bit, as well, with Him.