This has been a rough year.
I was at the top of my game. Syndication going well. Published author. Travel writer. Catholic Liaison for Israel. Yes, Israel.
Traveling Catholic speaker. Keynotes and everything.
And wham. PTSD. Quit my job. I had stopped writing the year before–all but the blog. I still traveled to Israel, but on my own, a kind of personal and mostly quiet retreat.
The speaking engagements kept coming. And the Holy Spirit always showed up.
But in between, I was dry. No. That’s not quite right. I was broken. Hurt. Wounded.
I didn’t faint and collapse in the middle of the fifth inning, but it sure seemed like it. It seemed like they whisked me off the field and I found myself on the bench, disoriented, a little incoherent, but wanting to brush aside their arms and say, put me in. Come on. I’m okay. Just put me back in.
Only I wasn’t okay.
I wrote about this in my book. One day, I would be out of the Catholic hustle and bustle. God would call me to “higher elevations,” I wrote, “where the crowds don’t gather but the view is amazing.”
Only the view didn’t seem so amazing.
I just wanted to go back to what I knew. The familiar. And being busy made me feel like God liked me at least a little. He took joy in using me.
“Just sit there for a while. I’m taking you out of the game. Cheer on your teammates all you want. But there is no way you are going back out there for a while.”
That’s what it is like when you are a writer and you have absolutely nothing to write. You love the Eucharist, but you can’t seem to get yourself to be around people.
You go to Mass on Sunday and Adoration because there is nobody there but you and the Lord. The rest has become practically impossible.
You aren’t depressed.
At least you don’t think that’s it.
Only God knows. So He is telling you to sit there on that bench. It’s like you have the “Mysterious Malady” that some baseball players get. You suddenly can’t do all the things you once did. You don’t have the it-factor anymore.
Just fix me and put me back in. But that’s no good. That won’t work.
In the spiritual realm, God needs to spend some time on you, and you need to let Him do it. It isn’t that you are suddenly ill, you were a little screwed up the whole time. The Mysterious Malady is not so mysterious.
Once it gets quiet, once you are pulled out of the game for a bit, you begin to see the wounds. You remember the day a young man had a knife and sexually molested you. You realize it made you fear anyone who could overpower you.
You remember the nights your husband in the non-Sacramental marriage waited for you to fall asleep so he could take you without asking. You think of the night he did it on purpose because he knew you were in the middle of your cycle and you would get pregnant. He did it to control and manipulate fate – and you. You became angry when anyone did things behind your back that seemed to take advantage of you or sabotage your life in any way.
You have trust issues.
Yet you say, Jesus, I trust in You.
Let’s get to that. Let’s analyze it for a while.
And the only way to do that is to take away everything that keeps you busy — until you see.
Practice setting good boundaries on everyone you need to, except Jesus Christ. Learn that He can be trusted…even in the quiet. Even when writer’s block shows up for a whole year. Even when you aren’t sure about anything except Jesus and His Church.
You get back to your motel room, shut the door, and cry. Still wearing the team uniform, you stumble to the mirror.
I have a few wounds.
But the good news is that the coach is also the ultimate healer. He knows how to heal these wounds, and He also wants to put you back in more than you want to get back into the game.
You sit on a chair. Alone.
And then someone knocks on the door. The healer wants to come in. And you realize you desperately want that, too.