Thursday, May 3, 2012
I'd like to say that I completely got over that, but I'd be lying. I have had enough therapy, not to mention having gained at least some maturity over the years, that I have an appreciation for self-reflection, for self-differentiation, for recalling one's words and deeds for the purpose of dealing with one's stuff. I know a lot more now about personal accountability and staying relatively calm in the face of sharp emotion and the like.
But I'm not over it. I still find myself tending towards beating myself up for a mistake or second-guessing myself so much that I can't be present to what I need to be present to. Sometimes I still can't let myself off the hook (even after making amends, if necessary) and move on. Sometimes I'm still pretty defensive.
When I was discerning my call to the priesthood, and a wise mentor told me that what they/we were looking for in that process was not faults that must be eliminated but the stumbling blocks we have repeatedly come up against. She said that these were things that we may well keep stumbling over for all our lives. The point was to recognize them as our particular stumbling blocks and learn what to do when we come upon them yet again. We weren't expected to be perfect. We were expected to be self-aware.
Well, great. That was truly helpful, and I have come a long way. But sometimes I am still unaware, blind, blind-sided by some old bugaboo.
The thing I try to remember (with varying degrees of success) is that God loves me anyway. That I may need to right a wrong or make amends or fix something, but I don't have to win God's love. My salvation is not at stake if I mess up, if I fall in the trap I "should have known" was out there.
Knowing that I am loved anyway gives me the courage to look at myself and how I am in the world without being afraid of what I will see. We are made in the image of God, and what I will see is connected to the Divine somehow, if I can make space for God and God's claim on my life in the midst of my vortex of self-criticism. God is there in the mess of my mess, loving me anyway. If nothing else, I want to be able to see that, always, in my self-reflection.