So many of my stories begin with those words. I have an incredibly weird memory, especially for numbers and dates.
Sometimes I wonder if how much I dwell on the past is healthy. Have I moved forward from this or that event? Do I recognize the reality of the present moment? This FOCUS blog post speaks of the importance of memory in our prayer. God allows us to reexperience events, memories, places, and people. What a gift!
One year ago today, I was in Italy. I was in a small town called Manoppello, viewing the veil that was laid on Jesus’s face in the tomb. I was standing on the beach at the Adriatic Sea, looking out at the vast waters and marveling at God’s hugeness. I was sobbing in Mass back in Rome, amazed at the amount of lies I had allowed to creep into my heart and mind. I was praising God for His ability to speak to me in the readings during that same Mass. I was astounded by the fact that no matter how we differ or who we’ve been hurt by, we all come together in the Eucharist. I was laughing at our final dinner, drinking delicious red wine and eating a giant hunk of cooked cheese (don’t ask). I was traipsing through the streets of Rome at midnight to finally see the Trevi fountain and eating my final gelato of the trip.
One year ago today, I was hurt, but one year ago today, God had already begun healing those very same wounds.
He healed hurtful words with the kind words of others. He healed being mistreated with a friend buying me a bag of crispy m&ms (aka the best candy in existence). He cast out the darkness in my heart with the words of St. Paul, “Let no one deceive you with empty arguments… Now you are light in the Lord… Christ will give you light,” Ephesians 5:6,8,14.
He loved me in my smallness, my woundedness, my brokenness.
One year ago today, I ended my final journal entry in Rome. It ended with these words: “So it was a wonderful last day despite how bad the devil tried to make it. So HA!”
This Holy Week, as we approach the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, I urge you to bring something that you’re holding back from Him – some wound (big or small), an unpleasant memory, a habitual sin – and allow Him to begin healing it. Let Him love you in your smallness. Bring Him your past and let Him remind you of His presence.
Have a blessed Holy Week!