I slipped in to church four minutes before it started and found a comforting spot between my parents and my brothers. I knelt down to pray for a moment, my head throbbing from one of the frequent headaches I seem to get lately. Tension was in my heart, too, as I fought against thoughts and emotions that threatened to overtake me--many of them planted there by the Evil One, no doubt.
Why am I here? Where is God in all of this and what is His plan? Am I doing something wrong?
Unanswerable questions are the worst, but they seem to be the ones that surface when we're in pain. In a brief moment, I see the past few years...a broken engagement, polycystic ovarian syndrome, major surgery across the country. The fight for joy, for growth, for healing in so many areas. The beauty that came from ashes and pain. Renewed faith. Falling in love again. Walking on stable ground once again...yes, even dancing.
Only to find out the surgery didn't work. That the dream-come-true of this man I loved was simply that--a dream. The fight for joy, for hope, begins again...but I'm battle weary.
And if I'm going to be real...a little angry sometimes.
I don't want to be. But I feel it every once in a while, in a little corner of my heart. Hurt. Doubt. Questioning. And a hint of anger. Yet I know that emotions are just feelings. It's what I chose to do with them. So I keep praying--even if I just sit there sometimes. And I keep choosing trust--hoping the feelings of joy and hope will come back in time. That He will be faithful once again. I choose to come to church tonight.
I kneel there, with all these thoughts and emotions swirling in the few minutes before Mass starts.
And I tell Him, with an odd mix of defiance and pleading, that after all of this...
"I'm still here, God."
I want Him to know. The effort it takes to follow Him some days. I want Him to remind me that it's worth it.
And then I hear His voice in my heart, loud and clear. His response melts away my stubbornness, my loneliness, my doubt. It's exactly what my heart was needing--begging--to hear, though I didn't know it until then.
"So am I."