Unexpected Invitations

It has been almost two months that I have been in the dark. I have been there before. It is dark and lonely and void of God’s presence, at least to those of us who live there. 

I have spent the time twisting and turning and writhing to find my place. Saying to myself, this is part of the journey, allowing myself to accept the time in the desert. But this time felt different. In the deserts that I have experienced before it was not God’s presence that was lacking but my own. I wouldn’t say I was alone this time. I would say that the black hole that consumed me was something beyond me. Something I had never experienced.

It wasn’t until a trip to the Blessed Sacrament that I cried out. I could not contain it. I went there specifically to cry and to beg God to come back to me, even though I know that he never left. But this daunting darkness consumed me and I hoped it wasn’t what Mother Teresa had experienced. I am no saint and I knew that I was not ready for all of that. I asked God in one breath to show up. I thought how nice it would be if the lights went dark in that chapel. Then they did. Then Father walked in. 1- God, Melissa-0.

And I left that place full of hope, knowing that in that tiny prayer, I could expect God to answer. That a single visit in the darkness could bring light. That things, they could change.

It was 5:30 am when my eyes opened. I was at peace, different from my emotional outcry the day before. I needed a good meditative piece to read and I thought of Elizabeth Scalia and checked aleteia. There it was staring me in the face- the reason for my darkness.

The piece was entitled, Are all these sexual abuse revelations triggering you? They are Me! I read it quick and with bated breath. That there could be another human on earth who could be sent to decipher my pain. We forget about one another. We don’t take the time to listen to one another. We are wild beasts ravaging around this crazy world. 

It was that sentence, the one that freed me. The one that diagnosed me. The one that let me out of my prison sentence. Two months hard labor in the darkness had been two months too long. But the words, her words, brought that first ray of light.

if you are lately feeling out of sorts — if you are feeling unaccountably sad, moody, unfocused, angry,  ashamed — if you have that cloud hovering over you, consider that perhaps you are being triggered, all subconsciously.

The weight of the Weinsteins and the Matt Lauer’s was all-consuming. The women who were getting justice while I was not. The lingering effects of sexual abuse that seep in like the bite from a poisonous snake as you slowly die without even realizing it. It is a deadly poison and a scary thought to think that you are dying and nobody has noticed. Oh how well we as victims can hide the pain.

So I pass Elizabeth’s message on to you. For those who have been living in a subconscious darkness. For predators. For the empathetic who are effected by the headlines. And for my brothers and sisters who still suffer the vile effects of sexual abuse. Know that God hasn’t left you. He is present, we need only move away the cloud.

What can I do?

The End Times

I have seen the “end times” as a recurring theme in this community. So before writing any more I want to admit to a huge frustration with the topic of the “end times”.  Only because I am living in the “now times”.  I cannot live in the “end times” – only the “now times”.  The now times like today and a selection of news items scanned in less than 20 minutes.

The Nile(s).  Historically (and today) a source of water for several countries. Yet increasingly fought over politically. Population increase, commercial and industrial needs, waste and sewage dumping, political leverage within and across countries in that region.

Weinstein.  A power magnate sought and feted.  The “what goes in Hollywood stays in Hollywood” now a feeding frenzy of “what goes in Hollywood damaged me and I want the world to know”.  Yet another abuse of power accepted because that’s “how they do things around here” (and because which aspiring wannabee will choose to be consigned to anonymity rather than celeb status).

Child Welfare Services (England and Wales).  Once again at crisis point.  Once again too many cases, too much workload, not enough resources.  90 children a day being taken into care.  Kids slipping through the net.  Yet no mention of parents who have created life having any responsibility.  That ownership has been quietly acquired by the State.

Prisons.  Same as for Child Welfare Services.  Yet no one is asking why the prisons require so many staff (whose numbers have been cut).  Why so many human beings need to be locked-up out of sight and mind, until they hit the news and their frustration is used to bang the drum of Government cuts leading to unsafe prisons.

Brexit.  The interminable politicking and showmanship – devoid of humanity – rumbling on.  Business as usual with leaks and whispers and “it’s them not us”.  No one wishing to connect – each side wishing to win (whatever that means).

Trump.  The world’s unhealthy obsession with nitpicking  celeb status.  This time Melania and Ivana.   Now a “first lady fight”.  The “fluff in my belly-button” stuff – because oh, how we like to topple those we think (or everyone else thinks) should be toppled.

And yet the end times tea-leaf-readers look for the “Evil One” and whether the “Evil One” is ticking the right tick-boxes yet (as described in the bible).

And yet if I was the “Evil One” why would I be so predictable … ?

I might infuse the mechanism of state with increasing complacency.  I might start with the “thin end of the wedge” so no one notices.  I might use a financial crisis – I might encourage making easy money available to all – I might (when the inevitable crash comes – again) encourage two targets of blame: individuals like you and me (because we all like easy money – and we all took it – so we might hate the bankers – but we know deep down that we are as much to blame), or the bankers rather than you and me – because they were growing fat off my loans and mortgage repayments (that I could not – so did not repay) – and they took our houses and lives – so they deserve everything they get.

And I might also encourage this global digital connectivity through social media.  Meaning that anything anywhere brings instant opinion and disgust (in less than 141 characters).  Until the next voyeur spectacle – the next cough – the next sneeze – the next “I am offended” trending topic.  Just how distracting is that?

Because a “side benefit” is that what happens between me and my neighbour(s) can be ignored.  Because that would mean speaking face-to-face with the possibility of hassle – looking silly  – being told something I could not answer (whilst still looking good).  Far easier to diminish my neighbour with a meaningful “Some PEOPLE!” on social meeja!

I might just encourage individual relationship with greed.  Because how effective has all “this” become at immuning each one of us to the humanity of each situation?   And as a mechanism for “caring overload” (with the predictable “caring suspension” backlash) … just how effective this is.

All this cumulative noise … ?  Look at the “What can I do … ” response –

“I am just one person … we are just one small group … one tiny community … one small region … one country dependent on trade with others … one alliance who can’t afford to offend that trading bloc over there … one something (even on a global scale) unable to bring about change because … We have too much to lose.”

And when it comes to losing out – then “we” have a standard of living to protect.  “We” have too much to lose.  “We” would risk everything.  “We” should just let them get on with it – while “we” look after our own.  And that happy place for the “Evil One” now reaches into so much of our living.  So any list I propose is sure to offend many who will respond with “How very dare you!

The end times?

Is that not just part of the “bigger picture” distraction?


And why here?  Why “this” on Church Set Free?

Because I think “The Church” (not buildings and institutions but “us”) is more and more and more in and of this world – which I see expressed (more and more) as …

“I am just one person … we are just one small group … one tiny community … one small region … one small church … one denomination … one something (even on a global scale) unable to bring about real change because … We are not enough. I am not enough.”  

That’s why.