This is a rare post because it is very personal, and largely un promotional of "Misch" as a savvy RN with a sharp comic wit. Proceed with compassion and caution.
I mentioned recently that my Lenten journey was less than successful this year. After admitting it out loud I upped the stakes a little bit, and tried to find the peace and love that has centered my life in the past.
As I drew Jesus closer in my prayer life, I became happier, healthier and more fun to be around. I stopped feeling burned out at work and began reaching out to old friends. Clearly, my faith had needed some serious healing.
Unfortunately, inspired by this change in myself, during Holy Week I dove head first into a bunch of theology which I found I simply do not have the support systems to be dealing with.
Easter, which is the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus and the Redemption of humanity through His rising, is supposed to be a day of great joy and hope.
And, it was. But with it came what felt like centuries worth of anxiety and bad feelings.
I was visiting family all day long, and tried to focus on how good it was to be with loved ones. I tried to generate the happiness that spirituality usually brings to me. But anxiety kept building up inside me. Instead of feeling awake and joyful in the Risen Lord, I went to bed at 7:30pm just to escape my thoughts.
As of right now I am in the process of seeking help from several friends in various doctrines.
I have prided myself since leaving college at not having a home parish. I have bragged about how I sometimes go an entire month without mass in the same place two weeks in a row. I go every week, but count several different locations as "my church," depending on the zip code. It's because I refuse to forfeit weekly mass to my hectic schedule as a performer and nurse. It's a system that has for the past two years allowed me to never feel cut off from the Sabbath day even in the craziest of weekends.
But now I find that this system, although convenient, has robbed me of the very thing church was made for. Community.
I have questions. Big questions. Questions that are keeping me awake all night long.
And no one to field them.
It will never be a question for me whether God exists or not. Nor will I question the Divinity of Jesus. Right now, more than almost ever in my life I am questioning the idea of church, religion, and the Bible.
It has happened before. It's not new news. I've struggled a long time with some of the same issues.
People closest to me will remember some of the biggest times of spiritual wrestling in my life. When I was in high school I almost didn't become confirmed*. In college, sophomore year most people will remember how I wanted to become a nun. I even went to a retreat at a convent for women my age thinking of the same commitment. I think fewer people will remember that the very same year I almost left the Catholic Church because I thought women should be ordained. (A good friend of mine who is now a priest talked me down from that one.) After I found peace in my decisions to neither leave the Church nor become a nun my life was calm for a while. Another struggle came junior year.
I don't see myself as particularly strong because of these battles. I can never be sure if I've won over doubt or just silenced a snooze button. In the end I'm mostly just relieved to have the joy of believing without fear or anxiety back in my life.
I am sharing this with you for two reasons. One is so that you can relate.
In the past I have been scared of sharing what I consider spiritual weakness with others. I felt they'd then doubt my leadership in the Church, or doubt my ability to help them with their own spiritual needs. But now I know that it is only through our weaknesses that God can make us strong. I believe very strongly in God. But I know something in my life is being called to change, and I don't know what it is. And if knowing that I'm going through this helps you, then it is good to share it.
The other reason is to try to branch out my community more. If you pray, please keep my troubled heart in your prayers. If you don't pray and you'd like to sit and logic some things out with me, I'd be up for that too. I believe we are called to Faith which means sometimes walking blindly. But it never means walking unthinkingly. It has been a combination of my mind and my heart which has brought me here through God's grace. And that is how I will move forward again.
* My parents told me that it was my choice to make and they'd love and accept me either way which was very wise. It has prepared me for a lifetime of making informed decisions for myself.