April: A Month Of Personal Discoveries And Insights
April has a history of being a time of stunning discoveries and tumultuous insights for me. Just being in that particular month is like walking through a cathedral – full of sacred nooks and crannies.
There was a three-day period in April 1999 that served as my own triduum – passion, death and resurrection. In a series of circumstances nearly impossible to explain, my ego had been stripped away and I tried walking around without it for a while. During April, I often visit the sites that marked that journey just as so many of my Catholic friends follow the Stations of the Cross. I stand on the stairs leading down to the Resurrection school cafeteria; I drive by a house on Caren Drive and then past a medical building on the corner of Mulberry and Southeast 4th Street. I end up in the Dollar Tree parking lot, where I park my vehicle and wander around, chasing a memory that is as impossible to catch as it is to forget.
After three days of living as a resurrected being in that April of 1999, I chose to relinquish my new life. Living with insight is excruciating in a society where blindness is the norm. Like Jesus standing in the Jordan River, I had clearly experienced God proclaiming “This is my beloved child in whom I am well pleased” – about me. And at that moment I had realized that when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and He realized that God was in Him, that He was one with the Father, He immediately realized that God was also in everyone – that everyone was one with the Father. And His overwhelming passion became to share that Good News publicly with the human race and to share it privately with me.
I suddenly realized that I had spent all my adult life oppressed by other people’s opinions. Blinded by my own self-doubt, I had been held captive by society and my shallow understanding of religion. Now suddenly, I was so deeply in touch with my authentic self as a spiritual being (a child of God) that all I wanted to do was race around setting people free. Like Oprah giving away cars, I wanted to point at passersby and declare, “You’re a child of God! And you’re a child of God! And you’re a child of God!” I felt like Moses standing barefoot in front of a Burning Bush, being ordered to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land.
There is always a “but,” isn’t there? And “but” never leads anywhere exciting. “But” always prods us to look back over our shoulders, begin to doubt and begin to fear.
But I had three young children at the time. I had a husband who had never asked for a resurrected wife. I had a whole community of people at my church who knew and loved the old version of me and would not have recognized this new me any more than the disciples recognized the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus.
I realized I could not stay in that new life without giving up my social status and my reputation and many of my treasured relationships. Most haunting of all, I realized I could not stay in that new life without disrupting the lives of people I loved. Unlike Abraham, I was not willing to listen to God if it meant sacrificing my children – even if it only meant sacrificing their social security.
And so, I declined the mission at that time. Or I should say, I postponed accepting the invitation.
“Got to raise these kids, first,” I said to God. “Got to be a good wife and mother and an acceptable Catholic. Hang on a second. I’ll be right back. ”
So here I am again in April – 20 years later. And I think I’m ready to live in the freedom of the child of God that I AM. s