Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Knocked Off My Horse

On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground.  - Acts 9:3-4

I entered a week ago today as a postulant in the Daughters of St. Paul, and today was the first day that I could actually greet Jesus in the chapel with energy and light.

Almost immediately upon my entry I was struck down with a dizzying array of symptoms (literally) and spent most days in bed sleeping the day away and hoping for an end to the confusion and pain.

Things were so bad it crossed my mind that maybe I would not get better and it was the convent life that was making me sick. I imagined returning home, suitcase in hand, searching for Systems Analyst positions in Tulsa and settling in an apartment near Cherry Street, making my way to daily mass and recalling the time "I tried to become a nun" with fondness.

I was dizzy, exhausted, nauseous and had lost my balance, swaying from one side to another, often falling over on myself if I tried to genuflect or do some other necessary movement of the day.

Sr. Rebecca, our postulant formator, made the interesting connection between my symptoms and how Paul must have felt when he fell from his horse on the way to Damascus.  It truly was as if I had been knocked off my horse and could not recover my senses. I was not blind, like Paul was after his fall, but I did feel lost and confused as he must have, wondering when my life was going to begin again.

This connection to Paul made me reevaluate myself, how ready was I for this step in my life? It was not like I was completely off course, like Paul. It seemed like I was calm and collected, following God's will, but was I really?

As I lay in bed passing the hours, I realized one of the possible sources of this mystery illness. This summer, instead of dealing with the terror of entering postulancy I repressed it to maintain a calm exterior. I was not being realistic and facing the unfortunate fact that I was scared.

We all try to be "above" our human feelings at times in our lives. We really want to be ok with life, with another person, with changes and to follow our dreams with courage. But the truth is, we are not always ok. Life scares us. The future is unknown and that is always hard. We are not sure who is going to take care of us. We may be really angry with another person. We are not sure if we are going to be able to handle a situation. We are not sure if we really can forgive and continue to forgive or love someone and continue to love.  But, in the end, as I have learned, it is better to share your feelings with someone.

But first you have to face up to the basic fact that you feel them. I didn't even do that.

I truly was in denial of the fact that I was scared. I really did not want to deal with my fear this summer while I was enjoying time with my family so when feelings of anxiety cropped up I just neatly pressed them back down again.

"I can deal with this later, it's not that big of a deal," I reasoned.

Well, I guess it was. Or at least God thought so. At least it seems like He saw it necessary to put me in bed for a few days so I could deal with it whether I liked it or not.

So, now I return to life as normal and face up to the fact that I am SCARED! I admit it! I am human, I am weak. I cannot live this life without the grace of God and I am completely dependent on Him.

So please, as you go back to your lives today, take a little piece of advice with you. It is better to admit you feel something, than for your feelings to find another way out, morph into Muhammad Ali and knock you (or someone else) square in the face.


  1. Hello Theresa!
    Loved your blogging! Take courage from the words in chapel: Do Not Be Afraid, I am with You (Jesus)
    He says "You did not choose ME, rather I chose YOU!" And He will see you through the initial days of transition.
    God bless you... count on my prayers!
    Your Sister in Jesus
    Sr.Susan James

  2. Well thought out conclusion - Theresa - you know - sometimes it is just too painful to face up to things when we have a huge decision ahead of us or something happens that we just can't face at the moment and that is why God put the ability in us to go ahead and not see it and lets us put them on the back burner in denial until we actually can face them and think them through - God made us so complex with so many emotions and ways to deal with those emotions - so really - it's okay to wait a bit until you have the time and the place to face up to decisions - like you did with this one - there is never just one right decision - instead we evolve through life making our path by choosing which direction to go - don't worry too much about where you are going - follow your heart - know you are loved - feel peace in your heart where Jesus surely resides in you. Much Love, Aunt ME

  3. thanks so much Sr. Susan, that was one of the comforts when I was sick, just knowing that you all were praying for me.

    Aunt ME - What a wonderful thought and so true. often we look back on the past as if we should have done things differently but you are right we learn a lesson and move on and God loves us and works with whatever silly thing we chose to do and we can be peaceful as long as we are trying our best to follow Him.

  4. Ahhh... you're surrounded by TWO wonderful families now! What great input. Love you, sweetie and I'm SOOOO glad you're feeling better.


  5. Hi Theresa--really enjoying your blog and reading of your experiences. Thank you for sharing; it's so interesting and encouraging to learn of your journey. Loved the analogy to St. Paul's conversion- I've always loved reading it and have felt connected to it in the past. Praying for you and looking foreward to hearing of your life there.

  6. Thanks Chris, I hope I have time to update more in the future. Definitely have a post brewing in my head... Thanks for following and your prayers! Hope your beautiful family is doing well.