Today is the one year anniversary of my Confirmation into the Catholic Church. Hallelujah!
I began a long and winding post about how and why I received the Sacrament, but realized, while my story is unique to me in its details, it is not unique to me in its universality. I simply struggled with the same heartbreak and emptiness that we all have. I truly believe that - we are all made with this inner compass which seeks unceasingly for the divine. How we orient that compass as we seek - toward drugs and alcohol, by seeking attention, staying in bad relationships (there's an endless number of ways, really) - is what differs from person to person and, ultimately, determines your level of happiness. You will always seek, but you will never be happy anywhere but in the light of God. That's it.
What surprised me the most was not just how badly I wanted to draw closer to God, but how compliant I was. It was as if I was getting little promptings saying, "Ok, do this - attend this church. Now do this: go to RCIA. And now this..." and I did it. I did willingly, gladly, because all of who I thought I was, was nothing. It did not exist. The real me, whoever that was, was not in my relationship that I had ended, it was not in the person I had loved, it was not in the future I had imagined for myself, or all the millions of little heartbreaks and disappointments I had gathered up around myself. All of that had vanished. The little cocoon of unreality I have been living in was stripped away and I had what felt like nothing left. I was positively limping along, and ran blindly to the church like a child crying to its mother.
So I went to Mass, and I went to RCIA, willingly, obediently, hungrily. It's almost silly to me now - how obvious this all is. When we stop fighting God's will is when everything falls into place. But, you must learn that lesson before you can live it.
I began to see small chinks of light breaking through the blackness as I opened myself up to God. Perhaps then I realized, really, that this was the process of falling in love - truly falling in love - with the thing that was in front of me all along. How unexpected! The Church of my family, the Church I grew up in and turned my back on, just out of ignorance, had all the answers I could have ever needed. The Church that had answers to questions I hadn't even thought of. I began to understand Catholic teaching holistically - from the perspective that God wants us all to be our real, true selves the way He made us, and that this is the same thing as "holiness." To be close to God is to love oneself. That just being is enough because God created us. That we are here to get ourselves and others to Heaven, and that this is an absolute blessing. That God knows us better than we or any other person every will, and that He so greatly desires our happiness. And all of these things, all of them taken together, beat so loudly and wonderfully in my heart because I was just beginning to understand what was truly real.
If you'd like the whole story, I will gladly give it to you. I do not think you need it, though. What you need to know is that opening oneself to God is the easiest thing, the hardest thing, the best thing. I am the same person I was a year ago - but I am so much better, because I am so much more myself. I thank God for giving me a chance to look at my life and to slowly and lovingly draw me out of myself. Matthew Kelly always talks about our mission to become "the best versions of ourselves." That is what being Catholic means; that is holiness, that is sainthood and nirvana.
The God who created Jupiter and the oceans also created you. And you are the most important part of all His creation. Who are you? What is beating in your heart and calling you?