The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

And just who does God mean for me to be exactly?

April 29th marked the Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena and, accordingly, Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with quotes from this sainted lady.  Probably the most popular was this one:
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
I'm a lover of quotes and this gem from St. Cat is part of my little collection of words of wisdom.  What I like about quotes and snippets is that you can always revisit them for new meaning and insight.  I don't feel I ever quite arrive at a quote or depart from it the same time, every time.
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
These words became a sort of "ear worm" for the rest of that Monday and for a few days after.  I finally packed them away again when I became rather frustrated and distraught over the fact that I had no idea who God means for me to be.  I mean, yes, most of the intentions of my life are quite obvious, wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, friend...  Though sometimes, even these easy to spot descriptions are hard for me to imagine being part of God's plan for me.  I don't think God planned for me to become so frustrated with my kids that thoughts of duct taping them to the wall cross my mind.  Thus I began my steps down into the big "D's" from this one little quote... doubt, depression, despair, disillusionment, and ultimately hovering just inches apart from despair.  Aside from the monikers listed above, who am I supposed to be?

I've struggled with these ideas often in the past couple of years, frustrated over my journey of healing, but yet still hiding this big secret from most aspects of my life.  I could talk for hours about the mercy and forgiveness I have found since facing my past head on, but outside of this blog, I don't really talk about it.  I haven't used my new found powers for any real good.  I've been asking myself for a while now, what next?  I don't have an answer yet.  I've tried asking the same of God.  I've no answer yet.  When I'm frustrated and the depression is winning, I often start to lament ever starting this journey in the first place.  Wasn't I so much better off before when abortion wasn't part of my life in this way? Wasn't I happier? Wasn't I fun to be around?  The fact is I don't know for sure because I don't remember that person very well.  This has become who I am, but I fear the scale has tipped too far in the other direction.  Now I'm all abortion and nothing else, aren't I?

So back to setting the world on fire.

Who does God mean for me to be?  Is this all there is?  Full time wife and mother, part time employee?  I have no career or grand accomplishments to boast about.  I haven't written the great American novel.  I haven't done a whole heck of a lot actually in the last ten years or so.  Instead of moving toward some thing bigger, better, I've been in a kind of holding pattern just managing the day to day while it seems everyone else's life has some kind of inertia quality that I haven't attained.  I'm not sure I ever wanted that, however.  Yes, I have a college degree, experience, a nice applicable resume, but really all I wanted to do and still want to do is be at home and take care of my husband and kids.  There is not a lot of support for that idea.  It's also in conflict with what I must do, which is work at least part time to make ends meet.  I'm not sure I've ever really found peace with the facts of my life such as they have been. 

But, what else does God mean for me to be?  I'm wondering if I'm grieving, in some way, the "old" me.  The me before this journey.  I'm wondering if I'm lamenting who I could be if I didn't have this big secret. I think I grieve for the person I would have become had I not had an abortion at all.  I constantly question and doubt all of my choices and wonder if I've made a huge mistake in not pursuing a career and money and sent my kids to daycare so I cold work full time.  Everyone else does it.   Then, I become frustrated because I have an image in my mind of what I'm supposed to be and I'm too weak and scared to be so.  I'm frustrated because maybe I'm over thinking all of this and I already am who God means me to be - and boy am I boring.  How am I supposed to set the world on fire this way?

Perhaps now is not the best time to hash this out as I'm still fighting the depression and the constant lump in my throat and the tears the seem to be constantly at the ready.  I know I'm not the first or only human who has asked these questions, but I feel awfully alone in spite of that knowledge.  Depression is a very lonely and desolate place and you wind up breaking your own heart every minute of the day when you can see the swath of glorious light just beyond your reach or step, and even though no one and no thing is holding you down in the dark, you remain.  I stay here.  I'm a functioning depressive.  I can cook and clean and care for my children.  I can even make it look as though there is not a thing wrong with me all the while mulling over a dramatic demise.  I'm pretty sure this is not who God means for me to be.  Maybe all I am meant to be is a wife and mother, but this darkness that surrounds me can't be part of that plan.
 


9 comments:

  1. Oh, dear friend. I am so sorry. You are right that darkness surrounding you is not part of God's plan for you. He desires an intimacy with you.

    Perhaps this sounds weird, but what immediately sprung to my mind is a spiritual program of prayer and discernment that has been the one thing in my life from which I've seen the most incredible, incredible spiritual fruit. So much so that when I stopped doing the formation ten years ago, I knew one day I would have to come back (and I have recently, bringing all my friends with me, ha ha). It's a SOLT program (Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity), and it's called Plan of Life. You actually discern your own plan of life, meaning who God is calling you to be, specifically, in relationship to Him. It's amazing. It's very personal, but has implications for everything you do. It is NOT sophisticated and polished, a fact which normally would put me off, but it is so faithful and true that I am actually happy to humbly follow the "unpolished" formation. It's good for me to be humble, ha ha. Sanctity is more important than knowledge (and sanctity brings peace to the soul).

    Anyway, I apologize if this is just a tangent, and not relevant to any of the powerful, heart-wrenching things you have said in your post. Here is the link, just in case: http://www.solt.org/djm.html

    I will pray for you, my sister, as you discern!

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    1. Thank you so much for your prayers and suggestions... I'll have to check it out. Simple may be the way to go currently as I'm not sure I have the energy for much else.

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  2. Maybe you are being exactly what God intends for you to be right now..following His will minute to minute, offering Him your sufferings...so many saints did not do extraordinary things but are saints because they did the day to day things according to His will. How many women (and men) may be touched by you sharing your heart on this blog, which may be more or more pleasing to God than highly visible ministries. I know many in our ministry love your blog.

    Just because you are not public does not mean you are not working for the Lord. It may not be His will that you go public right now...not everyone is called to that. All that matters is that you do His will for YOU one day at a time.

    You're right, depression is tough and when you are in that pit it is hard to see anything above, but I just want you to know your blind faith, your moving forward in spite of what you feel, your sharing your heart and you r healing journey, is touching countless souls! Mine included!

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    1. as always, wise words Theresa. Thank you. I'm giving thought to the minute by minute approach as I'm feeling very overwhelmed. But on the flip side of that I begin to think that what I do minute by minute, day by day, is completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. No, it's not the right time for me to public about this - if ever. I approach certain people sometimes if I think my story may be of some use to them. Tomorrow I'm heading to the abortion clinic for a prayer vigil. I'm hoping that at least makes me feel useful. No one knows why I'm really there, but it doesn't matter.

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  3. That darkness thing - yeah, I can totally relate.

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  4. I understand too. at 60, now, my abortion is...over 20 years ago. yet so ever-present. If anything; as I 'grow' spiritually - it has become harder - as I understand the ever-present God, the ever-present soul of my child, the taking-away of this life - my own deep hollowness. but can there be hollowness amidst such pain, tears, anguish, remorse ? My life at times (daily...)strips down to this one, devestating moment. My own panic, fear, insistance on trying to hold onto a man who was pretty awful.
    I understand the tears you say are so close to the surface - and the depression that beckons. All I can say is - No, you are not alone, not at all, but this does not much help. In darkness we don't see God close by - we don't feel him close by - our self-condemnation obliterates the sun. I believe humility is the answer: humility to have faith(though we do not see/feel) that God Pities Us In Our Sorrow, and has Forgiven us though we do not forgive ourselves. Please say a prayer for me, as I will for you, for a break-through of this depression and sorrow. I can not visit your site very often, as I just cry.

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  5. I thank u for your honesty ... you have put words to the pain I feel inside ... being post abortive myself n not having anyone to talk to that understands has been lonely .... I know this may sound strange but your words bring me comfort... I look forward to following your blog

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  6. Knowing I'm not fully alone is ever helpful. It's very sad that we all must walk around feeling this way when most likely people in our lives every day are most likely suffering from the same sorrow and won't or can't or don't talk about it. Prayers for all of you.

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  7. In a world where people bury their sins and their guilt in order to fit into a one-dimensional society, don't you think there is true heroism in the fact that all you women who are facing your sins by looking at them straight in the eye, ie. Your abortions, you represent true courage?! Our Lord values this more than any achievement or any grand gesture you can do with your life.

    In the midst of your depression, you will not see this. But just know that the suffering you experience now will be the spark that Our Lord uses to help others and do His will.

    God uses us when we are at our weakest, because it is at our weakest we rely on Him the most. At our strongest we tend to rely on our own abilities and our pride. We are of no use to Him. God loves the weak. And although you don't see the power of your suffering, perhaps ask God for the encouragement and glimpse of inspiration to keep going.

    Your courage in facing your sins, humbles me, and inspires me to do the same.

    Your child in heaven is no longer suffering. He/she is praying for you in Heaven. Don't punish yourself anymore than our merciful Lords wants to punish you. Our Lord loves you and sees your remorse. And He accepts your contrite heart. Accept His forgiveness in return.

    God Bless you always.

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