In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
It’s me – a mostly committed cradle Catholic. I don’t even know whether I’m complaining or petitioning – possibly both?
You’ve seen fit to make me an introvert: a book-lover, an alone-time person, a regular chill-at-home hermit. I’m confident in who I am and how society is often crumbling around me, from a faith point of view. You also made me feel consciously “single” since teenagehood. I’ve had (and have) friends but I’d never experienced a proper, loving or fulfilling romantic relationship.
In fact, I’d spent years lightly lamenting and questioning why my romantic endeavours had been so few and far between. I’d always said it would be nice to find a Catholic but that wasn’t some over-powering criterion. After so many years of pining, I reached equilibrium. I was more-or-less content with the state of affairs and was trusting You more with my path (romantically speaking).
Despite repeated online failures, I stuck at online dating. For the first time ever, 2017 saw You grace me with not only regular contact, but a real-life meet-up and a progression of dates! Of course, You’d know this would seem special to someone of my current life experience. You then choose to encourage/allow/make (delete as applicable) me start falling for this woman without me even realising. Then, she ends us. Months into dating, serving as a kindness, she ends us. Bad enough.
You know what’s worse? Ten thousand ants crawling all over you worse? If she breaks things off claiming I’m a saint. Apparently, I’m attractive, gentlemanly, kind, thoughtful, blah, blah, blah. So she can see the value in me/dating me. This is no plain and simple rejection. In fact, she goes as far as saying, “If there were a switch, I’d flip it.” What?! So I’m attracted to her, by Your doing but she’s not attracted to me also by Your doing?! Do you see how this is playing out in my mind?
You’ll know from my many prayers that I’m not actually angry at You. Rather, I’m angry at why it happened or why You ordained it to be so, or why You allowed it to happen in the manner it did. As a Catholic, I’ve been taught life includes suffering – in fact, we’re taught to embrace it as if to echo Christ’s suffering. No problem with that. Because all suffering has a reason and that’s what makes it bearable. Christ died explicitly for mankind. Any other suffering I’ve endured I’ve been able to see the value, point or purpose to my life/experiences. Generally, they help you grow as a person.
Not this time though. There’s literally nothing I can take away from this as useful. I didn’t learn anything valuable about dating, women, or myself. All I learnt is that it’s possible to fall quickly for someone and that your heart being on a plate instead of inside your ribcage is a pretty dangerous position to be in. What have been the effects? Mental over-analysis? Frantic prayers? Near-breakdowns? Constant questioning? And yet, at no point, on a human or divine level, has there been any gift of understanding. Not a single speck. If I did something wrong then either You or the lady in question could make me realise. That’s not happening so, like the woman herself said, I haven’t done anything to cause this and shouldn’t change.
Right. So that brings me right around again to You.
Option A: You threw us together, encouraged me, heard all my many prayers of thanksgiving and knew/still planned to end it, crushing my soul for some hitherto unidentified reason.
Option B: You threw us together, encouraged me, heard all my prayers because you wanted something there but human free will intervened.
Plainly, I don’t like Option A because it’s not even Old Testament God – that’s Greek mythology level, playing with people as pawns. Option B breaks my heart because it would explain why I feel so strongly and hurt so much but I find myself pretty powerless. If it’s this one, my prayers need answering in some form!
I’ve been teaching Ben Johnson’s “My First Sonne” to classes recently in which he laments the loss of his first-born to plague. The crux is that instead of cursing You, he blames his own sin of placing his son (a worldly creation) above You in his life. This started to scare me and wonder if my situation correlated. An empty relief as it doesn’t. As soon as things were stabilising (from back in March), I was praying morning and night prayers of thanks; these were layered with pleas for intercessions from St. Raphael, St. Jude and St. Paul among others. So, I had most definitely placed my faith at the core of my life, yet above my newly found lady. So I’m left just as clueless.
Dear God, I still walk with You by my side and I’m ever-grateful that You made my faith strong enough to withstand experiences such as this. I’m even in the process of having another date (different woman!) lined up in the coming fortnight. However, I doubt this prior experience will ever leave me and I can only hope You may grant me a ray of enlightenment at some point so I might better understand Your path, plan or direction for me.