Yesterday I attended a Catholic youth ‘festival’ in Liverpool. Perhaps the youth vibe was a little strong for my tastes (guitars, clapping etc.) but it was lovely to see more young people.
As ever, these days, everything must be a double-edged sword in my life. You’d think surrounded by good-looking Catholic women from several parts of Northern England, that on a superficial level, my eyes could be freed and wander. Wander, they did. But still, they hovered over lookalikes. I realised I was scouting the congregation for her. I don’t even know what I’d say if I did indeed bump into her.
Although the worst part wasn’ that. The whole theme of the event was vocational – respond to God’s call for you in your life. 100% spot on and agree. However, around that were ultra-positive slogans “God is good all the time” and “you shall want for nothing” etc. I don’t disagree with these ideas. The God I believe in is one and the same, filled with compassion and mercy. But until I’m alleviated of this burden in some way, I’m too much a victim of suffering to not feel a bad taste in my mouth at such sentiments – particularly when they are delivered in a ‘factual’ manner.
The absolute worst part for me was when a youth worker got up to give her testimony. A whole two years younger than me, she was giving us the prodigal son (or daughter here) spiel about how she’d done everything wrong – sex, drunkenness, drugs etc. but a pilgrimage had brought her back to God. Glad to hear. Then, came my punchline – “And now, He’s graced me with a lovely man – a god-fearing man…” Yowch. I’m not jealous – power to her. I didn’t like how this anecdote was packaged to sell us prayer and being with God – basically, trust in Him and you’ll get whatever you want. Not happening over here, love!
On the plus side, the main reason I went was because there was adoration during the event. That, I did enjoy. The last time I was in adoration, it was Maundy Thursday, the same week as the break up that caused all of this. I can’t say it was as ‘magic’ as that one though the first was just pure sorrow rather than questions, doubts and fears.
To today’s title: I have realised one further reason why this broken rib refuses to heal. My peculiar mixture of a person. I’m a believer, but one who works on logic and reason and I’m put off by modernist blind faith movements. So, I’m too Christian for an atheist, but I’m too unsure for a full-gauge believer (think the festival sentiments above). I’m an introvert who enjoys and chooses odd spontaneous bits of socialising. So I’m too introverted to maintain the interest of an extrovert but I’m not out-going enough to balance an introvert’s personality. Effectively, I’m in the centre of most person descriptors, difficult to define. That in itself doesn’t bother me. However, that’s why when she came along and accepted me – and appeared to be attracted to me – it meant so much.
Even now, casting a glance back at this year since her. I’ve met up with 3 other Catholic women, each of whom hasn’t really given me a proper chance/relationship experience. I’m not bemoaning that. If anything, striking instantly tells me you’ve got a major no-no. In ideal-land, it’d be nice to know what that is, but hey I’m not super invested so well-handled. Each of these failures and non-acceptances merely serve to make the original quasi-acceptance pulse brighter. Is that really God’s will? Is that not purposefully drawing my mind back to her? If He wants action, how do I know the moment and the course?
Beleaguered by questions, as ever.
‘Til the next time!