First, a quick real-life update: my latest attempt at dating did finally get in touch (after a prompt) and in her business-like manner informed me that she was to be considered a prospect no longer! So, another one bites the dust…
Now, to the point of this entry.
Recently – ever since half-term really – I’ve been experiencing vivid ‘relapses’ (is there a better word?) of my first meaningful romance. With previous instances, I was able to gnash my teeth and explain away that there were agents (e.g. the lookalike woman on the coach). Despite, re-feeling crushing dejection, my logic was able to dispel those thoughts as stimulus-triggered events. It’s crossed a different line now – these are just mental episodes I can’t control/predict and appear to have no discernible pattern. Except for one thing.
They began again in earnest when I re-started praying “Let Your Will be Done” and attempting to place my path in God’s hands once again. So it’s not difficult to see how it can add up to ‘He’s pointing me there again.’ But my mind and heart have clashed. My heart would jump at that realisation. My mind, on the other hand, is more distrustful and cannot forget that I was pushed away with a barge pole. So it’s making for a pretty unhappy existence at the moment.
I went into work the other day and I was suddenly slammed by a rush of paranoia. No link or reason. A thought just popped into my mind like a soap bubble bursting into life – What if she’d texted?! (My phone has recently done me the great discourtesy of not receiving texts). Suddenly, a million other following thoughts, each stirring this hellscape further – What if she’d texted, received no reply and thought I ignored her?! Luckily, I’m aware enough to know paranoia when it hits but it still had me thinking: why? Why happen at all? Why now? Was it supposed to stir some action on my part?
This past Friday, I finished playing football with colleagues after a long day. Exercise worked its magic – adrenaline cooling and endorphins rushing. I walked to the gents’ bathroom to grab some paper towels to have a quick wipe-down (the game had been particularly intense). As I entered into the cubicle, I felt the need to lock the door and sit down on the closed toilet. I had to start scrunching up my eyes – an intense feeling of loss/sadness overwhelmed me. Literally nothing evident had caused it – in fact, friends and relatives have recommended more exercise to increase ‘happiness.’ Trying as hard as I can to be a man of both faith and logic, I just return to this relentless Why?
I was graced with a wonderful and godly woman who then ended everything too early.
I suffered through the abyss in a tempest of anger (at God, not her!) and grief.
And now, months later, my mind can’t be left to rest and recuperate…?
Naturally, I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed.
I was using a Mary, Undoer of Knots novena which appeared to be working well but then failed at the last hurdle because I didn’t agree with the last day’s prayer (assumed your intention had been fulfilled). Now, I’ve referred back to ol’ St. Jude!
My case feels terribly lonely – I don’t just mean I’m single and bereft. I refer to my theological place too. Everywhere I look online, I see similar advice in Catholic/Christian circles: Ask His will to be done – you’ll marvel at the places it’ll take you.
Nope – I marvelled and joyously thanked for the briefest of times – then, I cried, implored and crawled in my futile search for reason.
I’ve yet to discover or read a single piece of text/blog/article addressing this. An uncomfortable truth? When people’s lives go wrong, or we’re struggling to discern, we advise to turn to Him with honest prayer – I still recommend this. But what advice do we have for those who have already done that and received great suffering as a result?!
One small, if rather pointless, victory is regarding my mother. Months ago, we used to clash over the word ‘understand.’ She used to claim she understood my hurt and I (being at my worst pedantic, English teacher self) argued she couldn’t hope to contemplate the intense physical pain I was suffering, due to her eager dismissive nature. Weirdly, she’s changed of late – suddenly, her language has transformed – she’s using violent words like “tortured” or “killing” to describe it which feels more accurate and is (in a strange way) positive.
I was at Mass the other week and staring at a statue of the Sacred Heart, willing his help. I was buried deep in contemplation, considering Christ’s passion and humiliating trip to Golgotha – that began me down the road of every Christian’s link to earthly suffering. I tried my best to accept this suffering as part of my journey – at this moment, a realisation struck me. Christ himself, God on Earth, struggled with his suffering but he knew what the purpose of his suffering was. So even at its worst, with citizens pelting stones and hurling abuse, he could find mental strength in the higher purpose.
That right there is the key. Purpose. My suffering has (at least, in the present) been utterly without purpose. It holds no meaning – I’ve learned no lesson; gained no insight; changed no ways. The cruellest of sufferings.
I’ve prayed incessantly to God to take the steering wheel and choose the path. I’m as confused as ever, but as I’ve explained to Him:
Path 1: Move on completely – stop me asking questions, box it up and re-discover that joy in the little things.
Path 2: He wants patience as He still has designs there – also grand – but please, please, send me an evident sign – something for me to hold on to in the interim period.
Instead of these two options, my life seems to be at Path 0: standstill. My human logic and my mind dictates Path 1 whilst my faith and my heart seem to be drawn to Path 2.
So to address the title full-on: I’ve already mulled over the predestination vs. free will argument on here for my actions. But does the same apply to my mind? Do I have free will in my head? It’s the extent that matters! Are my thoughts completely my own? How do I know when to interpret dreams/thoughts/unexpected ideas as something else…?
As ever, I pray for guidance and clarity.