I told him about the problems with my home parish and priest and he asked me a few questions and said a few other things he asked me to keep in the Confessional and I will--nothing critical just a simple observation that totally changed the way I see the church and the situation. He said about that church chaos, "OK this ends here today" and then he said that other comment and I suddenly realized I can forgive the whole thing. I told him that and he said, "Excellent". I felt like I totally let it go at that point. Still unsure about what action to take but the resentment, feelings of total rejection, anger, and abandonment were just gone, they were gone. I see it totally through new eyes.
This priest has well over 20 years experience and it shows in Confession. He then asked me how old I am and I told him and he said, "OK you've done this all of your life haven't you?" And I told him I did and admitted I have engaged in manipulation and that I basically am like an obsessive compulsive playwright, crafting "scripts" and trying to force people to 'act' my way. I also told him I did it by marrying a man that had 100 red flags thinking I'd just change him. He nodded and said, "Are you ready to change that? Are you ready to let God make you what He wants you to be and not what you want to be?" and I told him I was--that I'm exhausted (so true). I've been running hard and I'm up to my neck in weeds in this wilderness and everywhere I go I see God saying, "OK Lorrie are you done running yet?" and I will say no and keep going--well I'm done, too tired to keep this up.
He then said, "OK then I'm going to tell you what you can do. If you are determined to beat up on yourself this hard, you can drive to a really bad section of Flint and I'm sure you can find someone to beat up on you and save yourself the extra work." I started laughing like crazy and so did he. Then he said, "The reason I got you laughing is that laughter is how you get out of the stinkin' thinkin'. It is totally impossible to have both of those feelings at the same time. If you laugh it breaks that connection. You will have struggles and it won't be overnight but you can break out of this by saying, "OK I'm thinking 'goofy' again and if I'm going to do that then I should work for Disney and get paid for it." I can't imagine what the people waiting for Confession were thinking as we were both laughing pretty loud.
He gave me a penance where I was to contemplate God's love for 5 minutes. He said, "You should really do this everyday but I'm requiring it once." I agreed to do it and then made my act of Contrition and then he placed his hand on my head to give me absolution. I really liked that. I have never had a priest do that before. I'm not sure if he always does that or if that was a way of helping me feel accepted. It was neat and I like it. Afterwards I figured I would go over to the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and pray the rosary and do my penance. I know so little about her, I asked her yesterday to reveal more of herself to me as I want to get to know her. It was no coincidence that today's rosary mysteries were the joyful ones. They were all on surrender to God's will and God's love. I wasn't even 1/2 way through the rosary and I felt this peace and total love just wash over me. It was embracing me and I felt it inside too. I was so at peace, it was the first time I really felt God's love with so much gentleness. It was a peaceful loving feeling that just washed over me--not a hyper manic happy thing, but an inner peace and love that just filled me and spilled over from the inside out. I had told him I never really feel that God loves me. I said, "I know He loves you, and I know He loves all those people out there, but not me." I was crying and going through a lot of tissues and he said, "Well no you're not going to feel love when you are hating yourself so badly." I did feel it and it was an amazing gift today.
It was a really groundbreaking Confession as it seems I was approaching my struggles backwards. He's quite a neat priest but he's so beyond anything I can describe in that he is totally at peace, he has no pretensions, no pride at all..he doesn't appear to "need" anything and has worked through a lot in his life. He's very much a leader but in no way forcing himself to the front of things. He really doesn't call attention to himself at all. He's just there and yet he radiates love and serenity, it's a serene knowledge that comes from probably seeing and dealing with it all. He told me he's a "recovering perfectionist" himself. I came away feeling like I was directed toward God...not feeling like "OK I want you to pop in here 10 times a month" or "Oh wow, here's a priest that can fix me--I'll coming here every week." Actually it was just the opposite. I just felt gently directed the right way and frankly it's the only interaction I've had with him. I felt no "neediness" just a sense of, Oh OK I got it--this is what I need to do and what I need to NOT do. I walked by him after Mass and said, "Thanks Father for everything" and he smiled and said, "You're welcome". GREAT DAY!
Big Hugs to all,