Caritas 41

This is a story about what can happen when you decide to stop loving God. . .

. . . so that you can let Him love you.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go on a Caritas Retreat near Santa Cruz, California. I wanted to share a little bit about what I experienced, without giving the retreat away. [If you have been on Caritas and you think I have given something away, please let me know and I will change it. 🙂 ]

If you can recall, I wrote about becoming ill back in February and not being about to go on Caritas. After reflecting over the weekend, I am absolutely positive that I was supposed to be on Caritas 41 and not Caritas 40. Once again, God knew what He was doing.

I went into Caritas not having expectations. For the most part, I put away the fact that I was invited on the retreat because we hope to bring it to Idaho in 2017. I’ve learned that if I go into retreats with expectations, I become disappointed if what I want doesn’t match up with what God wants. The only thing I knew going into the weekend was that it would be a continuation of the healing and growth that I have been working on the past year and a half.

So, Thursday evening I turned off my phone and opened my heart.

On Friday evening before dinner, I was reflecting on my time on retreat so far. I had a feeling that I was getting something out of the retreat, but I wasn’t sure what that was. Then I realized that it had only been one day and I still had two days left. As I sat with my small group later that evening, I realized exactly what grace I was given just one day into the retreat: t r u s t.

During all this reflecting, I thought back on my “Jesus moments” I had experienced that day.

The first came that morning as I was heading towards the train tracks and ran into someone who was also heading in that direction. We walked over to the area where you could see through the tracks, and you could see how high off the ground you were. He started walking out onto the tracks. I was really nervous about walking out because I tend to get dizzy when I’m really high up. As he reached his arm out and said to me to walk out, I didn’t see him; I saw Jesus.

The second moment came later when a group of us wanted to hike to the waterfall. We had to cross a bridge that was very high up. Once more, I was nervous about crossing it, and yet again, the group I was with encouraged me to cross. Once again, I saw Jesus. [I totally dominated that bridge. 😉 ]

The third moment came with that same group of people. As we were heading back to the main building, a few of us decided to return a different way. That way included jumping over water running over part of a dam. I’m not sure why I was nervous about this jump, especially because I could easily step over because of my height. I had someone else go first, and I followed even though I was extremely nervous, but extremely trusting. For a third time, I didn’t see the face of a new friend; I saw the face of Jesus.

This is the Bible passage I kept thinking about:

“When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how [strong] the wind was, he become frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:26-33

I referenced this passage a few weeks ago when I announced at Mass that this would be my final semester working at St. Paul’s. For those who have not heard that I am leaving, it’s a good thing. [Totally up for talking about this with anyone. So, send me a message if you want to talk more about this. 🙂 ]

I realized this past weekend, that even though I was saying how it was time for me to step out of the boat, how it was time to give it all to God, I didn’t fully trust Him. I can honestly say now, thanks to Caritas, I trust Him more than I ever have.

This was all only one day into Caritas 41.

Then Friday night happened.

**Because I have written a lot more than I expected, I am going to try to keep the next part as short as possible. If you want to hear more about my life, I am more than willing to share. Let’s get coffee. 🙂

A conversation Friday night brought up feelings of anger at certain individuals that have hurt me. The confusing part of this was that I thought I had closure with them all.

It wasn’t until Saturday night that I realized the reasons behind the anger. It was then that I decided to let myself be angry.

The first reason was that it was the first time in a really, really long time that I knew I wouldn’t be angry forever. At first I thought I had taken a step back, but in reality I knew that it would pass and I will one day move forward again.

The other reason was that it was the first time in a really, really long time that I was angry, but I felt s a f e. I have struggled a lot over the past 10 years with depression and anxiety. I was terrified every time I would get angry. I never trusted myself being alone. But here I am, currently working through these emotions, and I don’t want to drive away and never come back, I don’t want to reach for something I could possibly hurt myself with.

I consider this a huge win.

I am extremely thankful for all of you that I met this past weekend, even those I didn’t have a chance to talk to a lot. Thank you for listening to me as I told my story. And an even bigger thanks to those who shared their story with me. The past two months I have done a lot of sharing with other friends and strangers, and it has been so worth it! I love how freeing it is for me, but what I love even more is how I have encouraged others to tell their own story.

Thank you, Caritas 41, for bringing me a wonderful family, and a deeper trust and LooOooVE for God.

Side note:  I found this rock down by the river on Sunday. I don’t plan on keeping it, but only God knows when I’ll let it go.

TSA: Is that a rock in your luggage?
Me: Yep!
TSA: . . . . . . . alright then.

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