“We all of us make instinctive moves to hide those parts of ourselves of which we disapprove, or which we fear others might hate. Hating ourselves, we project that hatred onto others, and then assume the worst: that people will be ungenerous, rather than generous, hateful rather than accepting.”
Once again the Anchoress pulls back a veil that reveals the beautiful person. Isn’t that what her writing has already brought to light? I’m uneasy when she jabs at herself. I can feel it. I’ve done that myself. Say it before someone else says it!
She speaks of “Irish thighs” and here I thought we Italians had a corner on that market. The memory of my mom’s weight looms like a prophetic utterance. However, beyond my own fears, it is the Anchoress’ revelation of her fear that touches me. She has dissected it and found that in hating those unacceptable parts of herself, the really beautiful parts of the package get lost. Wholeness is halved or quartered or…you know what I mean. She’s tempted to become less than she actually is.
The Anchoress writes about her brothers “coming out” and the peace that followed. I’m sure that didn’t end the struggles but was a big step into the light. Our crosses certainly come in all kinds and complexities. Our pain brings to light our real need which isn’t perfection. The Anchoress speaks of the need to love herself. For me realizing Who loves me changes everything. My battles, my wins and loses,all find meaning, as do I, in a Heart which treasures all.
Fr. Benedict Groeschel, in his Healing the Original Wound, says that one of his favorite groups of the wounded are the alcoholics of Alcoholics’ Anonymous. “When asked,’Well, when are you going to completely recover?’ ‘When we’re dead.’ they will tell you.” No easy platitudes or solutions here, just a continuing struggle, knowing that you are loved by that One great Love. Armed with the knowledge of Whose Arms embrace you this side of Heaven carries you onward, or at least that how I go on (and with a little love from my friends.) Fr. Groeschel puts it this way. ” Hello, I’m a recovering sinner. I’m becoming a saint.”
So I have no answers. My loved ones, come in all shapes and sizes as do I depending at what time in my life you’ve known me. My friends have assorted temperaments and problems, none of which hides their beauty. Fr. Groeschel says that with crosses “we need to turn to the mystery of Salvation.”
“Indeed, if the cross, with all that it represents, with all that it signifies, symbolises and indicates, of sufferings, sicknesses, disasters, various afflictions, catastrophes, pains and injuries to which all people are subject, if the cross is a constituent reality of all human life, there is an obligation for all people, like Jesus, to carry the cross together, in order to disburden the one charged with it and together to bear it with love and solidarity. (From a letter by Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch (Melkite) for Lent)