His Peace

EucharistThe power of the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist never ceases to overwhelm me. How one moment I can be lost at sea with temptation, anxious to get home from church so I can voraciously dig back into my sin; how I can’t keep my eyes off women, and don’t really want to; how I can be feeling like hell, smothering under the weight of depression, feeling not a bit the presence of God in my life, entertaining the thought that all of this is bogus, all too aware that I’m not living my life as if I really believed in Him, so maybe I don’t really believe at all…

Receiving Him, going back to my pew, kneeling; not really feeling anything. Oh, well. It’s not about whether I feel anything or not; my faith is not built on feeling. Sometimes I am just depressed. I can’t expect to feel something all the time…

And then the next moment, out of nowhere — total peace. All of my despondent thoughts laid to rest. All of my hurts, all of my fears, laid down. My temptations: Suddenly I find myself bowing before the Almighty. Those sins slipping from my humbled hands, being laid on the altar. Those things I wanted to do seem so insignificant now, before His grace. And I am overwhelmed. Someone is here, with me, inside me. I feel my mind, my heart being conformed to Him. Becoming Him. His flesh is my flesh; His mind, my mind.

I tell myself this is just something psychological; that I feel these things because I want to feel these things; that I lay down my sins because I want to lay them down. But that moment: Even when my faith is at its lowest, He overwhelms me. Every single time.

In the world

I didn’t make it to eighty days. I fell very hard soon after my last post, on Day 50. It was a struggle getting back up for about two weeks, but I’m here again. Day Seven today.

The past couple of days have been very hard. I feel a loneliness, a longing, specifically for female companionship, more than I have in a very long time. For so long, I outright dismissed the idea of ever having a girlfriend again. Between my brokenness and my addiction, there seemed to be no hope for that. And I was content. It was easy, on one hand, to tell myself that I had nothing to lose, that the habit wasn’t keeping me from any real relationship, so what did it hurt? why not content myself with what I have? and on the other hand, to convince myself — and I still believe — that I need this time alone, immersing myself in God, to be healed and prepared for whatever vocation lies ahead.

Alone in crowdBut I’ve been alone for most of my life. I haven’t had a “girlfriend” in more years than I care to admit — the few girls I’ve been out with were more combatants whom I had to fend off than “friends.” And I have struggled with loneliness. That loneliness is what led me headlong into disaster several years ago, when fueled by my addiction and the distorted view of sex and relationships that pornography gives, I said, To hell with God’s plan, and set out to experience what I felt I’d been denied. And sin chewed me up and spat me out.

Now, it’s been easier to believe that I’m too damaged to be a part of any meaningful romantic relationship; that with my ongoing struggles against this addiction, any relationship would be doomed from the start; that in my sexual brokenness, I would be an unworthy partner and husband. And I was content. I didn’t have to worry about it. I deleted all my dating site profiles, tried to stop thinking about it. And that is fine, as long as I’m alone with God and praying. If I could withdraw to a cloistered life, I might could forget. But here in the world, all it takes is one cool breeze to fan the embers back into flame.

A girl. There’s a girl at church, Clara, the daughter of some dear friends, who, the first time I ever met her, swept my heart away with foolish dreams and fantasies, after so many months of not thinking about such things. At first she came for a visit; now she’s back to stay, and I see her every week. I can hardly speak to her. I always do speak to her, but seldom more than, “Hi, how are you?” I don’t know what she thinks of me. She sat with me once at a potluck dinner. What does that mean? It’s fear, more than anything else, that binds me up; it’s easier not to worry about girls. But I’ve been worrying about girls my whole life. It’s that worry, that anxiety, that insecurity, that loneliness, that’s probably at the root of every problem I’ve ever had.

I had a very sensual dream last night about a girl I was intimate with years ago. The one who, despite being such a fleeting moment, made me feel more special than anyone had in many years. I can’t shake her. It is absolutely true what they say, that sex binds two people to one another, body and soul. Today is difficult. Please pray for me, my dear ones.