The morning after my husband and I decided that we had to lay down absolutely everything we are, know, and love to move to a new place, I went to St. Joseph Lake Orion and allowed The 3:15 Project to videotape me declaring that I would, indeed, go to hell if Jesus needed me to. (You can see that video and other stories at The 3:15 Project website.) Well, it’s been quite a harrowing experience, this particular hell. But here’s a snapshot from the midst of it that may speak to us:
I was kneeling in the seminary chapel, hands outstretched toward the tabernacle, journal at my side, purple pen hooked in my thumb. Feeling lost, bereft, hopeless, shredded. One of my best friends sauntered up and somewhat jokingly mimed a dumping of blessings into my hands. I turned to him as he settled in next to me. “I’ve got nothing!” I whispered, showing him my palms. “NOTHING!!” I faced the front again for a beat, then turned back to him, smirking. “Though I do have this nice purple pen!”
We then spent some time with this Scripture: With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. (Acts 4:33). We sang, repeatedly asking the Holy Spirit to be with us. And we sat in silence. During the quiet, I opened my journal and started writing with that pen. Here’s what I heard from the Lord as I wrote. He was gently pulling me up out of swirling waters and saying to me, “This is my beloved daughter. Listen to her. Listen to the way you speak of me to others. Learn from your own gifts, which I have given you. With great power bear witness to the resurrection of ME. And of YOU. I will accord you great favor. Wait on me. I am your good, good, good, good Father. Abba. Lover. Spouse. Friend. Maker. Hope.”
The words He evoked that evening reminded me that we should purposefully recognize our own stories, that we should intently pay attention to our own testimonies, our own words, our own lives – all of which the Lord has given us a gift – because nothing else can teach us so well how much God personally loves each one of us. Individually. By name. He helped me realize that sometimes our charisms (mine seem to include a writing+encouragement blend), which are always meant for the building up of the church, can also powerfully help our own selves, since we are members of the church. And He made me giggle when I recognized that – of course! — in His hands (and perhaps with the help of some joyful priestly blessings), even a little purple pen is enough. Blessed be God.
Parish Catechetical Leader