Today I had one of those A-ha! moments. I did not go to church this past Sunday, choosing to study for my two midterms instead, so after my second midterm today, I decided to hit the 11 o’clock mass. There was a total of about twenty people in attendance, and I kind of liked that about it. There was less distraction.
But as I sat there in my usual seat, like always, I looked out the panoramic windows. Sitting down (or standing for a short person like me), you can’t see much but the trees and the sky. It is gorgeous when I go on Sundays because I get to watch the sky turn pink and purple. Today was gloomy: white sky, browning hillside. For some reason, though, all I could think was, Wow, the world looks prettier from here. I had an overwhelming sense of peace in me right then; it was so powerful, I almost cried.
I have had some moments like these before, but this one felt so different. For the first time in such a long time, I felt like I was with God. Like He was right there with me, leading me through the morning. I don’t know when I last felt that close to Him. It made me want to cry all over again.
Now, I am not enthusiastically religious. Yes, I believe in God, I am a Confirmed Catholic, I go to church almost every Sunday (and when I can’t, I try to go during the week), I pray, and I hold the beliefs of Catholicsm close to me. But I do not preach my beliefs and I have not really formed a strong bond with God. I mean, for quite a while, I did not even go to church other than Easter and Christmas. You could say I was a pretty bad Catholic.
I lost so much of my faith to the Darkness of depression. I spent every day and night begging God for a reason to stay. I implored Him to show me a sign for all this emptiness in my life and in my heart. I wondered what on Earth His plan was. It did not seem to me like there was one; it felt like He was dangling life in front of me and snatching it away like a game. I did not think He really cared about me, like I had been taught during my nine years of Catholic school. I thought He was punishing me for my sins, and I began believing that I was going to Hell, whether I killed myself then or waited for Him to do it. I never thought I would see Heaven. Life was dim and worthless for me, and sometimes I wondered if I was praying to nothing and that there was not a single thing waiting for me after death. Not Heaven, not Hell. Just…nothing. I don’t like thinking of that time.
But here I am, a few years later, rediscovering my faith and mending my relationship with God. I have been trying to rebuild for the last year or so as a part of my fresh start in college, but it has not been easy. Now, I feel like I need to go to church, not because I am obligated to, but because I need that time with God in His house. I feel closer to him, and I am surrounded by people with minds like mine. It is an hour that I can take away from the burdens of every day and leave them outside. I get to be free from my schoolwork and alone with my thoughts and with God. I wish I had realized I had all this before, that I had realized the sanctuary in church and with my community.
That moment looking out the window and seeing so much beauty in a less-than-fabulous day left me breathless. I had to keep looking, and I had to keep fighting off tears. I had never felt like this before–at least, I don’t remember ever feeling like this. It reminded me that there is so much more to this life than what I thought. There is a plethora of things in this world I do not even know about, and I am excited to learn all about them. This moment that I had with God has pushed me to go further. I cannot half-ass recovery–any of my recovery–because then I am not really living.
There is so much of this world that God has given me, and I wish I had seen that before. I wish that it had not taken me this long to remember my faith and all the goodness that came with it. But I am remembering and learning every day, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Better late than never, right?