After completing the exercise of finding the ‘connection’ with God, I was over-excited and religiously followed the routine of meeting God in this ‘secret’ place, sometimes even twice a day. It’s not easy to find enough privacy on a busy day, so sometimes I had to resort to even using the washroom as my ultimate meditation area, where I could achieve golden moments of unperturbed silence. The routine turned addictive at first, as I would get transported to another world with every rendezvous, but I happened to notice there wasn’t anything new to it. I was scared the routine would turn out to be just another fragment of my imagination. On a personal level too, I had not changed – I had the same temper tantrums at home, the same anxiety feelings if things went wrong at work, and a whole lot of spiritual dryness each time I prayed which reflected in my distractions.
Coming across my mom’s bible notes one day, I read an excerpt from her texts which said, “God is never looking for your attention, He is looking for lifelong companionship; He is not seeking a date, but a committed bride.” For all those in love, engaged or married, its easy to relate to this statement and reflect on the time when you first met your partner. I’m sure all of you at some point, after gaining the trust and confidence of your loved one, sat down to confide your secrets – could be about something in the past, a fact about the present, or your fears of the future, or simply something that you earnestly felt your partner should know in order to proceed with the relationship. I realised that the same applied to my own Divine rendezvous. In order to proceed, I needed to examine my innermost, perhaps even darkest facts, facts that not even myself, but only my sub-conscious mind was aware of.
Many of you would disagree with the above, simply because unlike your human partner who is in the process of knowing you for the first time, God has known you from the very moment of your conception. Many of you would even agree, that most of these ‘dark innermost facts’ are already the result of God’s own will for you. But here’s the real catch – unless you spell these out, (however small or gross, or silly or ugly these facts may be) you will never be able to frankly tell God that these are the areas where you need help. We find great solace in reading self-help books and spending hours seeking solutions from shrinks, who eventually come down to the same exercise that we need to do at this point – examining and coming to terms with our past. My Jesuit mentor told me once, ‘God is never interested in the number of times we have sinned, but why we sinned’.
My own history is full of hurts, misconceptions of certain events, and bad habits which I have conveniently chosen not to remember rather than sort it out. Some of my own closet skeletons are shared below:
- I love my mom a lot, but I still have ego issues, temper tantrums, and simply refuse to get corrected by her.
- I gossip instead of defending the victim of slander.
- I have difficulty interacting with certain people who have affected my past, which includes my childhood best friend.
- I am easily envious of certain people.
- At every confession I tend to resolve never to repeat any of the above, only to find myself back with the same list, just an altered vocabulary.
Getting myself to list these facts and many more was not a task I could achieve overnight. I was required to examine every year of my life since childhood in order to arrive at the root reason for such repetitive gestures. Its only when God sees that you are making conscious efforts to eradicate these ‘bad roots’, will He provide you further insight into your history. Is your irritability due to something that you are not happy about? or haven’t achieved? Do you gossip out of fear of rejection or insecurity? Are you withholding an event in your childhood, which according to you should not have happened? or where you felt you were unjustly corrected or treated? Are you envious because you fail to accept how some people are so blessed even though you seemed to have made more sacrifices and honest dealings than them? or have you repeatedly reminded yourself that you have forgiven a person’s wrong deed but the event still seems to disturb you? Have you been part of a crime due to total helplessness or just to imitate someone else?
I noticed that each time I was unravelling a secret or bad habit I thought I had forgotten about, I felt God reminded me more of the event in detail. The exercise was indeed very therapeutic, and at the end I felt so light – like a great deal of excess baggage suddenly been lifted off! Some of my bad habits could not be shaken off at once simply because it had become a part of my being; that’s when God loves it when you acknowledge it to Him, and that without His help, He cannot work through you. I now understood what He meant when He promised “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).
After this exercise I assure you, you will find your perceptions more clearer, your bad habits eradicated (you eradicated the root causes after all), your temper controlled and the upcoming Divine journey more exciting to look forward to!