How to appreciate past sufferings
If you asked me 4 years ago how I felt about getting broken up with on a train ride across Canada after what was one of the best summers of my life, I probably would have had a lot of choice words to say about the situation, the person in question, and the role that God played in my life.
There was always someone to blame.
The abridged version is this: he broke up with me simply because I was ‘too Catholic’ and ‘too prude’. I didn’t ever show that I loved him enough through things that he wanted -There wasn’t enough ‘physical connection’, to steal his words. There was never enough kissing or making out. And because of it, he blamed me for manipulating him in to thinking that I loved him.
He blamed me. I blamed God.
I remember thinking after returning home that dating would be so, so much easier if I had no faith association. If I had no God, things would be different. Morals aside, the compatibility factor would be so much easier.
How sad, how foolish, and how heart breaking.
This train of thought completely de-railed (pun intended) how I viewed this past relationship and my outlook on future relationships, my life, and the biggest and most important relationship of all: with my God.
Thankfully, our God is a merciful and loving and forgiving God, and He gave me an opportunity to be forgiven and to seek His mercy. He allowed us to start over, allowing me to have a clean heart and one that was more open and ready.
But His first opportunity brought everything full circle. He threw out my assumptions and thoughts, and He made me wander through a desert of desolation. But even when I thought He had abandoned me, He reminded me that I wasn’t alone. And it was only recently that I realized why I endured the recent desolation, and why my earlier suffering was necessary.
He gave me someone like me who was a member of the faith. I thought that God was rewarding me for my patience and trust in Him. But slowly this came apart – on both sides – as I realized that I wasn’t ready and that this wasn’t quite what I thought it was. My initial emotions had prevented me from approaching the relationship in a proper and prudent way, and for that I take full responsibility.
In one of our last conversations together, I was served up a couple ugly flashbacks. I wasn’t enough for him, and I didn’t show that I loved him through what he saw to be as ‘indicators of love’. Physicality was non-existent, and most of the time, he thought that it would be easy to get if he tried hard enough.
This was probably the first time that I thanked God for putting me through the ugly situation on the train, 4 years earlier.
I had always been bitter about not being able to tell my ex what was on my mind, and why there is just simply no compromise on certain things like pre-marital sex. Suddenly, there was an opportunity for me to do so. And I took hold of it, said what I needed to, and walked away from what could have potentially become an even graver situation.
The assumption that I had years ago about how faith was a limiting factor for me is unfounded. Because even with what I thought were shared beliefs, things can still go awry.
Of course, I do want to make a point that this just one story, and is not meant to generalize. But the key takeaway for me was that my faith, and my God, is by no means a limiting factor. If anything, He is my liberating factor.
God is the one that liberates us from our suffering and guides along the paths that are right and in Him. Suffering tends to be greatly misunderstood when it is happening in the here and now, and I acknowledge that I totally do that. But seeing something play out four years later from start to finish gives me hope that with patience, God will reveal Himself and why He does what He does. It’s not to hurt you, but to help you.
When things came full circle, God’s purpose suddenly became crystal clear. But it took me four years to understand it.
It will take time and patience, and I might even fall backwards a couple of times. But this experience – some four and a half years from start to finish – will be my reminder that God always has a way. After all, He works on His own time, and not ours.