Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday of Easter Octave: Patient Trust

"Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. Jesus said to her, 'Mary!'” – John 20:11-18

As of late, I have been weeping over my childhood, filled with painful moments in need of healing. My father, who carried his own unacknowledged wounds, transmitted his anger onto his children. As I grew up with an unbalanced self-image, my family also contributed to the shame I carried. When I swore to never be like my father, I also repressed the anger that screamed inside of me. For twenty years, I rejected my dark self and buried it, thinking that it would enable me to move on with life.

The truth was I needed help. It came in the form of a class on psychological healing and spirituality with Father Jim Clarke, who said, “If you don’t transform your painful emotions, then you will transmit it.” Evidently, uncontrollable flashes of anger already erupted in my significant relationships. My shame also geared me towards co-dependency many times. So against my ego, I set out to address my dark self in order to move forward.

I am now at the first step of healing – the most difficult step – which is to identify the painful emotions and hold them with respect. I need to resist the twenty-year habit of running away from them. I need patience and courage to sit with the anger and shame – to feel as bad as I feel and be okay with it. In other words, I am mourning and weeping like Mary Magdalene. The first lesson in healing is to admit I cannot change what happened in my childhood, but I can choose to let go of its effects by holding my pain with tenderness.

“Behind every trauma or suffering, there is always a resurrection.” Father Jim Clarke’s words remind me of God’s promise. Transformation not only takes place in contemplative prayer, it can also happen in experiences of deep immersion. God understands our struggles and promises new life. Just as Jesus came to Mary Magdalene in her weeping, we can trust that Jesus will meet us in our suffering. And so, I am befriending my pain with patient trust that transformation is on the way… 

How has the image of death and resurrection touched you?

Jesus, I hold my anger and shame in my hands and offer you all that I am. Be with me as I learn to let go of my pain. I trust in you.

Van Nguyen 


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