Reconciliation is what the best moments in life are made of. When we are without a loved one for a very long time and then we know we will be back together with them everything else in the world stops.
In May of 2008 I counted down the days until my childhood boyfriend would land in Austin, Texas from Iraq and I would see him for the first time in 17 years. For those 17 years I thought of him, wondered what he was doing, where he was living and what would have happened if he had married me. I made a lot of friends crazy talking about how he taught me to love rap music and how he looked like Donnie Wahlberg. Countless friends of mine will vouche for the fact that I would make them go to see movies with a Wahlberg in it and then talk then entire time about how my boyfriend when I was 13 looked just like them. It drove them all crazy.
The days seemed to go so slow up to the day that his flight was scheduled to land. I got my hair done, had my clothes picked out, packed my suitcase, had someone to watch my kids for me and I was taking shots of Tuaca as I got dressed because I was so nervous. What if he didn’t like me in person? What if he was not who he said he was? What if he was a horrible person? What if he was dumb? What if he thought I was the most annoying person alive? I wasn’t 13 anymore, I was 32 with four kids and a crazy ex-husband. The mixture of nerves, excitement and Tuaca made me pretty annoying, just ask my best friend who had to talk to me the entire time she took me to the airport.
Then I saw him on the escalator and he was the hottest man I had ever laid eyes on since the day that I saw him as a 15 year old boy walking down the hallway when I was in the 7th grade. Watching him from across the airport took my breath away. I just knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. How lucky I was to be loved by this man.
From that day on we have been together. Ups and downs, in love and annoying the hell out of each other. We have fought, we have cried, we have laughed, we have traveled, we have raised kids, we have screwed up together and apart, we have loved and we are an unstoppable force in this world when we are focused.
That love has taught me about God. Before that May, I had no clue how to be in a relationship with anyone, not even myself, much less with God. I didn’t know what forgiveness and reconciliation looked like. In my mind, if someone betrayed you, you would leave and cut them out of your life. Not build boundaries for your own safety and sanity, but build walls that could never come down and would isolate you from anyone who hurt you. That is how I lived my life, you can imagine how lonely that became. Not just lonely, but exhausting because it meant a lot of moving and running away.
Had I not been reconciled to the person in this world who I was willing to love beyond myself, I never would have been open to love a God who requires that kind of love in order to be in relationship with Him. And make no mistake about it, in order to be God’s that is what He requires, it’s the first commandment. Not because He is a dictator, but because it is out of love for Him that everything else makes sense. Trust me, I’ve tried life every other way, it doesn’t work.
Two months ago, I separated myself from God. I took a break from our relationship. It isn’t easy when you are a Catholic writer and give your testimony at your parish. Pretty much, I went through the motions but my heart was not in it. In my heart was anger and sadness. I no longer felt like I fit among other Catholics for one reason or another. An election year didn’t help much.
The last week has been like the week that led up to me meeting the love of my life at the airport. I have been slowly reminded of why I fell in love in the first place and looking forward to the day when we would be back together.
I got my car back from the shop, my husband looked it over and did a few things to it. It still needs tires and stickers, but it has insurance so that is a huge step. Today my parish is having a confession marathon and I am about to jump in the shower and put on pants to that I can go meet God in the confessional so we can get back together. I have missed Him. I have missed talking to Him and telling Him about my day. I have missed knowing that He has my back. But mostly, I have missed seeing Him. It is true that God is everywhere, I have learned that this Lent, but there is nothing like encountering Him in the Blessed Sacrament. Knowing that His True Presence is in front of me, waiting for me and happy to see me.
I can’t wait to thank Him for my husband who has taught me so much about love, life, forgiveness and reconciliation.