Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Where I've Been... or the Night Bishop Fulton Sheen Saved My Life

October 5. That's the last time I posted on this blog. I could say I got busy (true) or that I just couldn't think of anything to write about (sort of true) but neither one of those things are true true.

The simple reason I stopped writing is -- Anna didn't believe in magic anymore.

And when you have a blog called "Anna Who is Magic" not believing in magic is a major problem. So is disappointing the person who convinced you you've always been magic in the first place, Story. (Read "About Me" and "The Story" for the details.)

Anna? You stopped believing in magic? What the what? I know what you're thinking. I started as the director of a dance studio, which I've always wanted to do; I got a job as the managing editor of a magazine, which I've wanted to do since I was 14; and I got the surgery that changed my life. If those things aren't magic, then what is?

Oh, I'm right there with you. Lots of lovely things happened to me. I am fortunate in so many ways. Good friends, great family, nice apartment, Baby Snickers. But when your mind gets sick and turns on you, then it doesn't matter how much you have or how many people love you. It gets very, very dark. I'm already the poster child for one disorder (no, really, like I'm on TV talking about it) so I'm not sure I want to be for another. But if you've been there then you absolutely know what I'm talking about. You're not crazy, you still go to work and school, you see your friends, but you're still just down. Like you don't have any hope, you don't know what you're doing with your life. There is no more magic.

The week between Christmas and New Years was the worst. And that's supposed to be a very magical time of year. But it just wasn't. It was marked with inexplicable sadness, darkness and wondering what the heck it was that I was doing with my life. Hard to explain but, again, you've been there = you know. If you've never experienced that, I am so happy for you, and the best way I can think to describe it is THERE IS NO MORE MAGIC.

Two Saturday evenings ago I was home by myself, lying on the couch and watching TV, but more than that -- I was going through all those feelings again. Recalling things I've done in my past and feeling so guilty about them I was paralyzed, wondering if I was going to be living in my garage apartment forever alone with the rabbit, wondering if I should be living in the town I am or if I was supposed to be somewhere else. On and on and on. And I wondered -- what is really the point of my life? I had a very George Bailey moment, and, I'm not sure how Jimmy Stewart felt about it, but that moment did not feel good.

I looked over and hit the guide button on my remote control. I don't even remember what was on, but apparently I didn't feel like watching it anymore. The first thing I saw was a show called "Life is Worth Living," and it surprised me. Like -- God? Excuse me, is this thing on? GOD? Did you hear me? You heard me, right? Or is this a coincidence? I hit the button, and realized the show was on EWTN.

Now, let me pause here to say I am a cradle Catholic. Baptized, First Communion, Confirmation, church every sunday, etc. As of late, I had not been attending mass, not really doing any reading, anything like that. God was there when I felt like talking to Him, I ignored him when I didn't want to care. My experience to that point with EWTN was teasing my dad for the amount of time he spent watching the network on TV and listening to it on the radio. (And if you don't know what EWTN is, pretty much it's the Catholic Channel.) Let's just say I wasn't EWTN's #1 fan, sending emails to Mother Angelica or Facebook friends with Marcus Grodi, just sayin'.

Anywho, I watched the show. It was 30 minutes long. It was a re-run of an old show that used to air on television, starring Venerable (at the time Archbishop) Fulton Sheen. So I watched the whole thing. And he said something that really spoke to me. He said "It is one thing to get off the right road. It is another to throw away the map." And I thought -- Anna, you are off the right road but you have NOT thrown away the map. It's not too late... you aren't lost for good.

(Are you totally bored now? I sort of am. Don't blame you.)

After that show went off, Mother Angelica Live Classics (best show title ever because is that even possible?) came on. Oh Mother Angelica. She talked a lot too (Don't these shows sound horribly boring? They're really not.) and one thing she said was "We must persevere through our loneliness." Now, loneliness is something I really was struggling with, so that sentence really helped me out. I heard it and was like -- we MUST. We = me. I MUST.

So I sat up.

That does not sound like a big deal, but it was. I sat up. I picked up the computer and googled "Fulton Sheen." The man wrote books, so I ordered them. EWTN had some more programming on, so I kept watching it. I got up the next morning and went to mass. And after 28 years of going to church, it finally hit me -- life is not about the things I want to do and the fun I want to have and the trips I want to go on. It's about God and what He wants for me. I don't know what happened, but my heart finally got it. It was lighter. It just felt lighter. It was just like the darkness went away.

And ever since that Saturday night, I have just felt different. The guilt dissipated. I now know that you ask for forgiveness, you get it, you move on. I realized that God's up there minding the fence and trying to help me find out what He wants for me. And He hears me. I realized that you can't have it both ways or sit on the fence -- you have to choose. What kind of person are you? If you try to do that, that's what makes you crazy because you're trying to be two people -- and you're neither one of them! I feel like my heart is more open. Will sad things still happen? Oh for sure. Will I have frustrating days? Yes, in fact I did today. But when I feel myself going back down into the darkness, I remind myself about the magic, and I shift my perspective back.

So now that you've read all this you're probably wondering if I'm going to join the convent or never change my channel from EWTN or read a book by someone whose first name is not "Saint." Um, no. In fact, I'm watching Dance Moms right now. :) Point is, I don't intend this to be a blog about being Catholic. First, because I don't know enough about it to talk about it. And second, because people like  Jen and Mary already do it WAY better, and I love reading their stuff. A blog I really admire is Grace Patton's because she never comes out and retypes the Catechism or says "God" every other word. What she does is talk about her life, and mass and being Catholic are just part of her every day life and that's what I aspire to. Also, so is being funny, but that's neither here nor there.* This is a blog about my life and what's going on, and THIS is what's been going on lately.

Also, I'd like to look back on this post in a few years and remember about the night Fulton J. Sheen saved my life.

Anna who believes in magic... again. And for good this time.

*In the effort of full disclosure, I should probably say that I am absolutely dying for Grace to be my friend. Oh, and Ashley too. These people are about my age, and really, I don't have that many Catholic friends. In fact, I have one, so I awkwardly admire Grace from afar. And Ashley just displays the kind of attitude I also need to be displaying. 

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE it Anna!! Beautifully written and inspirational, especially for anyone who has been in that dark place, too. <3

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