In Carmel, we learned that we have three parts: "the memory, the intellect and the will." I feel like God has been steadily purifying my intellect and my will--ever since I've come into the Catholic Church.
This Advent His focus is on purifying my Memory.
It's weird. It's uneven. This type of healing doesn't feel comfortable. Some days I actually feel so much worse. I can't write at all. Sometimes I sit on my little leather couch in my family room and cry and need a heating pad to soothe my back pain and can't summon the strength to mix a meatloaf for dinner. Yet, now this more intense emotional pain doesn't linger.
The next day, I feel lighter.
This underlying anxiety disappears--more and more each day.
For example, i have really nutty neighbors. For the first time, I walked out my front door, saw their house and realized "I don't care what they think about us." I don't care. I'm not forcing myself to pray for them. Or fearfully thinking about what awful interaction is going to happen the next time we run into each other. It's just gone. I feel like "I know who I am. I know what is actually happening inside this sacred space of my home. So the interactions with strangers 25 feet away, those don't matter."
I can't believe how much mental space the thought "I'm going to get in trouble soon" was taking up inside my head.
The other thing, is this constant fear "the bottom is going to drop out of my life." I felt like "we're okay now, but soon our decisions are going to catch up with us." My husband and I had a deep, emotional talk about what it means to all of us that I'm a stay at home wife. (A home-maker--as I'm slowly reclaiming that title).
I didn't realize how much fear I'd had in the back of my mind. "Like sure this life looks great now--but someday, something is going to happen--like Jon is going to die, and I'm going to be so sad that I didn't keep my foot in the door by continuing to practice law part time while I have young children." The axe was going to fall and all those voices would be right. "See, you're totally stupid for trusting in God. You should have been practical with you life!"
I realize that what my husband calls "the Barbie Dream House Life" is right in front of me. It's here! The life that's closest to the hidden desires of my heart. Right now, it's time to cut up those hidden memories that are keeping me from relaxing and enjoying my life.
So 2013, is the year of good mental health. Time to meet the real Abigail--as opposed to the fearful, living to please others Abby. It's pretty cool. I'm learning how to play the cello at night. I made Madelines for brunch today. I'm forcing myself to slow down in the mornings. To sit and eat breakfast with my girls and fearlessly rub my son's chin whenever he says something funny.
I'm learning how to live my life, instead of "always rushing through it."
Hat Tip: Enjoyed this article by the lovely Mother Angelica and her description "There are three rooms in the Temple of our souls—Memory, Intellect and Will—all three are to be returned to God adorned with the jewels of Faith, Hope and Love."