Story #3 – Spiritual Director and Hero
The special hero in my life is my spiritual director. We met 3 1/2 years ago and at first I wasn't real sure whether I wanted to continue with this man or not! He was blunt and to the point in his questioning and advice; he didn't coddle or baby me but always got to the heart of the situation.
In a discussion on my leaving the Church, and why, part of my answer was I was "having a pity party and feeling sorry for myself." Instead of judging, he said, "That's not a pity party, you've suffered a trauma; better that you miss Mass than lose your mind!" In a later conversation on this same topic, I told him that maybe it was just a case of being too lazy to go to Mass. In the best compliment he could have ever given he said, "In all the conversations we've had, lazy is not a word that I would ever apply to you." During a difficult discussion we were having he said, "Go into your heart and tell me what Jesus would say if He was sitting here facing you instead of me." I use this advice often. Just because it was a "brother priest", he has never sided with the priest who raped me nor judged me by implying that it was my fault because I did something to provoke it. Whether in an email, or in person, he continually tells me that "it really is a privilege and a blessing to share some in your journey and work of healing and freedom." He doesn't make me feel like he's just doing his job. He challenges me with tough questions, makes me think and makes me search into myself. And he encourages me when he thinks I did a good job handling a crisis, such as appearing before the Bishop and the Review Board. Even though I don't agree with everything he might say, and I argue with him, he gives me food for thought.
I've been through a lot of medical issues in the last year and he's been at my side through it all seeing to it that I am anointed and prepared for the procedures. When I'm stressing out about an abuse issue and not understanding why it's happening, he will patiently and calmly walk me through the explanation of it. This journey to recover from the abuse has been a roller coaster of experiences and emotions as I strive to become the person God has intended me to be; I couldn't have done it alone. This special person has turned what seemed like insurmountable mountains into mole hills that were then easier to conquer. He taught me to let my heart be my guide through the baby steps and giant leaps, no matter how strange and weird the experience might seem to me. He has definitely been a God given gift in my life.