I know that I am forgiven. If I didn’t know it, I mean really know it down to the core of my very being; I fear I’d be dead already. It’s my belief in the mercy of God that keeps me alive, literally. I take comfort in the people that take care to remind me of that mercy over and over and over again. I run to my Church for the tangible reminders of that mercy. The reminders that God is real, that Jesus is real, that all of this is not in vain. Suicide is probably the only sin I consider bigger than abortion. I already killed once, if I kill again, I’m out for sure and I won’t be around to redeem myself. I don’t know where I’d be and that’s a scary enough thought to keep me alive.I’ve been reading a lot lately about sin and lies we believe about sin and how to God, all sins are the same and all equally forgiven because of the Son. I’m frustrated because no matter how much work I do – I just don’t feel like a good person. I’m not happy. It’s not even about the abortion any more, it’s all of me, and it’s my whole wretched life that at times feels as though it’s rushing past and others it seems as though time has stood still. You would think knowing one is forgiven for a sin as horrible as abortion would be cause for joy, but there is no joy here or at least I don’t feel any.
My hang up with sin is my own doing. I go along for a while doing things I think a good Catholic woman should do and would do. Aren’t I just awesomely Catholic? I volunteer at school and church whenever I can. I pray and pray and pray for priests and nuns and the Pope and whoever else is keeping this boat afloat. I send my kids to Catholic school. I try to defend my Church to those who knock her. I make sure we’re at Mass each week. I go to adoration. I try to learn as much as I can about my faith.But, you know what? None of this matters a whole hell of a lot when deep down I still feel like that 17 year old girl, used and abused, taunted, tormented, downtrodden, self-esteem depleted, objectified, and only good for one thing – girl. Oh who happens to get pregnant and then gets an abortion. Then, does she turn her life around and strike out anew? Nope, she gets worse and sleeps around more and allows herself to be used and thrown away like garbage. But, just like the woman today, she fakes it. She gets good grades, keeps a pretty house, smiles when she’s supposed to, but it’s a ruse. I’m starting to wonder if that part ever wasn’t a ruse, if it ever won’t be.
It always, always, goes back to that. Those feelings surrounding that girl then color my life in the present. I can’t enjoy my life when I used to sleep around. I can’t laugh with my children when I killed my first one. I can’t enjoy love making with my hubby with all that I did before with God knows who. I am not lovable. I am not intelligent. I am not destined for greatness, or even goodness. I’m not kidding anyone. I am nothing.And there I stay, down in the muck of it, depleted of all energy or want to claw my way out of it – again.
A character in one of my favorite films is asked at one point what she fears, to which she responds, “A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.” I fear that’s where I am now, in a cage of my own making. I’m not locked in, I choose to stay and I fear I’ll never have the want or courage to leave.
But, I start to think about that girl of my past and what was it that turned things around. What happened that made me desire to graduate from college, get a job, my own apartment, my own car, be on my own? A little while before I met my husband, I finally got rid of an extremely abusive jerk and shut the door on that nonsense. What was it that kept me from ever going the drinking and drug route? There had to be some flicker of ambition or self-reliance that spoke up and said enough is enough.
I could use that flicker now. It’s not like I can’t picture what life could be like, but it’s as if the fear of the clouds gathering again keep me from even trying happiness out for a while. Why bother, it won’t last. Why laugh, when they’ll soon be reason to cry. I lack the ambition or want to go back and forth choosing instead the muck and the mire because it’s comfortable and predictable and nothing is required of me if I stay in it.I stay a caged bird, but one who doesn’t sing, who doesn't talk, who says barely a word because I'm supposed to be okay.