It’s not enough that I be simply alive, sentient. Like St. Maximilian Kolbe, I must accept “infinitely more than I can ask or imagine.”(1) And that’s always the cross. But like mush, I push the cross away. So God takes me apart and makes me new, makes me able to suffer and sacrifice. He doesn’t limit His faithfulness to that of a provider. He doesn’t just clean my cage and give me fresh food and water. He is faithful to His original plan. And His faithfulness has made me faithful to Him even though “I’m not like other people. I can’t stand pain. It hurts me”(2)
It’s not fair. The question is, fair for whom? Fair for me or fair for God? He makes man in His image and likeness, able to become like Him, and Adam and Eve choose to listen to a sea serpent. Yes, Adam is scared and Eve is tempted but they didn’t just spill the milk. They rejected their Creator. They shattered their relationship with Him. Nor did they admit their transgressions. Nor did they seek forgiveness. And when I’m honest, I must admit, I’m just like our first parents.
It was never wrong to want my family. Anything else would be unnatural. But I picked at the wound in my heart and made my pain worse. I made Marmar and Papa idols. Parents model God for their children, so that’s normal — for a child. But I continued idolizing them as an adult, long after I knew that anything and anyone could be an idol. I wanted them safe in my idol cupboard. They were my household gods. It never even occurred to me until I began writing this final chapter that I enthroned Marmar and Papa as my saviours, as gods, just like Andrew enthrones himself and his friends.(3) And just as Andrew kills his only friend, Jonathan, so that he might become a god, I used my wounds and my loss as an excuse to engage in some version of every one of the seven deadly sins. My culpability may have been less because of the wounds I’d suffered; that’s between me and my confessor and God. But in the imagination of my heart, I made them more than they could ever be and used my imaginings to harm others.
I begged for a world no bigger than I could imagine. It was too little. too little for me, too little for Marmar and Papa. By insisting that I could only be happy by having those two people, I made them more important than God. My heart became smaller. My ability to love decreased. Often, I couldn’t even see love, couldn’t trust love, couldn’t accept love. Love was an irritant, always reminding me of what I lost, an irritant that even limited my ability to accept God’s love.
1) Ephesians 3:20 (NAB)
2) Looney Tunes, The Abominable Snow Rabbit (Warner Bros. 1961)
3) Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 7 (will add correct episode info)