At eight years old I once stood with my father and his father in a small dark room with a soft yellow light that shone upon my mother who had just taken her own life. This room remains inside my very soul to this day. My father at twenty-eight had made mistakes in his life; the devils last stroke in her life eight years later ( with my father asking to be forgiven) was her failure to forgive my father. My heart goes out to all of those beautiful people in this world that pick themselves back up when they fail others, face the hurt that they cause, ask to be forgiven. To those that have been failed by others who learn to forgive them...to my father, mother, family and friends that I too have let down in this life as well...to those who can't ask for forgiveness nor give it, have a special place also in me, a special room so to speak where the clarity of this world's icebergs become more clear as one gets closer to Christ. But above all to God, through Jesus who shows us a whole new way to live among each other, for each other, if we so choose to live first and foremost in Him. With peace and victory in Jesus so close to each and every soul no one should ever give up on life or on one another no matter how tough this life may get at times. Getting to know the Gospel, getting to know Jesus opens up a colossal door for those in the most need, if only they would give Him a chance, and open this door. Just as the planets rotate around the sun in perfect harmony we to as a people can learn forgiveness and reconciliation while rotating around Jesus, the light, the very ray of God.
One beautiful spring Sunday morning in rural Sacramento California I was on my way to the Mormon Church with my grandmother and brother. I went to find my grandpa to ask him why he wasn't going with us. My grandpa was a pretty important person to me, as we were bonded pretty tight. Not so much because he would talk to me when most adults would not, or because he would share his peanuts while gazing up at the stars, but because we both stood in that room with my mother, with that soft yellow light. I remember his arm around me then very vividly...he looked down at me and told me that it was ok to cry... he was crying. My father did not say much then, what could he say? Pretty tough place for him to be. But he was more than just welcome.
One day not to long after my mothers death I found my grandpa in his garden and I asked him why he did not go to church with grandma and us. He said "I am just not good enough Richy!" I told him that if he was not good enough than either was I so I stopped going. My Church became his garden and my father's love in heaven came down to me through him.
One day at sixteen my grandfather had a stroke...one week later he asked me if I could help him to his garden...he reached over and picked one weed, then we both staggered back to the house. The next day he was gone along with his garden.
32 years later, with so many struggles in between my new Catholic faith brought me back to that room where my mother laid. We won't find a place, home or church here on earth that will protect us from sin. This room through the years has clearly shown me this. Church is not a place to condemn others or ourselves because of our sin, rather a battlefield with the great physician at its very core. Forgiveness at its very core.
Like the room with the soft yellow light where I stood with my father and his father I have found peace in a place where there seldom is any. But from my mother's room and yours there is a hall that leads to the center of all homes, to the center of our very own souls. In this room there is the cross, there is our Savior...you want to grab everyone you have ever known, ever loved and even hated...you want to pull everyone that you have ever hurt and been hurt by to the very foot of this cross and take a good long hard, honest look at what our savior Jesus has done, is doing for each one of us. To be pulled into death on a cross, to move beyond our cross upon are saviors back through its dark passions of a self centered self into our Shepard’s arms... into our Fathers love forever. The cross stands in heaven and earth as the great divide... on the dark side a crucified savior with a beam of soft yellow light piercing the void, forming a narrow path, a beacon of hope for the lost, for us. On the back side is the light of God illuminating heaven while exposing the pit of death in which we are delivered from.
Somehow, original sin, that inner anguish and brokeness that is even beyond our own doing, can become the place where we come in touch with our original blessing. Somehow our broken father, our limited mother, our neurotic brother, our confused sister and our own inner struggle push us and create in us a hunger to go beyond the pain. "My soul is restless," as St. Augustine says, "until it rests in you, O Lord."
When we begin to know intimacy with God and to accept others and ourselves as we are, we then begin to speak about "happy guilt" or "happy brokenness." Our inner struggle is no longer such a burden, but a way to the truth, to the light, to the life. How could we ever become children of God, embraced by the love of the Father, the Son and the Spirit, and be let into the intimacy of the triune life if God hadn't shown compassion with us, as we are? Through Jesus' incarnation we come to know about the inner life of God. It is in our fragile and mortal flesh that God's original blessing is revealed to us.
–Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen