Overwhelmed? Do you, dear friends, have those moments when, out of absolutely nowhere, come feelings or memories of such power that you feel overwhelmed? The entire world, for at least some moments, stops on its axis, and you might even skip a breath … or two?
Depending on what that feeling might be, or the specific memory, I will find myself either giggling with pure joy, little sounds of laughter (or out loud guffaws) escaping my mouth. Or, quite the opposite, and I am suddenly grabbing for a towel to dry the FLOOD of tears erupting from my eyes and trying hard to stifle the sobs which accompany.
Oh, sometimes the raw experience of our humanity IS overwhelming. Usually I keep those experiences to myself … they seem so absurd, so uncontrollable, so dominating. I’ll even wonder, from time to time, after the strong feelings (and accompanying gales of laughter or flood of tears), “Am I OK?” “Is there something wrong with me?”
But here I am, sharing theses thoughts with you today, friends, because the more I think about those events and those feelings, the more I come to see myself as a pretty ordinary human being, with all the ups and downs of anyone else. In fact, it seems the more I “own” my deepest feelings (either positive or negative), the more I seem to be able to relate to someone else’s feelings and life, and world.
As a priest and counselor THAT is very helpful. But what about YOU, my friends? Aren’t ALL of us, EACH of us given the capacity, or privilege and responsibility, as followers of Christ, to be “present” to others who need to “own” their own feelings, and still feel “OK,” that even being overwhelmed from time to time is … perfectly NORMAL?
Indeed, I am fortunate enough in my life to have a few, very selected persons to whom I can confide and share with them the “laughing times and the crying times.” I think of them as my “Jesus-friend.” HEARING someone say, “It’s OK, I’m here, it’s OK,” is just about the best thing to hear.
So, with this reflection, with this meditation today, I’m asking everyone to reach out with all the talents God gives you, to be able to be “present” to others who might be feeling overwhelmed. When you send out “feelings of peace, love, acceptance and inclusion,” people are going to pick that up and respond. And in doing so (the both of you), it’s a “win-win” in which God’s WILL is done, i.e., that we “love one another,” because we are of God.
God bless ALL of you today! Amen.
Fr. Richard Boyle, OSM