When I think about the many things that have happened in my life, and where I am right now, I have to be thankful and appreciative of life. I have a very supportive family who welcomed me when I finally accepted myself, and started to live in the freedom to be, who I want to be without shame and guilt, and to love without any condemnation whatsoever.
The support of great friends who stood up with me in the most difficult moment when the church opened their doors and politely asked me to step out into a world where I did not have any experience to work, except my pastoral background, were one of the biggest pillars for the rebuilding of my soul, and life as a newly member of the LGTBQ community.
Then, after almost 14 years doing some kind of ministry for the church, I landed in awesome organizations that introduced me to the immigrant and workers rights movement, and every other movement in the vast sea of social justice work. These new comrades and friends have built and shape my life’s philosophy, and the transformation of my soul into who I am now.
I am not who I was, but I am not near of who I want to become; my life is organically changing, and moving into a more understanding of myself, and better knowledge of the collectiveness of the community I live.
I understand, that even after all these positive things, I needed to come into terms with the darkness in me. There cannot be light without darkness; we cannot enjoy the good moments without going through rough ones. But I believe is not always about balancing the good and the bad, the dark and the light; it is about embracing every single moment finding the pain, and hurt that has enslaved us into our own self-deception, and taken us into a roller coaster of infinite emotions. When we are willing to step into the deep-soul-seeking journey of our own jungle, when we embrace the fear of failure, disappointing others, and the very difficult acceptance of the mistakes and failures we have done in our life, and the people we have hurt, I am telling you, our lives will be more easily lived.
Pema Chödron says, “Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”
There is one incident in my life that still produces one of the biggest and most horrifying trips into the guilty and shame compartment of my heart. When I am brave enough to close my eyes and think about this, a tornado of emotions starts to produce strong winds, that most of the time take me into a downward spiral, crashing eventually with the rawness of my humanity.
We all have these kind of memories in us, and they were caused by somebody else saying or doing something that hurt us, or because we did or say something that hurt somebody else. In both cases there is one basic, and very healing element that we have not put in practice. Some will say that what we need to do is to forgive, and forget, and I agree partially with this statement. But before we are able to forgive, we need to dive into ourselves and find COMPASSION. Yes that is correct, we cannot forgive, if we do not have compassion. And the compassion to others will come after we find the compassion to ourselves. I am not talking about pity of self-pity, it is about finding in the darkest place of that wound the essence of life. It is like the little green plant coming out through the dry and hard land on a drought season in the desert.