BY JUDY ANN KANAPI
Last weekend I had the opportunity to go back to my favourite place, the Benedictine Abbey in Jamberoo. A dwelling place where I ask God to help me see Him in everything that He has made.
My world was going haywire, my brain exhausted from worrying and thinking too much about the future of my employment. So I was fortunate to go through another Healing Retreat to once again shutdown and reboot to listen to God’s message to me with the ear of my heart.
My amazing weekend started Friday night when we arrived at the venue at 10:00 pm. It was very cold but I didn’t hesitate to stay outside for a while and look up to gaze at the stars in the sky. I had never seen so many stars, it felt like I was in the galaxy! This made me feel so excited and I thought, what a wonderful way for God to welcome me and remind me of his greatness.
I slept very well through the night, it’s been a while since I had good sleep. The next day I woke up early to greet a bright, sunny and really beautiful day. I sat in the sun with my eyes closed, feeling the rays of the sun and God’s breath blowing on my face. The birds were chirping as if they were having a conversation and they sounded like music to my ears. I was feeling grateful because I knew that I was in the right place at the right time to heal, let go of my burdens and be renewed. I opened myself up to what the weekend had in store for me through Fr Meng’s sessions and through the loving support of all my brothers and sisters who were there to assist and participate.
The most meaningful session for me was when we were asked to write down our feelings, the hurts and aches of our hearts that we wanted Jesus to heal so we could let go by offering them in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We were given a list of words to use as guide for our writings. I went through the list and there I found the word BETRAYAL.
By definition from the dictionary, betrayal means disloyalty; unfaithful in maintaining trust; to disappoint the hopes or expectations; and violation of confidence. Such a strong word that I realised was deeply rooted in my heart and has unknowingly, continuously caused many relationships and friendships in my life to fail.
In my silence I went all the way back to my first love, my marriage, my succeeding relationships and my friendships. I asked Jesus to hold my hand as I recalled and once again went through the pains of each relationship that failed because of betrayal in different levels. It has been a cycle and I even reached the point of questioning why God didn’t want me to be with anyone in a continuous and permanent relationship.
I realised that this was a deep-rooted wound that I had been carrying and could only be healed by acknowledging God’s faithful and never ending love for me. Only He can teach me how to love in the same way despite being betrayed and only then will I be able to give forgiveness to every person who has hurt me so much in the past and let it go. In my stillness I also asked Him to forgive me for all that I have done that caused these people to betray me. My tears were heavy because I felt weak and vulnerable and I prayed for the courage to change me; to be more accepting despite of the hurts because that is how He continues to love me in my own weaknesses and shortcomings.
The other part of the healing that I received was reconciling with my current situation. I have spent months thinking and worrying about the future as I was made redundant and will have no job after October. My mind has been really tired and God allowed me to rest, I struggled to stay awake at every session we had! The experience taught me to once again let go and let God. Now I am at peace and instead of focusing on what I am losing, I focus on what I have already gained as blessings and be grateful that I am still in a better place compared to others. I am excited to know what He has in store for me, where He will lead me to fulfil my wish to be able to serve more to glorify Him.
Tita Tess was right to say that healing is a process and it doesn’t take just one weekend Retreat to have it. I know that because every opportunity I can have to do this and shut off from the busyness of my life is also an opportunity to have quality time with God and be able to listen with the ear of my heart!