Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What the Jesuits Meant (and Mean) To Me, Part II

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

On May 18, 1999 I left behind the life I had been living the prior nine months in Chicago, Illinois. I had been living as a Jesuit scholastic and attending Loyola University Chicago.  I had taken courses in philosophy and theology. I had worked with Vietnamese youth in an after school enrichment program as my active ministry assignment. I grew a lot as a person during those nine months. Looking back I wish I had been able to grow more as a person though. I still wish I had discovered EMDR therapy in 1999 rather than in 2013. Perhaps I would have stayed in the Jesuit order. It is difficult to conceive of how my life would be today if EMDR treatment had found its way into my life many years earlier than it ultimately did. Maybe my life would be so much better today if I had.

"Maybe my life would be so much better today if I had."

This thought conveys regret. It expresses my mournful regret over actions never taken and paths never discovered. Now, years later, I am still purging myself of the excessive grief I carried for so very long. What does a life look like when it is suddenly deeply shaken up and redirected long after a person has become an adult? Perhaps it looks a little bit like my own life. Have you ever felt like much of your life is a quest to rediscover a person inside you who never really had a good chance to develop? That has been my life experience.

I had not recently really appreciated how much the Jesuits meant to my own personal development until I went away on a retreat at the Demontreville Jesuit retreat house in Lake Elmo, Minnesota this past weekend. On more than one occasion I felt myself nearly burst into tears while eating. It was such a gift to eat as well as I did. And it was such a gift to eat as well as I did in the company of other men. And this was true even though the retreat was held in silence!

This past weekend revived my memories of the nearly three years I spent in the Society of Jesus. That time I spent living in such a stimulating environment suddenly was in the forefront of my conscious awareness. I found myself deeply grateful for all the gifts I was given in that time of my life. It's no wonder I cried as much as I did this past weekend.

I reached out to a Jesuit friend shortly after arriving back home on Sunday night. Today he provided me the names of two Jesuits who were my novice colleagues during my time in the Society. They both began one year ahead of me. I felt bad that I wasn't a better friend and a better man at that time in my life. So I wrote to them today (email) in the hope of healing any rough edges that may be in their hearts.

I want a life defined by wholeness and vibrant health. I believe I can have such a life.

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!