Given time in an elevator with a stranger who questioned your Christianity, what would you say?

Jen from Conversion Diary asked that a long, long time ago, and I was stumped. It wasn’t until an interview with Pat Gohn and Julie Davis brought it up on Among Women, episode 49, that I realized how I would answer anyone who asked me that question:

It heals me.

At every Mass, I find myself kneeling, saying “Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word, and I shall be healed” with everyone else, right before the Consecration. Sometimes — often — there are tears, but with or with or without the tears, I am struck by how very much I need healed.

Healed from my selfishness and my smallness. Healed from my limitations. Healed from the pain that I’ve carried with me, the pain that I’ve gained in the last few hours.

Being healed frees me and allows me to see past my nose to the larger purpose of my life and the lives around me.

So many times, with the problems I face that are larger than I am (and believe me, it has been a week for that), I realize that it’s not my problem anymore. It’s God’s problem.

That freedom releases me and allows me to look at myself in astonishment. Am I really letting go? (Not as well as I should.) Am I really trusting God? (Not as much as I could.) Am I really buying into the whole kit and caboodle?

When I first converted back to Christianity and to Catholicism, I used to have an image of Old Me meeting New Me. Old Me, that sarcastic know-it-all, would be snide and do a lot of laughing at New Me. New Me would, well, just stand there.

My image of that meeting has changed. I can see now, over the distance of almost a decade, that Old Me was mired under a burden of pain, much of it self-inflicted. I realize that Old Me was lashing out and keeping her distance from people as the only way she knew to protect herself from suffering.

I think now that New Me would simply hug Old Me, and I think too that they would cry together, long and hard.

Because however healed I am, I still need more. However much the wounds of the past have been bandaged and mended, there continue to be new hurts, new pains, new agonies.

I am no longer stranded amid all that hurt. I have only to say the word, and He will heal me, and heal me, and heal me.