A Liberating Reality

A Liberating Reality

“But then, little by little, I began to understand, as never before, that he was present in the emptiness, in the waiting.” Carlo Carretto

Yesterday I had a meeting with a therapist who has been evaluating me for the other work I do, and knowing therapists I never know where they are going to come down, especially with me. He was very complimentary, compassionate, and understanding.

He said what he has observed is that “You have two strengths and a great gift. First of all you are resilient. Your life has not been easy, and your experiences would knock most people down, but you get up and keep going, and I believe that comes from your strong faith in God. God is not just a belief, he is real and walks with you, and you do not expect him to deliver you, but simply to walk with you.  And he is a God of love.

And your gift, is a powerful gift, I have seen few people with your gift of walking with adolescents. And I have seen that in your talking of the two who are your two best friends, and the two  you trust more than any one else in your life. You have made no bones about that fact to me. They are your best friends, period. I have seen that, and have heard others talk of that in your work.  I also have heard, and have seen the great sacrifices you make, for example co-signing a lease with four college students you did not even know. That is a gift that is powerful in your work.”

I have been reflecting over these words, and he is right. I do not think of my life as being difficult, hard, but that is the resilience he talks about. To me I am just living life. At the moment it is not much fun, it is actually hell some days,  but oh well, it can not be fun  all the time.

My parents died young, I was kicked out of my original church just for raising questions, on the street and a prostitute, have been shot at, stabbed, threatened, and so on, and to me it is just a part of life.

A friend of mine once told me that a scientific study has shown that you lose your resilience as you get older, and I realized that you lose it when you make excuses. Resilience comes from believing you have to change to survive. I have had enemies who always under estimate me, when I continue standing. And that comes from my faith in Christ, who  sustains me in my worst times and worst fears.   In the Christ who loves us no matter what, and it is in love that he calls us, a love that is all giving, all giving.

My gift, I suppose it is a gift, or I have never grown up. My two buddies are not eighteen to me, they are the one’s who have loved me, taken care of me, and walked with me. They are my equals and always have been. We fight, we argue, I think they hate me sometimes, but they stay with me.  Tonight I was at an eighteen year old’s birthday party, and got in a fight over absolutely nothing with one of the guys, we argued, fought, and laughed. I was not his elder, just his friend.  One who is a close friend gave me a ring his girlfriend had given him and was too small for him.  People evaluate me, judge me over my relationships with adolescents, and I walk in their world, I live in their world most of the time,   and in the last year, I have learned not to care, it is who I am for whatever reason.

Carlo Carretto has said: “But then, little by little, I began to understand, as never before, that he was present in the emptiness, in the waiting.”

And in the past year I find Christ present in the emptiness, the waiting, the rejection, the loneliness. 

In the last week I have had two people suffering from severe pain from depression and rejection, crying out for God to save them, to take away their pain, and they come to me and all I can do is sit with them, listen, and encourage them to take it minute by minute.

It has become a liberating reality to me to simply accept the fact that I am human, with all of my spots, wrinkles, and that God is the redeeming presence.

My journey is sitting in the emptiness, and I invite you to sit in your own emptiness, experience it, not run away from it, but experience it.

Fr. River Damien Sims, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


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