I would like to begin reflection about my life with the words of gratitude towards Jesus, my Lord. Every event was and still is a piece of evidence for me that he has led me and has been always present.
I remember that thought which came up to my mind after I had entered the convent: how easy my life was, how everything went well and everything happened according to my plan… Full family, successfully finished education and then vocation… That thought shows brightly, how unconscious of myself I was at that time. In reality, inside me there were more sophisticated and complicated thoughts which I overlooked. Why did I still feel badly? Why was I not able to keep touch with other people properly, why am I afraid of them? Why was I hurt by peoples’ opinions about me, whether positive or negative? Why didn’t people show me kindness? At that time I thought like that and I asked these questions. Today I should ask: why didn’t I recognise that people were kind to me?
Over time these questions were even more and more disturbing, they hurt me and I felt that I was falling into small pieces. The solitude was greater, I felt isolated and anxious. It became obvious to me that there was a problem which I had to solve and one or two conversations with my Mother Superior were no longer enough. After a few years of my in-fighting, I joined the group therapy.
During that therapy I found out how misleading was my assessment of my childhood. Although I lived in a quite rich family, there were small and tough tragedies. I do not want to describe these tragedies because of two reasons. Firstly, I do not want to create another scenario which is so well-known nowadays. Secondly, I want to accentuate something else which has a great value for me. The value for me is that I can develop, cope with crisis and tense and develop my inner life. I am a Sister and therefore my self – development is strictly connected with the development of my psyche and the grace from God. Probably, every therapy which is well-experienced can trigger somebody’s reaction to God’s call. For me it was very important indeed.
These two aspects of my life were overlapping. I would like to describe that situation. The time of the therapy was very tough for me. The effort was that I had to connect the requirements of life in a convent with learning slowly how to express myself. Even the fact that nobody else before me in my convent had taken part in a group therapy was a great challenge for me. I was faced with Sisters who did not want to understand me or even were discouraged by my participation in that therapy. I understood them but at that time I was not able to show them that I understood. On the other hand, I was convinced that I chose the right step to take because in my action to fix my life I searched for God and his presence. I strived not to lose sight of the target – to get to know myself, in order to serve God and people. That aim was of course urgent. I wanted to overcome the inner pain, get rid of it or find the place for it inside me. However, I knew that that target was only short-term, it was rather a measure not the aim.
The effort of the therapy was based on the fact that I had to get to know myself and my family and to accept the diagnosis which I heard. It was very difficult for me to say that I do not come from the decent family. I had to resign from a very good opinion about my family and myself. Finally, I had to admit that the facts were burdening - I felt the results of my current life. What got better of my decision was strong sense of truth and that was the beginning of my conversion (this way I called that difficult therapeutic work).
The results of the therapy bewildered me. First and foremost – after a time of blaming my parents for my inner pain - I understood quickly that I am not so determined by the past as it seemed to be. It was comfortable for me to think this way but there are a lot of things which I can create, the quality of my life is my matter. In that way the therapy was an experience of my weaknesses and negligence. Maybe such weaknesses are the part of all people but I had the additional reason why I was willing to cultivate my insult. It was a breakthrough for me to release myself from the cage of such thinking and simultaneously a great joy of directing my life, that inner one too. Suddenly, it turned out how a great gift it was to have my own free will which is supported by Holy Spirit. I have learnt how to direct myself and pay attention to the outside world and its needs.
There was a time in which I had to answer the questions I faced at the beginning – about my bad physical and mental state, lack of relationships and kindness. The answer was: I was focused on myself too much. I was brooding over my wounds and I was not able to indicate anything apart from myself. I got to know that it was not about getting rid of pain but that I should not pose it as a core of my life. Then, the pain has eased. Apart from that, the pain can be devoted to Jesus, it is the genuine possibility. Therefore for me the following sentence form Psalm 18 is vivid: “My Lord you brighten my darkness.” Only Jesus, my Lord knew what “my darkness” meant and how much I received from him. That learning has been very arduous and it has lasted for a couple of years, it lasts even now. Every victory is a confirmation for me that it is worth undertaking because the profits have exceeded the efforts.
The second very important result of the therapy was the experience of forgiveness. At the beginning I was struggling with grief and pain which came back. But the day came when I understood that forgiveness is a matter of our own free will and that its dynamism is totally different than emotions. Feelings can always come back but when it comes to thoughts of the painful situations which we brood over the will has to say: stop, that used to be and that is to be forgiven. After a while, it turned out that even my emotions are weak and they can be calm down if I want.
I remember that it was a wonderful discovery after which I started to beg Jesus for giving me some time before arriving at the final decision. I wanted to minimise the number of situations I was taken aback with. I did not have the knack of reacting spontaneously to some situations. It was not about forgiving the situations in the past, but it was about current situations. I want to have my heart open to other people and do not have sorrow towards other people. I want to be free for Jesus every time. My being prone to pains and sensitivity was and still is a great challenge, but it is not the challenge Holy Spirit cannot cope with.
Personally speaking, the crucial aspect of forgiveness is the resignation from anticipation of pains in the future. I mean that we have to dispose of distrust and suspicion towards the others. I remember the moment when during my pray I decided that I would not be driven by my anxieties in my actions and relationships with other people. That decision had to be from Jesus and He had to blessed it because later I have convinced myself that it is better to be gullible than even once accuse somebody unfairly. Consequently, when I defend somebody I always feel peacefully, but when I accuse – never. That discovery was the healing of my imagination and thoughts and in some way also my will.
That would be a break in a description of my life. I say that I make a break not I finish that story because it has not been ready yet. I am aware of the fact that ahead of me there are a lot of things which have to be done. I know that Jesus has a lot of grace for me as well. I know that when you know yourself deeply, your life tastes differently, better. I would never be balked of my sensitive feelings inside me, which can be easily hurt be other people, but I believe these feeling are like stigmas: I am similar to Jesus in them, there is the space for my intimate meeting with Him. Due to Him I have learnt not to pay attention to myself and my pain – and in that I want to be Him alike.
I know that the further grace will come. I know because of my temporary experience. Jesus has never let me down and I can cope with my problems on the condition that He knows that I would be able to accept His solution and when I really beg for it. Many times I have had a sensation that He only waits for my permission, my openness, that I am at His disposal and then He can give me some things generously. I am sure that He will do it again and again.
Translated by Monika Piecha