So I’m leaving for Chicago tomorrow.
Just staying over for one night, and then back to NYC tomorrow.
But I’m going because my dad is receiving an award…the Man of the Year Award, from an international organization, so I’m going there to sit in the audience and cheer him on.
So dad, if you’re reading this (and I know you are!) congratulations! You have always been the man of the year in my eyes. And I thank you for all the selfless ways you’ve given to your family throughout your life, each and everyday.
I’ve spent a good deal of time here, in Ohio during the holidays, thinking about my future. About whether I should continue to live in NYC, where I’ve been building my life for the last seven years, or if I should move back to Ohio and “settle down.”
And no surprise here, that I’ve talked myself around in a circle to the point of dizziness. But I’m just always struck by how easily I can be reminded here, of that dark part of my life, when I was battling anorexia in high school and early college.
That memory creates a huge shadow that follows me around here. It’s why I moved in NYC in the first place: to start fresh and create a new life as the healed young woman I am.
But this past Sunday at church, I had a really, just awful experience. Since I have been back in Ohio, we’ve been going to a new parish downtown where my brother and sister-in-law attend. It’s beautiful, there’s an amazing choir, and it’s where my miracle took place.
But last Sunday, we went back to our local parish. The one I went to during my illness in high school.
And let me tell you, I was just attacked, spiritually, the whole time I was there.
I remember back during my disease that I would just loathe going to Mass, simply because it meant that I had to sit still for an hour. Which was a death-sentence for me, because stillness meant I wasn’t burning calories.
I can remember as clear as day, the racing thoughts that harangued my brain, as I would violently bounce my legs in an effort to appease my exercise addiction.
And the people at church all knew what I was going through. It was no secret – I was wearing my illness on my skeletal body. But there would be whispers and judgmental looks from some. Feigned concern that masked their ugly gossip, slaughtering me and my family’s reputation.
And still to this day, there are wonderful people who still TEN YEARS LATER go: Oh, I’m so glad you’re doing so well. Or my favorite, You look so healthy now.
The social ineptness is just astounding.
But sitting there in the pews on Sunday, all of that just hit me right in the face. It was like I walked into a brick wall and there was Satan, standing over me, and jeering at me while I was down.
And it completely rocked me. Truly. I couldn’t shake the feeling of anger and disgust and remorse and judgment and inadequacy for the rest of the day. I was a different person. I was mean. I was short. I was picking fights with my parents for no good reason.
And my dad just pulled me aside as hot tears were streaming down my face in a fit of anxious rage, and he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Don’t let the devil get to you.”
I know this is a bit of a heavy topic, but he really is on the prowl, and will use any foothold we give him to worm his way back into our lives and wreak havoc.
I ended up taking a walk alone that afternoon to walk it off. Listened to some music and let the endorphins work their magic. I tried to pray, but truthfully I couldn’t come up with the words other than, O God.
That afternoon served as a reminder that I am not invincible. Sure, I was coming off of an incredible stretch of time here at home with my friends and family and even someone kind-of interesting, but the devil can even find us on the mountaintop and kick us down to the dust.
Doesn’t matter how strong your recovery is or how impenetrable your fortress.
My dad knew what was going on. He called it out. And instilled in me the belief that I could resist and turn things around.
But there’s something to be said about protecting your heart and your mind from situations or places that will make you susceptible to attacks.
Case in point: when I stay at my parents’ house in Ohio, I don’t sleep in my old bedroom. I just can’t. I feel incredibly attacked, seeing my high school memorabilia and things and pictures that remind me of that dark time in my life.
It looks like my home parish is one of those places too. Which is a real pity.
And honestly gives me grave pause as I have been prayerfully considering the possibility of moving home for good this summer.
But then maybe that’s the doubt he was trying to stir up by attacking me in that way.
I don’t know. A lot to consider. A lot to pray about.
But the most important thing to remember is that Jesus conquers all. There is no match for our King.
***THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS ORDERED MY BOOKS, BLOOM: A JOURNAL BY BEAUTYBEYONDBONES AND “MY BLOGGING TIPS“***
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram
Next time you’re shopping on Amazon, be sure to stop by my link, amazon.com/shop/beautybeyondbones first! Doing so is absolutely FREE for you, and a great way to support this blog! (When you stop by my link first, whatever you get on Amazon will give this blog a little commission :))
My favorite item someone purchased last week was a Juniper Fox 2018 Calendar! So if that was you…THANK YOU! 🙂
For Podcast versions of my posts, please check out Patreon! You make this blog possible 🙂