Release, Receive and Return

For days after I heard how my words wounded another, I was visited with the recurring judgment that I was a bad person, an unsafe person. I was shrouded in shame until God found me through a Lenten reflection on labyrinths with the themes: release, receive and return.

Gently, God helped me to enter the tomb with Jesus and release the expectation that I would learn from my mistakes and stop hurting or offending people.

It was a painful death, letting go of the hope that I could leave that dark part of me behind. I wrote a poem about it called Resurrection Is Personal in my blog post for Easter. It ended with these three questions.

What would it be like
to love that dark part of me
even when other people can’t?

What would it be like
to stand with her when she feels the pain she caused,
hold her when she sees her mistake,
and forgive her
seven times seventy times?

What would it be like
to release her from the expectation
that this can never happen again?

These questions allowed me to breathe again. I heard: Even if another person finds it hard to love me, I can love myself. I can forgive myself. I will offend others again and feel sad and disappointed, but I will be all right. I received these comforting and liberating words from God with gratitude, and peace began to return.

I shared my experience of resurrection with my spiritual director, weeping while I spoke. Accepting my humanity, forgiving and loving myself was freeing. Yet, I noticed how raw I felt. I wanted to withdraw from people. I felt as if I had no skin on.

My director asked me to pause there with those feelings and notice how God might want to be with me in them.

As I sat there, I sensed God’s tenderness and compassion. Then the idea came to me that God wanted to be my skin. I imagined God lovingly covering and protecting my raw hurting self. I felt so safe and protected.

I told my director what came to me in the silence. “God seems to understand that when an incident like that happens, I’m hurt too, and it takes a while to recover. I think God is inviting me to take the time I need for my skin to grow back.”

I returned home reassured of God’s intimate and particular care for me every step of the way.

You lead me in the path of goodness to follow Love’s Way.
–Psalm 23:3 Nan C. Merrill,
Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

I am so grateful to be a part of the love mischief that happens in the Living from the Heart course. I hear testimonies like these from participants and am moved every time. I love to hear that people are releasing false thoughts and expectations, receiving a felt sense of God’s intimate love for them, and returning to their true selves. The course is offered in person in Alberta and BC and online for anyone anywhere.

What love mischief are you and God doing for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Rivendell Labyrinth  1&2 by Richard Bott. Used with permission

© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2022.

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Easter, False Self, Poetry, Reflections, Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Release, Receive and Return

  1. Charleen says:

    Esther, thanks again for sharing from the heart. I heard such a rawness in your experience and also such beautiful intimacy!! I will remember the imagery!


  2. Esther Hizsa says:

    You’re welcome. Thanks for letting me know.


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