When I awoke this morning, my mind went to my time in Japan. That was September 13, 1994 until March 25, 1997. This is not a period of my life that I dwell on much, or to say it more accurately, I have pushed this era out of my mind for quite awhile because of how painful it all was. So, it was a bit odd to me that in that early wake-up time (I'm NOT an instant-on person) my ruminations went there.
I had one very significant Naru Hodo moment. That being my Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary this year marked exactly my 10th Anniversary of arriving back on American soil. It feels like that consecration was a crowning of 10 years of growth and healing that God has done in me, primarily through my husband and my marriage, and also through the Catholic community of Steubenville. I see that this consecration this year was much more Mary's gift to me than vice versa.
My arrival back from Japan in many ways was a real Yes that began a whole new life for me. I thought this morning about the many lessons, the many experiences I'd had in Japan. The sting of them, I believe, is finally gone. The sting arose from experiencing a vast, vast desert within. From feeling keenly my inabilities, my powerlessness, my every weakness, until I felt ground to powder, all the while lacking wisdom and every other virtue for spiritual, emotional and social survival.
I was very, very alone. I need a word beyond the English language to describe the aloneness of trying to mix socially as an introvert who did not speak the language and was prone to social blunders. Many times when I tried to mingle with the Sisters whose order sponsored me to "teach" in their school, I broke down in tears, heaping awkwardness upon an already difficult situation for them.
It was a time of spiritual battle, without a doubt. God was clearly doing work in me, or perhaps rather trying to preserve me in what I don't believe was His "Plan A" for me at all. I nearly lost it in that I got involved with a Japanese man who had significant problems of his own, and almost committed to staying in Japan and marrying him. As it was, I re-upped for a second teaching year when I could have left for home.
But the number one lesson I came home with was that I needed to be involved with human society. Pre-Japan, I hid in my shell and waited for life to happen. At my new "fiat" to return Stateside, I knew that I had to take life in my hands and live. In so doing, I was putting my life totally in God's hands for the first time, I feel. It was a heep of rubble, and hurting badly.
Today, I feel the freedom to look back and see the growth. God, grant me now the wisdom to use that vision for Your purposes.