As the aeroplane began its descent into the sand pit that was to be my home for the next 7 and a half years, I had a sinking feeling in my heart. As much as I wanted to explore the world as a flight attendant, I didn’t want to be so far away from my family and friends in an unknown land. My first day in my new home in Qatar was very lonely and a tad bit scary. As a 20-year-old, fresh out of university, I had not fully learnt how to be a responsible adult. Almost overnight my life had changed. I had moved away from family in times preceding the invention of Whatsapp and high-speed internet (if you can remember those frustrating dial-up days). Calling to talk to them was hard and really expensive. The one thing that did not change was my regular partaking of the Eucharist. The church and the Eucharist were the things that were a constant in my life and something I could hold on to. Even though the closest church was about 40 minutes each way, I made it a point to go for Mass at least once a week. However, without the backing of the community, my personal prayer time and my spiritual life, in general, began to stagnate. My spiritual life began looking somewhat like my surroundings: dry and without much life.
It was at this low point in my life that I met someone and fell in ‘love’. The relationship was destructive from its very onset. When the initial excitement had faded off and reality set in, I started to see the different aspects of my life this relationship was affecting. Despite the emotional stress I went through with my partner, I felt that my mission was probably to bring this individual to Christ. In my efforts to ‘change’ him, I lost so much of who I was. Eventually, after being cheated on, I called it quits. I was hurt and felt extremely betrayed. I struggled for a long time, holding a lot of unforgiveness in my heart. I wanted to find ways to make him see the pain I was in or secretly hoped he would someday even feel the same pain I felt. I tried every remedy in the book to cure my broken heart. I listened to all the possible break up songs but to no avail. It was somewhere during this time that the Lord spoke to me through a book I was reading, where the author said that by me holding on to unforgiveness, I was only hurting myself, while the person I had all the anger against had already moved on with their life. These words hit me like a pile of bricks. It was exactly my reality. The anger and unforgiveness that I was holding on to were manifesting itself in every other aspect of my life. I would fall sick more often, I would randomly break out into rashes, in general, I would be more irritable and short tempered. I finally made the decision to start forgiving him. It didn’t happen overnight of course. I could feel the Holy Spirit with me through that entire time. I felt His gentle voice counselling me to forgive. It took me quite a while before I could look back at that whole phase of my life without pain.
It was when I began to visit the Blessed Sacrament more frequently and began to go for mass more often that I felt the grace and healing power of God flow into my life. I can now look back at that phase of my life without pain. I understand now that despite me having distanced myself from God, He had not distanced Himself from me. He was still faithful to me. There were times during my intense emotional struggle that I projected my anger towards Him, but He never failed me. He taught me a great lesson about forgiveness. As I began to forgive my betrayer, I began to experience the forgiveness of God in my life. More importantly, I understand now that the Lord saved me from a lifetime of betrayal and heartbreak. Post our break up, the blinders were lifted from my eyes and I could finally see all the flaws I was missing in the name of ‘love’.
The Lord pieced my heart back together not through any other human being, but through drawing me back to Himself.