So, we all know what a control freak I am. This was told to me by my therapist last year and laughed at by my friends b/c they have known this all along and I had no clue (thanks, Mary Boyle!)
As is nothing new here, I'm always the last to learn or realize something about myself. This morning, was the reminder that I am a control freak.
As all of you know (unless you are hidden under a rock, in a cave, in the remote jungle of fill in some obscure name here) I adore Father Antony. Not just adore, but love. Genuinely, love him. And, he has even referred to me on occasion as the president of his fan club (of which I wear the title most proudly!). Well, Father Antony is leaving. This has not sat well with me for the last 15 months. At one point, I mentioned something to Jeanne, and she said to not think about it now. Good call Jeanne! However, I've learned this morning, that that does not work for me. It is not who I am. While I stuff things away I do not want to think about, inevitably, they come to the surface and I have to deal with it. Such is the case with my beloved Father Antony.
I could sit here and sing his praises to you, but if you have talked with him, you know how awesome he is and what a great loss it will be to St. Jude's and not just me. And, to sing his praises, I would need eternity, and I have to get ready for work soon.
What I'd like to share with you is this...my dream last night. I have been for all intensive purposes a coward these last few months. I stopped going to confession (I did go before Easter with Fr. Tim! Not to worry) for a few months. I love going once a month to Fr. Antony, it keeps me in check, dontcha know. Yesterday, I went to talk to Mary Boyle and spend a few minutes with her. In the course of our conversation, we started talking about Fr. Antony. Of course, how much I love him was evident. Then, when I left her office, I noticed he was in his. I didn't stop to say hello b/c I was a little embarrassed. "What if he heard all the things I said to Mary about him, even though they were all good" I thought to myself. Now, why I found singing the praises of someone I love to another person I love embarrassing, I have no clue. But, this is me. Add to the fact, that I have unconsciously been avoiding him,like a coward, you get my dream last night....
George calls me and tells me that Father Antony has passed away. While that was horrid in and of itself, it got much,much worse for me, and then, better. I cannot catch my breath from crying. Then, I head to the viewing. I am trying to cry quietly b/c I know everyone else loved Father as well. Sue Hawthorne sees me and extends her hand out to me and I take it. I walk into the viewing and then find a corner, sit as small as I can possibly make myself and began to cry to the point I was hyperventilating. I could not breathe. I could not catch my breath. I blamed myself for not saying anything to him yesterday. I felt it was my fault he had died. Then, in an act of love that is so Father Antony, he sat up. The guy was dead, and he sat up! I don't know if all of you who were in my dream saw this, or if it was just for me, but he sat up and talked with me and it was the most beautiful conversation. I then woke up, my face soaked with tears. Still crying.
So, this morning, I had a good cry. I allowed my heart for the first time to mourn the leaving of one of the people I love most in this world. I had a really good cry in the shower. I told God that I was not happy with Him today. While I love Him always, I'm not exactly happy with Him. I echoed the conversation I had with Him 15 months ago when I found out Father Antony was leaving. I said to Him "you took away mom and my emotional support and now you're taking away Father Antony and my spiritual support!". He just listens. I love Father Antony and I want him to be happy. I know he misses his family. And, how could I deprive the his next parish of such a wonderful priest? Then, while in the shower, as I was crying, I wondered if he knows exactly how much I love him. And then, the voice of my Julie popped in my head. She paid me the highest compliment one day. She said "It is impossible to be friends Gina and not know how much she loves you." If that is the case, then I can rest assured that Father Antony and each of you know how very much, and very deeply I love you.
So, I am a control freak. But, I am a control freak who deals with things by crying. And, by holding it in, it only ends up coming out eventually.
Until next time,
Write a note to Father Antony and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org as she is making a scrapbook for him.