The Spirituality of Rejection and Dejection: Navigating Back from “Poor Me”

Passsion of the Cross

I just heard the news that a grant that we had applied for to help us in our ministry to bring the “good news” to those who are deaf was rejected. I am working through feelings of disappointment and suffering. Two books that I am reading give me strength and resolve to help conquer the feelings of hurt, pain, rejection and dejection. I want to share some insights that are part of my spirituality and prayer process in search of resilience. I have a hunch that so many of us have dark periods of rejection and face situations that require an adjustment.

In healthy moments, ideally, we seek a pathway to right ourselves when life takes a turn toward, “topsy turvey.” I enter into prayer, listening for God to speak to my heart. This is the message I heard: ” Yes, that’s life, that’s what the people say..”You just dust yourself off and get back in the race-that’s life, -that’s what the people say”….. (Frank Sinatra style motivation)

After a fall, when our hearts are broken and we are ready for healing, we must, “dust ourselves off and get back in the race.. But how? How can we find the strength?

Today, the central message of two books offer a compass and fire to help me navigate through my suffering troubled waters. I will briefly share how these tools assist my recovery. The first book is:  Teresa’s Secret Fire by, Joseph Langford. The second is Perseverance: True Voices of Cancer Survivors by, Carolyn Rubenstein. The books seem to provide good medicine for my woundedness. I hope they can offer an uplifting message to my readers of this humble blog.

We are each called to be, “leaders”. Essentially, we must first attend to and lead our own decisions, hopes and dreams. At the end of the day, we must recognize our responsibility to take charge of our lives-take a stand. In the book by Langford about Mother Teresa, he describes a poignant  epiphany that helped guide and define her life. I will recollect here and recount an episode shared that takes place on the train  when,–then young Sister Teresa and God had a conversation. In this exchange it was discerned that she was to turn away from her role as nun in a school and her current context. Teresa was nudged to turn and become, no longer sister Teresa . She was being called to enter into a new role, to invent the new-mother—Mother Teresa. “Leader Teresa.”

Apparently, God called her and offered a message. Mother Teresa heard God’s desire to be close to His people and love them. She heard God say….”I thirst”—God thirsts. Mother interpreted that Jesus’s words in the cross-“I thirst”,  reflected the Divine.  Mother Teresa heard the message addressed to her. She perceived that her task was to discern–What to do about God’s thirst?- This pathway to find that response, became her new vocation. She was driven to explore the fire and drive, her motivation and direction for her life as one called to be helping God, –a God who thirsted for his people.

Today as a tradition of the order, appearing on all of the walls of the living quarters of the Sisters of Charity is inscribed the words, “I thirst”. This short message became an important and defining spiritual tool. Those who know God’s thirst go out and bring  about something to help and address that thirst. Mother went out to the dying of Calcutta and brought those who were hopeless towards quenching the thirst of God. In this act of love, Mother understood her mission was to connect the thirsty humanity, thirsting for love and for meaning in life and more, and connect them with a God thirsty to offer compassion healing, peace harmony and more.

Turning back to my need to find a way out of my suffering, I can see that I too am called to be a leader. God thirsts, and I am called to bring God’s ‘little ones’ to Him. There is no time for distraction I reason. God is telling me that it is time to move on and get on with finding my way. I have been given the compass of right soul’s direction. I thank Mother Teresa, God and author: Father Langford for this message that energizes my recovery.

The second book I want to share with readers is written by Rubenstein. It is is an anthology of stories that offers a jolt that helps shape my daily walk. Rubenstein’s biographical sketches describe the tactics used by cancer survivors to endure and transcend the tortures. These stories  inspire me greatly. Reading about the personal strength it requires to squarely face the realities of a cancer diagnosis and squarely face tortuous surgery, radiation and chemo,– touch me deeply. In the telling of the stories, I perceive the hand of God extended so graciously to touch and love the afflicted.

Transformation of the heart and adjustment to adversity requires clear thinking and faith. Spirituality and perseverance seems to be sufficient to help carry the day. The book and the stories in tandem with Mother Teresa’s Fire, help turn my head away from, looking back–and behind…pondering yesterday’s bad news. Now, with the grace of God  I get on the pathway and walk in faith and in solidarity—toward the light–toward the fire–toward life.

We are not meant to suffer alone. The authors have helped provide a community of wisdom available to me. God,  can transcend the hurt, and help me move on, “dusting myself off and get back in the race. Yes, rejection and momentary defeat– “that’s life, that’s what the people say…….

Most importantly you and I know what Mother Teresa lived out in her unique and wonderful way:—-God thirsts for the broken to be healed. You and I have work to do?

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2 Responses to “The Spirituality of Rejection and Dejection: Navigating Back from “Poor Me””

  1. Fr Joseph Langford, MC Says:

    Just a word of thanks to you for sharing what is the heart of Mother Teresa’s message, and the secret of her transformation in grace, with your readers…

    Wishing you a blessed Advent!

  2. staurosusa Says:

    Fr Joseph–How kind of you to take the time to encourage. I am moved. I absolutely loved your book. I deeply felt the presence of this saintly hero. Can you share your current ministry? Are you writing? You are touching many lives sharing insights about your time with Mother. Thank you and may you be blessed with a holy Advent season…..Deacon Don

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