praying-child-1668636_1920I never believed I was an individual, possibly because I was born a twin and my life of giving and sharing life’s necessities began unconsciously. As a twin, a part of all my existence was shared. I shared time getting a turn at the bottle, space in one crib, room to grow in one bed, and so much more. I did not know any different, although I lost some of which I know I wanted and needed, it just was what is was, I was a part of a whole. But my part, my me, never felt fit in. It was a world of pretend.

I never pretended to care. I loved helping people, animals, and teachers, anyone who needed something. It brought me joy, peace and just felt comfortable. Somewhere along the time, I learned that people liked a child that was there at just the right moment to assist them. So I was there. I learned that an act of kindness was followed by a wink of acknowledgement. I was kind. I learned that I could give, as long as a give needed. So I gave endlessly. I learned that when the giver, stops giving, the world stops acknowledging, appreciating, knowing or caring. I was too young to learn that receiving, can be expected and giving cannot be from the heart. I pretended, and gave because I just didn’t know any different.

I should have cared that I only had a generic Barbie, or some great original, more than slightly used Playschool toys. I should have spent time playing nurse instead of being nurse. I should have cared less, but I didn’t because I cared. I cared about being loved and love came from giving, caring, selfless acts. So I learned. I learned to give to receive and I learned that one is not in the same. The receive was possible even with a constant unrelenting give.

Caring about myself never brought any acknowledgment only distain. Caring for myself, was expected to be confessed, caring for myself, was just not something, to be done except for the sinner. So I surrendered to the give, to be loved or to be loved not. There was a chance to feel love, so I gave on.

I knew I was called to serve at a young age. I was terrified that I was being called to become a nun. I always felt close to Jesus, but didn’t want to be his “wife” and I always feared My Father and the Holy Ghost. My Catholic education instilled the ever present, unfortunate possibility of judgment then punishment. Sister Geraldine, my absolute favorite teacher, would tell her 1st graders that Jesus knew us, loved us unconditionally and I felt it to be true.

I always heard His loving voice.. It was His voice that told me He loved me. His voice said you matter. It was His voice that said, “I care about you” just as much as the person you are caring for. I will forever remember His acknowledgement of me. I will never forget the first time I felt true gratitude.

I was educated in Catholic Schools. This I will always believe to be a blessing and a gift. At times it was filled with contradiction. I was to be meek, humble and selfless, so I was told. I could never tell them that Jesus told me different when He said, “my burden would not be light, but I would be loved, I would be held and I would be cared for, regardless of what I did or not. I was forgiven, before I sinned, because I was loved. ”

What was hard as a young person was knowing I was different. I was closer to Him than the rest. We had quiet, deep conversations. When I knew things, I struggled with believing my thoughts and believing a human could not possibly have any connection to the Divine. I silently treasured what no one else knew. I never shared that we were forgiven. I never shared that I new that hell was life on earth. I never told anyone that I was connected to people who no longer walked earth and that the angels were by best invisible friends. I never told the nuns, my parents or the priests that I did not need to “learn” about Him because I already knew Him.

My knowledge came with self-judgment, and at times I ignored what I knew and heard. I acted as if a sinner needing repentance. I fixed my buckle shoes, combed my short locks, walked with hands folded, sang intently during mass, and was everything that I was told to be, good. And still at 7, 8, 9, 10 years old, I acted as a sinner and confessed, to all types of menial sins. I confess now, to lying in confession. I was so afraid, uncertain and confused, I admit I confessed possible sins, not sure if they even occurred, but just to be safe and save my soul and feel love-able, I confessed.

I confess now, I can’t remember my last confession, to someone other than the Divine. And I must confess, that I give only from the heart, that I am worthy of care, concern, compassion and love. Because I confess to knowing, that I am you. And I care.