FOOTSTEPS AND FINGERPRINTS
If you have ever ventured into the carnival maze called a Hall of Mirrors, you know what an illusion is. Where you thought there was a door and passageway turns out to be a solid wall of mirrors that blocks your way.
Illusions are not reality. By dictionary definition an illusion is a deception, delusion, false appearance, an unreal image, or a false idea.
Joyce Rupp in her book “Open the Door” says that many of the obstacles in our lives are actually illusions. What we believe about some part of our self is not always as it seems; it is an illusion that can prevent us from moving forward in our lives. “Illusions convince us that our views and actions are serving our growth well and that we do not need to change.” She asserts that such illusionary doors instead of helping us grow emotionally and spiritually persuade us to stay chained and fixed in our favorite comfort zone.
What are some of these pretend doors? Pretending to be a door of loving care for another person yet being reluctant to spend time listening and helping that person. Pretending to be a door of friendship but harboring a hidden agenda that sets limits to the friend- Some doors are just illusions ship. Pretending to trust in God yet being anxious and worried and stressed out by the things happening in your life. Pretending to be a door of forgiveness while secretly nourishing hateful feelings toward the other.
One of my illusionary doors used to be my “fear” of speaking in public. Once I had the courage to begin to step out in faith that the Holy Spirit would help me and provide the words to say, I was able to set aside that illusionary door little by little. Today I welcome the opportunity to share my life testimony in BCBP gatherings, to facilitate workshops, and even to co-host an interactive radio program.
Another one of my illusionary doors was thrown open during a one-on-one retreat many years ago with Sis Carmeli Catan, my spiritual director. She discerned that as I tried so hard to adapt and become as Filipino as I could, at the same time I was burying and trying to deny my American heritage and cultural background. My inner self was being torn in two trying to be two people at the same time, always trying to satisfy others instead of being myself. When I realized this and let go of these illusions, I felt a great sense of freedom to be myself, not to just be someone others thought I should be.
The passage to greater personal freedom of spirit and soul comes when we discover and set aside our illusionary doors. To do this, we need to take an honest look at our lives with the heartfelt desire to become better persons than we are now. Rupp reminds us to always remember that God is the one who can help us recognize our illusions; He will give us the courage to let go of our illusions and pretend doors so that our authentic self can go forward, mature and grow in His care.