I was twenty-five the very first time I deliberately said hi to my father.
I’m sure I must have uttered the word to him before, but I can’t be certain because the last time I had seen him prior to this, I was two years old. Or was I three? I wouldn’t know. He left when my world was just beginning, when skinned knees needed a father’s love and a crushed heart needed repair.
I used to wonder about him. Late into the night when my thoughts drifted through the darkness, I’d let my curiosity take to the skies with made-up stories about why he left or who he was or where he went. And then, as years dragged on, all of the wondering gave way to resentment because my heart couldn’t reconcile the pain he had left in his wake.
So I built a wall to find refuge behind. And that’s where I remained for over twenty years, holed up against a barricade, my heart guarded behind the safety of stone.
I think that’s where a lot of us go when healing doesn’t come right away. We find a wall, hunker down, and keep ourselves locked away. Because, sometimes, peeking beyond that wall and allowing yourself the freedom to hope is the most painful part.
I see it in today’s Gospel when the sick man explains, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me" (John 5:7). He had given up the hope of healing like so many of us do.
But the beautiful thing about our Father is that He doesn’t give up on us no matter how thick we build that wall. I was twenty-five when I reconnected with my birth father, but God? He reconnected my heart long before that. Because sometimes the healing you expect can be transformed in beautiful ways if you give your hurt to Him.
So, sisters, whatever you need healing for—a relationship, an illness, an addiction—“rise, take up your mat, and walk” (John 5:8). He makes all things new.
Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote commentary on the four Gospels based on teachings of the Church Fathers called the "Catena Aurea" (Golden Chain). See the passage here on John 5:8 for further thought.
Brittany Calavitta is an enthusiastic advocate for a good book, strong coffee, and a hopeful heart. After battling years of infertility, she and her husband welcomed their first child on September 11, 2016. You can find out more about her here.