The effort of moving towards the light has been a struggle lately in my journey to forgiveness and healing. I was not always on the dark side of the force. My spiritual walk began on the light side approximately seven to eight years ago when I attended a Caritas retreat for the first time. My introduction to Christus Ministries and a certain “white-haired priest” strengthened and deepened my relationship with God. From Caritas, I joined a faith sharing group, and for three solid years, it served as a catalyst for me to slow down, respond in gratitude for my blessings, and helped me to become more aware when undergoing challenges and difficulties in my life. However, within its fourth year, an unsettling event occurred, and it was never the same.

The downfall of my faith sharing group coincided with my spiritual unraveling. I started to become removed, and within me, anger and darkness slowly grew. I had done a heinous act towards a friend of mine, and although my friend accepted my apology, I was unable to forgive myself. Feelings of anger, regret and unworthiness took root in my heart and locked me in this state for a year. I found myself praying less and less and thinking, “How can I face God when I had done something so terrible?”

Sitting in the pitch-black basement of my emotions, the door cracked open to reveal a shimmer of light with an invitation to a pilgrimage. Three days of silent retreat and an opportunity for confession on the Camino, I opened up and asked for forgiveness from God. I was overwhelmed by God’s love and tenderness towards me. It was a huge hurdle to overcome and even though the emotions still cling to me currently, I understand that I am a work in progress.

Another glimmer of light came in the form of joining a new faith group. I did not intend or even think I was worthy. When the group was being called to form, I automatically and instinctively turned and walked away because of my feelings of unworthiness. However, a good friend challenged and asked me, “Where are you going? You don’t want to join the others? This could be a good thing for you!” At that moment, I felt as if God was urging me back into His warm embracing arms.

These two significant events enabled me to take the first big step towards the light again and see God in my daily life. He speaks to me through my work friend, Brooks. He is a Protestant, and his love and trust for God inspires and reminds me of God’s presence, love, and forgiveness during our chats at work.

Sean is also another friend that helped open my eyes. He is recently married, and his marriage was a surprise to his family and friends. Most of us did not even realize Sean was dating. Before his wedding, he informed me that he met his wife ten years ago. He had no initial attraction to her until two years after they met. Their dating relationship did not last long as he lived in South America and she lived in Dubai. They broke up within six months of dating. Last year, he revealed how he prayed and gave his complete trust to God to give him a sign and guide him on his romantic path. Within a month, his wife unexpectedly called him and asked him to travel with her on a mission trip. He saw it as his sign and trusted in the experience. These two great men motivate me to love and trust God because the struggle is undeniable.

The Dark Knight Rises” song by Hans Zimmer embodies my dwelling in the sadness, pain, and sorrow, but also the hopeful rise out of the hole. It reflects my soul yelling to God for help.

Loc Nguyen