In one of my earlier posts, I related the story of a friend who did not understand why she could not (or was not allowed to) feel God's presence in the same way I have sensed, felt, and known the Presence. God to me is the Presence; the Presence is God. Like Br. Lawrence (Practicing the Presence of God), if I do not palpably know that God is with me it is because I, unlike Br. Lawrence, have chosen for the moment to focus my attention away from God. Otherwise, I do feel the Presence nearly all my waking hours, and I find the Presence not only comforting but also increasingly necessary and thirstily desired. Therefore, of course, I wanted my friend to have this same kind of experience and relationship, and I pestered God about it. After much pestering, I received another of those locutions that startled me. "She is fragile," I was told.
Huh? Fragile? What was that supposed to mean? Well, when I told her, I found out what it meant: fragile personality disorder. More details are given in the earlier post: Voice IV.
This friend later came to visit me, spending a week here. Every day she accompanied me to the Old Mission, where I had made a habit of an early evening walk, basking in the Presence of God, sometimes listening, sometimes talking, but mostly just being together with God, which is usually enough for me.
My friend immediately began to have the same experiences I did, but, fragile personality disorder or not, they did not frighten her. Rather, she began to look forward to our long evening walks, and she often sat on a bench in one of the rose gardens, just being with God, as I love to do although, being a very kinesthetic person, I prefer to walk with God, rather than to sit.
My friend had experienced a traumatic childhood. Without going into details, I will say only that the result of this difficult and horrendous childhood had led to years of regular psychotherapy as an adult with very slow and extremely incremental progress. After her week's stay with me, she returned home more comfortable with herself and accepting of her past as being in the past, more filled with genuine forgiveness for those who had either harmed or failed her, and met with her psychologist for their routine session. My friend reported that her psychologist was amazed by how she had changed, saying that such changes either take many more years of psychotherapy than she had had or come about as a result of Divine intervention. It is remarkable what communing with God can do! (And, I suppose, that fragile personality is now a bit less fragile, thanks to God.)