A few days ago I had a disturbing dream. In it, a crowd was chasing after two children, one of whom held a doll that looked like a young Jesus. The crowd encircled the children, wanting to take the doll, not allowing them to run away. The children finally gave up the doll and the crowd let them go. Then one of the people in the crowd placed the doll in the garbage and wrapped some type of cloth around it so that no one could see or know what it was. The doll was left in the trash, and the crowd disappeared. That was the end of the dream.
I went to adoration a day or two later, but I was not able to concentrate because I kept thinking about this dream. In the dream I could see everything from a third person omniscient perspective, but I was not actually able to do anything about what was happening. I wanted to take the doll out of the trash and hold it. I didn’t want Jesus to be left in the garbage! So in adoration, I let my mind go back to the scene of the dream. I imagined myself taking the doll out of the trash. But once the doll was in my arms, it changed from a doll of Jesus to a real, live child- me as a young girl. I held the little girl close and told her that she was going to be okay, that she was safe and loved.
What did my dream and my meditation mean? As I was reflecting on them, I realized that I don’t just need to let go of the material things to which I am attached. I also need to let go of all of the garbage that I’ve collected spiritually over the course of my life. There are a lot of negative things that I’ve believed about myself- that I was stupid, ugly, alone, a bad person, worthless, useless, unloved. I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to think these things about myself. All through school I was teased by my fellow classmates. Over the years, after hearing so many bad things said about me, I started to believe them. I would tell myself the same things that others did, which led to a lot of self-hate.
But as I’ve come closer to God in the last few years, I’ve realized that I’m not a piece of junk. I don’t deserve to be thrown into the garbage. I’ve slowly started to let go of the self-hate and begun to accept God’s love for me instead. This Lent, I want to give God all of the garbage that’s been holding me back from having a relationship with Him. I am a daughter of God; I’m not an object that can be carelessly thrown away. The more I believe that I am a child of God worthy of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the more I will come to see myself as God sees me – His wonderful, beautiful, marvelous creation.
All of us have spiritual garbage that we carry around with us. We hear negative things from our parents, siblings, friends, classmates, co-workers, bosses, neighbors, or even complete strangers. This Lent I want to invite everyone to join me and embark on a journey to get rid of the spiritual trash and lay it in front of Jesus on the cross, so that He can take it and transform it. The garbage on the ground will become compost, which can make good soil for beautiful flowers to grow. As the trash is transformed into treasure, we ourselves will be transformed with it. We’ll no longer be mired in the muck, but we will be walking the path of truth and light.