"It is You I miss in everything that I love"

Carie is a US Navy helicopter pilot on an assignment where she least expected: Japan. She has begun to work on herself to recover that gaze of "openness" and to live again with gratitude.

I am in the U.S. Navy—a helicopter pilot—and my work brought me to Japan. Initially, when offered this assignment, I said absolutely not. I was not interested in Japan. I then happened to read the story of Takashi Nagai and for the first time had a desire to see Japan (not spend a year there, just visit). But when they offered the assignment to me again, it was on the wave of Nagai’s many “yes”s and the freedom of my friends who said, “go to Japan” that I felt free to follow this path that seemed to be laid out under my feet, all the difficulties notwithstanding.

I want you to know that I came to Japan “all in”, full of expectation and eagerness to come to this country and the ship on which I work. A year and two deployments later, my work, which I usually enjoy tremendously, had become suffocating. I felt crushed, ashamed of my sadness, and everything, even objectively beautiful things, were flat. I was trying to generate in myself the position of awe in front of things, trying to admire what I had been given in order to see it and not just defend myself.

I was trying to assume a position of openness because I hated how walled up within myself I was. It was not working: I was invincibly apathetic and filled more and more with an unfamiliar bitterness. I needed to be recalled to life, and I could not do it. Carrón has been very insistent over the last few years that we look at our experience and see what happened. It is not enough that now the light has come, and I am no longer suffocating. I need to identify, to judge, for myself and my human journey, what happened that made my heart start beating again. In short, this companionship. Let me explain because I have been by myself for over a year, “cut off” from the gestures of the Movement by “inevitable circumstances”. This has been a long-standing question for me: what is this companionship when I am doing most of my living “away from the community”?

Without leaving, and even before I pick up the phone (when that is possible), the love this place has generated in me for my unease never leaves me alone. All my ideas cannot bury completely my heart that has been “pierced by His love with a wound that will not heal until heaven”. All it takes is a breath of air and the coals that I thought were extinguished roar back into flames. So, what was this breath? Or, better, what made the crack that let the light in? The grace to be able to look, even out of the corner of my eye, at the great disproportion between my expectation and my huge disappointment with things as they are. The grace to say that it is You I miss in everything that I love. First, something is missing and I cannot supply it. And, second, that Something is Someone who made this heart of mine so great that no platitude can satisfy it, so full of desire that any attempt to stop short and stay within the bounds of what I can create leaves me sad and restless.

Read also - The path chosen each morning

But, it is in this place that I have learned to see and recognize You in this restless sadness and let myself be embraced again by these circumstances, the place where You happen again. I put the cart before the horse, trying to fix myself so that I might recognize Him happening. What I discovered is that all these things I think are precursors to the Event are, in fact, consequences. This place, which is a love for my humanity, an insistence to keep looking at facts, a gaze borrowed, cherished, remembered, and imitated on myself and on what happens goes with me wherever I go. It is something that is not me, and yet it cannot be uprooted from me. It is a place that loves time and struggle as the Mystery’s tools to build something in me that only He knows. I find again in myself an openness, a gratitude, an awe in front of things, but I know now that these are not what I miss; it is the experience of staying with Him, of recognizing him like John in the boat: “It is the Lord”!