The biggest let down experience of my life happened on my 1'st Holy Communion Day.
My mother was a devout catholic ( in my memory all my family were devout ). She had built up my expectation of meeting Jesus in the sacrament . I had all sorts of imaginings, and was full of anticipation.
Washed and polished both externally and internally ( through internal examination and confession ).
I WAS READY !
Or so I thought and felt.
The Day arrived and we were all up early , and off to the church in Uncle Seamus's car ( he had lent it for the special day so we could take a trip in the afternoon ).
All through the Mass I was waiting I thought the time would never arrive for me to receive my 1'st Holy Body of Christ.
I approached the altar in the a line of other little girls all perfectly turned out , sparkling with youth and excitement.
Then it was finally my turn I turned my face up opened my mouth and closed my eyes. The priest placed the Hoat on my tongue. I closed my mouth and walked back to my seat , and waited, and waited, and waited.
I felt nothing, I heard nothing , I hoped it might happen if I kept the bread on my tongue , so I waited until it dissolved and with that dissolution came my biggest disappointment.
I find it interesting that writing this is so difficult , it brings up lots of issues for me .
Am I being disloyal to my family and their love , their kindness and support.
I couldn't talk about my disappointment at the time , I was afraid of my mother's disapproval.
She had primed me so much and said I needed to be worthy, so of course I believed it was my fault I clearly must have been unworthy.
With hindsight and reflection I can understand my mother better, this all happened years before her NDE .
At that time her devotion ( in my opinion ) was based on fear , fear she would be punished and go to hell.
She also felt that our ' faith ' was a reflection of her and so she did her best to convince us of her ' truth '.
We could rarely connect on spiritual matters I wanted to experience 'God' to know through direct experience not from other peoples stories.
She told me of Thomas who believed because he put his hands in the wounds , but " how much better were those who didn't see and yet believed ".
Well try as I might I could never let go of wanting the experience, and that is what drew me to Zen , T'ai Chi
and my other work which is all based on experience rather than belief.
Paradoxically I thank God for all the ways ' He ' reveals 'Himself' ( here evidence of my conditioning in that He still 'feels' right to me ). Whatever name we give this Intelligence that supports and guides our searching and longing for that experience , that personal subjective knowledge that transforms and enlightens our life.
Since that first disappointment , maybe because of it , I have always been searching . Perhaps my Mother gave me the best gift of my life in planting the seed of desire in me . Desire to know beyond the here and now , she always said that while this life was important, there was a more important long term journey which one needed to be mindful of. She was so right.