Please, I now that this isn’t the most coherent post I’ve written, but I need to do something. I’m still sick with the flu, even though I’m close to getting over it, so I’m not going to attend Mass to avoid making other people ill, and Confession isn’t until next Saturday (I can’t attend Wednesday Confession because I’ll be at work and won’t make it in time). I need this out of my head and my heart. I’m in the middle of a very bad panic attack right now, and I need whatever I can get.
I know that I mentioned this in another thread, but that thread was a prayer request. This one is trying to deal with the demons in my life right now, at this moment.
My best friend is Pagan. She and I became best friends back when I was 15 and somewhere between idealistic and lukewarm. She has been in my life and has been like a sister to me for over fifteen years now.
Back in 2006, I had a crisis of faith that lead me to wonder if there was an afterlife. I went through a lot of New Agey stuff for a while, but that stuff lead me back to Catholicism, and while I’m not a passionate head-over-heels revert, I have come to realize the truth about the Catholic Church, and I never want to be apart from it again.
Now, my best friend has been unhappy with my spiritual seeking because she comes to the conclusion that I think she’s damned automatically because she’s a pagan and I think she’s wrong in her beliefs. The way I try to look at it is, God wants everyone to be Catholic. He is all-fair, all-just, and all-merciful. God will not send someone to hell who doesn’t go there willingly. Only He knows her fully, heart and mind, soul and spirit. I don’t make assumptions about her fate. I pray for her and for my further conversion, so that I become the kind of Catholic who can bring others into the fold.
On several occassions in the past, I’ve gone to Confession and talked to my priest about my relationship with her. I wept once because I told him that I thought it was my fault that she was still a pagan, because I couldn’t convert her. (Please keep in mind I don’t remember the whole conversation with my priest, and that this is condenced.) Father told me that we’re friends with people because those are the people in our lives whom we choose to be friends with, and that when I face God, I can honestly say, “I tried,” and that ultimately what happens to her is up to her and God.
On another occassion I talked to Father about me not being a good apologist and that I have no idea how to convert anyone. Father told me, “Preach often. If necessary, use words.” He meant he thought I should work on myself and that if I try hitting people over the head with my beliefs, I’ll just end up pushing them away.
The third that I can recall was somewhat recently, and it was after another conversation with her about religion. He told me that one shouldn’t argue religion with a jackass - not that he was being mean to her, but she would be too stubborn, saying that I’m close-minded and all, and she in turn is being close-minded.
Anyway, last night we talked some, and I tried not to ever let go of Christ during the talk. She said she thinks religion is a framework that people use to speak to God, and that we are all sharing in some pretty strong beliefs - we believe in sin, in good and evil, in right and wrong, etc. She said that she didn’t care that I was a Catholic, because I found joy in it, but not to expect her to do so. Her life history was pretty bad, so I’m not entirely surprised that she rejects Christianity as a whole. I think where the sticking point came is that she thinks I should accept her beliefs as her way to heaven, and my beliefs as my own way. Which I simply cannot do.
I’m not saying that I’m going to force my beliefs on her, but I keep praying for her. And I kept trying to explain, and I think I did it badly because I was trying to avoid saying, “You’re wrong, case closed,” and have her draw away from me or get in a fight with me. If she drew away, I have no idea who’d pray for her then. Her family isn’t exactly religious by any means.
What I finally did come out and say was that I loved her, but I had to hold to my beliefs as a Catholic, and those included the belief that God wants all people saved, and that God wants all people to be Catholic.
And she accepted that without a fight, so we parted on okay terms, but I think she understands we didn’t move from where we were prior to this last night. However…
All night long I’ve been having one heck of a panic attack over this, and I don’t know why. I haven’t changed my stance any, I never denied God (thank you Lord, for pouring Your Grace upon me), and I don’t think I was unreasonable. I know I didn’t lose her friendship and love.
What I’m thinking is that this may be a reaction to some of the medications that I’m taking for my flu, but at the same time I’m so seriously stressed out, I have no idea what’s going on in my life. I don’t know what to do.
And I’m stressing because I can’t really afford to go to church and risk getting other people sick, even if I am feeling a bit better. I haven’t slept well all night - that whole “wired” feeling keeping me awake and in a panic - and since I’m not a great driver at the best of times, I really don’t want to risk that, either.
I’m just so freaked out right now, and frustrated, and scared. I could use any advice, any thoughts or prayers, anything anybody can offer me. Maybe it’ll be better in a day or two when my body levels out and I’m not sick anymore. Until then, anything you can share I’d be happy to hear.