At My Breaking Point

throwing rock into waterThis post is based on Week Seven of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.

I felt the hard, cool rock in my hand. I slowly felt each bump and groove with my fingers as I attempted to stuff the intense feelings that were welling up within me. Despite my best efforts to hold them back, tears poured down my face as a wave of emotions surged. The mixed feelings of sadness and anger boiled over as I took the rock in my hands and hurled it into the lake in front of me. Without thinking, I yelled, “Enough! Enough, Lord!”

The release, both of the rock and my emotions, startled me. I fell to the ground and put my head on my knees and sobbed. I hadn’t planned on facing the reality of all that had transpired in the three months prior to my silent retreat. The silence and stillness, though, brought me face to face with it all—the shooting, caught on video, of a man in my hometown; the shooting and killing of cops minutes away from my home; the massive flood that impacted the Baton Rouge area and required us to rescue my parents by boat; and the diagnosis of a family member with terminal cancer.

I was at my breaking point. I could no longer stand the suffering and hurt I was watching and experiencing. Too much loss around me, too many unexplained behaviors, and too much pain. I had enough.

I felt like Jesus as he prayed in the garden, begging God to take it all away, pleading for the hurt to stop in me, in my loved ones, and in our world. I was acknowledging both my sadness and utter dependence on God as I surveyed so many situations that were completely out of my control.

As my sobs slowly silenced, I heard three words, “I am here.” I then kept repeating them over and over again in my head, changing them to, “Jesus is here, Jesus is here, Jesus is here.” At some point the inner anguish of that moment subsided, and I felt a calm come over me, a felt sense of peace. I stood up and walked back into the retreat house, not with prayers answered or clarity on what to do, but with an assured confidence I was not alone. Jesus was with me in what felt like darkness.

It reminded me of Pope Francis’s words in Lumen Fidei:

Faith is not a light which scatters all our darkness, but a lamp which guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments which explain everything; rather, his response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness which touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light.

I have replayed that scene over and over in my head and returned to it in prayer time and time again since it first happened. That release, as startling as it was to me, opened up my capacity to notice the accompanying presence of Jesus. I more easily can see Jesus with me in my prayer, working through others, and in the actions I feel called to take in response to the suffering I see. And on days I struggle to see it, I remind myself: Jesus is here.


  1. Becky, you are an inspiration.In the storm you found a light We just need to open our eyes and find the light you did.
    Thanks, thanks and ever thanks.

  2. Dear Becky, This reflection really has helped me for I’ve been having trouble feeling God at my side as I’ve been experiencing many trials. You’ve showed me how to listen for Jesus’ words of encouragement and to look for the light that will lead me out of the desolation. Blessings always,

  3. Thanks so much for your encouraging words in your writing today. You have a gift for naming your experiences and sharing them so meaningfully. Blessings, Mary

  4. Bless you. Your writings always connect with my life and those around me. May we all persevere triumphantly knowing God is with us all the way🙏

  5. Becky, I enjoy your writings and especially now during this covid-19 health crisis! Knowing we are not alone, that Jesus is right here with Us sharing the burden, the fears, the isolation! How consoling and comforting! Thanks. Stay well and be safe!

  6. Dear Becky, “social isolation” this pandemic is causing so much lonliness. Thank you, I’m elderly and all alone and feeling very sorry for myself. I was alone before but even more so now! Now I feel afraid besides being alone. I’m very sure that many people out there are very afraid as am I. I do a lot praying and I still feel very much alone. I know that ” this too shall pass!”

    • I am praying for all of us who are “alone” at this purifying time. The beauty of our faith though is we are never left alone. God is within us and we are blessed to have a faith that encourages us to cry out to Him in prayer for the companionship and comfort we all need.

    • I was very touched by your this message. I think that this time we are living through is like nothing we (I) have ever experienced. But I think it couldn’t have happened at a better time than Lent. For people of faith, it may probably be even harder, not having Mass and the sacraments. But Jesus is HERE, as Becky said. It’s not always easy to feel Him, but He understands this. There are no easy solutions as each of us is so different. What often works for me is listening to music. It doesn’t have to be hymns, although most of us have certain songs that touch us deeply. I am coming to believe that if there’s any song that moves us, God will be pleased if it makes us happy. (Just recently I was listening to the BeeGees! Certain songs remind me of a dear aunt!) I’m sure there is something special that you love. Focus on that – ask Jesus how he feels about it. He is THERE!
      God bless you.

  7. Dear Becky,
    My heart resonates with this today, having lost 2 close relatives within 9 days of each other. Your reflection really speaks to me of the graces of the third week; we walk with Christ, crucified.

  8. This so evocatively captures that moment when we surrender to acknowledge the trials and losses of this world. To survive, we fight against them, pushing the emotional and spiritual reality back in order to get by, and perhaps in fear that there is no one to whom we can turn.
    And then we learn: the Lord steps in. Not with magic but with presence.
    That knowledge, “I am here,” is that peace that surpasses all understanding. Pain is fleeting, sorrow mutable, but the quiet joy of that peace is eternal.

  9. Thank you! The feelings you expressed are how I am feeling as I grow old and physically challenged and feel very much on my own. I know that Jesus is with me, just sometimes, wish there was some earthly family here to be with me also. Beautiful Reflection Becky. WELL DONE! I think of Jesus in the Garden asking his Father if it is possible to avoid all that lies ahead of Him & accepting that that’s Not going to happen, He did this for us; so I guess my problems don’t amount to much . But what a sorry world we are living in at present! So much suffering of the innocent. A.M.D.G.

  10. Thanks for sharing your experience. May it always stay with you. Jesus is truly with you always. He feels our pain along with us, not necessarily lessening it but in a sense is, because we are not carrying it alone. We have an awesome God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). I would also like to share an experience of mine that came back to mind as I read and reflected on yours. It was a time in which I was so tired of life, all that was going on, things from past continuing to affect now (things I had done or experienced from others), I wanted change and was getting tired of feeling like I was alone. I went to the bedroom and wrapped my self in a blanket and cried my eyes out, got made at God and the world, at myself, life, those who hurt others…. I let it all out. The Divine Mercy image came to my mind. The rays coming from his side…. All the sudden I quite crying and had a total peace come over me. I had no memory of the specifics of what was so upsetting to me. It was like it had all been washed away in Jesus Blood and water from his side. And not just washed away but dissolved. It was forgotten. Never to be found again. All of it scattered everywhere… impossible to put back together ever. A total peace even today when remember the experience. TOTAL FREEDOM.

  11. Thank you Becky for this powerful reminder that Jesus is always with us.
    A few years ago I was sitting in the Church of the Agony in Gethsemane in Jerusalem
    going thru’a painful meditation of Jesus sitting alone in his last agony, I looked up for whatever reason I don’t know and saw the beautiful picture on the Wall behind the Altar where God the Father and the Holy Spirit looking down on Jesus.I intuitively knew God was with Him. Everything will be fine. I was free to go on my own via dolorosa.


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