By Charlie Johnston
I need your help. I have been struggling to just do something, but it scares me. I have not wanted to write about it lest I come off self-absorbed – and I don’t think sharing what I struggle with gives confidence to those I need to be strong for. Giving people heart is one of my prime duties. But I think this is one of those times I need to publicly ask. If it must please God for you to see me weary and uncertain at times, I must ask that you also keep in mind that whatever my mood or my struggle, it is NOT even a hint of a faltering on my work. I have accepted that fully and will do it or die trying. That is not just hyperbole. I mean it with every fiber of my being.
Let me explain. When faced with a daunting, near impossible task, I can enter into an almost altered state of constant, furious intensity and awareness. It is like having a jolt of adrenaline, but sustaining it for an extended period. It rarely scares anyone, for I mask the intensity with humor. Even when I am sustaining it, I take little breaks – at least a full day every seven or nine days, so I don’t lose perspective or become completely overbearing. Entering into it, I get astonishingly productive, effective and charismatic. The problem is that it seems to consume some part of me while I live it. The longest I have ever sustained it is for about seven months – and I was completely wiped out for months after the task was finished. Since my surgery 12 years ago, I have rarely let it go for more than a few days, occasionally a week, at a time. The pain I have on my best day since the surgery would have sent me to the emergency room before the neurological episode.
I complain too much about being inundated here. The truth is, I know I could handle it easily – and deploy people to help effectively without burdening them. All I have to do is surrender to the obsessively intense state I use when facing insurmountable odds – and then surmounting them. Shoot, I used to enjoy quietly showing off its effects, going into a project and seemingly effortlessly accomplishing in a day what most struggled for a week to get done. Now it scares me because, once I take it on, I know it will not end until the Storm is finished. It is about four times as long as I have ever sustained it and I am much weaker physically – at least as far as endurance – than I used to be. I worry about how living it fully might further cripple or disable me. It is a reasonable fear, but it is a failure of trust on my part, the very thing I exhort all of you to live well. I keep trying to kick-start it – I know how. But my fear is getting the best of me. It is what is needed to accomplish the work and help us all get through the Storm. I regard it with the same trepidation as a man determining to jump on a live hand-grenade to save those he loves. Ha ha, as the Master says, the spirit is willing (and capable), but the flesh is weak. This is what I have been prepared my whole life for; to defend the faith, hearten the faithful, and defend the faithful. I want to say, along with Holy Mary, “let it be done to me according to thy word,” but I feel more like Peter saying, “Who, me?!”
So I ask that all of you who will, add this intention of mine to your Fatima Novena, for the time is now. For you Deacons, Priests and Bishops who read this regularly, I ask you to say a Mass on my behalf. It does not need to be publicly stated…just carry my intention with you when you say the Mass. I want to fully surrender during this opening Novena to Our lady of Fatima for the year. It is time. As a notable American Admiral once said, “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.”