Tuesday, September 26, 2006

God threw the ultimate curve ball

God threw a curve ball

Faith is an ever changing presence in one's life to say the least, but today, I wish to talk about the most obvious changes it has made in my life.
I was brought up and taught the Roman Catholic Catechism, served my first communion, but not brought up as a family that went to church on any regular basis. For whatever reasons, we were not a regular church going family. As a teen, we moved out of town to a small farming community, and I tagged along to a Methodist Church with my brother-in-law and sister's family. I'm not sure how strong my faith was, but for what ever reasons, I ended up attending two church services and singing in the choir. As a young adult, I slipped back into not attending church at all. Again, the habit, if you can call it that, was not instilled in me. In the early 70's, living in Virginia, where they were doing their best to integrate their schools, I sent my young daughters to a Catholic school to avoid the bussing laws being enforced at the time. But again, we did not attend church on any regular basis.
After my first marriage failed, and I moved on to a relationship with a new spouse, we started to attend church, but again, not on any regular basis. I think laziness sets in, but for whatever reasons, it seems harder to acclimate to something such as going to church on that regular weekly basis. Being a musician most of my adult life, I slept most of my Sunday mornings quite late, and the church thing became more elusive than ever.
Well, the second relationship failed, and I found myself alone, and attempted to turn to God to stabilize my life. I did not attend church, but prayed the best I knew how. I did a lot of asking "why me God" and asking him to normalize my life once again. I prayed more and more, asking him to send me a love in my life once and for all, but nothing happened. Because of the extenuating circumstances of my marriage break-up, I carried around much hatred, and animosity, which only increased as time went by. For the last 14-15 years, I stumbled through life, sinking into a deeper slump, and becoming more recluse each day.
Two years ago, I was asked to play in a church band each week. Because of distance, I was reluctant to do so, but my friend would not take no for an answer, and I found myself playing for the Roman Catholic Church each week. At first, I showed up, and played, and went home. Without exactly knowing when or how, I slowly started to "feel" the need to pray to God, but this time, I did not pray for anything personal. I did not pray for him to send me a wife, or a better job, or get rich, or anything like that.
They say that God works in small increments of change, and slowly, I DID began to change. I started praying for one thing; to be used by God to use my musical talent to minister for God. I started praying that all the time. I found myself praying harder, and harder all the time. After a while, I expanded my prayer to a more general sense of, just "USE" me. I did not realize at the time, but my faith had grown quite a lot, and my paramount prayer was to be used by God. It did not matter how, just to be used.
I began to finally accept the fact that I was meant to be alone for my remainder of time on earth, and continued to pray to be used. The words to the songs I was singing became more than just words to me, and I started living out what I was singing about. This past summer,. I attended a youth conference at a Franciscan University as a chaperone, and during the weekend, decided to make some bigger changes in my life besides simply pray to be used. I decided to become a Catholic again. I even brought home information on the Franciscan Monks. As I said before, I was already resigned to the fact that I was going to be alone for the rest of my life anyway.
At the beginning of summer, one of the ladies at my church and I started to e-mail each other about this and that. She was reading my blog, and commenting, being one of the few to do so. That in itself got my attention. Some others only commented if I wrote something religious, nobody except this lady commented on almost anything I wrote. I slowly began learning about her and her life. I found out she was widowed, had a young 14 year old son, and was alone for the last couple years. I began taking interest in her son, wondering if he had any male influence in his life, etc.
All the while, my faith was growing, snowballing, if you will, and my heart was once again open to love, God's love this time. As I began developing a relationship with this young man, not an easy feat in this day and age of child molestation in the church, I wanted to take him to a baseball game. However, I could not just ask him to go with me alone. I asked my own son to accompany us, but he did not realize the urgencey of my request, and ignored me. Theresa and I were now e-mailing each other, almost daily, but other than a few short minutes of talking after church services, we were hardly carrying on a "relationship" by any standards.
Our e-mails, getting a bit more personal, frequent, I finally asked her if they would like to go to the baseball game with me. To my amazement, she said yes. After that night, things started to happen in a quickened state, that looking back, was startling.
I found myself making room in my heart for God and Theresa. Just when I thought I saw a direction that my life was taking, God threw the ultimate curve ball. I never saw it coming, but I was in love. I was in love with Theresa. After so many years of unanswered prayers, God was answering them now. After contemplating getting measured for a priests frock, God informed me that there were other options I could now consider.
We were seeing each other quite frequently now for several weeks, yet we had not even held hands, let alone kiss. That being said, I realized that we were both in love, a love that was stronger than I ever imagined, even being married twice before. We finish each other's sentences, know exactly what each other's thinking, its spooky.
One night, she started to tell me that I was the "only one", and before I knew it, I told her I wanted to marry her. She said yes!
This brings us back to the original theme of faith, and proof that God does work in mysterious ways, when we least expect it, but his love is unchanging, his grace is uncalculating, his mercy is indescribable. Never will I question my faith, never will I question his presence. Always will I praise him, and adore him. God has indeed thrown the ultimate curve ball.

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