Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pretty sure I've now seen everything.

It probably wouldn't have been so bizzaro-worldly but I happened to read Fr. Barron's Reflection before I happened upon it and all I can think is the Temple is in serious need of housecleaning at this point.

However, since I'm trying to clean my own house, I'll leave it at that. Instead, I'll head over to my 40 Acts email which, today was entitled "testify".
Share your testimony with someone or a group of people today. How you choose to do it is up to you – whether that's on- or off-line. Remember: it doesn't need to be miraculous, sensationalist or world-changing. It changed you, and that simple message is powerful enough
So, here we go...I can't start at birth since I'm so old now so I'll jump straight into my 20's, the time of footloose, fancy-free, marginally-Catholic me. I was feeling extremely grown-up having completed my psych undergraduate and Master's in counseling, living on my own.
it was existential psychology ;0)   

I could also, on a very good day, be mistaken for Ms. Yearwood (I lived in Nashville for a while)

I considered myself Catholic because I was going to church on Sunday, most Sundays, and I believed that there was a nice, loving grandpa somewhere in the sky that would be merciful when I needed Him and not mind if I ignored him for large stretches of the time.

I fell in love. He had been married before and he was Jewish but, well, we were young and love trumps all, right? Yes, he was angry sometimes. Yes, he had a biting sarcasm, especially when we were out on the weekends (or at home) having a few (or many) drinks. He asked, I said "yes", bring on the happy ending.
The wedding was society-page-worthy. We had a rabbi and a priest. We were covered, all the way around. (the Holy Spirit's "gotcha" ... the priest who wed us is now in jail for abuse against children...there's your sign) We were happy when we traveled or when we drank but you can't drink and travel all the time. Most of life is every day "drudgery" (or so I thought then). 

I struggled with depression most of my life and when I found myself in an unhappy at best and abusive (from both sides) at worst marriage, I spiraled down into the pit. There was an evening that I sat on the floor of our guest bathroom fighting the devil in hand-to-hand combat for my existence. It sounds dramatic but it was life-threatening. My husband, who by this time had tired of my presence, was two states away on a sporting trip. It was clear basketball wasn't the only sport on the agenda. 

God, being a loving Father, allowed me to be the victim (along with the rest of my family) of someone's free-will-gone-bad and it rocked my entire world back into orbit. 
The tarp covers the car that my dad was driving. The metal in the foreground is the roof from the car my dad was driving (they had to cut it off to remove his body). The truck on the left (and the man walking) drove over the top of my dad's car because he was "in a hurry" and figured my dad would stop.
We buried him on December 22nd and I'm not sure but it probably took two full years to fight my way back to normal life. God was there at each moment and placed the right people in my path. The priest who told me I could be angry at God for letting it happen but that I couldn't walk away from His plan for me. The colleagues who helped me when I realized one day that, even if I was alone for the rest of my life, the anger and sadness that made up my marriage didn't look anything like His plan for me. The friend, who had lost his dad tragically at a young age, who would visit my life on occasion and offer support for my journey. 
My divorce was final and I lived through the heart-rending process that is a Catholic annulment. Please don't take that wrong...if it didn't shake me to reality, I might have walked right back into another "love will conquer all" marriage.  The annulment process allowed for time to process the red flags and to work through the reasons they were ignored. I am grateful for the trial.

My joy even returned somewhat. Christmas was not the same but I was able to move on, restart my life as a young professional and start my courtship with God. There were still times that I acted like my universe was mine alone but more often, I sought Him out in thanksgiving or supplication. 
"Kindness in another's trouble, courage in your own" I was beginning to realize there was a grand web to this life and He put us all in communion for a reason.
My favorite reason for being in that place at that time...and my first realization that God wanted me to be happy in life. Also, perhaps, a "training" of sorts...being a local aunt is only one step removed from motherhood.
The friend who helped me through the anguish of losing my dad was around more often and, after living my life for a while, trying to grow closer to the Church and deepen my relationship with Him, we realized that we were walking very similar paths and, perhaps, God chose this path for us together. 

So, in 2003, we chose to glorify God with one voice. It has not been the easiest path at times but it has been the right one. Perhaps I would have run back into His arms on my own but He allowed me to experience two trials that would firmly place me back on the path to Him. As a parent, I understand this completely and I know that it was right, despite the struggle (or maybe because of) I endured.

Fast forward almost 13 (my lucky number ;0)) years and I am more grateful than ever for this life I have been given. All the highs and lows have been shared with my beloved, the man I know God led me to during a very dark valley and of course, the loving Father who guides all of our paths. How blessed I am that He loves me enough to allow my struggles. How good it is to know that His arms wait for me to walk into that embrace. 

As Paul would say, "and now you know the rest of the story...good night!"


  1. Oh Sue, I'm so sorry to hear about the tragic death of your father - I can't imagine how difficult that would have been. Thank you for sharing your story.