BACK TO THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
In my early 20’s I left the church…went my own way; sex, drugs and rock and roll were the order of the day. Married 4 years and wanting to fill the nest, I went off birth control for a year plus, nothing happened. Facing the prospect of barrenness I was devastated. The sight of a pregnant woman often made me burst into tears. I begged and pleaded with God. I began thinking about adoption. A fertility drug kick-started my system and I was finally pregnant(1975)! I went to the moon and back, blossoming a bit more month by month, my belly mushroomed. I was into all things “baby”…maternity clothes, furnishings for the nursery, baby supplies, etc. When my May 10 1976 due date passed I became depressed. I wanted my much-loved pregnancy to end and it did on May 24 1976. Welcome Serena!!
Although we didn’t go to church, we thought to get Serena baptized into the Catholic Church (in which we were raised). We met with a priest at Immaculate Conception in Ithaca, NY who asked us if we were members or came to services. When we said no he asked why did we want our child baptized into a faith we weren’t practicing. It made sense and we agreed to come back to church. We baptized Serena and me and my mother-in-law Josie went to services every Sunday. I tapped into the liturgy I knew so well when I was a girl. I actually began to like it again. The Mass became a spiritual touchstone for me. In 1977 our son Jesse came along and in 1979 we welcomed Sara. Around that time a new priest came to the parish, Father Peter Clifford. His sermons often spoke of Jesus. The very sound of His name plucked my heartstrings.
I felt the dust and cobwebs go flying off my heart after so many years of not thinking of Him at all. Father Peter spoke passionately about the Saviour. He was a total inspiration. I rejoiced every time I saw him ascend to the pulpit with its beautiful wooden carvings. His homilies never disappointed me.
One Sunday he announced he was transferring to a different parish, St John The Evangelist in Greece NY. I listened in disbelief as my eyes quickly welled with tears…Oh no! Not Father Peter!! I later sensed Jesus saying “You thought you were mourning the loss of Father Peter but truly, you thought without him you would never hear about Me. Without realizing it, you wanted Me, not Father Peter. He was my representative, messenger, ambassador. He reawakened your love for Me”.
At that time I wasn’t yet ready to leap into a truly committed faith in Jesus. The Lord was gracious and patient. He knew I would become His again soon, even if I didn’t. As I realize this, I see the bigger picture; the work of His invisible hand. The pregnancy issues, crying out to God, children, returning to church, and the Teshuva dream trilogy some years earlier in which He beckoned to me. It all makes perfect sense now.
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