“Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Amazingly enough, I married a wonderful Catholic woman. One night while we were wondering how the planets must have aligned to bring us together, it suddenly came to us. My father and Jennifer’s grandfather died within a few days of each other in 2000. Now let’s just say there’s a new spirit orientation that takes place in Heaven. Doesn’t it make sense that a couple guys could strike up a conversation during one of the breaks? Take their idea to the big guy? One thing leads to another…
Actually, the series of events leading to our union started years earlier. I moved from Rochester, NY to Kansas City based on a phone call. I was looking to transfer and there were jobs here. I called the hiring manager to feel him out. At the end of the conversation, I knew I had to go there. Jennifer had been proposed to multiple times and always said no. She just knew her soul mate was still out there. She was right.
A Special Story
She must a special girl. After all, she convinced ME of all people to get married in a Catholic church and to raise our children Catholic. It was a wise move on my part to make that “one time exception” for her. Maybe it was foreshadowing that I just didn’t pick up on because even though I was a marginal believer I still knew and appreciated Jennifer’s faith story.
She came from a Catholic family but her parents’ divorce led her mother to turn away from the church for many years. In the process, Jennifer had never completed her sacraments. Jennifer was asked to become Godmother to our niece Sydney but she needed to come into full communion with the church first. She attended RCIA at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Shawnee, KS and was confirmed in 1999.
She’d always described it as a “business decision” until just before Easter Vigil. As a candidate, she would need to complete reconciliation prior to Easter Vigil and hers was nothing short of mind-blowing. The penance given her by the priest made it clear the Holy Spirit was present and speaking to her through him. Business decision no more – she was all in and happily so.
The Beginning of Faith
Little did I know I would go all in myself just a few years down the road. For some the conversion is quick but others need to warm up to the idea over a period of time. I’m in the latter category but God knew that so he sent the Holy Spirit to work. In the years following our marriage, God would send several mentors my way. Ironically, only one was Catholic but they all had a great relationship with the Lord and they shared that with me – directly and indirectly. Each knew God’s principles and did their best to live them every day.
Barely six months after we wed, I received a promotional opportunity requiring we move to Texas. We’d just bought a house, not weeks before, but this opportunity was too good to pass up – famous last words. Jennifer struggled to get acclimated to Texas and looked to her faith to help her through by attending Mass at the Catholic church just down the road from our home.
I was just living and dealing with my own struggles without faith to bring me comfort and give meaning to my suffering. You see, I was failing in my new job and all my weaknesses were being exposed like open wounds in an environment where I was an outsider (an enemy to some) who was hired by an outsider. Had I only known…
It Always Gets Worse Before it Gets Better
Just a couple months in, a big project would have my boss spending most of his time on the other side of the city. Nobody was there to watch my back. One thing led to another and I was buried – totally unable to stand up for myself. Being the good solider had caused me to get taken advantage of quite badly. At the time it was happening, I didn’t even realize that my team and customers were suffering worse than I was.
In case you missed it…
The story continues…