People leave and return for various reasons. All of the spiritual mystics and sojourners say that the experience of going away and returning constitutes an important part of the spiritual journey. Even those who stay in the pews must, say the wisdom people, leave home and then return, reclaiming and renewing the faith of family and childhood as an adult. So don’t feel bad if you have left and are just now thinking about returning or have done so recently. The important thing is to remember and share your story with others.
So, what is your sacred history?
I took this photo recently on a lake near Faribault, Minnesota, where I was born. I grew up riding my bike over the rough roads on many of the lakes around our relatively small town of 15,000 population. Then, there were three Catholic churches in my hometown, all built by the different ethnic groups who were the original settlers there. Sacred Heart was the “French Church,” Immaculate Conception was the “Irish Church” and St. Lawrence was the “German Church.” Even though my mother was French Canadian, and my Dad half Swedish, his grandfather was from Ireland and so when they married. the family officially joined the Irish Church community. It was there that we worshiped, when to Catholic school and received our sacraments. You could say that I came from a very devout, staunchly Catholic family. The faith of my childhood was strong and I fiercely defended it based on the memorized catechism questions that were drilled into me by the Dominican sisters. It wasn’t until later, after I left home for college and eventually married a non-Catholic that I drifted away from the Church. For ten years, I was a seeker of Transcendent Truth. After a great deal of soul-searching, I remembered home and returned, in a very big way, to my Catholic faith. As a result, I have a soft spot in my heart for people who have gone away and want to come back. I know firsthand that such experiences can give us a richer and deeper connections and commitment. The journey away and returning can become the foundation for a much stronger and more meaningful relationship with God.
These are my three daughters, Elizabeth, Aimee, and Caitlin, in 2008, when my book, TOGETHER BUT ALONE: WHEN GOD MEANS SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO YOUR SPOUSE was published by St. Anthony Messenger Press. It contains more about my conversion story and specific ideas for living out the faith when you are surrounded by loved ones who don’t understand. You can purchase the book from Amazon.com. I am pleased to say that the book won a First Place Catholic Press Award in the category of Family Life in 2009. I wrote this book for anyone who is seeking, who has had the “remembering church” experience and needs a guide or some encouragement and support for what can be a very wonderful and yet lonely experience. I welcome your comments on my blog page.