The New Beginning! I was lost but now I'm found.

Posted by Bakersfield Brat on 8:00 AM in
It all began about a year ago. I found myself going to Easter Mass. Why? Well for a selfish reason, too possibly run into someone who just the week before made it known to me that he would be attending 10am Easter Mass. I hadn't gone to church since my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary Blessing, several years before. I never gave it much thought as to why I just stopped going but on this Easter Sunday I felt something. At the time I didn't know what it was.

So to give you a little background before I jump into telling you my story of return to the Catholic Church.

I am a cradle Catholic who attended Catholic elementary school & Catholic high school up until the last semester of high school. I was one of those girls who in the 80's got pregnant at 17. My life changed at that moment. I was still Catholic I thought but I wasn't sure. Ya, I never do things in the right order but that seemed to be my life story.

I started attending College just 20 days after giving birth to my son. A week later, I started to go to the Newman club on campus. I never really gave it much thought about being Catholic at the time. My life was an average kind of life. I participated as much as I could in the Newman club but being a single parent & going to college full time was a struggle. But it was a great Catholic experience as though I thought. I got to meet a young guy who was at that time not yet a priest but in the final stages. I would rely on this friendship over the next 20+ years.

As I continued with college and attending the Newman club. I started to date. At the time I was not so sure as to who was going to want me. I was a single young mom. I slowly started to date 2 individuals: One being the Average Nice Guy who was Catholic and the other a Surfer Catholic Dude that also was Average but just laid back. I made a decision that would change my life. I choose to go with the SAFE guy. The guy that everyone liked and seemed like he did everything right and was just the perfect guy that everyone liked. I could have gone for the Surfer, hang loose Catholic guy who was totally my style but I didn't. I choose to make a conscience decision to go with Mr. Safe. I fell in love with who I thought was the love of my life. We were both Catholic and were engulfed in the Catholic Church and the Newman Club. Mr. SAFE helped me with my son with no problems or at least I thought. We married 4 years later almost to the day of our first meeting. A year later I gave birth to our son. When our son was born he had complications which made us call on the church for the Anointing of the Sick for my son and who should be there but that “Not yet a Priest” and our other friend who was a Priest who had ran the local Newman club. The church was there for my family but I guess at this time my life started to drift away from the church.

The CHURCH became a not so happy place for me over the next couple of years. Not that the church had done anything to me but the fact that I was living in a very abusive relationship. The first real sign of abuse started the night before I got married. I was slapped by my then fiancé Mr. SAFE. This was a moment in time that I wish I could go back and change but it was just one of my many journeys that I have experienced. It's amazing how CHURCH was so much a part of my life and I quickly drifted away.

I think I drifted away from the Church because I saw it as a part of my abusive relationship I was in. Not that the church was the abuser but the fact that I hid the abuse from all my friends and family. I closed up deeper inside myself. I stopped going to church altogether.

Years later after I finally put a stop to the abuse and got out of the marriage I never looked back. I didn't even turn to the church at the time of my marriage crumbling. I took my vows very seriously. At the time it was not the intention to divorce but for him to seek help for his behavior. But as the story goes one does not want to admit to having a problem nor did one want to see that there was a huge problem. As the story goes how quickly I was replaced. There were numerous wounds to heal for both of my sons and myself. At one point I would call up on that old friend who was now a priest of our local parish that I had met through the Newman club to help with my son who was struggling to survive. The wounds of the divorce had taken a toil on all of us.

I feel that I let my children down in a way by not giving them the gift that my parents gave to me freely, the gift of being Cradle Catholics. They both were baptized but that was about it until years later. From the wounds of the abuse I just could not get myself back to church. In fact I went the completely opposite way of the church. I some how had placed blame on the church for the problems with in my marriage. I some how placed blame on the church for allowing me to marry such a monster.

10 years later after our divorce, my ex husband started the Catholic annulment process. I realized that I was loosing a part of my sacraments which were so devastating. Some how I could not put my mind around the fact that my belief of an annulment was that you could not get annulled as long as there were children of the marriage. I immediately called my local parish and after a long phone conversation my fears were put to rest. So in 2005 I started the process of going through a Catholic Annulment.

I would love to say that 4 years later the annulment is done and over with but that would be too easy. That puts us back to Easter of 2008 where I found my way back to the church, to the Catholic Church.

By the summer of 2008 my life had gotten so crazy. My sister attempted suicide where she flat lined and had to be revived, my diagnosis with Cervical Cancer, the demise of a relationship, the canceling of my engagement & my wedding, plus trying to go back to college carrying 14 units first semester back to college after 20+ years and then end of yet a second relationship and other family drama. With all that on my plate you would have thought I would have put on my running shoes back to the church but I just was not ready.

So Easter 2008 was a fantastic start to finding my way back to church but that was only a start. For the rest of the year I did the Holiday Catholic attendance. I only went on major Holy Days to church. I felt that was enough until the beginning of this year. My THERORY was that my annulment would soon be over and since they were building a new parish in my area I would go back at Easter 2009. Fresh new start at a fresh new parish would be what I had in mind. Little did I know that even that would change.

In January I called our local parish to make an appointment with the Head Pastor of the parish just to see what all I needed to do. I refer to him as the pied piper. He has a following that is so great. He had been there so many times before in my life so why not one more time. At the time of the phone call all I could do was leave a message because this great priest had just been made a monsignor. So I would have to wait until he returned from his vacation and celebration before I could make my move over to the new parish. Late one evening in February I received a call back. We talked briefly and scheduled appointment. I didn’t really pay attention to the day we just scheduled it. Little did either of us know but it was scheduled for his last appointment on Ash Wednesday. Wow what a start back. What a great time to start back.

Ash Wednesday finally came. I thought that I had better get ashes before the meeting and not after. I didn’t know what state I would be in after our meeting. The meeting AWESOME and it was so cleansing. After having a great conversation with Monsignor (who I have a hard time calling him that) I felt a major weight lifted of my shoulder. I knew this was the right place to be.

So this brings me back to the beginning. Here I am. I have found my way back into the church. I feel like I am home.

PS… Every time I ever went to church over the past 20+ years I would hid in the way back pews and I always seem to be tear-y eyed. My heart was broken I guess. I was lost but now I am found.

Thank you God!


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