I’ve been telling myself that I should write out my faith journey or conversion story. I feel like it’s still going. Don’t you? And where exactly does it begin? It’s not like we’re on a yellow brick road with a definite beginning and a definite end. Well, maybe the end part doesn’t fit. In any event, after praying about this for some time, I feel good about beginning to talk about specific instances where I can say “Yes, that’s part of the path to me becoming Catholic”. There is so much that has happened in the past 2 years that I don’t think it can be put into 500 words or even 1000. I’ve decided to come up with a series called “Becoming Catholic” that I hope you will enjoy. I’ll shed a little light on different aspects of this journey that I am still so blessed to be on.
I had a friend who was helping me to find a pre-school for my youngest as he was getting older and suggested two places that were affordable. One was affiliated with an Evangelical Free Church and the other a Catholic Church. I immediately thought that both of these would be a problem because my husband, is an atheist, but I thought checking them out wouldn’t hurt. I made no appointments and thought I would just “wing it”. No one was available to meet with me at the Evangelical Free Church based program as it was lunch time. I was in slight panic mode as we pulled up to the Catholic school. Questions whizzed by like a marquis in my brain:
“How are you going to pull this one off?”
“What if you like it?”
“What if my son likes it?”
“How am I going to convince my husband to go for it?”
Holding my son’s hand, we walked in and were introduced to the teachers and head of the program, given a folder with his name on it (printed on the spot!) and lots of hugs and congratulations to my son who would now be a “big school boy”. I hadn’t even said yes yet, and they were already counting us among them (notice the resemblance to our relationship with God?). My son was to start the very next day. I had to explain to my husband that our son, who had no idea who Jesus was, let alone what Catholic meant, was going to a Catholic school, complete with a prayer to St. Joseph in large print on the back of his shiny, new folder. As we walked out of the school into the parking lot, my mind racing, a young woman walked out and called my son by his name, asking that he “wait up”. She ran over and kneeled beside him and began to tell him how excited she was that he would be a part of her class and couldn’t wait to play with him and see him make new friends. That sold it. My panic turned into resolve as I knew my son had to go to this school.
The conversation with my husband was slightly strained because I knew if I focused on how affordable the school was, it would be hard to resist. We were on one income at the time and every penny counted. I promised that it wasn’t a very preachy school – such a vain attempt. Honestly, looking back, I think he sensed that something was changing in me, but thought Naaaaaah!
Our youngest now thrives at this school and we have a wonderful support system. He just finished his second year there and will be entering Kindergarten at the school while his older brother will enter the 4th grade after completing his first there (he transferred from public school).
On a rainy morning as I was driving the kids to school I was oddly quiet. What I mean by that is, I wasn’t having a torrent of internal chatter like I usually do when I am in the car. I am sure I am not the only one with constant to-do lists and conversations about what should have been said or done. It’s endless!
As I listened to the hard drops of water hitting the windshield I felt a surge of compulsion to call the parish whose school my sons were in and ask to speak with someone about “becoming Catholic”. I was immediately connected to a Deacon who spoke briefly making arrangements for me to come in and meet with him privately. Attending RCIA classes on a weekly basis for two hours was not happening. I prayed and prayed that my sweet husband wouldn’t call me from his office during the meeting as I would have to explain what I was doing. I wasn’t even ready to talk to him yet. There was no phone call from him during that hour. There was talking, tears and a plan. A plan that has changed our lives.