You maybe wondering what I have to share in my story? I've been thinking of this a great deal, how do I share it? What is the purpose of telling my story?
Honestly, the reason is a selfish one. I need to never forget the journey that is my life, and how God has provided for me, had Mercy on me, Loved me, and the Graces He has provided for me.
I've written several drafts, all seem to ramble on about things I don't know if a reader will be interested in. Maybe I will post them, maybe not. For now, I thought I would skip ahead to the "Readers Digest version" and give you a glimpse of why I am sharing my journey.
Here is a snippet from a recent email to a friend:
In a nutshell..... so we can continue our getting to know each other.... I call myself a recovering feminist. LOL
Once I walked with the attitude "I deserve", now I walk with the attitude, I will SERVE!"
I was raised in a devout, wonderful Irish Catholic family, large extended family, and went to a wonderful Catholic School. To say I knew my faith would be an understatement! I did, and do, very well. But that didn't stop the world from getting a hold of me. First it was drugs, then it was sex, with men and woman. All along, I could hear in my heart as if God Himself was always whispering to me..... come home My child, come back to me..... for the most part I ignored Him.
Long story short, I identified myself as a Lesbian, I had power, prestige, money, position, sports cars, toys and more toys, and lots of friends... I loved deeply, and cared for my friends, but there came a point where I knew I was not long for that world.... but I had no idea how I would find my way out.
Examples of the constant struggle going on under the surface for me, I can remember telling my girlfriend how much I wished we could get married. I didn't mean I wished the state would allow us to marry, I meant, I wish God thought it was OK to be married, but I knew He didn't, it didn't matter if the state did. I also had very personal reasons (discussed in my second post,) to be pro-life, which was certainly not a very acceptable position to have in the lifestyle I was living in.
Suffice it to say that by 1986 God had waited enough, and began with a whisper, which I ignored, then with a 1x2, and I sorta heard Him, I have always been sick, always, it is what it is..... but He gave me illnesses that were not to be ignored, and I sort of turned back to Him, sorta..... by 1992 He resorted to a 4x6, since the 2x4 hadn't really gotten my attention, if you know what I mean. I went down for the count, the final count.... I lost my friends, my awesome job, my identity, money, the whole works..... I was left with one choice, and thank GOD I was smart enough to recognize it. When you realize you are potentially going to stand before Truth Himself at any moment, you either know you can defend your choices, or you can't..... I couldn't and I begged for Mercy, and He granted it to me!
There is so much more, the details, the suffering, and the joy of suffering that I want to share.
I can remember as if it was last night the turning point. It was a Tuesday, in June of 1995. By this time a long time friend that I really cared about, had shown up and told me she just couldn't be my friend anymore, my illness was just "to much." I was hurt, to say the least. I was flipping through channels on TV, when this nun showed up, complete in a full habit. I stopped, listened, and she was responding to a caller who was talking about being Gay. I didn't like her answer! I picked up the phone, dialed the number on the TV and was going to tell this nun what I thought of her answer. The show rolled credits, the nun said good night, and the phone was still ringing.
Philip Golden answered the phone, I could hear the music of the end of the show on the phone, he asked me if I was aware the show was over, to which I explained I had never seen the show before.... a short conversation ensued, and he asked me in the most gentle voice for my name and address. I gave it to him. Within a few days, a package arrived, containing three tapes; Sister Bridge McKenna, Dana, Humble Myself, and Dana and Fr. Kevin Scanlon's Rosary. I popped them into the tape recorder, and listened to Humble Myself. Then the tears began to flow, and flow.
The scales on my eyes, and my heart were starting to crumble. I had to listen to this Nun!
There were many times I was blessed to talk to Mother Angelica, I treasure every conversation, all recorded on her classic's TV shows. Mother Angelica had told me on more than one occassion, that I needed to offer my suffering up, in uniting it with Jesus's suffering, I was allowed to suffer purgatory on earth, and I do believe that is why my life turned around. She also told me that I was able to help souls in purgatory. The show forever etched on my heart she said to me, "Theresa, when you die, there will be many souls that come and thank you, and you will say for what? They will say, that day you were in such pain, and anguish, and you offered it up for souls, when you said Jesus and Mary I love you, save souls, it was ME! I was released from purgatory that day! Thank you!"
I was bed bound for over 13 years, during which time I lived, breathed, and died on EWTN, on the Bible, and Catechism, I found out that in the poorness of being severely disabled, with everything taken away, I was the happiest I could have ever imagined! Like the "donut man" says, life without Jesus is like a donut, there is a hole in the middle of your heart!
God was even more merciful, He gave me back my life, not my health, but my life, and in 08 I married a wonderful devout Catholic man, and have the life I dreamt of as a child. God is so great. Today I teach Catechism, and Confirmation, I volunteer for the Church as a Social Worker, and I live for my faith.