Monday, October 18, 2010

The walk (Conclusion)

Before I conclude this piece, I wanted to apologize for the delay. Some incredible things are happening which I will share shortly. But before the daily miracles unfold, I must conclude this part.

One of the recommendations the priest in Lourdes gave me was to seek a spiritual director. He also told me to look into Opus Dei. However, as is easy to do, upon my return I became extremely busy with getting ready for the new school year. It was a new district and a new program so there was a lot to do. I managed to put a call in to Opus Die and I did not hear a response for awhile. As the silence ensued, one thing led to another and I busied out with the beginning of school of the school year.

October came and I was consumed with a flurry of activity at the school and just as I could take a breather the news came. On October 13th, 2009, I was contacted by an old family friend of my adoptive father. They had been neighbors in Hialeah, Fla for many many years. She did not have my number. I had decided years earlier to keep only a cell number and had disconnected my land line. She was unsure about my address as my surname had changed. Because of my picture on facebook, she finally had tracked me down a year later. Late in the night as we quickly reacquainted ourselves, she told me the news that my father had died in July of 2007. She told me she had found out by accident much later as well.

Aside from shock, his unusual and tragic death sent me reeling into a whirlpool of emotions. Because he had no other advocate, I took it upon myself to investigate the circumstances thoroughly and pay my last respects while picking up his ashes in Florida. For a variety of reasons, at this time I will not share the from particulars of what happened to my father. I will only say that I had no choice put to pursue justice.

The confession and miracle in Lourdes was a preparation for this moment. And there are many reasons this event changed the course of my life. For one, I realized we don't live in a bubble. It is not natural to turn away from God, family and friends but my adoptive father had done exactly this. Self-defensiveness, mistrust, self-condemnation and a destructive manner of relating to those closest to him led him to successfully accomplishing his complete alienation from those closest to him.

In my research of the hospital records shortly before his demise, I discovered for the first time what no-one had known. My adoptive father had a congenital malformation of the brain. Aside from this his brain had atrophied and he had Alzheimer's that developed with age. We had new eyes and sympathy for him. We had ignorantly judged him and made our decisions. And the consequences of his actions led to him being the victim of an unnoticed, disgraced and perilous death.

My emotions sent me reeling. I went from rationalization to grief to second guessing. How could I have known I would be his only advocate? He had blood family and lifelong friends who were his neighbors for well over a decade. Even though you can't have a relationship with someone who is harmful and unequivocally pulls away, I wondered if I should have been a bit more involved. Perhaps, I could have kept in touch with the friend who knew of his whereabouts and just called every so often to see that he was OK. The geographical distance and his unwillingness to give any contact information to me made this difficult. However, more to the heart of the matter was my unwillingness to forgive through the years that had caused my silence. That silence now had caused me acute pain. I was at least grateful that in Lourdes my heart awakened to forgiveness for him.

The complications surrounding his death consumed a large portion of my time and energy for the following months. I also became more aware of my own mortality and realized we don't have any guarantees about how many days we have left. Many life changing events transpired between then and now in part as a result of this, and I finally accepted the pause God wanted me to take in mid March of this year. As I pursued justice and the vocational call to marriage, I made a few more attempts to get in touch with a spiritual director and then finally the door opened.

In late July 2010 I went to a talk on discernment and became aware of a 19th annotation retreat. They said there was an option to do St. Ignatius' spiritual exercises at home in your daily life with the aid of a spiritual director.

I finally signed up a little over a month later in August and met Father Kevin Ballard in early September. Our first talk seemed divinely choreographed. He told me the history of St. Ignatius. He said the Spanish St. Ignatius had had his first spiritual experience in Pamplona, Spain. St.Ignatius then went to live in Montseratt after his conversion. Father Ballard was also wearing a T-shirt from Missouri. This is where a friend had moved to just a week earlier to join an order in accepting her vocational call. I then shared with Father Ballard the details of my trip to Pamplona and Lourdes a year earlier and also a trip to Montserrat I took in 2007. During the discourse, I suddenly felt as though I was exactly where I should be at this moment.

I realize now that my accidental? trip to Lourdes a year earlier was one of God's unceasing ways to call me. This time our heavenly father employed Mary more fully to do His bidding. What Jesus had been waiting for HE finally full embraced Yes! And much to my surprise it is yielding the greatest and most joyous path for me.


Pursued by Truth said...
October 19, 2010 at 2:10 PM  

Ang, that is beautiful from beginning to end! I am especially excited that you have found a spiritual director. The way you described your first meeting sounds perfect. The Holy Spirit is alive in spiritual direction and He communicates so clearly. I am so happy for you!

Post a Comment