I don’t do coincidences.
Two years ago, if you had told me I would be entering the Catholic church this Easter, I would have laughed at you. Two years ago, if you had also asked me if the Pope was Catholic, I would have told you I didn’t know. In fact, I probably would have asked you who the Pope was and what him being Catholic had to do with anything.
I guess you could say I lived under a rock for a long, long time.
A year and a half ago, God undeniably showed himself to me, and I dug my way out from under that rock. I had to know the truth. God was real. What else had I been missing out on?
Now, as a catechumen entering Lent, I am amazed at how little I knew. I graduated from a strictly religious school and passed my Bible classes without ever once hearing the story of Jesus or really having any idea who he was and what he did. I listened to a lot of people preach about the details of Scripture and completely glossing over the heart of our Christian faith — God, his love and mercy and grace, and the sacrifice of Jesus that has redeemed us.
I started from the ground up on my own, reading from two-week reading plans to try to find the important stuff. I knew a little bit from grade school, when I tried to read through the Bible during the summer when I found out one of my friends had (I got bogged down somewhere in Deuteronomy). I remember crying uncontrollably when I read about Jesus dying. A few weeks ago, I read through my prayer journal and saw where I had written to God that night, asking him if he cried when his Son died, like I was crying. I told him I was sorry that he had died, and that he must have been heartbroken.
A few weeks ago, I had a series of bad days. Before I left for work one day, I went outside to get the mail. I walked back up the driveway and that’s when a rock caught my eye. A rock shaped like a heart. It isn’t perfect — there’s a chip on the corner and at the top, and a crack down the middle. But it is definitely a heart-shaped stone, and at that moment, when I was looking for some kind of sign that my Father even cared how badly I was floundering with everything in my life, it changed my whole perspective. I’ve been carrying that rock around with me for a week now.
I don’t believe in coincidences. I know that God is always with us. Sometimes he’s quiet, stands back, lets us be for a while, watches us like a parent watching his child. Sometimes he lets us get hurt and upset so we realize how much we need him and his help. Sometimes he sends you a love letter in the form of a stone shaped like a heart.
My faith is like that of a child, and I kind of hope it stays that way.
I hope that’s a decent first entry for a blog — I’m looking forward to digging into what it’s like to go through Lent and RCIA toward Easter vigil and beyond. I hope you’ll join me for the journey too.
(Reposted from tumblr, originally posted on March 11, 2011.)