Sunday, April 26, 2009

My story in Easter edition of Our Sunday Visitor

So, I was enjoying my Sunday afternoon when a man called me from New York. He said something about my conversion story appearing in the April 12, 2009 issue of Our Sunday Visitor. I was like, "Huh, what?" I had no idea. They didn't tell me it was going to appear.

But, sure enough, mine was one of four to appear.

You can see it in their special Easter edition on their website. Mine is entitled "Relationship bears fruit"

I am trying to locate a paper edition now. Let me know if you can send me one.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Heart of Gold

I am currently writing a book proposal for a book idea: REALITY CHECK: A Christian Woman’s REAL Guide to Catching a Husband. I originally made it a “Catholic Woman’s Guide,” but realized that it would be helpful to Christian women in general. I am a Catholic convert anyway, so I can relate to other Christians too – not just Catholics.

What a Herculean task when I also work full time!

I’m working on the introductory chapter, where I discuss how a near-death experience made me question the dating advice I was getting in the Catholic and Christian worlds. I thought it was interesting that I was inspired to write about this around Good Friday.

I was dating a man who met the “check list.” He was a daily Mass goer, had a good career, a college education, was attractive, and willing to support a family structure where his wife would spend time at home with young children some day. These are all great things, and I assumed that anyone who was as religious and responsible as him would automatically have good character. I thought it was a packaged deal.

The truth is that when you are on your deathbed, or struggling to get through a serious illness, some universal truths come into focus. In those moments, you want to be with someone who has a heart of gold…someone who will be generous, caring, patient, and steadfast. Many of us love to discuss doctrinal purity, the demands of chastity, the virtues of daily Mass and weekly confession, and which leading theologian is more orthodox. When you think you are dying, and are in extreme pain…those things fade into the background. I did not care so much that my boyfriend was a daily communicant when I was sick – I just wanted to know that I could rely on him.

I couldn’t rely on him. Although I was only ill for about two weeks, it was too much of an inconvenience for him. He grew resentful when I asked him for favors. He worked a few blocks from my residence. My parents lived 20-30 miles away. I thought he would want to help me, but his faith didn’t necessarily translate into actions.

It was clear that he had a heart of fool’s gold. My doctor and father both said that the illness may have been a blessing in disguise. You want to know if someone can handle the marriage vows “in sickness and in health,” right?

An art teacher I had told me that it was not unheard of for spouses to leave when their husband or wife came down with a serious illness. She knew a woman who got cancer and her husband left her the day after the diagnosis. I was stunned, because I know my mom and dad would never be capable of such a thing, but it happens.

You want a husband with a heart of gold. Yes – the checklists can play a role in selecting a mate, but when the true tests come, it won’t be going through the motions, big paychecks, or popularity contests that matter. You’ll want someone who is really a good person deep down.

My story also reminds me of Father Walter Ciszek, a priest held in Russian concentration camps. He wrote a book, “He Leadeth Me.” I remember thinking that it differed from other religious books because he focused on many bedrock principles. He still treasured his priesthood and held Mass even when the penalty was death, but it was clear that his suffering burned any pettiness away from his being.