For the past few days the hymn Our God is an Awesome God has been constantly on my mind and I have found myself waking up trying to sing it. LOL My chihuahua Chalupa thought I was crazy! Why is Mama singing in her sleep? Crazy lady! LOL
I cannot remember “meeting” the Lord, because it seems I have always “known” Him. My first memory of Bible stories or teachings was finding my Nana’s bible on the shelf and seeing the picture of Daniel in the lion’s den and Shadrach, Meshach, and Obendigo in the firey funace. They were excellent pictures and since have learned they were by some of the finest artists the world has known to date. I always knew how the stories would turn out…God saved the people who had faith in Him. Sounds pretty easy doesn’t it? But I grew up, and realized that although it was easy to believe that God would take care of those who had faith in Him, it wasn’t so easy to always have faith. Since Faith is a decision, like all humans I had my fair share of “wrong” decisions which can sometimes weaken a person’s ability to choose the right path.
The biggest blessing that God gifted me with is my husband Tom. We have been married almost 46 years this September. We met on March 19th, 1962 at Freshman dancing lessons. Tom attended St. Augustine High School (for boys) and I attended Academy of Our Lady of Peace (all girls) in San Diego. We were 15 years old. Like all teenage girls of the time I wanted a boyfriend, but I wanted only ONE, the one I would marry. I remember for the week prior to the 19th talking with the Lord as I would walk to and from school, and telling Him that I hoped he would have the man I as to spend my life with at the dance class. We spent a lot of time talking back and forth about how I wanted this, and He asking me over and over did I NEED this?
So, on March 19th at about 3:45 in the afternoon I found myself facing a boy with pimples and sunburned ears and large lips and very light blue eyes. It was by “chance” that we were facing each other, because that is where I was when the music stopped! We introduced ourselves, and then danced through the lessons. He asked for my phone number during the last song, and before I could give it to him he disappeared with his friend to help put the equipment away and to strike the flag. My friend Sally and I messed around in front of the gym for almost 30 minutes waiting for him to pass us on the way to the bus stop 6 blocks away. I was determined to give him my phone number! Finally we saw the two of them walking very fast! They passed us right up without even seeing us! Fr. Wasco who was “watching” us all said to me, “sometimes girls need to take the initiative”. Then he turned and began to joke with another group of kids. Sally said “go after him”. So, I did. In 6 inch high patent leather heels I began to quickly walk after them. They had about 2 blocks ahead of me, and then of all things they broke into a run! So, here I am in 6 inch heels, nylons with a seam that had to be straight, running like a fool after a boy I didn’t even really know! When I caught up with them at the bus stop it was hard to be nonchalant and get in line directly behind him! I was puffing and huffing and “glowing” and man did my feet hurt! I just stood there, and prayed that he would turn around or SOMETHING! So, a minute later he dropped all his books! To this day he doesn’t know what happened…but I do! I helped him pick them up and he said…“aren’t you Joy? I’m glad I ran into you! I didn’t get your number!” That was a Monday. He called Thursday night while Dr. Kildare was on TV. We never dated anyone else.
We were married September 13, 1966. That is another huge long story that I won’t get into here. We eloped and were married in a nuptial mass in the Cathedral in Boise Idaho.
We have had very hard times in our family and in our marriage. Months and years of unemployment, the death of two of our daughters. The near death of two others, serious accidents, and a lot of grief when our parents died. Now in later years we have faced the added dimension of getting older, and our health becoming an issue and realizing we won’t be here much longer and struggling to find the energy to continue to minister to our kids, our family and to our Church.
We were kids when we married. We have grandchildren older than we were then and it seems amazing that we are still together, still in love, and Tom still walks right by me and keeps on looking for me! LOL
Three of us got married that evening in Idaho, not two. THAT has always been what has kept us together and gave us the courage and the love to have nine children, six tiny foster babies from Tijuana, six teenage foster sons, and numerous challenges in ministry. The Lord has filled our pitchers over and over, sometimes at the very last possible moment, but has never failed to help us fill up again, so that we could pour out more.
Tom was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Church in 2000. He has now been in formal ministry for 12 years. Hard years, and beautiful years. He has buried more than a dozen of our children’s friends from accidents and soul wrenching suicides. Presided at the marriages of others, baptized their babies and again presided at the funerals of older wonderful people who are sorely missed.
We had our moments when our children died of doubting God’s love, of wondering why we were going through such pain? At such times just praying over and over, " God I choose You. I choose to have faith. I choose to stick it out." In the end we were blessed to see how the stones in the path of the journey were the teaching instruments to be able to comfort others and lead them back to a relationship with God. Tom has never done a wake service or a funeral service, that someone from the family will say to him, " I haven’t been to church in 20 years. How do I come back?"
That is the biggest blessing of all. To be able to show others the way to God and help them find His peace.
Good grief! I think I thought I was writing the great American novel! I have never known how to say something in only a few words! LOL Tonight at our dinner table we had four generations eating ribs and celebrating the birthday of our Great grandson Michael Patrick who is 5 tomorrow. Micheal said to me, “Nana! You talk a LOT!” roflmbo! I guess I do.
Thanks for this opportunity to share a part of my life and to tell you about how God keeps on keeping on with me.
ps Father Wasco told me at our 40th class reunion that he remembered the afternoon of our meeting clearly. He said he had NO idea why he told me what he did! He said he has thought of it over and over for 50 years! All he has ever been able to conclude is that the Holy Spirit used him to deliver a message. To this day he still marvels that miracles are around us ALL the time and we don’t even know it!