Throughout my childhood and adult life I have listened people tell me they always wanted to be this or that, from the time they were just a child. The authority figures in my life always said look for a calling. These things were foreign to me. I never knew what I wanted to do or felt that I was supposed to do something in particular; I have never felt that calling to anything. With the one exception of marrying my wife - I knew I was supposed to marry her. (She did not make me write that!)
In my life, opportunities would arise that I would pursue for a time throughout my work career. Whether it was a job, or sports, I followed the opportunities presented to me and tried to excel at them. I have been fairly successful at some of the things I undertook. I just did it because of the work ethic my parents instilled in me. I never felt that any of the things I did was where I was supposed to be for my whole life, or, that it was what I was called to do. Even my college degree - I now only use for myself or to pass on the information that I learned to people who ask for this information. I never knew for sure that I wanted to be an astronaut or a professional athlete. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the things I did, but I always felt a pull in a different direction; A pull to move on after a while. I thought certain careers were interesting, but I didn't have that drive to anything in particular, like I feel now.
I am kind of a serial entrepreneur, I have been working for myself for over 20 years. Create it, work it, sell it, and then move on to the next idea or thing that has been introduced to me when the timing was right. There was always a void that these things never filled and I couldn't pin point it. So I was learning things along the way, working jobs from the age of sixteen until late in my twenties when I started my first company. This was a steep new learning curve and helped me develop the ability to work thru roadblocks that were put in front of me. I think that this has been the most valuable life skill for me to learn, ever. I feel all these experiences have prepared me for the things to come as I look back.
The first year we put the kids at a new school I decided to follow the rules and participate as much as I could in educating my children about Jesus and all his wonders. I, for the first time in my life, was going to face Jesus because I really wanted to, not because I was told I should. When I opened that door, so did He. I Know that I wasn't ready for him to seize upon the moment like He did.
I imagined it to be somewhat like this - Okay, I have been waiting for this moment for him to turn and face me in his life. I 'm going to impress upon him that everything he has learned about me is true. I am real and here I am. That was my interpretation of Jesus talking about me. I can replay it vividly in my mind whenever I want, and it is all I need when I'm looking for direction and peace. I wish everyone could have this experience even though it has been a difficult journey once I experienced Him in this way. Meaning, trying to figure out what you are supposed to do with the information that you were just given.
When you belong to a group, to stay in the good graces with the group, a person usually follows the rules, norms, or guidelines to be able to participate in the functions and happenings of the group. With the Church, I followed all the necessary laws, rituals, rules that I needed to, with conviction, to put my soul in a place where I felt comfortable to be worthy of receiving Jesus, according to what I have been taught. I wanted to experience the Eucharist again. I don't take it lightly and I am not going into it without reconciling with Him before hand and ultimately disrespecting Him. We were taught that in order to receive the Sacrament you had to be right with God. If not, one had to go to confession to receive absolution of sins in order to receive the sacrament. This was the way you cleansed your soul or purged the sins you have committed. Anonymously telling a priest your transgressions and then saying a prayer, being absolved and then told a few more prayers to say and you’re good to go. Catholics believe you’re not to have any major blemishes on your soul when you receive Him at the Holy Eucharist.
So, on a Thursday, I went to confession - First time in maybe 5 years 6 years? Anyway, It was a long time. I went and I felt good. I had just made the decision to go, without really realizing it, to open up my heart for Him. So He could take my hand and lead me down the path he has laid out for me.
The following Sunday at Mass was just like any other Sunday. I was more or less concentrating on keeping the kids in line and trying to listen to the pastor over all of the children talking, crying, snacking, and playing with toys - for me a normal Sunday at church. Going to Catholic Church for Mass was something that was highly predictable. It moves along in sections; the readings, music, and homilies are different, but everything else is the same as it always is, in its framework, cadence, and structure.
It was time for communion and I got in line like every other time and proceeded to receive communion. I would just go through the ceremony always very reverent and reserved. Don't get me wrong, I believe what was happening is real and was given to us as a gift, by Christ. Once again though, it was to me at that time, just another day.
As I receive the host from the priest I always look them in the eye as they are presenting it to me. The first thing that struck me was the color of the priest's eyes. They were this striking blue color that really got my attention. It felt to me that he was looking right into my soul. It was an intense feeling that I had never experienced before. The other thing that stood out to me was that the priest who was administering the Eucharist at that moment looked younger and had a radiance to his skin. The best way to describe it is that it appeared that there was a light behind his skin that kind of illuminated, or made his skin glow very subtly, a pale radiance or a glowing radiance, but almost perfect white - no tone or color. This was what I observed in my field of vision as I was locked onto his eyes in a gaze. This lasted all of a second or two, and as I was walking back to my seat. All that was going through my head was, "Wow, that was powerful", over and over again. Why now, and why not earlier in my life?
The week went by and this was replaying in my head over and over, I wanted to tell someone, but didn't because I thought they would think I was crazy. I couldn't wait until next week to see if it was going to happen again. I wanted it to happen again. I didn't know exactly, yet, what I had encountered. I had a good idea, just not 100%.
Sunday came and we went to church, nothing unusual with any part of the Mass. And then it was time to receive communion. I was excited to go and get the same experience as last week and to really check out the blueness of the eyes because they just drew me in last week and it was so powerful. It was my turn and I stepped up and proceeded to look into the priests eyes as he was presenting me the Eucharist, and it hit me like a sledge hammer that the priest I had received the Eucharist from the week prior did not have blue eyes. Instant confusion and confirmation of what I thought I knew deep down. I was reeling about what had really happened to me that last week. Why me? I was flooded with emotions like I have never felt and barely held it together for the rest of Mass. So, a lot of praying began on my part, to try and figure out, to confirm, what it was exactly that I had encountered that day at church. Truly, I already knew it was Jesus making a confirmation to me that he was real, and He wanted to be present in my life.
That night, for the first time since I was a little boy, I got down on my knees before bed to pray and ask questions of God. Talking to him like you would in a conversation with another person, I have never spoke to God in that way, it was usually in a rehearsed prayer and a thank you and that was it. I was opening myself up, presenting myself, for a conversation. Would he take part?
I was asking about and contemplating the experience I encountered that day at church. It took many months for the gravity of it to sink in. Little things were revealed to me in prayer as time went by as if a multi-layered veil was lifted slowly, one thin piece at a time, until I could see it all clearly. Once it was revealed to me, my experience with Jesus, through the vehicle of my parish priest, more questions began to surface: What did this mean? What was I supposed to do with this experience? Where do I turn with the information I have been given?
They say God only gives you what you can handle. He isn't trying to break you but maybe test you. It felt like I was almost at that breaking point, because I didn't know what to do with all that had happened to me. Why was I not getting the answers I wanted or thought I needed. One night I couldn't sleep so I began to pray and ask Him questions about what I was supposed to do. I was literally begging Him for the answer, it was 3 a.m. and I was laying in bed staring into the darkness - I received my answer. Out of the darkness above my head, seemed like it was from maybe 5 feet away from my outstretched arm, a deep voice disrupted the silent pitch black room and said, "Write about it".
I can still visualize where the voice came from. I could see the disruption of the silence with this strong voice. It is hard for me to put into words that moment in time, and the impact it has made, especially on the direction I need to go in life. Instead of me first, it was time to put Christ first.
So now I was tasked out. I had to discern and figure out what this meant. Follow the trail that has been laid out for me. Try to accomplish the tasks that He has in mind for me, to the best of my ability, before I leave this earth. To not turn my back on Him and ignore Him after He has given me this gift. Meaning, I needed to follow his plan, not what I thought was His plan. This is a difficult task. At times I have strayed from his plan only to see when my ideas fall apart. As the beginning stages, this blog is me "writing about it" - The start of His plan for me.
It is an exciting time to put it all out there for people to see. There is one thing I know for sure, that I don't, or won't, care what anyone says negatively about what I have experienced because I now only feel sorry for those people who don't have their own relationship with Jesus. It happened to me, and it was real to me, and for this reason I will never deny that it happened.
Throughout the history of humans there are never two humans created that are exactly the same so why would we think that Jesus is going to give each one of us the exact same encounter as another person. There have been approximately 30,000 christian religions that have been followed since the time of Jesus, so it stands to reason that there are many different ways to Christ and to be called by Christ. Simply because of our individual uniqueness, common sense tells us our relationship with Jesus will be unique, if you so chose to have a relationship with Jesus.
To be cont...