As i got older, i replaced the love of getting dressed with jeans and the attitude that it was more for my parents than it was for me. Then my attitude switched back as i made the adult decision to go to church for me, and not my parents.
I loved our little church. The original church i grew up in, an amazing cathedral sadly burnt down when i was young. I remember my dad helping to fight the fire and the smoke you could see for miles away. Growing up in a small town, it was "the church" and affected many people. However, it didn't affect our priest. We found a new place to worship and call our own. Father Doyle was still amazing as ever, and even though a huge part of him was gone, he wouldn't let our community get down.
Father Doyle baptized me, gave me my first communion, confirmed me and was supposed to marry me. Can you imagine? All the stages of a young woman's life. He ended up passing away shortly after Christopher and i met. It was so very sad. I felt so sad that he wouldn't marry me. Even moving away from home, i had still planned this perfect day i had dreamed of. And it was perfect. Christopher and i explored some new options. (Ok, really more me than him). Once we found our current church and met Deacon Ed, we found our little slice of heaven again. We fell right in love with Ed. He is supportive, loving, non-judgemental attitude (after all, we were living together before marriage) and a great inspiration to us as we prepared for marriage. We used to meet with him each month leading up to our big day. I mean, he is married so who better to talk to then someone who was living it?
Our day with Ed couldn't have been more perfect.
He wrote the most beautiful homily, printed it out and gave it to us. We also had each and every guest tell us how much they enjoyed his ceremony. It was personal, memorable and us.
We ended up moving about a half hour away from his church when we bought our house, but still drove there for mass. It was so important to us to continue our relationship as we built our life together and had children. We really wanted him to baptize our babies. We wouldn't see Ed every week because he would say mass at 8:30 or sometimes 11. But, we would email and he always was there for us. When my grandmother passed away and more importantly, he knew one week that something was wrong. It was right after we started IF treatment and our first cycle failed.
I ended up meeting with him every couple of weeks. Ed was my spiritual therapy. I'll never forget what he told me; "Our timing as humans, isn't always God's timing." I carry those words with me everyday and think about them when i wonder why we aren't matched yet or when other hiccups in life come our way. He would let me cry to him, vent and just wonder "why me?" He told me God has an amazing plan for us. Through boxes and boxes of tissues later, I do truly believe this now and will forever be grateful for his talks.
Two weeks ago, we grabbed the weekly bulletin before mass. I sat and read a good-bye from Ed and his wife Karen. My heart sunk. I felt like my faith is just so strong, Christopher's faith is slowly but surely growing (he was not raised with any religion) and now a huge part of that faith is leaving.
They have decided to take a sabbatical, and will travel to Santiago, Spain as missionaries. I remember them wanting to do this when we got married. We bought them a book about this journey as a thank you. I am so happy for them, but selfishly, don't want them to leave. Ed has always told me..."you are just so special, you just have a longer pregnancy than most." It always helped me to realize our wait will one day come to and end and we will be blessed.
I wanted to email Ed, but couldn't figure out what to say.
Saturday evening, we drove past a new church in "our neck of the woods". We decided that Ed was the reason that we didn't mind driving out of the way for mass each week. I mean, i do enjoy it, i enjoy seeing familiar faces, but the drive is sometimes a drag. We decided to try this new church yesterday. However, i was running late getting ready (mass was at 10:30) and Christopher said.. "do you just want to go in Albany?" Our current church is closer to where we were headed for the day yesterday. So, we decided to go to our usual church and try the new one next week.
We were sitting there, and see Ed and his wife enter. Tear filled eyes, and a tissue in hand, mass started. At the end of mass, our priest invited them to say goodbye to the congregation. You see, they have most definitely touched more lives than ours. They have hearts of gold. Not only do they have one special needs child, but two. That was God's hand to them. He really made me realize that life is what you make of it, that you can choose to enjoy or choose to not.
As he said his goodbye's, i could feel my eyes welling up, and at the same time, grasping Christopher's hand thanking him that we went to mass there instead of switching yesterday. Something must have told him to suggest that, or i never would have been able to say good-bye.
They stepped down from the altar, wiping tears from their eyes.
Mass ended and we walked to Ed and Karen to say goodbye. He looked at me and said you look so healthy, but i can see the pain in your eyes. I couldn't speak, as my eyes filled up, he just grabbed me for a hug, told me to let it all out. He reminded me all that he has told me in the past. I looked up to see his eyes filled, I looked over to see Christopher's eyes filled and we just all hugged together. He told me that if he hadn't seen us yesterday, that he would have called. He also told us that wherever we are, he will come baptize our baby- his travel is only for a couple of months.
Christopher and i walked out of church with red eyes, put our sunglasses on, grabbed each other's hands and walked to our car. We realized how he has impacted our lives and how we have impacted his. Everything is going to be alright.