Well, let’s start with a little bit of background on me. I was born into a catholic family, going to church most Sundays and attending CCD as I got older. Outside of those 1-2 days per week, we didn’t talk about God much. We didn’t pray before meals or at bedtime. We didn’t read the Bible. We didn’t really talk about the Bible, God or Jesus.
Just before my 9th birthday, my parents bought a business, and we pretty much stopped going to church. They were always busy with the new business, so my sisters spent most of the time with me. Please understand, I love my parents and I am so very thankful for all they did to raise me, to keep a roof over my head and food on the table, and for the designer clothes on my back (and I did get more than my share of designer clothes as a kid). They did their best.
See, my parents were married right after high school and started their family very soon after that. And, after my first sister was born, it wasn’t four months before my parents found out they were expecting again. While they were very excited, it was quite overwhelming to two kids just barely 19 years old. And, when my mom was just past 30 weeks pregnant, she went to the hospital and was admitted for what they thought was a miscarriage. By only the grace of God, my mom did not miscarry, but did deliver a 3lb, 3oz baby girl that needed a great deal of help. That’s a lot to handle for two nearly 20 year olds with an almost 1 year old needing attention. I truly don’t know how they got through those years.
Neither of my parents went to college as they were busy raising a family and trying to stay afloat. The both worked two jobs to make ends meet. They did all that they knew to do to raise my sisters. And, nearly 7 years later, my mom went to the doctor for the flu – and found out she was expecting me! Surprise!
I had the benefit of being the third child born, the baby of the family! Plus, my sisters were both 7-8 years older than me, so they were a great deal of help to my parents. We lived modestly, but we really did have everything we needed. And, as I got older, I had a lot of what I wanted, too. Especially after they bought their business. It was a trade-off. I didn’t get to see them as much as I would have liked, but they were able to help put all three of us through college and give us more than what they would have been able to otherwise.
As you can imagine, with as busy as they were, we didn’t get to go to church much. We continued to go to Easter & Christmas mass, but that ended after a while, too. Then, when I turned 12, we moved to a new town and didn’t have the time to truly get involved in a new church. My sisters were off to college and my parents were extremely busy working this still fairly new business.
So, I went to church every now and then with friends. I used to love to go to Greek Church with a dear friend, especially because her mom would play the piano during mass – it was amazing! I remember looking up at the beautiful carvings, stained glass, sculptures, and just feel God’s presence. I would spend most of the time with tears in my eyes, not truly knowing why, just knowing I didn’t want the mass to end. After church, I would feel filled up…for a while.
See, I was in high school now. And, while I had friends, I was pretty lonely. I was also making pretty bad decisions. I was broken before I knew what broken was. I had a hole in my heart and in my life, so I tried to fill it with whatever I could find. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was there…