I find it very ironic that I have finally chosen the topic of ‘Love’ to share with my fellow Cursillistas this month. The truth is that I have been struggling over the past year-not with my faith in the Lord, but rather, my faith in my fellow human beings. The political climate, heightened racial divisions and the international pandemic are all things that I never had expected to experience in my lifetime, and to have them all going on at the same time has been overwhelming. I have said to myself repeatedly, “We are supposed to be an evolved people, so what is going on?” Although I may never know the answer to that question, I have come to understand a few things about myself and my faith through this period and God’s place for me in it all.
For me, it has been very difficult dealing with all the noise. Everywhere I turned I felt like I was being bombarded with another negative message of division, strife and unrest. I finally had to make the conscious decision to step away. I narrowly limited my exposure to the news. I had never joined the FaceBook bandwagon and was very grateful that I had made that decision many years ago. Music has always had a huge place in my life, as it speaks to my soul, and so I have found a place of refuge in song. It has truly been a form of prayer for me.
Over the past few years, I have witnessed great divisions in families, neighbors and couples- even conflicts on the roadways that have made me afraid. One beautiful spring morning about a year and a half ago, I was stopped at a three way stop and was waiting for the car to the right of me to stop before I made my left. The gentleman in the car came to a stop and then pulled out in front of me as I was about to go. He looked at me and yelled out, “Go back to your country” as he passed me by. The fact that I was born in this country from two parents who were born in this country really didn’t matter. I felt the hate that was coming from this young man and it shook me.
I found myself unconsciously isolating myself after this incident and I was not able to talk about it to anyone but God. My prayer to Him was to help me not only understand the hate, but to know how to respond to it. And then COVID hit… and the real isolation began. Thankfully, I found a great job just before things got crazy, so I was able to focus on that. I have prayed hard and long over the past eight months. I have asked our Lord over and over again to let me see what my role is in all this. I was feeling helpless and was seeking direction: What are you asking of me, Lord? How can I make things better? The answer was so unclear to me.
But over the past few months, through prayer and reflection, my role in all this was revealed to me. Well, that job that I told you about turned out to be at a business that was in shambles. The sole owner of that business was also struggling personally and at the very beginning of recovery. To add to all that, the owner and I had very opposing political views. I was overwhelmed initially and wasn’t sure if I could continue there. But I could clearly see that my professional and personal experiences were needed. I started to get to know my new boss and all his struggles and soon realized that it was not a coincidence that God placed me here. I soon became a mentor both professionally and personally to my new employer.
In 1 Corinthians 12:5, Paul tells us, “There are different forms of service, but the same Lord.” I realize now that God, in His infinite wisdom, placed me exactly where I needed to be during this crazy time. He placed me in a situation where I could be a reflection of His love for us; where I could share my faith and be of service to someone who was in desperate need and at the same time, taught me that I need to be open, loving and compassionate to all-especially those that I do not always see eye to eye with.
St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13: 13 told the Corinthians that love is “the greatest” of all the gifts God could ever give us. So, I am encouraged and hopeful, and see that the best medicine that the world could use right now is the gift of Love.