Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Universe Shifting

In the summer of 1997, I was a homeschool mother of six children, ranging in age from eighteen months to barely fourteen.

Due mainly to my husband's financial irresponsiblity (and he would now agree with that statement), we were extremely money-poor, although we didn't feel it to an extreme degree because of my frugalness and ability to make sunshine out of nothing (a statement of which he would also agree, even back then). 

My friends commented that I was the most domestic person they knew; those that weren't my friends felt that I secluded myself. Both perceptions, I think, were a bit off. I was very dedicated to my role and never saw it as stifling. Home was simply where the adventure was. :)

Towards the end of 1996, something happened that began changing my world. The Barnes and Noble in Joliet invited me to host a mini-seminar in the store on homeschooling. I agreed, and it went so well, I was invited again, and then a Kankakee store (I believe it was Kankakee) invited me to do likewise.

The man who was the opinion page editor at The Herald-News (when the newspaper had such a position) also had a show on Friday mornings at a local radio station. He contacted me about the topic of homeschooling and asked me to appear on the show. I did, and that show went so well (the phone lines were actually jammed), I was invited back for two more appearances.

Then, in early 1997, the newspaper began a series of unpaid guest columns, and I was asked to write two columns a month on any topic I desired.

You have to understand that I had done nothing like this since college (I left college after I got married in 1981). I didn't even own a typewriter, much less a computer, and those columns were handwritten. I had no personal ambitions beyond that of my family, and I only agreed to these events because there was an interest from other families in the topic, and I was happy to share what I knew. 

As far as the columns, I literally had not written anything since, again, college (except for letters to elderly, out-of-state family members), but I am one to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and I figured that I should follow this opportunity to resurrect dry and dusty skills, because who knew when I might need them?

In the spring of 1997, our newest pastor and someone I found personally interesting artistically and spiritually was getting some flack about changes in the church that I found wonderfully refreshing and true to orthodox tradition, from which many uniate churches, including ours, had strayed. I became somewhat vocal of this support. 

So that summer, he invited me to attend a national three-day conference with him in Chicago. He had to go on the order of the bishop and was told to take one lay person from the church. I was stunned, as I was really in the background as far as the practical managing of church affairs was concerned. I wasn't part of any groups, committees, etc. He felt I was best qualified. In fact, he also had a second obligation for the second day in Ohio and could not attend the entire conference, but thought I was a qualified substitute.

So this was the plan: we would attend on day one, come home, and return on day two. He stayed for the morning sessions and left; I proceeded alone. Our church booked me a room, where I stayed overnight on day two and then continued on day three. I took notes, and we submitted a report at the end. He periodically checked in with me, actually, he checked in quite a bit.

At the end of day two's sessions and before I went to dinner, I headed up to my room to listen to music and meditate. I literally felt my universe shifting. Something was changing; a new life was emerging. I didn't know what it was; I had no vision for my future other than the course I was on, and yet...something was happening, and I realized that the life I thought I was going to have was not the life I was going to have, that God had a different plan, a better plans, and it was on the horizon.

This same pastor asked me to contribute stories about our church in the diocesan newspaper as our church didn't appear much. The diocesan seat was in Parma, Ohio. I reminded him that my skills were woefully out of shape and that I had never even seen a computer up close. He'd read some of those columns and felt I'd do a fantastic job. He taught me how to use the church computer, including how to hold and manipulate a mouse.

Six months later I was a single parent, by choice. Four months later, my first features story was published in The Herald-News. And thus began the tale whereby most of you have met me.

Why am I recounting this?

I felt that same shift during the sleepless night at Sarah's, hours before I was to board a flight home. We have had so many changes during the last few years, it should probably come as little surprise that more are ripening.

I thimk I realized this when I offered to buy the stickers for Lucas' teacher. It was another step to shrinking the distance between my life here and another life there.

The difference is, those changes aer radically different from the ones I thought might be coming or had hoped might be coming. I don't know what they are yet, but they are most certainly looming. I can feel them; I can sense them. I want to be ready to embrace them.

The adventure is not yet over.

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