I was sitting in my car at a red light when it happened.
It’s a moment I’ll never forget. Everything became eerily still and quiet, almost like life had frozen for those few moments. And suddenly I knew exactly what I had to do.
Two years prior to that day, I had received my declaration of nullity in the mail from the diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.
That was a bittersweet moment. I had fought for my marriage but of course, in California, where I lived at the time of my divorce, the state laws guaranteed it didn’t matter if I didn’t want the divorce. It was a done deal.
The annulment process was painful but overall changed me in the best way possible. And now, I had my clear answer. I was free to go forth and find my new life.
During the next two years, I began dating with hopeful anticipation of the new man who would come into my life.
After time, though, I became disappointed with the results. At the age of 35, I began to think that a good Catholic man who was my age or older and ready to marry would be impossible to find.
I knew what I wanted – not only in the man himself but in a future relationship. Some friends told me I was being too picky. Others told me to stick to my guns and don’t settle for anything less. I simply took the middle ground, trying to be as open as possible without giving up on the things I knew were too important to let go of.
But one day, a stray thought came into my mind: What if I wasn’t finding “the one” because God didn’t want me to remarry?
Hmmm, that was a bit of a jolt. But I had to consider it.
What if I had had three miscarriages and then a failed marriage because God had never intended me to be married to begin with?
That one hit hard. And that was the end of my being open.
My dream had always been to be a wife and mother and I was not about to let go of that dream. So I laughed the thought away and kept on going, but the Holy Spirit was not done tapping me on the shoulder just yet.
The thoughts of “what if” kept haunting me for months. During this time, I thought about what the other options for me were.
Being a nun? Living as a consecrated woman in a community? Just being single and at the service of the Church?
None of these options were anything I wanted to consider – and not because I didn’t admire those who live the single or consecrated life. As a matter of fact, I was in awe of and had huge respect for those who were called by Christ in that way. I just couldn’t imagine it for myself. So I did what I always did; I pushed the thoughts out of my mind.
Then one day I was sitting in my car waiting for the red light to turn green and watching a happy couple cross the street.
I said to myself, “One day, that will be me. I can’t wait!”
And of course, then came the thoughts of being a nun and I pushed them away for the millionth time. It was like telling the Holy Spirit, “Talk to the hand.”
But then, it happened… everything became very quiet and very still and I heard the most beautiful and tender voice within my soul. It was like a whisper, yet it was so loud.
I clearly heard: “Why won’t you give me this part of your life?”
I knew it was Jesus, asking me to trust Him. It moved me to tears, and as I drove home, I knew what I needed to do.
Handing it over
The next morning, I went to Mass and at the consecration, I imagined my wedding dress laying across the altar and my desire to be a wife and mother lifted up with the paten. I wanted what God wanted and so I offered it all to Him.
Of course, now I believed that God wanted me to be a nun, so I began figuring all that out. I made an appt with the Carmelite nuns and went on a retreat with a community of consecrated women. I wasn’t very happy, but I was honoring what God wanted of me. Only I didn’t really understand what God wanted of me.
He wasn’t asking me to be a nun and He wasn’t asking me to give up my dream of being a wife and mother. All He wanted was for me to let Him handle it. All He wanted was for me to relax my vice grip on the controls and give it all over to Him. He knew best how to make me happy and that’s all He wanted.
Two weeks later, a very handsome Catholic gentleman came to work in my office. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he knew almost right away that he would marry me.
I didn’t have a clue, of course, because I was supposed to be a nun. But God’s plan for me finally sunk into my thick head and one year later, when we exchanged our vows on the altar, it was the most perfect and joyful moment of my life.
Sometimes, we complicate life with our worries and our what ifs. We’re prone to do this because we like to be in control.
But dating can be as simple as letting God make the introduction. And until then, I encourage you to be happy and enjoy life, one date at a time.