Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Second Tuesday of Advent: Getting Lost is Part of Coming Home

Jesus said to his disciples, “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?” - Mt 18:12

I left home and the church at 19. At the time, it was an easy decision. I was young and foolish. In my teenage mind, my family was too strict. My uncle, who was like a father to me, passed away suddenly. I needed someone to blame; God was an easy target. I didn’t need anyone. I needed to prove that to myself.

It wasn’t long before I reconnected with my family, and they welcomed me back with open arms. The church was a different story. I was using my anger at God to mask the anger and disappointment I had in myself. I grew up with an image of God as a stern disciplinarian. He had a lengthy set of rules that my imperfect self could never live up to – not even close. I felt I wasn’t living up to His expectations of me. I wasn’t praying enough. Church on Sunday didn’t coincide with my Sunday plans. The list of excuses went on.

Over the span of 8 years, I visited many different religious houses hoping to find a home, to which there were none. I did find a common theme in all Christian denominations – God is forgiving. That realization stopped me in my tracks. Could it be? Could I have been wrong all this time? Could the stern father that I grew up with be loving, forgiving, and kind? I soon found myself on the steps of a Catholic church. I started attending church on Sundays every once in a while. Church was two blocks away from my apartment, and it was on the way to lunch. It was baby steps.

Still, I held God at arm’s length. I knew He was there, but I still didn’t think I was worthy enough to open to Him. Luckily, He had plans for me. He brought me home via a Caritas retreat. The joy that I felt coming home was indescribable. In my heart of hearts, I knew He has been searching for me all these years ready to welcome me home.

Lord, please guide my heart home to your love.
Reflected by Katherine Tran