When I think about which events brought me back towards the catholic faith, it is hard to put my finger on any one of a whole series of events that, working together, pulled me back. Before my husband and I were ever married, we agreed that when both parents are the same religion, and raise the children in that religion, it is much better for the family. We both were raised in homes where the parents had different beliefs, and we knew the problems that could arise from that situation. At that time, he was not yet catholic, or practicing any religion, but was studying about all religions like crazy. I was attending mass on the occasional Sunday, various protestant services on a few other Sundays, and hitting the snooze bar well past noon most Sundays. Just a few months after we were married, the terrorist attacks of September 11th occurred, and for the first time in my adult life, I was truly scared of something. Just two days later, at the little rural school where I was teaching, we went into lock down because of an escaped criminal in pursuit by the police, who was headed on foot towards our school. I remember thinking to myself “Has the world gone crazy?“
Just one day later, there was an accident on the freeway where an unmarked delivery truck was overturned, I happened to notice that the driver, obviously rattled, looked foreign. Then, while the traffic backed up behind me, I noticed two cars with several Middle Eastern looking men dressed like Muslims. In the part of the country I live in, that is an extremely unusual sight, and although I now know it was pure coincidence, at the time, I started to wonder if this was no accident, what if this was a purposeful blocking of the freeway? What if something devastating was being planned? First the airlines, now the interstate freeway system? I decided that I was being paranoid, but then I noticed the men talking fast and acting differently than the other drivers in other cars. One got out and went into the trunk. Please keep in mind that 9/11 had just happened a few days before. I thought about getting out of my car and running from the scene of the accident, but where to? I was in a remote area of the county. I didn’t know what to do, so in that moment, I began to pray the rosary, something I hadn’t done since high school. I kept it up the entire two hours I was stuck there while emergency crews handled the situation. I continued praying Hail Mary’s the entire rest of the way to work. That night, on my commute home, I had to ask myself, “hey, if you aren’t catholic anymore, how come you prayed the rosary this morning?” I couldn’t come up with a good answer. The next evening, I was at Saturday evening mass. I started to attend mass regularly. There is more to this story, and it will unfold over time. This is the first of many examples, too many to count, of how this faith has strengthened me.