This post that came through on Facebook tonight, Do Not Sin Any More, and it reminded me of an experience I had many years ago. Back in 1994, over Memorial Day weekend, we were out of town visiting with family. I was feeling totally depressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed - physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was a very difficult time in my life, and it happened to be a few months before my husband walked out on me for the first time. That day, in that moment in time, I had finally had enough, so I left my mother-law's house in Gettysburg, SD and did not tell anyone where I was going. This was my thought process:
1). I was going to visit a friend (who lived in the same town); or
2). I was going to go to the Catholic Church, or
3). I was going to find a bridge on the Missouri River and drive off of it.
Well, as a Catholic I knew I could not drive off the bridge, and my friend was not home, so I drove to the Church. Thankfully, the doors of the Church were open, so I entered and spent a great deal of time praying in the silence. It was the first time I had ever been alone in a Church. That time, spent alone in the True Presence of Christ, gave me what I thought was the peace I need to make it through the rest of my day. So I finished my time of prayer and started walking out towards the door and then I heard this voice in my head saying: "Turn around." I ignored it and kept walking toward the door and heard the voice again: "Turn around." I continued to ignore the voice, thinking: "Why should I turn around?" Once again the voice came as I reached to back doors of the Church: "Turn around."
So I gave in and stopped at the doors and I begrudgingly turned around. My eyes focused on the huge crucifix at the front of the Church behind the altar and God spoke to my heart again, "No matter how many times you walk away from me, I will always be here with open arms to welcome you back."
There was yet another message for me... God went on to tell me that I had to do the same with my husband. "No matter how many times he walks away, you have to be willing to welcome him back with open arms." This was one of the Great Promises in my life...And that is a story for another post.
Now, back to why this story was brought back to my memory. I thought about that particular "Turn Around" experience on many levels for the next several months. I thought often about the suffering that we must put Christ through when we walk away from His grace. What sadness our Father in heaven must feel when we turn our backs on Him. But as a Child of God, we are always welcome back into His open arms - when we choose to answer His Call to Holiness, and turn around.
Talk about unconditional love...