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a_pain_of_a_father [2018/07/29 01:22] (current)
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 +=A Pain of a Father=
 +Thirty-eight years ago, I was 19 years
 +old and very much in love. I said to
 +Julie, my wife; "Marry me, and I will
 +give you everything I have, I will give you
 +children, I will build you a beautiful home, and
 +I will give you a new car to drive. My
 +credentials for saying this was: I have a dream
 +and you are in it." And of course she said "​yes"​.
 +It's very difficult to compress 38 years, but
 +when I reflect upon those years, I can see
 +that there are 3 phases in my married life.
 +The first phase was the first 14 years. During
 +those years, we had five children and
 +experienced years of struggle, of hard work,
 +of finishing my studies, of having good times
 +with little children, of being in an economy
 +that was moving forward. At the end of those
 +fourteen years, I had built a beautiful home, I
 +had a new car, and we had a bright future.
 +With regards to our faith, our eldest daughter
 +taught catechism, our two sons were altar
 +boys, and I thought we were made.
 +Then we entered the second phase, the phase
 +of attack and trial. The first attack was
 +financial. The economy was so
 +buoyant it overheated. Government increased
 +interest rates to slow the economy down and
 +I found myself with the same debt but with
 +massively increased repayments. I had to
 +work harder and longer just to earn extra
 +money. I began to feel tired. And then the
 +attacks really started to come. My eldest
 +daughter left school, and said she was not
 +going to mass again. I was the most surprised
 +person in the world to hear this. The next
 +year my son graduated from high school and
 +said; "​I'​m not going to mass either!"​
 +My daughter went off to a teaching hospital
 +to study nursing. She hadn't been there four
 +months when she told me she was pregnant
 +and living in with a totally undesirable man.
 +Our life was crumbling at our feet! Then my
 +son, the high school graduate, decided that
 +he was going to stop work and live on social
 +security payments. To my horror, I found out
 +that he had been smoking marijuana! I
 +couldn'​t believe it. He spent the last 3 years
 +at a Jesuit high school! I had mortgages and
 +debts to pay but I knew my family was more
 +important, so we made a stand and said; "This
 +is going to stop".
 +So I got more involved with my family, and
 +my next son got involved in a religious group
 +and I thought; "​Praise the lord, there is an end
 +to this!" However, at age 22, he said "​I'​m not
 +going to mass either"​. That made three out of
 +three. And still it did not end there. A couple
 +of years later, my next daughter also
 +abandoned the church when she left school.
 +I thought it was not too late to make a stand
 +with our fifth child, a daughter. So we decided
 +to get heavily involved in the parish. Our
 +daughter played net ball which fit perfectly in
 +the parish activities because it had a very
 +strong netball team. The parish team coach
 +was a lovely man, or so we thought, and we
 +were thrilled when he took Rebecca under his
 +wing and got her into the state team. But
 +suddenly, she didn't want to have anything to
 +do with it anymore! We couldn'​t understand it.
 +The reason she did not want anything to do
 +with the parish was because this coach, this
 +man whom we trusted, molested her for three
 +years! We brought the police in but because
 +there was no actual rape, the police would
 +not press charges!
 +The church offered to counsel her but she
 +was further scandalized by the offer because
 +that man was, and still is, a very active
 +member of that parish. She too left the church.
 +Julie and I could not begin to understand
 +where we went wrong. The pain was
 +We then entered the third phase, and I would
 +call this phase, the "Phase of Renewal"​. About
 +seven years ago we went on a marriage
 +enrichment retreat. When we write our
 +biography, we will write that these 48 hours
 +were the most important period of our lives.
 +During this weekend, Julie and I decided that
 +we were in a spiritual battle and that we had
 +lost the first round! But that weekend too, we
 +made a stand that we were going to reclaim
 +our family for Christ. My own personal decision
 +after this weekend was that I was going to
 +romance my wife of 31 years.
 +We decided to call upon the graces of our
 +sacrament and to start enjoying life again. I
 +made a commitment to her that I would take
 +her to dinner once a week for all of the
 +thousands of meals she had prepared for my ,
 +children and myself. We made a decision that 
 +we would start discussing our problems and
 +we started finding answers. We made a
 +decision that we would love our children no 
 +matter what. We made a decision that we
 +would have family night in our house every
 +week and that Julie would prepare the best 
 +meal in town and that we would discuss ​
 +something of value around the table. We made 
 +a decision that we would befriend the friends ​
 +of our children and that we would have a wide ,
 +range of friendships. We made a decision
 +that we would underpin all these with prayer
 +and we became daily communicants.
 +Things started happening. The most 
 +unbelievable thing happened - our children
 +came back! We started a business and we
 +made a commitment that we would encourage
 +our children to start their own businesses. We
 +encouraged our children to share their talents
 +with each other and slowly things have turned
 +around. But still I ask: Why suffer the pain we
 +had to? Why didn't we recognize the signals
 +that were there?
 +I don't know what the next fourteen years is
 +going to bring but all I know is if the current
 +trend prevails, then the Lord's promises will
 +be fulfilled. This passage is from Baruch and
 +although the Lord promised this to Jerusalem,
 +it applies just as aptly to Julie and me: "Turn
 +your eyes to the east and see the joy that is
 +coming to you from God. Look! The children
 +you watched go away are on their way home,
 +reassembled from the east and the west.
 +They'​re on their way home at the holy one's
 +command rejoicing in God's glory. Take off
 +your dress of sorrow and distress, put on the
 +beauty of God's glory forevermore. Wrap the
 +cloth of God's saving justice around you; put
 +on the diamond of the eternal one's glory on
 +your head."
 +We cling to God's promise. We know that as
 +long as we remain faithful to Him, our efforts ,
 +are going to yield fruit in abundance. By John McMahon
 +[[Category:​Home]] | [[Category:​Religion]] | [[Category:​Christianity]] | [[Category:​Society]] | [[Category:​Family]]

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