Friday, October 12, 2012

Catholic Love Story # 4: Terry from 8 Kids and A Business

One of my favorite blogs, the award-winning 8 Kids and a Business joins us today to tell us her love story.  Thank you, Terry! See you all next Friday.

         We met at a surprise birthday party my friends threw for me when I turned 21.  He was 22.  My friend reluctantly asked him to be her date for the party at the insistence of her mother who knew his family.  My friend was clearly not interested and she thought she could lose him once they arrived.  He and I spent the whole evening talking about school, family, stuff.  At the end of the evening, my friend pleaded with me to get a ride home with the two of them.  I happily agreed.  He dropped her off first.  When we got to my house, he sneaked one of my presents into his jacket pocket so that he would have an excuse to see me again.  After that, we began dating steadily.
         Six months later, he ended our relationship.  At the time, he didn’t tell me that he had fallen in love with me and was scared.  His reaction was to back away.  I was upset but also pre-occupied with school so I moved on.  One day during a break in classes, as was my habit, I went to noon Mass at the cathedral just down the street from school.  After Mass, I found myself praying for him, not that we would get back together, but that he would find what would make him truly happy in life.
That evening he phoned………….
        Something in our relationship changed after that.  We talked more, shared our dreams.  Physically, we were strongly attracted and that led to some very difficult moments but we were both determined to remain chaste.  We had a wonderful time together.  After a while, our dating relationship became increasingly comfortable.  We talked about a future together, but without much seriousness.
        Things changed when I was in my last year of nursing school.  I began looking to my own future, trying to decide whether or not to answer the call for nurses who were greatly needed in the Canadian far north.  I was also beginning to feel the desire to settle down, get married, start a family.  He panicked when I told him how I felt.  He was afraid of losing me to the Canadian tundra.  He proposed.  I accepted.
        The first person we told was my parish priest, a gentle giant of a man who had guided me through my sometimes confused university years.  He knew my fiancée since he would often come to the 4:30 Saturday Mass where I sang and played guitar with the folk group.  Father wholeheartedly gave us his blessing……….and his church hall for the reception.  Our parents were very happy and relieved that we were finally getting married.
         A few days before our wedding, something happened that gives me goose bumps to this day.  Remember my friend’s mom who insisted she take my future fiancée  to the birthday party?  A couple years earlier she had died of a heart attack.  One night, I had what I think was a dream.  I saw my friend’s mom, surrounded by a white light, standing at the foot of my bed.  She said, “Congratulations, Terry.”  Then she was gone.  I took that to be a sign that our upcoming marriage was meant to be.
        At our wedding, we were aware that God had to be invited into the wedding ceremony.  He had to be central to our commitment.  We understood that marriage was sacramental, a commitment for life.
         Like all newlyweds, we had challenges and struggles as we evolved from “I” to “we.”  He’ll tell you that it was worse for him than for me.  But we found time to pray together, not every day, not consistently, but we prayed.  Despite my full-time shift-work at the hospital, we never missed attending Mass together.  Some Sundays, we would drive down to the cathedral for the 9pm Mass before he dropped me off for my midnight shift.  He never failed to pick me up from the unsafe area where I worked when my evening shift ended at 11:30pm.
       Friends started having children and I was still not pregnant even though we diligently followed the Sympto-Thermal method of NFP.  One Sunday evening, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably through Mass.  Yet another girlfriend was pregnant but after two years of marriage, I wasn’t.  My crying was my prayer, I guess, because shortly after that, I became pregnant.
        As our family grew, the worries and stresses of everyday life would sometimes take hold.  We struggled to carve out time for ourselves while meeting the needs of young children and the demands of work.  We prayed as a family, with periods of sporadic praying followed by times of more regular prayer.  St. Joseph became our protector and provider.

       It hasn’t been easy raising eight children.  I would be lying if I said I was overjoyed with each pregnancy.  My husband was always excited at the news but there were times when I panicked at the thought of caring for another child.  We held on to our belief that our merciful God knew what was best.  Through two miscarriages and a diagnosis of post-partum depression, we clung to our faith and we haven’t let go.
         I can honestly say that the last 27 years have been joyful despite the challenges and the selfish, prideful moments.   I know my husband would agree.
        The best advice we were given came from my wonderful father-in-law.  Put God first, your spouse second, and everything else will fall into place.   Wise words from a man who raised 12 kids and who read the Bible more than once from start to finish.
        It’s been a blessed 27 years.  We don’t know what the future holds for the two of us and for our kids, but it will be God’s future, His plan, His providence and His love. 
Deo Gratias


Anabelle Hazard said...

Terry, I love your father in law's quote and the "dream", too. My goosebumps say you're meant to be together for sure. It still amazes me how God can write stories in so many ways.

8 kids and a business said...

Annabelle, thanks again for inviting me to contribute to your great feature! Posting Catholic love stories helps us all on our marriage vocation journey. God bless you, your family and your wonderful work for the Kingdom!

lilyboat said...

wow Terry! This is a great story. It made my heart warm and fuzzy! My heart ached when I read about your postpartum depression. That proves me to how strong you are to overcome! I know that illness is very hard- my sister had suffered, too and I have witnessed it right next to her for months. Blessings on you!