Since I grew up in a Jewish family, it was very important to my parents that I attended Hebrew school and have my Bar Mitzvah. After my father saw to it that I learned Hebrew Braille from a tutor, I began attending Hebrew school at the age of nine. I learned about Jewish history with particular emphasis on the Jewish Scriptures, Hebrew prayers, Jewish holidays and, most important of all, God. I took these classes seriously and attended them faithfully. However, we often learn about the love, goodness and mercy of God beyond what we learn in books or in a classroom, which is as it should be. These life lessons, though often unexpected, can be some of the most powerful ways in which we learn about the nature of God.
My first such incident was probably around when I was twelve, perhaps younger. I was in our backyard and started wandering around, eventually leaving my backyard and venturing off into what was, for me, unknown territory. While I had a decent amount of travel vision, I eventually lost my bearings and tried to find my way back home. Try as I might, I either walked in circles or had wandered even farther. Of course, this was before a time when I could have pulled out my phone and fired up my trusty GPS app which would have helped me find my way back. I had no such technology. I realized I was definitely lost and, while I really wasn’t that far away, couldn’t figure out how to get back home. I was becoming concerned and didn’t know what to do. Getting back home, at least on my own, seemed impossible. All of a sudden, I heard my father’s voice in the distance, calling my name. He must have realized what had happened and was coming to rescue me. Needless to say, I was very relieved and glad to have that lifeline leading me back to familiar territory.
My father probably forgot about that incident but I never did. When I think back on it I realize that it’s quite a powerful example of what often happens with us, even as experienced adults. Very often, we tend to wander off from the path. We find ourselves so deeply lost, immersed in a situation where it seems as though there’s no way to turn back. It can be anything. It can be addiction or some other sort of sin that feels like quicksand, with nobody to pull us out. Getting home seems impossible. However, God is always close and always calls out our name. It is never too late to stop and let him lead us back. Read Luke, Chapter 15, to read about it in his own words.
If you’re a Catholic who hasn’t been to confession in some time, I encourage you to go. Confession is the ordinary means which God uses to absolve you of your sins. It is a feeling of such joy and relief to hear the Father’s voice, calling out to me and leading me back home. It’s a sacrament I run to regularly and I can’t imagine my life without it.
I also thought it was appropriate to share this wonderful memory of my dad on the day in which we pay tribute to our fathers. A while ago, I wrote a tribute to my father. The above link will take you to that post.
Thank you, Dad, for being a wonderful father and for giving me so many examples of God’s love and mercy through your actions and the way you have lived your life.