Afternoon Fr. Andrew, Sisters & fellow parishioners,
My name is Carol Jacklyn and this is my husband, Roger. We were asked to share a little about our faith journey.
Over the years, our faith journey has taken us in directions we never could have foreseen. We find that we are still learning the depth of the Catholic faith and how we fit into God’s plan.
While still on this earth, I just don’t think that there is a clearly defined destination point for a faith journey.
Through trial and error we are learning as we go.
As I was winding down years of volunteering at the Sarah-Fisher-St. Vincent Home for children, we were asked to foster teen girls through Catholic Social Services. We hesitated. We didn’t know if time-wise we could give to these children the time they would need - we were heavily involved volunteer wise, there was travel for work and raising our children,
We didn’t know if emotionally we were prepared, financially - oh my goodness. We had no idea when we began.
Could we do it? Are we competent to do this? It was a complete leap of faith for the next 10 years of fostering.
We each came from stable families. We had no personal experience with Dads that hurt their own children. With Moms that abandon their children for a boyfriend. Each of our parents were good, Catholic role models – not perfect, but good parents. Again – for Roger & I, we learned as we went.
Often with calluses on our knees asking God for direction.
Having a child come into your home as a teen-ager brought its own challenges. No different than most teen-agers, they were VERY willing to point out all of our shortcomings.
Through many slammed bedroom doors, to car accidents to broken curfews, each child would test us – some many times over - to be sure that we were credible about this being their home. This fearful and very angry young person would only then begin to let her guard down.
She would begin to allow us to love her, and for her to trust enough that she began to love us back. Each time we were privileged to witness this transformation in these scarred and scared girls, we saw God’s miracle of forgiveness and mercy played out before our eyes.
Over the years we were Confirmation sponsors for several of our girls and then were asked to be godparents for several of their children. A blessing to be sure.
Roger & I are cradle Catholics with 12 years of Catholic education each. This may have prepared us to recognize Christ in each of these wounded young people, but it was Christ’s mercy that healed them.
Through caring for sick parents then one-by-one burying each of them, to problems with children – biological and foster – Roger and I are still holding on tight. There have been many storms. Some still continue. But we are making it – by the grace of God, we are making it.
We have a couple that we are especially close to, we double dated as kids, stood up in each other’s weddings, were pregnant at the same time with our second children. We each had a son.
THEN at 3-1/2 years old, their Brian was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Nineteen long and torturous months later, we lost him. Let me just briefly say that I had a very difficult time talking to God for a while after Brian’s death.
This baby who went through so much pain – and we lost him anyway.
I readily admit that I don’t know or understand God’s overall plan. I do know that I struggled as I saw my friend fall apart for so long.
Her recovery came slowly. But it did come. I’m glad to tell you that now she prays to her “angel Brian”. She feels absolutely confident that several times when she was in a dangerous situation or struggling with one of their surviving children that it was Brian who interceded for her. And she has found peace about his death. For that I am so very grateful.
I humbly went back to the Lord to ask for forgiveness - for the lack of faith on my part, for not accepting that things happen in His timetable, not mine. Whether I understand it or not.
With Brian’s death, we once again experienced this valuable lesson – that we can come through a storm, even a severe storm and still survive. Not at all easy. But having faith-filled, long-term friends and family to support us are some of the ways that we have made it.
Nourishing our faith life is central to staying close to God. We are in the third series of Christ Life. We recently attended the Parish Mission with Fr. Peter. I just finished the Marian retreat. We find that our faith - even after all of these years
is still deepening.
Over the years, Roger & I have found that we pray together more than individually.
Faith / worship has been a large part of our lives – continually throughout our marriage prayers before meals, attendance at weekly Mass, prayers before bedtime were part of our family routine. Yet some of our children are very lax today about worshipping. We continue to pray over this.
That’s it for me. And now Roger would like to share with you ---
We were young when we married. We were good friends before, and we are even better friends today.
As anyone who is married knows, it is very rewarding but it also can be hard work. Through “discussions” that sometimes are loud or hurtful; we still turn to each other first, to share good news or bad news.
To me, life in general seems to be a series of ups and downs. Carol mentioned our foster children and the rewards that we experienced with these girls.
I’d like to tell you a different story.
Something happened about seven years ago that quite frankly I could not reconcile, other than it was God’s intercession.
For those of you who know my wife, you know that she is passionate about the care of animals. She has volunteered at several horse sanctuaries over the past 20 years. Seven years ago, the sanctuary she was at closed abruptly. They had 10 days to remove all the animals that were being cared for at that facility. Any animals left would be euthanized.
There were over a hundred animals. While most were horses, there were also goats, lamas, chickens, ducks and a few dogs.
This was not just a difficult task, it seemed to me to be an impossible one. And there was only Carol and one other volunteer to get it done. And that’s when I felt God stepped in. There was no logical explanation as to how two people could find “forever” homes for all those animals in the period of time that they had. Yet they did. And I firmly believed God smiled down on them.
As they were packing up to leave, there was one animal left. A Beagle/Bassett hound named, Jake. So of course Carol brought him home. We had two dogs at the time and had full intentions of adopting Jake through GPAAS. Well – one wellness exam after another revealed that Jake was not 6 – 7 yrs old, but 12+ years old. He had an enlarged heart, a fused spine, he was deaf and incontinent. Our vet, Chris Platz, smiled and told me “You have yourself another dog.” And we did. I changed as many diapers on that dog, I think, as I did on our children.
But Jake had a way of looking at you that said “Thank you”.
I have to admit that every time I would pat his head I would think - yes, we are entrusted to be good stewards over all of God’s creatures. Jake had a rough life, obviously. He may have had a rough beginning but we were determined to see that he would have a good ending. We had Jake for almost two years.
I know that it is important to both of us to keep God first in our lives. We have, also, been blessed to have many cousins and long-term friends who feel the same way.
So, as we travel down this faith journey – often times in baby steps, with detours, twists and turns, we promise to pray for you and ask you to do the same for us.
And that’s a sliver of our story. Thank you for allowing us to share.