In this life there are many things to prepare for, but the most important is for our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. I will take you with me, should you want to come along, on my personal journey to the door which will lead to eternity, through which every soul must pass. Where the angel of death waits to ask the all important question, "Are you prepared for the Kingdom?"

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Location: Anacortes, Washington, United States

Two years ago I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was one of the fortunate ones who survived surgery along with chemo/radiation treatments. Recently, it was discovered that the cancer had returned and although I am again on chemotherapy, in all probability I have perhaps one more year to live. During these last months I would like to share what I have learned about the most important thing we'll ever do in this life and that is, prepare for the kingdom of God.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Memories Worth Saving

I am currently on retreat at Mt. Tabor Monastery and haven’t had a chance to post a blog in a couple of weeks, maybe longer. So I thought I should probably get started on my blog posts again while I’m still here.

I recently finished the Icon of the Crucifixion. It was a challenge to write this one because of the detail involved with each of the figures. I hope to have it up on my icon site soon.

I’ve been here at Mt. Tabor for about a week and a half and during this time I’ve been having a lot of memories of various events in my life that I haven’t thought of in years. Sometimes the Lord brings these memories to my mind when I least expect them, like in the middle of the night after a dream about something that happened years ago.

So I started wondering today after reading from Fr. Abbot’s book, Joy Comes With Dawn, about “System Restore” where he asks if we would like to set back our souls to the time before our last (or first) grievous sin. That really got me thinking about when I first started moving away from the Lord.

It was probably when I was about thirteen and in the midst of peer pressure. Although, I don’t think I committed any grievous sin until later on in my high school years. But I never was able to really get away with anything. My parents would always somehow find out what I’d been up to and would make sure I couldn’t get into more serious trouble by keeping home when all my friends would be out having a good time.

As I look back on my life, I can see how small sins led to big sins and over the years as I kept turning away from God I sank deeper and deeper into darkness. After graduation from high school, I left the church completely for about ten years. Then one night in the summer of 1979 I had the following experience.

I was married at the time, and my husband and I had just purchased a brand new sailboat, which we were living aboard. We took the boat out for a short sail just outside the harbor in Dana Pt., California. The sunset was beautiful and all was good. Life was great, so I thought. Then as we turned to come back the wind picked up and so did the waves. There was a huge barge anchored not too far from where we were so we decided to get the engine started and motor in. But, we didn’t realize how strong the current was and before we could start the engine, we had come too close to the barge. We got caught under one of the steel anchor cables and suddenly our beautiful boat was being scraped apart.

We managed to get out from under the cable, but now the cable was under the boat, between the rudder and the keel scraping away at the bottom of the boat. It was only a matter of time before it would create a hole and we would sink.

I went down into the cabin to use the radio to call for help, but it would not work. This was a brand new radio, why didn’t it work! Now I was scared. Suddenly, my life passed before me and I somehow sensed an evil presence closing in. They were coming to take my soul. I remember standing there in terror and saying, O God, I know that I’ve wasted my life, but if you’ll give me another chance I promise I’ll change and come back to You.

The thought came to me to try the radio again and when I did, it lit up immediately and within a few minutes the coast guard was coming to rescue us.

The next day I went to the Catholic Church in Dana Pt., to thank God for not only saving my life, but also for saving my soul. It took several months, but my life did change and all was well for several years until again I took the wrong path. Another story, another time.

So if I could change events in my life, there are many that I would delete, but also many that I would save. This story is certainly one I would save. God’s mercy cannot be outdone. Not only did He save me then, but He saved me again twenty-some years later. He will do whatever is necessary to bring us back to Him and when we, like the Prodigal Son say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son,” He will quickly shower us with his mercy and love and set a feast before us because we were lost, but now we are found; dead, but now alive.

I don’t recommend that we put God to the test and make devastating choices like I did and leave Him again once He has rescued us. Although He saved me again, it was not as quickly the second time. I remained in what I would describe as a spiritual hell for many years before I came to my senses and asked for forgiveness. It was much harder to return to Him a second time knowing how I had offended Him.

So no matter how long it’s been or what you’ve done, with a repentant and contrite heart you can come before Him and He will take you back. For just as the father in the story of the Prodigal, he waits and watches for our return.

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for his love endures forever! Psalm 117


Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's good to remember his lavish generosity and mercy.

Say to Abbot Joseph for me. I've never met him, but he prays for me.

I found your blog on his blog.



11:20 AM  
Blogger forget me not said...

Our pastor calls the parable of the Prodigal Son, the parable of the Merciful Father, who goes running out towards his son who made the decision to go back to him. It's a different perspective isn't it?

10:37 AM  
Blogger Lily said...

I am the Prodigal Son's, sister.. in a way. It seemed I always took a back seat to my cousin with her father (well, duh!) but she and I were often raised together -- my mom and I often lived in with them. I remember the summer night when "Queen Karen" got the only electric fan in the house, and I, in a ferociously sweltering upstairs bedroom got a ferociously sweltering open window, lol. My cousin was always overweight, and I was (then) a skinny-belink due to chronic asthma. Still, I was somewhat ticked off, on the verge of tears, feeling sorry for myself, because my cousin was a real acter-upper whereas I was actually quite the calm, quiet, silent, invisible shrinking violet, and a good kid by necessity as well as by hard work. I wondered if no one ever appreciated it, just took it for granted. Well, no, they didn't. I see that now.

My uncle came in to show me how to fan myself with the bedsheet, and tried his best to jolly me. I smiled. My mom said not to begrudge my cousin these little things if I could possibly not do so, because she suffered so much from not having a mother. Well, it made sense.

Not cooler sense, but family sense.

10:47 PM  

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