I stopped going to Church around high school. It had stopped speaking to me.
I was called back over the past five years. I think it was a desire to let go of the hate and anger that was inside me, and damaging me and my family. On the tenth anniversary of 9/11 I tried to attend mass, walked half-way to the Church down the Street and turned back in tears. It would be impossible to explain all of the emotions that first lured me to Church and then stopped me half-way and reduced me to tears. Impossible to explain since I don't even know myself all that was bubbling within me.
I have been a regular attendee at the 7:30 AM Mass since February of 2012. That was when my wife and I realized we would have to send our son away from home to receive specialized care that would hopefully allow him to control his emotions and give us some confidence he would not be a danger to himself. He was shattered, broken. I was also. I have failed many times in my life but never felt like a failure, until then. Not just a failure, but a failure at the most fundamental, basic, important task any parent has which is to keep their children safe.
I have prayed for a miracle at every Mass, Today's First reading was Acts 5:12-16.
12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.That's how I feel sometimes, bringing my son out on a mat so that at least a shadow might fall on him, and heal his torment. Mine also.
But the miracle is not why I went back. My life was in chaos and I needed order. I needed comfort and meaning. To some extent I have found that.
Our son has had many ups and downs. For a short period it seemed like the miracle we prayed for had been granted. Then it was taken away. Back up. Back down. In our most recent conversation he started by saying he wanted to let go of the hate, because he realized all it was doing was hurting himself. We've had too many ups and downs to celebrate all is better. We are celebrating he is better today.