Chapter 15: The Longest Wait(July 2000-July 2001)
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The Longest Wait
(Fall 2000-Spring 2001)
I am a very patient man. At least that’s what I say. I can hold small parts and glue them together for 2 hours on my various model train projects and teach some of the toughest generations of kids since the Children of the Corn to the point of loosing my voice. All that aside, this wait...the one to the wedding...was extremely long... at least for me. At the time I first wrote this, I had about four months to go until July 2001. July 2000, one the other hand, saw me turn 24 and engaged to a very beautiful woman. We then began the long wait that everyone told me was going to pass quickly. I have a problem being “in-between” two stages. Before I was promoted in the Civil Air Patrol and had the title of “Senior Member,” I felt uncomfortable. I was neither a cadet, a “non-com” or an officer. I had to explain to everyone what my title was. I am reminded of Benny Goodman’s song, It’s Gotta be This or That when I think of such positions. I couldn’t call Norma my wife nor could she call me her husband.
The wedding is my biggest single project and source of enjoyment. I have always wanted to be a husband and father, the marriage is the ultimate expression of my life’s long dream. To have a wife is a source of great happiness and security; the day of the wedding is the pinnacle of any man’s existence. Men who say that they are independent are fools or lonely. Loneliness is the pit of human emotion, stronger even then the feeling of love that breaks it. That is the paradox.
People, men and women, need each other, despite what feminists or macho male chauvinists have to say. Any position that takes a side of the spectrum, such as the above two, and does not acknowledge the colors between is an anti-humanistic cancer that threatens us all. I sat at lunch with a group of female teachers on day in the teacher’s lounge and I discussed it with them. “Would it be a better world if people didn’t take sides? ...a world where people didn’t care if you were a man or a woman, or what color you were or where you were from? ...a place where no one hated you because you were a man or if your sister broke your brother’s heart?” They all agreed that such a world would be a great place, but it was an ideal that could never become reality.
The simple fact is that sexism is as dumb and stupid as racism. A man hates a woman, or vice versa, forgetting that they are both people. People that would die in the pit of loneliness with out another.
Love is the most precious emotion, delicate and pure. I love Norma, plain and simple. I know this because I need her. Norma is like waking up in the morning and realizing that you are alive. Loving Norma means that I have no other important goal but to make her happy. I love Norma because, on the occasions when we become cross with each other, I don’t sleep for days. When she is quiet, something must be wrong with the world. When her voice is gone, I am nothing.
Norma and I wanted to marry within the Holy Catholic Church. We spoke to Father Richard of St. Joseph’s Church in Kingsville. We needed to meet with him and discuss this matter. I was very impressed by Father Richard and he told us that we would have to participate in an Engaged Encounter Weekend. I had never been to a Church retreat before and was very wary of what would happen there.
In addition, Norma would need to complete the sacrament of Confirmation. For those reading who do not know what Confirmation is, I will explain. In the Catholic Church there are seven sacraments, a sacrament is a holy ritual that allows believers to attain Grace by emulating events in the life of Jesus Christ. The sacraments of the Catholic Church are Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and the Sacrament of the Sick. I will explain them for the benefit of non-Catholics.
Norma completed her Sacrament of Confirmation. Next up...Marriage!!!
One of the most important religious doctrines in the Christian religion is Baptism. Catholics, like most Christians, undergo Baptism when they are very young. This is to cleanse the soul as Jesus was cleansed by John the Baptist. It also removes the “original sin,” committed by Adam and Eve in Eden. Eucharist is the Lord’s Supper. In the sacrament of the Eucharist bread and wine are turned into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. This is consistent with Luke 22 where Jesus Christ transforms bread and wine at the Last Supper. Reconciliation is the sacrament of confession. Sins are forgiven by confession in a Priest, the disciples of God. Confirmation is the sacrament where you confirm your baptism and accept God and his wisdom into your life. Marriage is a sacrament in which two people are joined in the body of God’s church and with each other. Marriage is a Holy bond that must not be broken by the carnal desires of human weakness. Holy Orders are the way you service for God. Priests, deacons, the Pope and husbands and wife are examples of Holy Orders. Sacraments of the Sick are also known as last rites.
Remember, practicing Catholics believe that Jesus Christ gave them these sacraments as a tool to obtain God’s Grace. I have come to believe, as the Bible and my Catholic teachings confirm, that the sacraments are such tools to obtain Grace. One must, however, be sincere and accept Jesus Christ. It isn’t enough to “go through the motions” and expect heaven. The Sacraments alone will not get you to heaven. Their works alone cannot get you a “free ticket.” It is the Love of God and of your neighbors that will help you find Grace. I feel that I can obtain Grace through the sacraments, anyone who starts this should have conviction. One should not proceed with doubts or because there are forced. Your relationship with God is a personal one that you make. If you want to be Catholic, go for it with all your heart. If you want to be Protestant, that is your path to Grace. I am fond of saying, “A person can get to Houston by many ways. I could drive in on one of hundreds of roads, I could ride in on any of a dozen railroads, I could sail in by boat, I could fly in or I could walk in. That’s how heaven is, except Heaven is much bigger than Houston.”