A storm is any disturbed state of an environment or astronomical body’s atmosphere especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather. It may be marked by significant disruptions to normal conditions such as strong wind, hail, thunder and lightning (a thunderstorm), heavy precipitation (snowstorm, rainstorm), heavy freezing rain (ice storm), strong winds (tropical cyclone, windstorm), or wind transporting some substance through the atmosphere as in a dust storm, blizzard, sandstorm, etc. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm]
Living in the desert all my life, I have been spared the hardships of blizzards, avalanches, hurricanes and tornadoes. In the Phoenix metropolitan area, we are lucky if we experience our average annual rainfall of ten inches.
With so few “weather events” to look forward to in the Arizona desert, we learn to recognize the signs of any approaching storm. The calm. The red sky. The eerie quiet. Put them together on any one day, and they are a dead giveaway. Tie down the house. A desert storm is on its way.
If only it were that easy when it comes to the storms of life.
In the past year, I had weathered the disappointments of RCIA. I had surveyed the landscape, counted the months and laid out the options. Like a traveler mapping out a ten month trip through Europe, I had marked the key points up ahead on my journey into the Catholic Church, calculated the time to finish, and set about gathering provisions.
But none of my plans took into account getting caught in a desert storm.
Easter had come and gone, new Catholics welcomed into the church. On the outside, I remained a protestant. Our garden was blooming. At home, my husband and I enjoyed eating outside on the patio and listening to the fountain. Looking ahead, we planned trips to visit our children on both the western and eastern seaboards of the country.
Spring, with its beautiful weather and flowers, is a generous season. Without any forewarning, one spring day, Vic and I ended up talking about churches, the Lutheran that we attended together and the Catholic that I sought. And what had seemed years away beyond the horizon suddenly lay at my feet. With equanimity and generosity, Vic said it was time. I should enter the Catholic Church. He was at peace.
I should enter the church? It was now April, after Easter. RCIA would begin again in September – six months away. Six months until the enrollment date for RCIA added to the six months to attend RCIA…this meant that I could enter the Catholic Church twelve months from now.
Twelve months. It wasn’t a lifetime. But it sure seemed like it. I figured I could hunker down and make it…except for one thing. Baptism. One year to wait for baptism?
As if God could read my mind, before the end of the week, He sent Melissa into my life. Leaving work one night, she noted my crucifix. She was a Catholic and assumed I was, too. Unable to restrain the torrent of words bubbling up from my heart, I led her through my story right up to the point of perplexity. One year. Did I really have to wait an entire year to be baptized, to become Catholic?
Melissa laughed. “Oh, no. I know a priest who worked with me on the college campus years ago. Students who came to the Newman Center wanted to become Catholic, and they didn’t have to wait. He will help you. Call Father Ron.”
In the anticipation of being baptized…of being Catholic…the signs of the coming storm never caught my eye.
*All names have been changed.
NEXT: FATHER RON – RCIA v.2
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