Whom shall I serve?

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Being on call does weird things to my brain, even when I am not busy. Being on a labor and delivery floor is a lot like being in the Emergency department - spells of boredom puncutated by moments of sheer panic. Even when I am just hanging around and don't have a patient of my own to watch, I am sure my adrenalin level is on the high side.
The up side is that I can get some really creative thoughts going in the hours when I should be asleep but am not. Wednesday night, I was in the excuse for a bed that the hospital furnishes to those of us who take call in-house, in the room that is not-so-jokingly called a 'pit'. No windows, of course. JCAHO requires patient rooms to have windows (with some exceptions) so we are in an area without them. My habit while on call is to sleep with EWTN on the TV in the room (mostly so that I can tune out the phones ringing in the rooms around me - I can still hear my own). So when I wake up to turn over, to answer the phone, to answer a page, I have that comforting drone in the background.
Sometime that night, I woke up midway through some program or another that I eventually realized was about St. Thomas More. It must have been near the end, because there was a bit about how his family tried to persuade him to sign the papers and live, but he refused. His famous words, "I am the King's good servant, but God's first" were ringing in my brain for the rest of the morning. (I'm not the only one with More on the mind)
When I was a kid, I was even more of a bibliophile than I am now. I would read anything, including ( to quote Heinlein in Have Space Suit, Will Travel), a newspaper that had been used to wrap fish. I used to get up at 2 in the morning and go into the bathroom to read. My mom didn't ground me, she took away my library card.
I had this habit in elementary school of going on reading jags. I would find something I liked, and I would then read my way through that section of the local public library. In the 3rd or 4th grade, I discovered the section of Image Books Lives of the Saints. (I think that TAN is currently republishing them). Now you have to remember that I was not Catholic, I was baptised Anglican and was in an Episcopal day school at that time. Anyhow, I loved the first one I read (I think it was St. Dominic and around that time the Singing Nun had a hit with the song Dominique) and therefore read my way through the entire section, more than once.
It was in the story of Dominic that I first encountered the word 'heretic'. It also enlarged the fascination I had begun with the rosary. I didn't quite get what a heretic was, but I sort of realized that they were people who had been misled somehow and who were in danger of Hell if they didn't get back on track. Made sense to me in my child's mind.
Eventually, I reached the story of St. Thomas More. I was fascinated. I had a hard time understanding what the issues were, being at that time an essentially apolitical child. Somewhere along the line, I came to the realization that the church in which I had been raised, that I had been told had an unbroken line reaching back to the apostles, was nothing like that. My beloved grandmother was and is a firm believer in the Branch theory propounded by the members of the Oxford movement and by C.S. Lewis, and I so wanted to believe her. But eventually I found that I had to seek the truth.
I have been Catholic for nearly 32 years now. I don't have the cultural background of a cradle Catholic, despite 30+ years of marriage to one. I probably missed out on some things both good and bad from spending the first 12 years of my life Anglican, the next 4 searching for truth, and from my 18th birthday on as an often rebellious and dissenting member of the one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. But where else could I go? As Peter said after Jesus gave His hardest teaching, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have words of eternal life." This is why I am Catholic. Big and little signposts along the way pointed me in this direction. I reached a point where nothing else made sense. I am a long way from sainthood. If I make it to purgatory, I will (in the words of Mother Angelica) shout "Hallelujah! I made it". I'm aiming for heaven, but I stumble and fall daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes minute by minute. But what else can I do?
A friend of mine has a scripture on her front door that I am frequently reminded of. "As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord." That is what it is all about.


Very nice.

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on August 27, 2004 10:23 PM.

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