I was happily married once with a wonderful and loving husband – fishing trips, frequent camping, overseas holidays, eating in restaurants – the envy of many.
My husband was not a Catholic but that was no problem. On Sundays he would drive me to the local church and say, ‘Take as much time as you want’ and he would sit in the car and read a book. Sometimes, he would tell me, ‘If you are really, really good, this coming Sunday I will take you to Head Office,’ meaning the cathedral.
On weekdays, he would pick me up after work and ask, ‘Diane, where are we going this weekend?’ My reply would be, ‘We can’t go anywhere. We haven’t mowed the lawn for two weeks, and there is lot of washing to do’. Next day, he would ask again, ‘Did you decide where we are going?’ ‘What about the lawn moving?’ ‘Done.’ ‘What about the washing?’ ‘Done.’ What more can you ask?
One day he picked me up after work. He was unusually quiet. I asked him what was wrong. He said, ‘Nothing.’ I said, ‘The weather is going to be very good, we can go to Wilson’s Prom this weekend.’ He replied, ‘I’m leaving.”’I said, ‘Leaving what? Not leaving your job?’ He said, ‘I’m leaving home’. I couldn’t believe my ears. It was like I was being pushed down from the top floor of heaven to the ground. I asked him, ‘When are you leaving?’ He said, ‘This weekend’. There wasn’t much conversation after that. We reached home; I did not have dinner; I locked myself in the bathroom and cried a lot. Morning came; evening came; weekend came. My husband grabbed a few of his things and left.
All of a sudden life became very hard for me. I was badly hurt. He continued to ring every day as he had always done, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of talking to me or I showered insults on him.
I would sit in the Church and pray every day for his return. Months passed and he did not come back. My prayers seemed to remain unanswered. Friends advised me to get a boyfriend. I went out with a few only to discover that none of them was as good as my husband, so I gave up the idea and then heard that my husband had married again.
All this time, I never received Communion nor went to confession – I was letting my anger grow so much I could not forgive him. I knew I needed God and continued going to Church and praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Though God did not answer my prayer, I knew he did not abandon me.
One day when I was praying in the church in misery, I thought the Lord asked me, ‘Diane, how long are you going to be angry?’ I was very disturbed. On my way home I thought about this – about my anger, my unwillingness to forgive.
When I reached home, I took my Bible. I opened it at random and read, ‘But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you … If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.’ (Luke 6:27–28; 32–36)
I knelt down and prayed for my husband who left me, ‘Lord, take care of Henry. Look after him. Give him all happiness.”’This was the turning point. Without delay, I went to confession, I received Holy Communion. It was like First Communion again. The Lord started healing me. He not only healed me, he brought my husband back to me, that is, we are not lovers, but really good friends.
My eyes were opened. My prayers were not answered because I had wanted God to do everything without me doing my bit. I stayed away from the Eucharist, missing the nourishment. I had not forgiven and had not made any attempt to change, but I had prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament and Jesus had not allowed me to turn away from Him. This tragic experience brought me closer to Jesus.