Growing up, I didn’t have much in the way of friends. Mostly what I had in life were the arts – music, books and television. I listened to a lot of music to uplift my spirits, and read numerous stories that allowed me to escape my life. I also had my own personal tv that I could watch whatever I wanted. I loved to daydream about those places I read about or heard in song, or fantasize about being in those stories I watched on the telly. You could say that all of these were influential partners with respect to shaping me into the person that I am today.
Sitting at home, I remember thinking how lonely I was all the time. I stared out my bedroom window wondering if I would ever go anywhere beyond my little world. At night I would pray to God asking Him to grant my wishes, but the next morning nothing had changed, and I was left as sad and lonely as ever. I returned to the books, music, television and my solitude wondering if this was the way that I was destined to live.
From the first to the eight grade, I went to mass six days a week. I continued to pray to God, but nothing ever changed. For eight years I had the teachings of the Catholic Church drilled into me, but I never felt peace. Going to church was a tradition, and it continued throughout my education with Catholic High School and College. I made little progress towards the person whom I really wanted to be. I prayed…oh how I prayed, but those words were mostly unanswered. Worse yet, I started to question the teachings of my childhood. As a youngster, I wasn’t old enough to really understand the scriptures or to develop opinions, but the older I got, the more I understood, and the more I questioned.
After college, I vowed that the only way things were going to change was if I made it happened. Friends came and went, and as I continued to question the teachings of the Church, I slowly pull away from what should have been my biggest Influential Partner. I continued to go to Church for awhile, but my heart was not in it. I wasn’t happy, and I still felt that I wasn’t being allowed to live the life that I was meant to live. Ultimately, I made the tough decision to move away from family and friends, and start a new life with my husband. I walked away from a lot, including that “tradition” that was drilled into me. I returned to the things that were my influential partners as a child, added one or two others, and drifted through a decade of wondering if this was all that my life would ever be.
I am not sure when my life changed, but I think it was when I realized that I did not need to go to Church to have God as my Influential Partner. I knew in my heart that He wanted me to develop a different type of relationship with Him. He showed me how by bringing numerous people into my life at the exact moment I needed them; each representing a part of Him to help me along the way. They were there when I needed, and when it was no longer necessary, they left my life as quickly as they showed up. Somehow, He always knew that I did not want to be completely alone, so He kept a few of those people around, and now they are still a part of my life…forever.
And you know what, somewhere along the line, I finally found the peace that was missing from my life. God had listened to my prayers from long ago. He quietly and gently pointed me down the right path without me even realizing He was doing so. While I may have walked away from the Church, I developed the relationship that I needed to have with my Influential Partner, not the way that I was told I needed to have. He hears me when I don’t even say the words out loud, and I always know He is at my side.
So why am I sharing my story with you?
Because God does listen to your prayers, even when you think He doesn’t. Sometimes His answers are more quiet and subtle. We just need to listen with our hearts and not with our minds. If you don’t think about it, He will point you in the direction you need to go. He wants to be your Influential Partner whether you go to Church or not. Include Him in your life. Talk to Him whether you need Him or not. Sometimes, I think He just wants to hear that you are okay, even though He probably already knows.