By a series of unlikely events, 15 or 16 years ago, we found out about a Catholic home school Conference in Seattle Washington that we decided to attend. it’s about a five hour trip from where we live, so it was a fairly big commitment, but by this time we were desperate for some direction in our Catholic Faith. So off we went. We were no there to make friends. We met many wonderful people there, living fervent and fun Catholic lives. We met a couple there who lived relatively close to us, probably an hour and a half away. But with a few little kids, it might as well have been two days by horse and cart away to consider the a reasonable addition to our social life.
Hestia and Hermes belonged to a small group of Catholic homeschoolers in a little parish of faithful Catholics. A couple of weeks after we met at said conference, Hermes called us up and invited us to their little community. We declined. But Hermes had vision. He called, repeatedly and faithfully every 3 or 4 weeks. So we declined repeatedly. We had friends. Lord knows, we didn’t need more friends a goodly distance away. Life was getting busy enough.
After the fourth or fifth attempt to seduce us down to meet their little Catholic groups, I was getting a little embarrassed saying no to this persistent but relatively irritating individual. So, I held my hand over the phone and said to Sparky, This is getting really embarrassing! We can’t say no again!!
Okay, fine, lets just go and get it over with.”
We’d love to come, thank you. The following weekend we were off, grudgingly, to meet these persistent people for a walk, a picnic, and then to pray the rosary at their little church. Within 20 minutes of our meeting, Hestia and I were forming up the beginnings of a deep bond. She was nursing two children, a toddler and a three year old. So was I. We recognized instantly our bond of mammalhood. To note, if you ever meet someone who is nursing two children of different ages at the same time that you are nursing two children of different ages you are likely be friends for life. We each had three children at the time. In the fifteen years plus since that time, we have taken turns having babies. We are now neck and neck, with fourteen children between us. Their ages, 24, 21, 19, 19, 17, 16, 13, 13, 11, 8, 8, 6, 4 and 2. To this day, this family has remained as our dearest friends.
Back to the story. After the rosary, as we were thick into talking, Sparky was thick into it with the other dads, Hestia said to me, “would you guys like to stay overnight, so we can keep talking, and come to Mass with us tomorrow morning?” I responded that I would love to (and I really would have, past all hands off politeness, I was sold) but that Sparky would never do something like that. She suggested that I ask anyway. So I did. When I tentatively told him that we had been invited to spend the night, he merely said,
“We’ll have to stop and buy toothbrushes.”
We stayed up until 3 or 4 a.m. and Herm made us cheese melts before we went to bed. This was living and breathing the Catholic Faith.
A friendship was born, and we were regular comers to this new community and spent the weekend whenever we did.
Sparky’s business was conveniently located nearby where we lived. But after a few years of commuting for Catholic community, and after a couple more children had been born to us we realized that living in this community, rather than being peripherally involved in it made sense. Sparky made the sacrifice which he bears to this day, to commute to his workplace so that we may live in Catholic Culture.
Next I will address why it Mattered.