Thursday, 29 April 2010

Rejected.



Father Ignatius came out of the Sacristy after Mass and found Sharon still in church with her little three years old daughter Petra. They were standing by the Statue of Our Lady trying to light a candle.

“Are you still here Sharon?” he asked, “how are you these days?”

He must have touched a raw nerve because tears started building up in Sharon’s eyes as she said, “We’re well Father … doing as best we can …”

Father Ignatius sat on the first pew and little Petra left her mother and came running to him, handing him her toy bear.

“That’s a lovely bear” said the priest taking it from her hands, “what is his name?”

“John …” said Petra enthusiastically as she climbed on the pew and sat next to the priest. “John, you and me can now pray together …” she added, as her mother a few feet away knelt down by the statue for private prayers.

Sharon was a single mother. Her husband left her for another woman just after Petra’s birth and has not been seen since. Eventually, having no news whatsoever of her run-away husband, she divorced him in the civil court and brought up her little child as best as she could on Social Security Benefits.

After a few moments of silent prayers she joined the priest and picked up her daughter on her lap.

“I’ve been trying to get a part-time job …” she said, “nothing much, just a few hours a week to supplement my benefits and to become a little independent …”

“That’s good …” replied Father Ignatius gently.

“There’s just no work available …” she said, “I can’t go full-time because I have no one to look after Petra … and part-time work is either not available or is too far from home requiring two bus rides to get there …”

Father Ignatius said nothing as he prayed silently and handed the toy back to the child.

“I feel such a failure …” continued Sharon, “my life seems to be in a rut and stuck in failure … I’ve been rejected by my husband … rejected by my family who live too far away to care … and rejected by every employer in town and society in general …”

At this moment, almost by coincidence, the little girl on her lap said, “I love you Mama …”

“Well … you’ve certainly not been rejected by Petra …” said Father Ignatius quietly as Sharon kissed the child on the head.

“And I know you haven’t been rejected by Jesus either …” he continued.

Sharon smiled weakly.

“Rejection is very hard …” said the priest, “and we do sometimes feel as if we’re of no value or worth to others. But that is not always the case Sharon.

“We’re all valuable in the eyes of God, and we all have a contribution to make … you are very valuable to your little daughter who relies on you for everything.

“It’s good that you’re trying to find a job; and I feel deeply for you at what you see as rejection from employers.

“Rejection does not mean failure.

“Sometimes rejection provides you with clarity on where to go next. You say you’ve tried the local factories, and the electric company and the gas works for some clerical work …

“Perhaps your future does not lie there … I can’t say where just now … but maybe God is leading you somewhere else.

“For now it could be that you’re exactly in the right place where you’re supposed to be … and God wants you to spend your time looking after Petra.

“Sometimes He answers us by saying ‘Wait … not now … stay where you are and trust Me’; … do you see what I mean?”

“I understand …” Sharon replied smiling weakly again.

“I shall pray for you Sharon …” continued Father Ignatius.

“And now … would you mind doing me a favor please?”

“Yes Father …” she said.

“I’m having some trouble with the new speakers and microphone they installed in church recently. I wish to test the acoustics in here.

“Would you mind going to the lectern and read something from the Bible over there. Take Petra with you.”

Sharon walked to the lectern child in hand.

“Just read anything … I’ll stand over here” said the priest.

Sharon opened the Bible and read the first passage at the top of the page.

“That’s good …” said the priest, “wait a bit until I walk over there a little further back … now read again …”

She followed his instructions.

“The speakers here sound OK … I’ll go right back by the statue of St Peter … when I get there could you read again please.”

Sharon waited until Father Ignatius walked slowly to the end of the church by the exit door and then started reading the Bible.

He raised his hand in the air to stop her then walked slowly to the front once again.

“As clear as a bell …” he said, “I can hear your every word very clearly despite my old age … and if I can hear you, I’m sure everyone else can.”

She smiled.

“Sharon … we do need readers for Mass on Sunday. It’s really not fair to rely on just the same readers every week. You should really consider adding your name to the readers’ rota to help us out a bit.”

“But … I can’t read …” she exclaimed as she picked up her daughter tugging at her dress.

“You seem to have done OK just now … just think about it,” replied Father Ignatius, “you don’t have to decide right now …”

Sharon did think about it; and eventually she did join the readers list and did read on Sundays at Mass.

A few months later she also managed to get a junior clerical job working part-time at the local Catholic school leaving her child at the pre-school playgroup while she worked.

11 comments:

  1. Oh how touching. A grand story of acceptance!!! Thank you! Cathy

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  2. This one made me think of something a spiritual director once told me: "It's not that God says no; sometimes He says I have something better in mind."
    Thanks for another beautiful post. Love the picture!

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  3. I think father Ignatius was saying, that being a mother is a job, all by itself.Loved this story, it gives value to those of us, who perhaps will only ever have the smaller jobs, in society.

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  4. Hello Cathy, Karinann and Shadowlands,

    It's so nice to see you visiting here again. Thanx. It is much appreciated.

    We all have a job to do in life and society. However big or small it is we should do it gladly for Him.

    May God bless you Cathy, Karinann and Shadowlands.

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  5. It was so wonderful for her to read the Word of God..and later reading to all as a part of the Mass helped her self esteem.....I couldn't wait to hear what happened next. Great she got the right job and became a part of the school..I loved this sweet story.

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  6. Wonderful. If I could always remember how Jesus accepts me, it would take the sting out of every perceived rejection.

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  7. Hi Crystal Mary and Sarah.

    Thank you for calling in. Yes ... the Lord always accepts us even though we might feel rejected by the world.

    Thank you Crystal Mary for the beautiful write-up of my book "Visions" on your Blog. I recommend my readers' visit you often.

    Sarah has also written about my book and put a permanent link on her side bar. Her Blog contains many lovely stories. Worth a visit too.

    Thank you both. God bless you Crystal Mary and Sarah.

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  8. Here, in Father Ignatius' parish you have painted a portrait of what is going on at a larger scale around the world...broken families, frustration, rejection and the like. I enjoyed how Father Ig drew Sharon's attention off of herself and on to God while at the same time showing her great things about herself and her life. Just like God does with us.

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  9. Hi Mary,

    Thanx for writing in.

    Yes ... you are right. There are many broken families around the world and many people who for one reason or another feel rejected by society. This in turn can affect their self-confidence and self-esteem. Thankfully, God never rejects us and He is only a prayer away.

    God bless you Mary.

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  10. Great story. Thanks! God bless!

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  11. It's lovely to see you visiting again Colleen. Thanx.

    God bless.

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