July 24, 2015

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Helping God the artist show others how much he loves them

Debra Tomaselli “You should write a book,” she said. “Have you ever thought about that?”

I smiled quietly and nodded. “Yes,” I said. “I’ve heard that before.”

“No, really,” she added. “You need to write a book. Don’t wait. Write it now.”

Goose bumps covered me. Was she right?

My love affair with writing started early. I was elated when my fifth-grade teacher held a conference with my mom. “She’s a gifted writer,” Mrs. Koch said. “Don’t let this talent be wasted.”

English essays were simple. Writing was fun. I kept diaries and journals, scribbling daily notes. They communicated the ebb and flow of life.

As a young adult, I was offered an insurance job. Since I really wanted to become a writer, I raced to the library and studied several authors’ biographies. Discovering many began publishing later in life, I accepted the position, realizing that if I didn’t write now, it didn’t mean I never would.

Looking back, a bigger picture was forming. Little did I know, but God was the artist.

Life got busy with marriage, and the birth of our three daughters. Then, in a few short years, I lost my parents to cancer and my beloved younger brother to an early death.

Grief grabbed a hold of me. I struggled through the following years, thinking I’d never be happy again.

However, I was raised Catholic and despite my anger at God, something kept me going to Sunday Mass. Maybe it was habit. Maybe I had nothing better to do, but, surprisingly, I began to notice that these were the only times I felt at peace.

Faith began to bloom. No more was Mass just something I attended, but there was a real sense of transformation. I needed it like the air. I joined Bible studies, frequented the sacraments and prayed daily. As I rose from the ashes, all I could see was God’s glorious presence.

Later, when I was diagnosed with lymphoma, I prayed with confidence. “Thy will, not mine, be done.” Total surrender delivered peace beyond understanding.

Miraculously, nothing bad happened. Instead, the scary diagnosis allowed me to catch glimpses of God in my daily living. It catapulted me into a supernatural life.

And I began writing again.

My first published piece, a reflection about how difficult it was to wait for good health to return on God’s timetable rather than my own, appeared in Together in Christ.

Increasingly, I wrote about my fears and God’s responses. Others could relate, and the “Emmaus Walk” column was born.

My childhood passion was revitalized. But only after I attended a Catholic writers’ conference in Arizona did I realize the purpose.

The first night we gathered, we were asked why we write. Numerous responses came from the published writers in attendance. I didn’t think twice. My answer came quickly and without hesitation.

“To show people how much God loves them.”

That’s why I write. God loves you so very much. There’s a story to be told. I can’t wait to tell you.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at dtomaselli@cfl.rr.com.)

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