June 28, 2019

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

The month of weddings and remembering a very special marriage

Debra TomaselliMy stomach was in knots as I dialed my beloved daughter, Lynn, who was away at graduate school.

“Can we talk?” I asked. “It’s about Justin.”

My husband and I had concerns about her boyfriend. Right from the start, we could tell there was something special between them, and we weren’t thrilled about it.

“You don’t like him, do you?” she asked. Emotion rose in her voice.

“I wouldn’t say that,” I said. “We have concerns.”

Justin was a nice guy, but I didn’t like that he’d dropped out of college. I didn’t like that he was working in a dead-end job as a waiter. I didn’t like that he wasn’t Catholic. I didn’t like his public school education compared to Lynn’s Catholic school culture. … Did she consider these things?

Lynn burst into tears.

“Yes, yes, I understand your concerns,” she said. “But I like him so much! I can’t help it. I really like him.”

Then, composing herself, she added, “You never know what God is going to do.”

I didn’t want to make decisions for her, and I told her that. I just wanted to voice those concerns. Besides, she could be right. You never know what God is going to do.

After that, we discussed an upcoming football game, the semester’s classes, and an upcoming spring break before hanging up.

The next morning, I was the lector at Mass. Oddly enough, my reading was from the Book of James: “Do not complain, brothers, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates” (Jas 5:9). (Let him do whatever criticizing must be done.)

I cringed, remembering last night’s conversation with my daughter. After Mass, I raced home and e-mailed the passage to her.

“OK,” I said, “This message is meant for me. I addressed our concerns about your boyfriend, but I’m done now. I get it. I won’t say anything again. Just be sure of what you are doing.”

From then on, I kept my mouth shut. My feelings didn’t miraculously change, but I kept my opinions to myself. I revisited the Scripture passage often, and pushed myself to trust God with the outcome of their relationship. It wasn’t easy.

The following year, they married. Shortly afterward, Justin decided to be received into the full communion of the Church and invited me to be his sponsor. We attended weekly Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults sessions, sharing God’s action in our daily lives. We grew in devotion for God and love and respect for each other.

Then, Justin followed what he believed to be God’s call to start his own business. It flourished!

This June marks their 12th wedding anniversary.

Faith is central to their lives. They have seven children on Earth and a stillborn in heaven. Lynn loves being a stay-at-home mom. We love Justin like a son. They are one big happy Catholic family, and they bring much joy into our lives.

Who would have guessed?

Thanks be to God for directing me with that Scriptural passage delivered long ago: “Do not complain, brothers, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates” (Jas 5:9).

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

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