November 1st has been a significant day in my life for the last eight years. I’ve written about why once a year for eight years now, in the other blogging space that I’ve longed called home. You can read one of my favorite of those posts here.
Eight years ago tonight I sat in a car with a trusted friend and poured my heart out – first to him, and then to God. We talked about a lot of things. We talked for hours. And then we prayed. And that night I met the Holy Spirit in a powerful way and experienced healing and freedom. The oppressive darkness and depression that had been my companion for close to a decade lifted, and a whole new season of my life with Christ began.
I was thinking about that today, as I worked at the maternity clinic where I’m doing my final practicum – about how in the last few years as I’ve explored Catholicism, it’s become so special to me that my healing anniversary falls on the day the Church sets aside to recognize the great cloud of witnesses. It seems appropriate somehow, that the event I celebrate on this day isn’t a private one – that it’s one that I shared with a friend at the time, with many friends within the week, and with the world via blogging and emails over the eight years since. It was a story of how a community of Jesus followers came around me and loved me in some really messy parts of my life, and how that love played out and led to healing and freedom. And that seems right, somehow, to celebrate on a day set aside to celebrate all the Saints.
And today, today was an extra special anniversary. Today I got an email that made me smile and laugh and giggle. An email that I’d honestly given up hope of receiving. An email that contained a line that was the best anniversary present I could have received today. It read:
Fr. Julian says, “we trust your witnesses”
Today I found out that my baptism (thanks to the witness statements that two longtime friends graciously provided) will be considered valid, and that I can move forward with the RCIA process without sacrificing my personal conviction regarding my baptism. (Does it not seem somehow appropriate that on a day in which we celebrate the cloud of witnesses the author of Hebrews describes, that the church would choose to trust two friends who have stood as witnesses of the work of God in my life?)
It just seems appropriate, somehow, that this day that already marked deep moments in my walk with God, and this day on which I pause to consider the saints and celebrate their lives, would also now hold this – the day I saw God move in faithfulness to my journey with Him, and clearly open a door for me to continue forward on this journey.
Tonight I’m thinking about anniversaries and All Saints, and I’m grateful.
When I unwrapped a Dove promise chocolate at lunch, just after receiving the email, I had to smile at the promise it contained, which also seemed so appropriate for this day.