by: Bill C.
I had a happy childhood, grew up in a nice neighborhood with good schools. My parents being a product of the 1930s (great Depression), there were two lessons stressed in our house:
Save your money.
From eight years old I always had a job and I saved every penny. I paid for my college education through jobs and playing college football. Graduated Cum Laude with a BS in Computer Science.
Fell in love during my thirties with Linda my wife of 25 years. We had four kids within seven years. With a young family of six I turned up the pressure by starting my own software business. I was burning the candle from both ends: running a business, raising four kids …. drinking in the bars after a night of competitive volleyball with the boys. By the world’s standards I was successful, in my mind I was self-made. I would go to church most weeks if I had the Sunday morning available, and I “gave” God one hour of my time.
It caught up to me in my early forties when at 41 I had a heart attack. They put a stent in my right coronary artery and a few days later I went back to work. I had employees to oversee, I had the kid’s sports games to coach. I thought nothing had changed; but things had changed after my heart attack, there was a feeling of emptiness, of unhappiness. I did not realize it at the time, but after my heart attack I developed depression. I fought this depression for more than a decade. I looked at this disease as a chink in my armor. It was something I would handle on my own. I struggled internally.
From the outside at 50 you would have thought all was good.
Kids were in college or high school and doing well. Business had thrived and the money was coming in. The problem was this depression was winning. I knew I needed change, yet I wasn't ready to look externally for help.
I started making radical changes myself.
I sold my business.
I retired at 51.
I started buying things: houses, boats, stuff.
Nothing helped, in fact these radical changes made it worse. Until one night I was down at our new shore house waiting on new appliances to be delivered the next morning. Spoiler alert: new appliances will not fix depression! I spent that night alone in my room in a fetal position, crying. I did not know where to turn. Morning came and there was a knock at the door, young men carrying heavy appliances. I must have looked like a mess with no sleep and red eyes.
The boys or rather young men installed the appliances and I tipped them. One of the young men looked me in the eyes and he winked! He said to me “God Bless you” and he turned and walked out the door.
The wink touched me and for the first time I was open to looking to God for help.
A few days later, I went to Sunday morning mass, 9:45 and I sat in my normal pew. The mass was a bit different. A parishioner got up and spent a few minutes describing this new program they would be offering for the first time; it was called Discovering Christ and it would be starting this Thursday night. I thought what a coincidence.
I walked into this program with little knowledge of Jesus. I came from a public-school education and life until this point was about what I could accomplish.
This course started me down a path that has changed my life in every way.
A path that brought me to the greatest blessing in my life: a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. This relationship has given me peace and has deepened my relationships with my wife and my kids. My life has changed from one of self-reliance to Christian community; from what can I accomplish to asking God to use me and bless me each day.