After I had completely finished with school, I moved back to my hometown and got my career underway. Soon afterward, I got a letter from my high school choir director, who was also the choir director at the local Cathedral. The Bishop was commissioning a new all-male choir, and the members would be assembled by invitation. I was proud that apparently my skills were enough to warrant my consideration. unfortunately, I was working a God-awful 1pm to 10pm shift, and would never be able to make it to practice on time. So the charter members of the Sioux Falls St. Joseph Cathedral Schola did not include me.
It was shortly after this time that I would meet the woman who would eventually become my Lovely Wife. I guess we’ll call here Lovely Girlfriend for now. Much to the consternation of my mother, Lovely Girlfriend was not Catholic, but rather Lutheran. As we dated we both attended each other’s services at one time or another. We dated for a while until she broke up with me. I was a little confused, but I think it had a little to do with my living arrangements (yes, I had moved back in with my parents for awhile). In the mean time, I met and began hanging out with another girl, who in our household is now sometimes facetiously referred to as She Who Shall Not Be Named (Lovely Wife doesn’t like to think about this time period). SWSNBN was also very straight forward about her faith, which we openly discussed. I also attended church services with her on occasion, at the Reformed Church of America in her home town. One night, SWSNBN had agreed to meet with her ex for dinner one night. Feeling that I didn’t really have a say in this (as we weren’t officially “dating”), I didn’t ask her not to go, but inside I was stressing out considerably. So confused, that night I threw out the rote prayers of my Catholic background and pleaded with God to let me know what I was supposed to be doing here. When Jesus met the blind man on the road to Emmaus, and asked “What do you want me to do?” the answer was “Lord, that I may have my sight.” While he was looking for a return of his physical sight, I just wanted some insight on my future. Did it involve Lovely Girlfriend? SWSNBN? Someone else? I loved them both, but as it looked, to me it seemed that I would end up with neither. Lord, that I may have my sight.
As it turns out, I did get back together with Lovely Girlfriend, who would become Lovely Fiance and eventually Lovely Wife. I don’t forget the lesson that is often put “Let go and let God,” but there are still sometimes that I think over and over Lord, that I may have my sight.
Lovely Wife would go through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) classes to become Catholic, with me as her sponsor. Although the question wasn’t completely settled, we thought it was best to at least start out on the same page. In the meantime, I attended Bible studies with her, at first with a group from her Lutheran church, and later with a group from her best friend’s Methodist church. I learned a great deal about my faith from attending these Bible studies and RCIA classes.
It was also around this time that I ran into my choir director, who assured me that “The invitation is still open,” for me to join the group. Having a more amenable work schedule at this time, I excitedly accepted the invitation. The music that we sang was incredible. It was a mix of contemporary hymns, classical pieces (some of my favorites being 16th century polyphony) but perhaps most distinguishable, the Schola specialized in plainchant from the Pius X hymnal. The music moved me, and gave me the feeling that I was ministering to others in my own way.
Coming in Part 5: Pain, questioning, and another reveal.
- Sacred music reveals the ‘harmonies of heaven,’ Pope says (onecatholicnews.wordpress.com)
- When were most chants created during the Middle Ages (wiki.answers.com)
- Mindfulness, Meditation, Prayer, and Faith: Part 1 (reclaimingryan.com)
- Faith and Prayer, Part 2 (reclaimingryan.com)
- Faith and Prayer, Part 3 (reclaimingryan.com)