I have been admitted into discernment for the diaconate program of my archdiocese. I can truly say that I am open to whatever I am led to. I have no attachment to either outcome. All I want to see is what God wants me to do.
Scratch that. I am pretty sure I know what God wants me to do. The question is how He wants me to get there.
On the face of it, the idea is just crazy. I must be nucking futs. Diaconate formation and service is an intense, five year process. Anyone who knows me and my family knows that there’s just no place in our family’s life for any such thing. It makes absolutely no sense to even consider this.
But I can also see how diaconate service could fit into the long term vision that God has placed on mine and Heidi’s hearts. I just can’t see how it’s possible to get from point A in 2009 to point D in 2014 and then beyond.
So I’ll show up at the orientation night and say, “Here I am God, now what?” I am going to rely on Him, His son, and the Holy Spirit to clear some roadblocks for me.
When I submitted my application back in 2008, I was living the crazy life of a consultant. I was sure that my job would not let me have the kind of schedule I needed to enter the program. God took care of that. In rather traumatic fashion, I might add.
And so I can look to the other problems and say, “Okay God, if you want me serve you this way and stay employed and be a Husband and Dad you’re going to have to clear some roadblocks. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have in mind.”
The biggest hurdle is our family logistics. Diaconate formation requires one night a week and one full Saturday a month of mandatory attendance. We don’t have money for a nanny, but we will need something like that. A mere babysitter would not be able to handle the homework, the activities, the eldercare, mealtimes, and general nurturing that a family with three special needs kids and an alzheimer’s patient needs. (told you the whole thing sounds crazy)
But my ace in the hole is God’s hands, the body of Christ, my Church family. I figure that if we enter this diaconate program we are putting ourselves at the service of the church. The Church will pay for my formation and She will get my vows of service as a result. So I am looking for how the Church will step up and help us clear some roadblocks. I am praying in particular for a small support group of local families to help us with the family logistics while we do this. God may come up with another way, as He often does, but this is my opening bid.
The day I found I was laid off, I was overwhelmed. In penance that night I actively doubted God and my pastor told me to lean on my family and community. He told me not to be “strong” and self-reliant. God, my family, and my community came through for me in so many incredible ways.
So today I am overwhelmed by yet another daunting prospect. But I look forward to how He will make this diaconate thing happen. Or not. Whatever He wants.