Edge of 30: The prodigal daughter returns

By Lindsay Steele

Readers, you may have noticed the absence of my column. I think it’s time for me to come clean about where I’ve been and where I hope to be in the future.
Honestly, I reached a point where I simply couldn’t write it. If you’re writing a column about faith when, deep down, you don’t have much, it’s like trying to drive with a blindfold.

I can’t point to any specific event or experience that triggered this loss of faith. Yes, my home parish went through changes that led to me leaving, but I could have easily gone elsewhere. At the very least, I could have attended Mass here at the chancery. But, I didn’t. Although my boss, Barb Arland-Fye, knew I was struggling (she reassured me that faith is a journey as opposed to something you either have or don’t), I kept this lack of faith secret from pretty much everyone I work with. It was embarrassing — working in a place immersed in passing on the faith — and I really didn’t want anyone to know.

From time to time, I prayed about it at home. Once or twice, I took it to confession. It seemed like nothing helped and I began to assume I’d always be in this state of apathy. I assumed that either God didn’t care about me or that God simply didn’t exist.

I now know that God was listening. Sometimes, God answers our prayers in ways we don’t expect, at the times we least expect them.

A few months ago former seminarian Hugo Rodriguez began working at St. Vincent Center, the Diocese of Davenport’s headquarters, as he further discerns his vocation. Although he is about 10 years younger than me, we have a lot in common and became friends quickly. As we got to know each other, we were more likely to talk about photography than faith, but we did pray for each other. Over time, I began to feel a desire to go to Mass again. I also began to take an interest in learning to pray the rosary, even though I’d never really had any interest in it before. Was this due to his prayers for me? We think that might be the case, based on Mary’s vital role in his faith journey, and we began praying the rosary in the chapel after work.

I really enjoy praying the rosary. Its repetitive pattern gives me a sense of calm and peacefulness. I feel less stressed when I get home from work, which means I am able to give my best to my husband, Chris, and our 3-year-old son Bradley. In the mysteries, I learn a lot about how to be a better person and a better Catholic Christian by thinking about how Mary lived her life.

Since we began praying together, Hugo and I have seen God at work in our lives in meaningful ways. We offer petitions for friends, coworkers and family members who are struggling. Sometimes we pray about our own struggles. My faith has grown exponentially, and Hugo has become like a brother to me. There is a sense of joy in knowing that God is working through you and those you love.

Schedule changes have resulted in Hugo and I not being able to pray as much lately, but I’ve continued praying the rosary on my own, and sometimes with Barb. Chris, Bradley and I have been attending Mass at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport. Bradley doesn’t really understand what Mass is all about, but he participates in his own way, usually by singing the Paw Patrol theme song during music worship. Hey, at least he is trying!

I am grateful for the path God has taken me on these past few months, and I am hopeful that my faith journey continues on this upward trajectory. Hopefully, it won’t be quite so long before I write again.

(Editor’s note: Lindsay Steele is a reporter for The Catholic Messenger. Contact her at steele@davenportdiocese.org or by phone at (563) 888-4248.)

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