Do you remember what it felt like when you fell in love with your significant other?  I can still remember the exact moment that I realized that I was falling madly in love with my husband.  We had taken a drive to Tomoka State Park, just out of Ormond Beach, FL.  We had hiked the grounds and I had to use the restroom.  We found one....and it had started raining.  There was a very small pavilion there.  We stayed there to take cover, sitting at the picnic table talking away...oblivious to the weather around us.  We sat across from one another talking and talking and talking.  We loved talking to one another.  I always wanted to know his opinion and he always wanted to know mine.  We smiled and laughed and talked.  I remember at one point as I looked at him...almost stepping out of the situation while looking into his smiling eyes.....and realized...and I honestly remember thinking this..."Oh crap....I am actually falling in did that happen?!"  I never intended on falling in love with my husband.  I enjoyed his company...but I spent a good part of my dating life getting burned by men who seemed sincere...but were far from it.  How did I know that this gentle, handsome, fun man sitting across this table from me wouldn't burn me the same way that every other man had?!  How am I going to deal with this?  Suddenly, my future husband must have read my face because he became serious and asked, "Are you alright?  You look like you are a million miles away."  Of course, I never admitted what I was thinking at that point in time.  I decided to keep my secret.  I would never tell him.....and when he went away and left me....he would never know.  But, of course, it didn't happen that way.  He dated me for quite some time without even trying to make any advances towards me in order to gain my confidence and respect....a far cry from all of the other guys who I had dated in the past.  He finally did win my confidence and my admitting my love for him.  Eventually, I fell madly in love with him.

Prior to that while I was keeping my secret...I knew that I loved him.  It was easy to keep the secret from him and my family and friends.  But, there came a time when I realized that I was madly in love with him and couldn't stop telling him or him telling me.  I talked about him all of the time.  I bragged about him to everyone.  They were ad nauseam.  But, they were also happy for me.  You see, it took me a very long time to meet my husband.  I was single up until the age of 48.  Yep, I got married for the first time at the ripe age of 48.  I never wanted to settle.  I would go for periods of time where I would date a lot...and then not date at all.  Just before I met my husband, I had decided that I was never going to marry or date anymore and had accepted that fate until he came along.  Isn't that the way that "fate" works?

Well, I don't necessarily believe in fate.  I do believe in God.  I believe that He directs my steps if I listen to Him.  Years earlier, I heard Him promise me a husband and had all but given up.  Have you noticed that He always waits until the very last minute to answer our prayers?  In my case, He waited 48 years!

Well, I told you all of that in order to tell you this....I have fallen in love again.  I had fallen in "lust/love" with God years earlier.  I would pray for situations and things and He always answered me...always.  I lusted for Him in that....not the type of love that He was seeking, I am sure!   But, more recently,  I had the realization that I am madly and totally in love again...and this time it isn't my husband whom I am talking about.  Oh, I am in love with my husband, but I believe that you can be in love with more than one person now.. because I am!  If you haven't guessed it already, I am madly in love with God.  I had that realization the other day after seeing the movie, "The Help" with a girlfriend of mine.  We saw the movie and decided to go out for pie afterwards.  As we sat at the restaurant, I am not sure how the subject came up....but we got onto the topic of religion...and I literally mean religion. 

You see, we are both Catholic.  She was born and raised Catholic.  I was born Protestant, raised Catholic by my mostly Catholic relatives and reluctantly became Catholic at the age of 33.  Some of you reading this probably think that that is horrendous.  Why would I grudgingly become a Catholic?  I was lead there by the Lord.  I remember going through all of the classes and asking a ton of questions.  The nun, who became a good friend while I lived in PA, was annoyed with all of my questions.  The Pastor of the church welcomed them.  He pulled me aside one day and said that he found my inquisitiveness refreshing because most people only become Catholic so that they can receive Holy Communion with their new spouses.  I was very single and was looking into the faith.  I had felt drawn to the faith system for a very long time.  I don't know why...but I was.  My protestant friends treated me like I as joining a cult.  I knew otherwise.  I felt closer to God than I had for a very long time. 

When it was time to actually become Catholic during the Easter Vigil, we had a rehearsal the night before.  My nun friend was upset with me because I was more concerned about being involved with the musical portion of the vigil than I was with actually becoming Catholic.  You see, my way of worship...true through music.  I can say words, but they mean more coming from me if I sing them.  So,finally, she asked you want to sing or do you want to join our faith?!  My answer shocked the both of us.  I told her that I wasn't sure that I wanted to go through with it.  She looked at me stunned.  She stood there rattling off everything that she had done for the preparations and how could I say this at that late hour?!  But, as I stood there, I was feeling insecure and unsure. I knew that I loved God and wanted to partake in this church....but did I really want to make a commitment to become a Catholic?!  The Pastor came into the church and this nun called him over.  She explained the situation to him.  He looked at me and said, "I've seen lots of brides have cold feet before the wedding."  I had no idea what he was talking about and it must have been evident on my face.  He continued to explain that in joining the church, because I was not married, that I was becoming a bride of Christ.  He explained that it was a commitment that shouldn't be taken lightly....that I should sleep on it.  If I decided that I wanted to partake in this marriage.....that I should...and if I felt reservations in the morning...that I shouldn't.  He suggested that I go home and get down on my knees and to pray about the situation.  I did just that after talking to my mother about it.  She said that the decision had to be mine and mine alone.  I agreed and still do. 

Well, that night, I felt God tell me that I should go through with it.  He told me that he had a plan for me within the church.  He wanted me to bring others to Him in the future.  He said that I would be a teacher and would teach others about Him.  I did become a teacher...something that I never thought that I would ever even want to do...but I was a teacher and loved it.  But, I worked in the public school system and it was hard to involve religion in anything that I did....but our loving Lord provided times and opportunities for me to do this.  He has always provided the place and situations for me to teach others about Him.  I had sung in the church for many, many years, and am toying with the idea of going back to the music again.  I took a rest because I wanted to rest in Him for awhile instead of performing.  I had never performed when I sang in church, but when I sang in the last group that I was involved with...that is what it had turned into and it was very competitive.  I dropped out.

So, now, as I sat across from my friend after the movie, discussing God and having a difference of opinion about Catholic worship and Bible study, I realized that I was becoming one of those annoying, Born Again Christians who never know when to quit.  I didn't want to be that way.  Why was I doing this?!  I was pointing out to her that we as a church hardly ever read the Bible....not as much as other religions do.  She pointed out that the Church reads the Bible at mass daily.  I told her that most people only attend mass once a week, listen to three readings of scripture in a 20 minute period and that most people don't go beyond that.  There is about a 15 minute teaching and if, God forbid, the preacher goes over the one hour mark, people are perturbed at him for keeping them there that long.  I also pointed out that we are losing people...not just the youth....but people...because we are all starved for the Word in a way that we can all understand.  I made her defensive and nervous when I divulged that I feel that we are in the End of Times and worry about family and friends who refuse to have an intimacy with God.  I told her that in order to understand the Bible (she had implied that it never made sense to her) you have to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit....which is beyond being "saved".  She said that she had a close relationship with the Holy Spirit.  But, I sat there wondering if she was confusing spirituality with having the Holy Spirit alive and dwelling within her.  I don't know and can't say for sure....just that after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I understood Bible passages that I had never understood before.  We then called it a night and went to our separate cars to go home.  I thought that I had lost a good friend as a result of our conversation....but something within me told me that I had done the right thing.  I really think that God was trying to reach her and her old way of thinking.

A few days went by before I heard from her and she said that she had given a lot of thought to what I had said and that she agreed that we as the Catholic Church don't put enough time into the Bible.  We Catholics pray a lot...but a lot of us don't know what goes on in the Bible.

Before I heard from her though, I felt awful that I had isolated her the way that I did and wondered why I was so over zealous in our discussion.  I suddenly had that familiar feeling and realization:  I am in love!  I am in love with God....more so than I ever had before!  I love Him so much that I have to talk about Him to anyone who is willing to listen.  I want to share Him with the world!  I wanted to share Him with my friend...and that is why I did what I did.  I explained this to her.  I am not sure that she understands...but she is married and knows what love I hope that she gets it.  I also hope that one day, she will experience this kind of love for God.  He is my everything.  I am so lucky that my husband is not the jealous type...LOL.  He loves God too. 

So, in retrospect, I have been having this love affair for umpteen years...and it has finally developed into this passionate, intimate, love affair that is going way beyond my expectations.  I can remember thinking as a child...why would anyone want to go to heaven to constantly do nothing but worship the Lord?!  Well, now I finally understand.  There is nothing that I wouldn't do for my husband because I love him....and there is nothing that I wouldn't do to worship the Lord.  Yes...I am in love again...and I feel such joy that it is ebbing over!  I hope that every reader has or will find this same type of love for the Lord within their lifetime!  Oh yeah....I left one very important detail out...the name of my new found love.  His name is Jesus Christ....and He is my Lord and Savior.  I hope that if you haven't already met Him...that one day soon, you will.  You can't help but fall in love with Him. :-)