The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

God will not waste your pain

As an avid DIYer I am always doing something around our home to ensure that the upkeep of our property is met so there aren't any unexpected surprises, but when the rain comes down it will show us signs of weakness on our roofs. On Saturday, 7th April 2018 I went up on my father-in-law’s roof top to repair a portion of it that had been compromised due to missing shingles and a prolong delay in repair that caused water to get under the damaged shingles thereby causing rot  to the plywood.

After pulling off the shingles and cutting out the damaged plywood I realized that I needed to go down to my workshop to get another tool that I had forgotten. My father-in-law was outside looking up at me as we were having a conversation about something. As I placed my left foot on the ladder I recalled that the ladder had started to moved and that was the last thing I remembered until I started to realize what had happened as I laid in the emergency room of Doctors Hospital, being attended to by a doctor due to a fall from the roof I was working on.

I struggled to gather my thoughts together about what happened and how I got to the hospital. I can only go on what I was told by my father-in-law and wife who was inside the house at the time of my fall. My first question to my in in-law was what was coming out of my mouth as I came falling to the ground and my-father-in-law said that I did not make a sound. As I came tumbling down he tried to run over to where I was to help break my fall (God Bless him), but it happened too quickly. After my father-in-law screamed out my name my wife ran outside only to find me laying on the ground fluttering like a fish out of water with blood everywhere.

Through taps on my face, prayers to God by my wife to not let me die, along with my father-in-law pouring water on my face I showed signs of regaining consciousness. From the moment I became alert I began praying each prayer of the rosary, over and over again. These things I was told by my wife and those neighbors who was present when it became known what was taking place at our house. Many of the neighbors were there watching and praying for me. My wife told me that her father said that all of our Churching were certainly shining through me as no one was able to get me to stop praying.

Having kept asking myself over and over again why I didn't make a sound or why I am unable to remember what took place I can only come to one conclusion, my guardian angel assisted me as I fell from the roof. His comfort must have assured me that there was no need to make a sound. Yes, I'm sure you're saying to yourself that it was just coincidence that my injuries were not life threatening, or that what I said happened to me actually didn't happen that way, but if you heard the story told by everyone who was present or who showed up during the ordeal it would send shivers up your spine and you would ask yourself how is it that I am still walking today.

The air-condition guy who was repairing a unit at our place came to my wife's aid when she called out for help. A week later he stopped by to collect his payment and when I opened the door he was in shock to see me standing there and immediately stretched out his arms to show us the goose bumps that came on him when he saw me. He indicated that he did not expect to see me up and about after what he witnessed was a very terrifying experience. It was him also who said that he thought I was going to die because I kept reciting the Fatima Prayer:

"O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Your Mercy."

He thought I was going to die because I was praying so much. It was not long before he remembered that we were Catholics.

As I lay in the hospital bed I began to think about what my wife told me I kept saying while I laid on the ground awaiting the ambulance, in between praying. Every time I asked what happened to me and why I was on the ground she would tell me and I would cry out that I was sorry and I realize now why I was sorry. I was sorry because here we are again (my family and I), having to deal with another tragedy that I could have probably avoided had I taken more precautions, had I accepted my gardeners offer to help me before he went to lunch. Everyone who knows me and my family will know that we have been through it all within the last 10 years, but here is the kicker, my wife has felt more of the pain for all of the tragedies than myself, my son or my daughter. Believe you me, she has endured it all.

Let’s take a journey back to 2008. The date was December 22, 2008 when Rochelle was home alone with our kids when our “then” 8 year old son chocked on a piece of meat and laid unconscious when I arrived home (the story on that miracle is here). One week he remained in ICU on a ventilator and was able to return home on News Years Eve. We fast forward to August 2014 when our daughter was getting dressed because we were about to jet her off to college, but that came to a stop when while in the bathroom she took with a seizure and as her mom was passing by the bathroom she was able to catch her fall before she hit her head on the tub. Do you think God has something out for us? These thoughts can run through one’s mind. We took her to the ER and got her cleared to go off to college and she left the next day. Summer of the following year she has her 2nd seizure while I was with her in Orlando as she was about to leave on a deep sea fishing trip with her boyfriend and family. Lord why, why are you doing this to us? Another question that’s pops in our heads. August of 2016 while at work my wife receives a phone call from her dad that her mother passed away; this was the tip of the iceberg, death has now reared its head. They were very close so this was a very difficult time for her and here we are again, her husband laying in a pool of blood and all she can do is what she does best, stay calm, pray to God and take care of her own.

So how do we get through the difficult trials  we are faced with, such as a loss of job, an illness of a loved one, tragedy where the doctors weren’t sure if my son might be brain dead, a divorce, and even the death of a loved one? We can all use a little comfort and Jesus assures us in Matthew 5:4 that those who mourn will be comforted. I’m sure you’re thinking that it is easier said than done when you’re the one grieving, however be assured that pain is necessary for growth. God promises us restoration and strength as we read in 1 Peter 5:10 “The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ [Jesus] will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little.” When our children say to us that their legs hurt we respond with: you’re having growing pains. In order to spiritually grow we can expect to go through some form of pain.

Friends, pain is necessary and I am sure this is a tough pill to swallow, but no one, not any of us have endured the pain and suffering that Jesus endured during his ministry and leading up to his death on the cross for the salvation of all souls. In my house the word NO meant NO, it did not mean maybe or we’ll see. It meant without question NO and I could hear my wife right now telling my kids: “I’d prefer for you to cry now than for me and your father to cry later.” As a parent we have be fair, but firm with our kids. When they grow up to be adults and have children of their own, they too will understand why you were firm with them and caused them some pain. Pain is necessary for growth. My wife would always say that she is thankful for the times when her parents told her that she couldn’t do this or that or go here and there. It made sense when she became an adult and a mother of her own. When satan tried to tempt Jesus by telling him to forget what he’s doing and turn the stone into bread, Jesus did not entertain him because he knew what he was sent to do and knew that the suffering was necessary.

In 2010 I had to have lower back surgery (yes, another suffering that my wife had to endure), due to poor lifting practices as an Air Ambulance pilot. The pain got so severe that I had no fear of surgery even after hearing all of the horror stories of having surgery on your back; I just wanted it done and done now. After surgery I was in a lot of pain, but it was due to the operation. This pain did not last very long and this is something that we should keep in mind when we undergo pain and suffering; it’s a temporary thing, it is there to teach you and necessary to help you grow. You can rest assure my friends that it’s not in vain, oh no Sir it’s not, no matter how big or small it is. St Paul tells us in Romans that our sufferings are miniscule compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us. “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.” Rm 8:18  It almost makes you want to say Lord bring on the sufferings.

My wife would always say that if things don’t turn out the way you expect them to turn out then know that it is for a reason, don’t try to figure out why or what you could have done differently. It just wasn’t meant to be. There may be something better for you in the making. The same can be applied to those who experience some form of tragedy or unexpected illness, it could be that it revealed itself to you at this present time to save you from further heartache. From experience I can tell you that had my daughter didn’t have the seizure on the day that she was leaving for college then she may have had it while she was alone in the dorm with no one there and the results could have been even worst. Also, when I fell off the roof, it was a day that not only one person was there with me, but two actually. Normally I am doing home projects alone, but this day was different. My wife even said that she had to talk to her dad about something and normally she would just pick up the phone, but she said that she decided to walk across the street to his home (the one I was working on) to see him face to face. I am thankful that they were there when I fell.

When tragedy and trials come knocking on you door it can only help you if you open up to others, especially your immediate family or Church family. Call on your religious leader to pray for you or your loved one. They are there representing Jesus and will know what to say to guide you and comfort you. We need to be our brother’s keeper. Do not say to someone who’s lost a family member that you know how they feel when you’ve never experience death in your family, but rather comfort them by reminding them that Jesus loves them and knows the pain that they are feeling. Talk about you pain and suffering so that you can grow. Do not allow it to remain within you that it is eating away at you. There are times when we need each other and it is when we are suffering that it becomes even more obvious.

On ending I wish to share two hospital experiences with you where God used tragedy for the good. I truly believe that your tragedy and pain can help and turn someone else's life around whether in a big or small way. When tragedy strikes, such as my life threatening experience it opens our eyes to how fragile life is and how quick our lives can end, yet we live as though we are here on this earth forever. A friend hadn't spoken with me for several weeks and it became more and more known to me the two times our paths crossed each other within the last 5 weeks. When I greeted her she found it hard to say Hi or Good morning. I could see the anguish in her to be so near to me because our circumstances for each of those times we met required us to be near each other. After my fall and she got word of what had happened her and her husband rushed to the hospital to see me and she came to my bed and gave me a huge hug. I was so happy that she came and again I felt the pain she was feeling because of what was taking place between the two of us and for her having to see me in my state. God doesn't sleep my friend, he will prick our conscience to act on what needs correcting.

I shared a room with a young man, who seemed to be half my age or even younger. The day before he was going to have his surgery I got this message (between me and God) to ask him about his prayer life. At first I did not want to do it, but then I heard “you will leave here and regret it,” so I jumped right in and asked him if he was spiritual. He answered “not really,” but that he was listening to some gospel music on his headphones right then, which I in turn said that that was a start. I then asked if he goes to Church and has a Pastor/Preacher he could call on and he said “no.” I then shared my stories with him about how I had to be put to sleep two times for different operations and it is very scary because all you can do is just hope and pray that the doctors are able to bring you back up (revive you). So I asked him to pray to God to guide the hands of the doctors and to make his surgery a successful one. He thank me and it ended like that. The next day I was discharged and never saw him anymore, but I felt good that he and I had that conversation. I realized more so at that point that God does not waste our pain. In spite of our circumstances we shall give praise and glory to God!

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