(As many of you have figured out, I am dealing with several significant problems this Holy Week, which have caused me to be a tad pre-occupied. All will be well, but there are matters I must attend to. Earlier today, my brother, Steve, sent me an email that I have decided to use as a guest post, it so perfectly illustrates what I mean by living in the moment with complete trust. Steve’s conversion story is one of my favorites. Long alienated from all religion because of some of the rougher edges of the fundamentalism we witnessed while young, he was a career Navy man. We chatted from time to time and had warm relations, but not much contact over the years. At one point, he was frustrated with a problem that affected his and some other soldiers. Knowing the political work I then did, he called me and asked if I might be able to make some calls to draw official attention to the problem and help the soldiers out. So I did, not expecting much to happen. But the running problem of several years was quickly resolved – which, of course impressed Steve and some of his fellow Chiefs. He decided that he really ought to get to know a little more about my political work, so he googled me. One of the first things he came upon was this article from Spirit Daily. He called me, stunned, stammering and struggling to get something out. Now I kept these things very close to the vest then, but I knew immediately what was going on. I interrupted him to tell him, “It’s true, Steve.” He was utterly flummoxed.
For three days he struggled with it. He had been a big fan of the Chronicles of Narnia. In the original book, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the siblings early on accuse Lucy of lying about the fantastic land of Narnia. In an encounter with the professor, he asks the
kids if Lucy has ever shown signs of insanity. They respond that she has never done so before. He asks if she is given to lying. They say no, she is very set against it. With no little aggravation, the professor then says that if she is not crazy and not given to lying, the most logical explanation is that she is telling the truth! (while grumbling about what a poor job the schools are doing of educating children about logic). Steve said that that is what convinced him. He converted and never looked back. He is the one who has the deepest affection for the Traditional Latin Mass. In fact, I went to my first Latin Mass with him. Since then, we have occasionally joked that you should never google me, as you just don’t know what you might find. I hope you find his wonderful story of everyday miracles, taking the next right step and living in trust as satisfying as I did. His son is Justin and his wife, Tomoko. – CJ)
By Steve Johnston
I would like to tell you about a miracle that Justin and I experienced just recently.
In February, I joined a hunting and fishing club here in California so that I could get access to private lands for hunting. Last week, Justin was on his spring break, so I made a reservation for Wednesday evening through Saturday morning for a property with the club that has 3,000 acres of land available. We were going primarily to hunt wild boars, but, at the last minute, I decided to take the fishing poles and tackle because they have three small ponds for fishing, as well. Now, for some background, Justin and
I have been fishing several times (Justin more often than I) and we have been miserably unsuccessful. Justin participated in a “Fishing Camp” a few years ago and caught one fish. Since then he has been fishing probably 20 times and has not caught ANYTHING!
In preparing for this trip, we stopped at Wal-Mart to shop for our groceries. This stop was made during our trip to the site. One of the things that we failed to do, however, was to remember to buy groceries to support the Lenten requirement to not eat slaughtered meat on Fridays. We did have some things, but it was all junk, such as potato chips or granola bars. Justin did buy a can of tomato soup, but that was because he likes it, not because we were thinking about it. On Thursday, we got up, went hunting (we did not see a pig during the entire trip) and went back to the camp site around 10:30/11:00 AM. It was at this time that we started thinking about Friday. I asked Justin if he wanted to try to go fishing, to which he agreed. That day we went to one of the three ponds and started fishing. We were surprised to have success, but all we were catching was bass, which, on this property, is a catch-and-release fish. We had fun, but had to let everything go. On Friday morning, we got up and went hunting again, being unsuccessful again. On this morning we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and cheese sandwiches for lunch, just to make sure that we abided with the above mentioned requirement. Once again, we came back to camp around the same time and decided to go fishing again in one of the other ponds. Once we got there, almost right away, we started getting multiple bites. Justin reeled in four bluegill (which we were authorized to keep) pretty quickly! I had multiple bites, but only caught one bass, which, again, I had to throw back. After Justin caught his fourth bluegill, the action died, we couldn’t get another fish to bite, and our hooks were getting caught in the water. We decided that we had enough for dinner, so we returned to camp, in which Justin immediately started cleaning the fish. He boiled two (giving me one of them) and grilled one, which he ate. The fourth he cut up into chunks and put into the tomato soup, so we shared that. In the end, we have more than enough food to eat, and we didn’t have to rely on junk food, either! I pointed out to Justin what a miracle it was, that we had not prepared anything, yet God provided! Pulling in 4 fish was more than he had ever caught in his life, yet he did it all within an hour of being on that pond. In fact, for one of the fish, Justin cast his hook and as soon as it hit the water, he had a fish on it! We both were amazed and thankful!
I know that to some people this would appear to be a coincidence rather than a miracle, but Justin and I both believe that, because we were determined to follow Church doctrine, God rewarded us, and that it is, truly, a miracle. Justin and I both talked about how it made us think of when Jesus fed the multitudes! I am so thankful for these opportunities to share my beliefs with Justin and that God gave us a sign to demonstrate not only his existence but his love and compassion for us, as well!