Each one of us has a history and a story. Have you ever stopped to consider how our stories, our memories, are so special and powerful? The journey of life is such a mystery. There are times of joyous celebration, times of struggle, hurt, pain and loss. Hopefully these times are also of constant change and growth. We have many choices. We can look at our lives positively or negatively. Our history can be our greatest teacher or it can be our downfall. Everything hangs on our attitudes. Since we are all human sometimes we focus too much on the negative. Life is a gift to be used so we can grow and share our growth with others. During this month of May I would like to share some of my memories I consider precious moments.
Let me begin with my most precious of all memories, my birth on May 24, 1940. I had the honor of coming into this world as a precious and beautiful little child. I became a member of a wonderful and at times crazy, Italian family. I was told I was a war baby. The world I entered in 1940 was a place of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Over many May 24ths I have seen so many changes that brought me where I am today. Let’s look at certain May 24ths and how that day taught me so many special lessons that have helped me in my spiritual journey. Today with the grace of God I hope I can look at all of them through positive eyes.
This was my entrance into this world. The beginning of my journey.
I was now old enough to start school at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Camden, NJ. Here I was taught a strange version of God. In my Italian, Catholic grammar school I was introduced to fear, guilt, control, structure and discipline. Later in life these instructions would become powerful lessons. As usual I had to go through the negative to later learn the positive.
I graduated from grammar school and got ready for my next spiritual journey. In the fall of this year, at the young age of 14, I entered the seminary to begin my journey into the next phase of my life. I was young, naïve and had no idea who I was. The seminary was a time of confusion and a time of growth. For the next twelve years through high school, college and graduate school, I learned great lessons of how to endure and survive. I was still living out what other people wanted me to be.
May 20, 1966
I was ordained a priest and thought I was ready to take on the world. I received so much praise and was elevated to a special place in my family. A few months later, Labor Day weekend, my father who taught me so many lessons, passed away after years of suffering. He taught me not to be afraid of hard work and he was my example of how to handle struggles. 1966 was a year of sorrow and joy.
May 17, 1982
Another powerful memory when I had to say goodbye to my Mom. She left this world and joined my Dad on the other side. She had a tough time letting me go. Today I know they are both watching over me. Even through their struggles they were my first teachers.
After ten years of struggle I was getting ready for a major change in my life. It was a birthday I will not forget. Two months later on July 16, 1986, I said goodbye to Father Vince and hello to the new birth of just simple Vince. This was a new and beautiful journey of starting life all over again. I realized what a great and scary feeling change can be. It was also a year I was able to really start to get to know myself.
I was getting ready for my next great adventure by joining a new family on October 3, 1988. I was given the gift of a special life partner and three beautiful step daughters. What an adventure life can be! I have so much gratitude
May 1969 to 2012
I am so grateful for my birth and my life’s journey. In 1969 I was introduced to a very special spiritual program and given the gift of the 12 Steps of Recovery. The principles of these steps have helped me to learn how to love and honor myself and all of the special moments of life. I am learning to just take life “one day at a time”. My gratitude prayer each morning is for the gift of life. I also say the 3rd Step, 7th Step and 11th Step prayers to help me to be open to each daily experience.
As we honor and enjoy the special month of May with it’s flowers, let’s remember that life is a gift to be lived. Enjoy the journey and thank God every day for the adventure. Memories are a way to connect to all the teachers, events and lessons of life. I am so grateful God sent me into this world on May 24, 1940 and I pray we may all celebrate the wonderment and joy of life. May God bless us all!