It was the first Sunday in December, and I was a sophomore at Wellesley High School. Picture a scrawny, awkward kid still awaiting the promised growth of adolescence.
My family had just moved to town and I was having a hard time making friends. As fall progressed, I began hearing about a newly formed church youth group comprising kids from my high school. The group met in the basement of a classmate’s house. All I knew was that they sang songs, studied the Bible and laughed a lot. To a lonely kid who was new in town, it sounded wonderful. Honestly, I wouldn’t have cared if it was a Tiddlywinks club; I just wanted friends.
I had grown up attending church, but the God I knew was very big and very impersonal. Each night of my childhood I had prayed, "Please God, convert Russia and Red China, and give us world peace. Amen."
That was my God – very big, but certainly not personal.
Eventually, someone invited me to attend the youth group. The year was 1971, and I was 14 years old.
The small room was crowded with high school students. After some rousing singing, we discussed the Bible story of the paralyzed man whose friends lowered him through the roof of a house where Jesus was teaching. I had never studied the Bible, and was amazed at how our discussion brought the story to life.
But, it was what happened next that I remember most. The leader asked if there were any special requests for prayer. Teens shared about broken bodies, broken relationships and upcoming tests. Then we bowed our heads, and one by one, kids talked to God like he was sitting in the chair next to them.
I sat there and bawled. I didn’t know exactly what these kids had, but whatever it was, I wanted it. I wanted a God who cared about the details of my life. I was tired of being lonely. I wanted a sense of belonging, and I realized that it wasn’t only human friendships I sought. Deep inside me, I yearned for a relationship with God.
I went home that night and in my inept way, I asked God if he would guide my life. I have never been the same since I prayed that simple prayer.
Throughout high school, I grew in faith, in prayer and in knowledge of the Bible. I never did experience that promised growth spurt. I was still awkward, still dealing with problems at home, but I no longer faced these troubles alone. I had the distinct sense that God accompanied me. I also had the encouragement of dozens of classmates who cared about me.
This faith carried me through college and into adult life. Peter and I married, and as the children arrived, we shared our faith with them as well.
Peter and I had been married for nearly 20 years when we made the difficult decision to become Catholics. We’d been born-again Christians for much of our lives, which had fostered snobbery and misunderstanding toward Catholics. As we prepared to enter the Catholic Church, I was amazed to discover a fullness of faith that I’d never known existed. I was equally astounded by the richness of the sacraments. Why had I not known about such treasures?
Years later, during a visit with my mother, she told a story about my birth. "What day of the week was that?" I inquired. "Sunday," she informed me. "You were born on a Sunday."
Something clicked. I was born on a Sunday. I was baptized on a Sunday. My teenage life was forever changed on a Sunday.
I was married on a Sunday. We arrived at the Catholic Church on a Sunday. Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday.
It seems to me that it all started on a Sunday.
Regina Cram lives in Glastonbury and is a freelance writer.