Editor's Note: During the month of November, as the Year of Faith draws to a close, we will be celebrating all the fruits of this year. Each day we will feature a short reflection from Catholics all over the country and world, sharing what God has done. If you want to share your own fruits with us, email us a short reflection (no more than 500 words, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear how God has blessed you and deepened your faith this year!
A few short weeks after the Year of Faith began my plans for how my family would celebrate it were shattered.
I was trying to locate my daughter as she had not checked in with me as she was supposed to when she arrived at a friend’s house. I texted her– nothing. I called–voicemail. Texted again. Tried calling again and a man answered with a deep, stern “hello.” I asked who it was and why he had my daughter’s phone, when he said, “Ma’am, she has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.” My heart was pierced. Just an hour before she left that night, I told her not to drink and that I was going to test her when she got home. I asked where she was and he said someone would call me and let me know once she was processed.
I quickly got dressed and waited to go pick her up somewhere; my husband was out of town on business. About 2:30 am, I received a call from the Juvenile Detention Center to let me know she was there and would be there until her court date three days later. I asked if I could talk to her and they said she would have one phone call, but it had to be to a landline–which was fine, since we have one. I waited until 4:30 and still had not heard from her. I called and was told that she tried to call, but there was a block on our phone. Unbeknownst to us, our phone company automatically blocks collect calls unless one disables that feature. Then I was told that she would have to earn another phone call once she was moved from the isolation unit to the general population.
I was imagining my little girl scared and all alone. Did she think I refused her call on purpose? Did she think I was better at tough love than I really am? What is it like for her? Was she strip-searched? Who is she being exposed to? I was scared to death and I just wanted to hear her voice if I couldn’t hold her.
I united myself to Mary, remembering that she must have had similar worries when Jesus was lost. I prayed to Saint Monica and any other saint whose child had been incarcerated. It was no coincidence that she spent three days in her tomb (cell) and I spent three days mourning and weeping.
My anxiety and worry was coupled with fear that our daughter would not take responsibility for her actions and would try to lie or blame her way out of it.
When I finally got to see my little girl, she was in a jumpsuit and cuffed to the wall of a holding cell.
She cried and said she was sorry for what she was putting us through. I told her that we would get through it together, that God can bring good from even our worst choices if we allow Him to, and that I was thankful I didn’t have to go to the morgue to identify her and no one was hurt. She said that it was a stupid decision and acknowledged that she could have hurt someone, even a family.
She endured three days of incarceration, four court appearances, three months of house arrest, numerous house visits and surprise testing, 6 months of probation and nearly $3,000 paid in restitution.
And now that we’re through it, I can honestly say that it was the best thing for her and for our family.
God taught our strong-willed daughter that He was there for her at her darkest hour. He taught her how blessed her life is compared to most of the girls she met in the detention center. He taught her to appreciate everything she had from toilet paper to her very involved parents. God taught us all surrender, trust, and compassion.
In this Year of Faith, our whole family lived the Pascal mystery. We learned that faith in the Lord not only sees us through the worst times, but that He can turn them into blessings.
-A grateful Midwest mom