Living, Love, and Loss
By Harold L. Hart Jr.
Living through the ordeal of losing a spouse is nothing I ever planned for, but thanks to God, I am able to handle it. Not long after my spouse passed in 2016, I was presented with the opportunity to attend a Men’s ACTS retreat. I really didn’t know what to expect, nor how I was feeling toward the whole process, since all I knew that I really missed my wife. The retreat and encountering the Holy Spirit through the Love of Christ made an impression upon me that I’ve not been able to shake. Knowing God Loves me and how He shows his mercy sustain me daily. Knowing true love through God is all I need every day.
Before my encounter at ACTS, I merely coped with the loss of my wife and deflected a lot of my feelings. I was probably at my lowest and really felt alone as some point. I was content with “busy” work around the house and spent most of my time building a gaming computer and playing “WOW”as a way to cope.
Between conversations with my Godchildren, Barbara and Kyle, and them telling me about ACTS, and having the homily at Mass feel really personal, it seemed as though God was telling me something and that I should listen. It was time for me to attend ACTS, and though Hurricane Harvey spoiled the August 2017 retreat and moved the date back, this allowed the January 2018 to be the retreat of change.
Encountering Christ at ACTS and understanding that those who I meet every day are never by coincidence, but part of God’s plan that can never be underestimated. The fulfillment, love, and beauty that I see now through our Lord and Savior are made “new” again for me. I see my life as one of service to others and help me to love my brothers and sisters even more, though they may not feel the same.
One act of loving service that I have found at POP is sharing the Word of God as a Lector at Mass. When parishioners convey their appreciation, I humbly have to say, “It’s not me, it’s the Holy Spirit.” I’m so happy to serve as an instrument for God to reach each and every parishioner at Mass. This, along with serving in the Pastoral Care Ministry to bring the Eucharist to those that can’t come to church is amazing. We get closer to God’s divine grace through the Eucharist and being a part of this experience is truly a blessing that I’m happy to perform.
For those searching for a church home, I’d recommend POP without hesitation. I would recommend this parish to my own family to share in a faith community of love and worship. I’ve met and continue to meet so many people at POP that provide proof of God’s infinite mercy and his infinite love. I’m inspired to give so much to this community of believers and those in the greater community as well. I can only really experience HIS love and mercy through giving of myself to others.