A question asked to me when I was a Freshman on my first day of CYO. CYO stands for Catholic Youth Organization, and it was how most high schoolers were involved with their Catholic Church.
After thinking for a while, I answered in my head "probably about half way."
You see, at that age, I had never really been tested in life. I was incredibly blessed to have a wonderful family, warm home, good food, success in school and sports, and many other reasons to be at peace with my life and my faith. I talked to God everyday and was incredibly proud to be Catholic.
I still believe to this day, that at that time in my life I was "half way." But being only half-way, I couldn't see the rivers to cross, mountains to climb, and valleys to try and avoid. That second half of the "road to heaven" is tough.
Somewhere along the way I took a wrong turn. I don't believe that I fell completely off the path, but I definitely took the longer route. I was very good at rationalizing and make excuses why I didn't make it to church every Sundays, why it was ok to do and say things I never did before, and why I no longer prayed at night.
It wasn't working for me. I was not happy.
Then, late one night, I returned a phone call from my brother that I had missed while coaching a basketball game. Little did I know that not only was that phone call going to change his life, but mine as well.
My brother was a Sophomore at Pratt Community College and was in the middle of a very exciting recruiting experience to see what school out of state would pay him to come play baseball, but all of that changed when he found out that he was soon to be a father. Unexpected, unplanned, and upsetting. We both cried that night. He was scared, sad, and disappointed. I was very sad for him and angry.
I was not angry at Joe. His life was going to change dramatically and suddenly. I was angry with God. All I had ever wanted was to be married and have a family, and I was doing things "right." Or what I considered more right than my brother was. He was getting what I wanted (not exactly, but at that time, it's what I thought of).
I prayed that night. For the first time in a long time. I talked to God and asked Him why things weren't turning out the way I knew they were supposed to. And then it dawned on me. Almost instantly...
If everything that is good happens through God, He can't be put on the "back burner" of life. He has to be upfront where your attention is focused. Once I came to that realization, my life started to change. I tried to make my way back to that path toward Heaven.
I started out by going back to church, every Sunday (I don't think I've missed more than two Sundays since that phone call from Joe). I started praying again...when I don't accidentally fall asleep before I finish. And you know what I found?
Life was better.
Not immediately, but slowly through the months, I was happier.
It was after that pivotal moment in my life. After that phone call, after returning to my path that I met Ethan.
Now I try to think often of where I am "on journey to Heaven." Now the challenge has become not only how do I get to heaven, but how do I help my life partner to get there as well. How do we work together to have a family and begin the path for each one of our children. I know there are many more hills, mountains, curves, and valleys along my path, but I truly believe staying strong in my faith and walking with my Husband, we will eventually make it all the way to the top. All the way to paradise.