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Decisions are something that we must all make throughout our lives. Some decisions are more important than others. Sometimes we need help making a decision. I am going to tell you about a decision that I made not too long ago – let’s just say that God works in mysterious ways.
In June of 1999 I graduated from high school and prepared myself to attend St. Joseph’s University in August of that same year. However, life does not always go as one plans…
On July 19, 1999, my father passed away from a nine-month battle with pancreatic cancer. A month later, I started college. St. Joe’s was where I always wanted to go. Also, it was where my father was so proud that I would be receiving my college education. He was so excited about my decision to go to St. Joe’s. I remember he even came to an orientation with my mother and I at St. Joe’s – he was so sick that he could barely keep up with the crowd as we walked around campus on a tour of the University. As sick as he was, he came anyway!
So, it was August 1999 and off I went to St. Joseph’s University. I lasted two weeks. I decided to withdraw from school – everything was just too overwhelming at this point. I felt as though my life was spiraling out of control. I promised my mother that this was just a leave of absence and that I would once again attend St. Joe’s starting in January.
January was quickly approaching and I had no desire to go back to St. Joe’s (after all, it was the same place where I had not succeeded just months before). I told my mom that I would not be returning to St. Joe’s. She was very disappointed and tried to talk me into returning. But, my mind was made up – I could not go back there.
At the last minute, I registered for classes at the local community college, Delaware County. I remained at Delaware County Community College for a year and a half and then felt as though it was time to move on. But where would I go? It was time for me to make my decision.
I knew that I wanted to stay close to home, therefore, I had decided that I would attend either West Chester University or St. Joseph’s University. My friend, Reenie, attended West Chester University. She wanted me to get a house with her and her friends. Great!, I thought, I know someone there and I even have a place to live. So, I told her that I would move in with them – I decided to go to West Chester – however, for the wrong reason. In the back of my mind, I knew that I was desperately avoiding going back to St. Joe’s. For some reason, I had felt as though St. Joe’s was harder than West Chester and that I could not cut it – that I could not keep up with the workload. I had made St. Joe’s into this insurmountable mountain top that I felt as though I could never climb. I knew the real reason that I picked West Chester was to avoid St. Joe’s. I informed my mother of my decision and she was very disappointed – she knew that I had always wanted to go to St. Joe’s and she knew the reason why I was not going back. She later told me that she began to pray to my father. She was praying to make sure that I would end up at the right place – she was praying for some sort of sign to let her know that I was supposed to be wherever I ended up. I, too, knew that my reason for choosing West Chester was not that I truly wanted to go there – but, rather, for me, it was the more comfortable, easier decision. Knowing this, I could not go through with it – I decided to go to St. Joe’s.
Needless to say, my mother was very happy with my decision. But, she continued to pray for a sign to know if this was, in fact, the right decision. On March 19, 2001, we received our answer.
Ring!!! Ring!!! – the telephone rang. “Hello”, I said. “Gina, did you just see the 5 o’clock news?” – my uncle was on the other end of the telephone line – telling me the unbelievable news that my father had just been on the Channel 6 Action News at 5 pm (He was a pharmacist and this particular clip showed him dispensing drugs – it was for some sort of Health Check segment). We were all in a state of shock and disbelief. After all, he had been dead for over a year and a half. And here he was – “appearing” on Action News.
But why, why had he “appeared” on television? Everyone thought that this had happened for some reason. But what was the reason? My aunt called my mom the following day. She suggested that perhaps he had “appeared” on television in order to let everyone know that he was all right. My mother told her that this could not be the reason. First of all, she already knew he was all right. And second of all, why would he have waited over a year and a half to tell her that he was all right. No, this was not the reason. But what was the reason? My mother hung up the phone and flipped her calendar over to the previous day (the day of the “appearance”) – March 19th, the feast of St. Joseph.
We had received the sign that we were waiting for – I had made the right decision. St. Joseph’s University was where I was supposed to be – my mother’s prayer was answered – loud and clear!
My, how God works, – sometimes not in so mysterious ways!
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© 2002 Gina Smith
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