My Journey in Faith


A God of Constancy

I, like many people, was introduced to Catholicism by a family member, namely my maternal grandmother.  She was a devout presence throughout my childhood.  I was baptised Catholic but did not receive the sacraments of First Communion or Confirmation.  Despite my failure to attend our local church regularly, nevertheless I developed a strong affinity to the Faith and its practices.  I realised this whist studying literature for my A levels; my set text was Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited".  I felt a strong resonance with the significance of the immutable faith of the characters, despite the ordeals they confronted, which is represented throughout the novel by "the flame burning in the tabernacle never extinguished".   At university I made firm friendships with other Catholics which gave me the opportunity to explore my faith while studying other Catholic writers and poets.  I was aware of a constant nagging in my mind that I needed to take action to consolidate my faith.  I did nothing about it, too busy working and by now living in London, until in my late twenties, when I met my husband. 

 

Once we became engaged I knew that I wanted to be married in a Catholic church.  I discussed the process with the priest in my local church in Fulham and joined their RCIA course. in April 1999, I was confirmed and took my First Communion at the Easter Vigil Service and then later that year we married in my home town of Wells in Somerset; the service being officiated by one of my university friends, who had been  ordained the year after we graduated.  I moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1999.  I received a warm welcome to St. Augustine's  from Canon Michael who was parish priest at the time.  Two years later I attended Baptism classes in preparation for the baptism of my first daughter born in 2001.  I was keen for her to be given the opportunity to discover her own journey in Faith from the outset. 

 

For all of my waywardness, throughout childhood and youth, I was privileged to feel the presence of God as a constant companion as my life developed, something I was keen to share with my first daughter.  I had no idea, how important that companionship would become. 

 

In 2011, at the age of 44, I survived a catastrophic brain haemorrhage which has left me with ongoing disabilities, paralysis and partial- sight.  I spent more than a year as an in-patient in different hospitals and, throughout and ever since, I have felt carried.  I was sustained by the regular visits from Lucia, one of our Eucharistic Ministers, and also by the words of a poem which my daughters had learnt at school. This tells of an experience in which a person is walking on a beach with God.  They leave two sets of footprints in the sand. The tracks represent stages of the speaker's life. The two trails dwindle to one, especially at the lowest and most hopeless moments of the person's life. When questioning God, believing that the Lord must have abandoned his love during those times, God gives the explanation,

 "During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

Now back at home, I have benefited from the constancy of another devoted Eucharistic Minister, Paul, whose wise counsel and ministry has guided me through my rehabilitation.

A God of Hope

I remained positive throughout my illness and rehabilitation, and despite my ongoing challenges, I  firmly believe  my faith has sustained and will continue to help me feel that my future ambitions are still attainable - if I stay dedicated.

LIsa Beaumont