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~ Diane T., Yorktown Community

From my earliest memories, I wanted to become a member of a Community of Cafh. I had contact with Communities at an early age, since several members of my family are members of Cafh, and one of them is also a Community member. Over the years, this yearning became a certainty.

In my parents’ day, being a member of Cafh was not easy in a society that looked with suspicion anything different from the major religions. My parents, however, did not let uncertainty and societal pressure overcome them‒they were committed to follow the spiritual path of Cafh and they did. Their example was fundamental in my life, I learned to think independently and act according to my principles.

Being a teenager, as we all know, is difficult in and of itself. In addition to feeling odd, uncomfortable with myself and insecure, my family was different. Most of my friends were Catholic and when they asked me what my religion was, I found great difficulty explaining it. I’d say that my parents were not Catholic and that they wanted me make my own decisions about the spiritual path I’d follow when I was older. I wanted to fit in ‒and yet‒ I couldn’t. I wanted desperately to be just like everyone else, but I was obviously different.

I watched as my classmates turned from innocent children into confused adolescents. I was not interested in crazy behavior, much less in engaging in drugs, sex or alcohol. My classmates respected me and, in their way, protected me from all this. By the end of high school, with the support of my friends and family, I realized that I had to be true to myself. I was caring, alert and intelligent, nothing to be ashamed of, and so I decided to express myself as such without embarrassment.

This certainty that I’d once had about entering a Community faded during my last year of high school. Everyone was excited about what studies they’d pursue and that mindset took hold of me as well. Many possibilities were open to me, I knew I could study anything I wanted, and so I enrolled in college. I remember clearly standing on line to register and yet thinking “What I really, really want is to fly…”

College was not difficult to me, so I spent most of my time continuing my studies of electronic organ, working out, and volunteering in an elementary school in an inner city . It was this last activity that made me remember my vocation, this time in a more conscious way. I helped the school psychologist there and came into contact with a reality I had not been aware of. In their short lifetimes, some of these children had suffered neglect and abuse of all kinds for many of them, abuse was all they knew. However hard I worked, for as much care as I tried to provide, I realized that my contribution was insignificant. I wanted to lessen their suffering, but my resources were extremely limited.

By looking suffering in the eye I found the Divine calling me; it was a call to help in a more effective way. By becoming a member of a Cafh Community, I could live a meaningful and selfless life, giving intent and purpose to my actions. Once I knew what I had to do, once the call reawakened in me with an expansive spiritual love, nothing was there to stop me. For the first time in my life I was truly happy…and I still am.