I didn’t have to wait long to hear my fate. Not being blessed with gallons of self confidence, I managed to successfully convince myself that the propedeudic year had been enjoyable, and worthwhile but would be as far as my journey would take me. A polite letter or phone call along with a door fairly closing on me was , I thought, most certainly the inevitable climax awaiting me. I was philosophical of course, my life would be filled with other things and we would still contribute in a lay capacity to the workings of the parish.
When it arrived it was a large envelope. Quite thick, obviously containing more than just one piece of paper. It shook in my trembling hands as I stood there foolishly trying to guess what was inside. Clearly this was not going to be a letter of rejection…or was it? My mind was spinning with the ramifications- having waited this long, having been through a year of conversation, having in my own mind failed so badly on the interview day,
The last thing I was expecting was acceptance onto the training programme. Yet here it was in black and white.
I was to start in September, just a few weeks away. A year long diary was staring up at me, full of jargon and abbreviations, which over the next 3 years would become as familiar to me as my morning weetabix. Monthly study weekends with further university based diploma courses to be attended at Liverpool Hope University and St Bedes high school Ormskirk.
My heart raced and head banged as panic set in. I hadn’t been involved in formal education for over 30 years. Was my brainpower strong enough? Did I have the intellect, stamina, drive and motivation to handle three years of this? I was racked with self doubt and pity.
My wife , Barbara and both daughters soon came to my rescue. How nice it is at times like this to have a family who love and believe in you, who care and give you strength, and who tell you not to be an idiot, to join the programme, enjoy it, and become a Deacon they can be proud of.
Their strength and another dose of the Holy Spirit filled me, gave me courage, and it was with a degree of resolve, head held high, and butterflies in my stomach, that I set out to LACE on my first day, the third Saturday of September.
That’s when it all started to go wrong……….