GUEST BLOGGER: Vinnie Marotta
I grew up in a Catholic family. By that I mean that my parents professed to be Catholic, sent my brother and I to church each Sunday and CCD each Tuesday. The problem is that somewhere around 4th or 5th grade, I realized that there was no God. He didn’t exist. I didn’t believe that there was no God, I KNEW IT. I could refute all of the arguments for His existence. I learned all about evolution, and the Big Bang theory, and it fit perfectly together. God didn’t exist because, he didn’t need to exist. The Universe worked just fine without Him. And I went on for years and years living without Him. Except, I didn’t. I spent my whole life searching for… something. All of the usual things, drugs, drink, sex, whatever vice you could imagine, I’ve tried it. But, it wasn't only bad stuff. I volunteered at the food pantry, submerged myself in work, went back to school, ran for public office, I tried everything I could think of to make life mean something. But it didn’t. It wasn’t a depression kind of “life has no meaning”, it was just that there was always something missing, something unfulfilled in me. And as much as I tried to chase it, I couldn’t find it.
People have stories of hardship, and a tough life, mine was fine. No horrifying tragedies, childhood trauma, my life was fine. Just empty. I met a friend of a friend at a party and spent the whole night talking about God and her church. My mind wasn’t changed, and I still knew that I knew too much about the universe to believe in God, but I agreed to come to church with her that next Sunday. And I went the following Sunday. And I kept going. You see, the people I saw at church had something. I didn’t know what it was but I knew that I wanted it. I listened, I read, I thought about it but it still didn’t make sense to believe in God, even though I was wishing that I did. Then one day, I just did. Suddenly, God made sense. Could the world have happened accidentally? Sure. Could God have made it happen? Also… sure. Then it hit me that either way, there wasn’t proof. You had to have faith in something. And it was my choice in where I put my faith. I chose God.
Something clicked. I wasn’t empty anymore. I wasn’t trying to fill that void in me with a whole bunch of other stuff. You see, I had a God-sized hole, and I was trying to fill it with anything but God. And that just doesn't work. What happened, what I figured out, is that God is so enormous that nothing else will ever begin to fill that hole and you’ll always be searching. What I figured out, what I found, was the thing that all of those people in church had. God.
I wasn’t searching anymore, I was found. I wasn’t running after anything, I was running TO something. God, filled the empty, lonely, dark places in me with love and joy and wonder. He never gave up on me and He'll never give up on you.