By Lisset Mendoza

“Between morning and evening there is a change of time; before the Lord all things are fleeting” says the Book of Sirach (Sr 18:26), and currently we are all experiencing changes in our personal and professional lives.

Thinking here locally, the pandemic has changed the way we live, gather, and plan.  Mass has changed (we can now see it on our phones), we hesitate to hug someone, and large parties and gatherings are taking place with a lot of caution are some of changes to name only a few.

Personally, I have lived through different stages of change in my life.  The biggest thus far was becoming a wife and moving cross-country away from my family into the unknown.  The unknown was whether or not I was making the right decision to leave my entire family behind and move to a state where I did not know anybody and had no job or professional connections.

Ohio didn’t sound that appealing, and after my first visit and seeing what looked to be a convention of horse-drawn buggies in one place, I knew it was going to be a difficult transition.  I prepared myself mentally and prayed a lot, but little did I know the great things God had planned.  I landed my first job without looking for it three months after my move, and we have been blessed with friends from our parish whom we now call “our family.”  Or, as we call each other, “the crew.”

Secondly, becoming a mother to Mateo and Isabella, I believe no one can ever prepare himself or herself for parenthood, especially when one of your children in diagnosed with special needs.  Mateo, our first-born was the perfect baby in our eyes, but after his second birthday, I noticed he was developing a little differently from the other children at daycare.

We spoke with his physician, and the autism evaluations started.  For six months, we met with a specialist, psychologist, therapist, and many other professionals who would look at our son, ask questions, and give us no answers.  My son at this time was nonverbal, and I remember after leaving one appointment with five different professionals, Mateo didn’t want to leave.  He wanted to stay and play with the cool toys they had used for his evaluation, and I knew this transition was going to be a difficult one.

Mateo left crying and kicking, and I couldn’t hold my purse and him at the same time.  One of the staff offered to help me to my car while I carried my son who continued screaming, kicking, and crying.  I was not angry, but rather saddened, because at the time I didn’t know how to help him.  I remember that long drive home, and I cried just as he did.

I prayed and prayed and asked the Lord to give me wisdom to help my little guy.  Mateo was diagnosed with autism shy of his third birthday.  I am happy to share that these days he is fully verbal in both Spanish and English.  The road has not been easy, but God didn’t leave us alone and brought people into our lives who knew exactly how to help him and us.

Lastly, I think of the changes that are currently affecting all of us here in our diocese – my place of work.  We are undergoing a deep dive into all of our parishes.  Some of my colleagues are no longer on the Diocesan staff, and others have joined our team.

In all of these instances, I have prayed and asked our Father to guide me through it all.  Some of these changes have been easy, and others have brought me to my knees.  However, in the midst of everything, I know God has a plan and that I must trust in Him and, hardest of all, be patient.

Being a Diocesan Commission member of the RPRF campaign, I have heard and learned so much from so many of our parishioners and parishes.  I have read comments that many of you too are facing “change” in our parishes and this at times can also be uncomfortable, but as we read in Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

As we continue to see changes unfold, are we really trusting in God’s plan for us?  Or are we stuck in the idea that change is never easy?

Let us continue to have faith just like I was called to do when I moved from California, became a mother, and became an advocate for my autistic son.  Our Lady of Guadalupe, help us see the good in all things and trust in a better possible tomorrow.  Amen!