Nov 17, 2020 filed under Faith, Trust.

Here’s one of the many paradoxes of the spiritual life: through surrender to God, we achieve our greatest freedom. I found this out when I was 11.

My father was an accountant who played banjo on weekends at Shakey’s Pizza. Sometimes our whole family went to see Dad perform. He and his partner at the piano dressed in gay-’90s garb, complete with boater hat and sleeve garters. His signature song, “Bye, Bye Blues,” which ended with wild strumming in anticipation of the final note, always brought down the house and made us proud.

It was in the middle of such a lively evening that I told my mother, “I don’t get why I would believe or trust God more than anyone else.” Despite the ridiculous occasion I had chosen to ask, she looked me in the eye and said, “We never know what the other side of the chasm really looks like until we jump over. It’s called a leap of faith. Try it—you’ll see for yourself.”

I had my big chance to try it the next day when I wanted to strangle my sister, who occupied half of what I thought of as my bedroom. Instead of being mean, I asked God to make me not feel mean. As my mom had suggested, I leapt God’s way and trusted him to catch me.

I couldn’t believe what happened next—I wasn’t mad anymore. I was actually being nice to my sister! I had witnessed the impossible with my own eyes. Since then, I have had many similar experiences, but that was the starkest example of all. I had instantly been freed from conflict to virtue, from anger to peace. And I had no doubt that trust in God had made it happen.

Losing my trust
But I drifted away from God as a teenager and spent years with my back turned. Maybe I thought He was only good at turning away anger. Maybe I was too ashamed to ask Him for help. I don’t know why I stayed away so long.

At age 27, I thought I was happy. But my journal from that time shows that I was deeply unsettled. I was unhappy without even knowing it because I didn’t remember that anything more solid or peaceful existed than a life of drama and disappointment.

Reconnecting with God
Trust entered my life again after my friend Lauren reintroduced me to the God who wants to develop a relationship with me and guide me to stability and clarity in all the areas of my life. As I grew to realize what a gift that was, I never turned away again.

It may be that we can’t “see” the results of trusting God, but we can experience them powerfully. I’m glad I took Mom’s advice and tried it for myself. During times when it’s hard to trust, we need to make an act of faith in Jesus as the demoniac’s father did in Mark 9:24: “I do believe, help my unbelief!”

Admitting our dependence on God brings us back to him and enables him to reach us with his all-forgiving mercy, by which we can begin again.

Love always,

15 Responses to “Finding God in a Pizza Parlor”

  1. Margaret

    Dear Rose,

    What a wise Mom you had. You have been blessed.
    Trust or Hope is something we need to keep praying for
    as it grows in its being tested. According to Our Lady the triumph
    will be at the Last Judgment. May our Blessed Mother pray it does not fail.

  2. Lucille Sullivan

    Thank you for the good advice. I need to become more patient with my family, as I hope they are with me.


    Thank you Rose for sharing this message. It hit home with me as I just lost my husband to Covid plus he had health issues which made it more difficult for his immune system to overcome. He was in nursing home for 6 months. Here at Assisted living where I now live we have had several mild cases of the virus. I get anxious and impatient as to how long will God allow this to continue. I am praying for the Grace to have Peace of Mind knowing Jesus knows and cares what’s happening right now and something good will come out of all this. Jesus I place my trust in You.

    • Rose Folsom

      Mary Alice, I’m so sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. Praying for you and that you will be an early recipient of the vaccine. We know that God’s good plan cannot be thwarted and so we need to keep each other in prayer. He has proven Himself worthy of our trust and I rejoice with you to trust in Him. God bless you, Rose

    • Rose Folsom

      Happy to hear it, Annamae. Thank you for being a valued member of this community. I’d love to welcome you into my Virtue Circle, a special group of mature Catholic women who meet via Zoom every other Sunday evening for prayer, spiritual guidance, a short teaching on how to grow in virtues like patience, forgiveness, and gratitude, and wonderful discussion. You can learn more at Hope you’ll join us!

  4. Tom Roberts

    Hi Rose:

    “Despite the ridiculous occasion . . .” Is something we often say as an excuse for engaging in serious thinking. You already know that and we’ve both done it many times. Your father mixed passion with talent and practice, did something special with it, taking a risk in front of a crowd. Even the most successful performers would tell us that at one time or another, especially early in their careers, were booed off stage. It’s the parable of the talents (Matthew 25: 14-30).

    You also said “I don’t get why I would believe or trust in God more than anyone else.” But that is a whole world away from “I don’t believe or trust in God more than anyone else.” Then your wise mother said “We never know what the other side of the chasm really looks like until we jump over. It’s called a leap of faith. Try it—-you’ll see for yourself.” She also said “The only reason that I don’t find a topic interesting is that I don’t know enough about it.” So, that’s what G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Day, John Henry Newman, Edith Stein, Dave Brubeck and many others did; they investigated on their way to becoming Catholics. Their leap of faith didn’t really differ from what we scientists call an experiment (an invitation for more scientists to check it out). Conversions can come out of seemingly unlikely places like pizza parlors or inspired by people playing banjos.

  5. Rosemary

    Hi Rose,
    The message you share today, as usual, seems to be the message I needed to hear. I have had problems this week with this very thing. I will think more deeply of this message and trust… Thank You

    God Bless

  6. Diane

    “Lord, help me not to be mean” – such a simple prayer with God showing you he listened and cared. It is a prayer simple enough,bold enough, and desperate enough to enrich all of our lives during these very difficult and tumultuous times. My prayer is “help me not to be mean and help all others do the same”. What a different world this would be. Please God, hear and answer our prayer.

  7. Ana Maria Fernandez

    Thanks be to God to be in this group, I apologize my writing English it’s not really good, but the good thing God give me a gift to understand reading, I read a lot books from Mathew Kelly, and listen homilies in English. Thank you for share your God experience. I grown in a very Catholic home, my father passed away when I was 4 years old, my mom give in adoption with my Steph sister, and my grandma live with us she is the one to guide me to God, Virgen Mary my devotions , I was very envolved st activities at church in the city of Guatemala, but when my grandma died I feel lost I was 15 years, my mom educated me with very hard discipline, when I 18 I run away from my house, and went to find my Steph brother he is very nice, but doesn’t practice the Catholic , and he luces at little village Rsqyupykas with his family, this village is very concurrent for tourism about the Basilica del Black Christ, well I am separated from church I have friends, cousins and I live out of religion, my mob come to California for couple years and back to live at village and send me a message his heart and door from his new house is open for me. I back to live with her I have a baby already, but she need some o e with here, she pray the rosary every night and said you have to back church Jesus ud waiting for you. I do. Feel like to comeback because my friend da invite to the other church not Catholic, but when they said I have to be bautized I said no I am already bautizad. The priest who was visit my mom invite me one Saturday to back mass and I said mybe, but I went because my mom asked me, my return was very victory I feel back home and continue until my son has 9 years I marriage, no good luck my husband drinking so much and violence is terrible, I make my cursillo and god continue bring me in his path, finally I has to come USA for changed my life my spiritual guide suggested and I come first by myself, second time with my older son 16, and third time with my little ones. I was feel I need no know more from Jesus I attended clases in our Diócesis, when I come I was 35, and now I am 71, but for 23 years I received formation, and coordinated the care Hesus in 3 church’s at bajo desierto Palm Spring, I am blessed. Sorry I write to much, but God blessed a lot my family grows and two girls marriage but church the boys not but have families. I try to write my book two priest suggested because said: you can’t take with you all the blessings, you has to share fir woman’s know they can do it with God. I promise to God to serve him and my children. Thank you