September 24, 2014

Dealing With Adversity Through Religion

Religion and politics are clearly subjects to avoid as they can create real controversy in any conversation. I am going to take the risk and spend a little time discussing how religion has helped me through the difficult time I am now facing.

First of all, we all have heard the stereotypical story of the Criminal who conveniently finds religion the week before sentencing and uses his newfound faith as a mitigating factor before the Court. Prior to all of adversity I have faced, I would have been the first to claim that the Criminal is clearly exaggerating the extent of his religious conversion simply to curry favor with the Court. My own struggles have changed my opinion.

I lost my oldest Son in 2012 and my career ended in 2013. I was convicted of Bank Fraud in 2014 and I am going to Federal Prison Camp in three weeks. You can safely assume that I have been under a great deal of stress and adversity over the past three years. When faced with such adversity, I tried to shut out the world and avoid family and friends—you are scared and ashamed .  You feel quite alone even in the middle of a crowd. Turning to your God can provide a respite during such an emotional storm.

I truly started to appreciate church and my God when my oldest son became ill in 2008. Instead of showing up half the time and paying attention half the time, I became a regular who was paying attention 100 percent of the time. I found peace and an emotional boost from attending mass and praying to my God. I studied the gospel weekly and began to see how each week’s message applied to my own life.

I am sure God was looking down from above and saying, “oh, you are having serious problems and finally decided to enter my House and take what I have been saying seriously?” He was also probably wondering why I was not so faithful when my life was seemingly going along quite well. I have no excuse for showing up late with severe problems to lay at his feet! However, despite my less than stellar track record, I believe that God knows I am truly in the fold despite being pushed in by tragic events. I am sure He gets a bit irritated by folks like me who only showed up when they needed help to make it through difficult times. Well, I am now showing up to seek God’s forgiveness of my sins but to also thank God for all of the good things in my Life.

We have a close friend who has lived a wonderful life with a great family. She always stated that she thanks her God everyday for the blessings that have been bestowed upon her and her family. I am finally doing the same thing despite my rather dire circumstances. I still have a lot to be thankful for. With the help of my God, my Family and my remaining friends I am going to get through this and be a productive citizen again!

Ken Flaska

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