First Step
Off The Wall, February 25, 2011

It’s a proven fact, for many, the hardest step to take is the first one. Sometimes it requires a lot of premeditated thought to prompt oneself into taking the initiative to follow through and actually do a certain act.

Did you ever notice people planning to swim in a pool, will go over to it and stick a toe or a foot into the water? Comments usually follow. “Oh, it’s too cold for me.” “It’s not bad.” “Wow, that’s warmer than I thought!” Do you remember when you learned how to operate a motor vehicle? What was the first step after getting the permit in the mail? Did a voice ring out in the house that sounded something like this – “I got it! I got it! Hey mom, can you take me out in the car and teach me how to drive?” Sound familiar?

When little Raymond became of age, after spending so much time in a stroller, his parents prompted him to walk. What did the whole family photograph? His first steps…

I don’t care what you do in life. Everything has a first step. If I hadn’t turned on this machine, I wouldn’t be writing this story. If I hadn’t gotten out of bed this morning, I wouldn’t have gone downtown. And, if I hadn’t gone food shopping, I couldn’t have purchased a package of bananas that was on sale for $.64. Everything has a first step.

Here’s the real challenge in life. Storing the idea in your mind that such a thought exists of a given intention is elementary. Taking it to the next level is much harder to do because it requires, in many cases, going beyond one’s comfort zone. Busting out of the bubble and actually committing the act is very difficult for a majority of individuals. What one hears, “I don’t know, maybe some other time.” Or, “What will happen if I can’t do the job?” “I don’t know. Maybe next time.”

I’m sure you can come up with many other statements that have been made why people don’t want to go through with these first steps. The interesting thing is, most of the time, these first steps would prove to be easier once the second, third, and fourth steps would be committed. But it’s bypassing the thought mode and putting the stimulus in action.

With that said, On March 18 – 20, the Holy Name Society and parishioners of the area will be carpooling down to St Paul of the Cross Retreat Center, Southside of Pittsburgh, for its 50th annual retreat. Do you know how many times promoters have approached men to accompany them and what they hear are a bag of excuses? Could it be, they are fearful, for some reason or another, of taking their first step?

In my opinion, I think it is human nature to be afraid of something that is new. It’s like painting a wall. You never know what the outcome will be until the paint dries.

Many, many times men have visited St. Paul’s for the first time, after encouragement by family or friends, and come away shaking their heads, stating under their breath, “Why didn’t I do this a long time ago?” One man bucked my invitation for 11 years, and then gave in and decided to go. Now he can’t wait until the yearly retreats. He is fired up!

Every year, the Center has a theme. This year it’s “Because Christ Lives in Me.” Now, I want you to think about that subject. To me it is more than very powerful. We know God as One of three persons in the Trinity. In other words He, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit make it up. So when we are talking about One, we are also talking about the other two as well, for how could either one be cut out of the picture?

Look around you. Everything you see, God made. All by-products came from some-thing He created. Now, every time we as Roman Catholics go to Mass and receive communion, we are given two species, His Body and His Blood. When we receive the host or His Body, or wine, His Blood, we believe them to be the species in actuality. When we ingest Jesus, He lives within us. It’s a great deal more than fantabulous!

All Catholic men are invited to attend the weekend get-together. You need not be a Holy Name member. Carpooling will makes transportation easier. Retreatants leave around 3:30 p.m. from the Holy Family Parish parking lot Friday, the 18th. Signing in is at 5:30. Dinner follows. Afterwards there are a number of activities. Sunday, following morning Mass, is departure time, around noon. Between Friday and Sunday, you can do as much or as little as you want. This is your weekend. Pre-registration is necessary. Do yourself a favor. Take this first step and go. You’ll be glad you did. I certainly did.

For reservations and additional information, contact Mark Piper (724-537-2430) or Bernie Lynch (724-539-1520) to pre-register. Bernie took his first step over 60 years ago!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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