April 8, 2014 // Uncategorized

The missing piece

Troy Cozad, a Huntington native, has spent more than 35 years as a professional communicator and currently is marketing coordinator at the Reimbold & Anderson financial advisory practice. He lives in Fort Wayne with his wife, Ann, and their dog, Peregrin Took. He joined the Catholic Church in 2012 and continues as an active member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.

By Troy Cozad

Something was missing.

In middle age that is how I felt about my life. And what really bothered me was I could not quite put my finger on what it was. I had achieved reasonable success in my education and career and was financially comfortable. I enjoyed good health. I had traveled extensively and had far more than my share of unique and interesting experiences. I had a wonderful wife, family and circle of friends. I donated to selected charities and helped out my family and friends as best I thought I could. I wasn’t much into organized religion but in a vague way believed in God and the desirability to live as a good Christian. All in all, not a bad life really.

Still, something was missing.

Then I began attending St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Fort Wayne. I admit at first it was largely to accompany my wife, a heart-felt cradle Catholic. Not that I had anything against Catholicism, but then I didn’t have much for it either. Yet the more I attended the more I began to discover that, frankly much to my surprise, a strong faith was that missing piece to my life. True, my path to faith was neither short or straight — I spent eight years attending Mass, took three years of catechism classes, went through nine months of RCIA formation and almost had to be led on a leash to my first Reconciliation — but two years ago at Easter I proudly entered full communion with the Church and experienced taking the Eucharist for the first time. My Catholic family members both rejoiced and joked (badly) that the real reason Pope Benedict resigned was he heard I finally had joined the Church and he figured his work was done because no greater miracle was possible.

To me now a strong faith life has important meaning. It means seeking that inner peace Christ wished for us by being in good relationship with all around you — God, your family, your life priorities, indeed the entire world environment. It means thinking and acting outside yourself — focusing only on possessions, career, status, looks and other points of self-interest only serves to limit you. I also have learned some hard lessons that these self-centered pursuits are transitory and can quickly be washed away through the flood of time.

Catholic writer Matthew Kelly has a great description of this — he says each person’s goal should be to become more holy in life, and that means “becoming the best version of yourself possible.”

If you want to test yourself, read Mathew 25 and then search your heart to see if you are a sheep or a goat.

It also means a desire to know and share your faith. Two old sayings come to mind — “when you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there” and “if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” As Christians and Catholics we have a great blueprint of where we should be going and what we stand for — yet too often we tend to ignore the sign posts on life’s journey.

I am pleased to believe that, most of the time at least, I am no longer ignoring these sign posts. I try to work every day at becoming the best version of myself that I can. Certainly my involvement with the Church, and with the St. Elizabeth parish community especially, has become among the great joys of my life.

For the past two years I have served on the RCIA facilitation team at St. Elizabeth, helping others on the same path to faith I so recently traveled. I admit it was somewhat intimidating at first — my fellow team members are highly experienced, knowledgeable, and extremely filled with faith beyond my level in every area — yet they welcomed me heartily and have helped me. Through RCIA activities such as leading “Breaking Open the Word” Holy Scripture studies, facilitating class table discussions and helping to provide an overview of our 2,000-year-old faith, it is exciting and rewarding to feel like you have even a small part in helping each candidate and catechumen to become the best version of themselves possible.

I also participate in a variety of other activities at St. Elizabeth, from education programs to volunteering at the annual Setonfest each summer. Most recently, I spent a Friday night working the Knights of Columbus Lenten fish fry at the church. I can honestly say I have never felt more at home.

It has been quite a journey. If you had told me 10 years ago that leading a “Breaking Open the Word” Holy Scripture lesson in an RCIA program would be the highlight of my week, I would have thought you totally crazy. Yet it has come to pass. It’s what was missing in my life.

* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.