How have you seen the goodness of God
Fr. Placid Stroik, OFM, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity chaplain, responds to this question: Tell us a bit about your life. How have you seen the goodness of God?
On a warm summer evening in July, 1948, a friend of mine and I took a risk and went to Lou Okray’s house near our home in Stevens Point, Wisconsin to ask about a job picking potatoes. There was no answer after a few knocks at his side door. We were reluctant to give up since this was about the only time to catch the owner after his long day in the potato fields.
As we turned to leave, a window near by shot up…A voice with a shaving cream face blurted out: “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” Our first response was to keep moving away. Fortunately we had the courage to stop and respond with some confidence, but much trepidation: “We’d like a job picking potatoes”. After a few anxious moments Lou Okray responded; “Okay, meet me on the square at 6:00 a.m. sharp tomorrow morning.” We did.
The summer took on a whole new face that very moment. Our lives got filled with expanded relationships with many other young people and the big world of work outside the home. It also put some money in our pockets for Malted Milk Shakes at Fisher’s dairy, later in the day, after 7 hours in the potato fields and it gave our parents some needed help for school clothes and supplies.
While the goodness of God had already been clearly evident in a family of caring and a school and church of faith and dedicated service for our growth and development, this experience in the wider world of work and connectedness outside of family, school and church gave me an abiding sense of LIFE as full of goodness, beauty, truth and oneness that for me were always connected with a God who cares and is good.
That sense of God’s goodness in my life was there as I moved through the years of a Boarding High School Student, a Franciscan Novice, a College student and seminarian in Franciscan schools, a summer camp counselor and a variety of ministries as an ordained member of the Franciscan Order.
Each of these stages always had the same pattern of risk-taking, courage and trust in God that provided a rhythm of achievement motivation anchored in the value of faith in God’s goodness that only showed up at the moment it was needed, but always anticipated by persevering prayer.