Shawn Voca had two dreams like most young men. He wanted to make a difference in the world and to raise a happy family in a good neighborhood. He found a beautiful and holy wife called Joan Lee. Her father gave them a suburban residence as dowry and offered them a rewarding job. Together they not only helped others, but all their talents were in play. They began a model life in everything, from their two cars to tidy gardens.
Then the father-in-law died – while a lawsuit on embezzlement unearthed other terrible scandals. The newly-weds felt shocked. The father’s double life made fools of both Shawn and Joan. Even the house they lived in could end up forfeit to the courts. In the midst of the darkness and accusations, the families of both questioned everything, from any good the father might have ever done, to the honesty of their own marriage, beyond to faith itself.
Joan was shaken. As a daughter of such a father, she now doubted herself. She had never seen anything but good in him – now it seemed that there was nothing but evil there. As the Shawn closed the door that morning, he saw her sink onto the couch to weep. That day Shawn did not go to work. Confused and hurting, he entered a church. In the cold and quiet chapel, he placed his life before God. The doubts and accusations of his brothers and brothers-in-laws crowded out of his memory. All his successes until then seemed nothing now.
After a while kneeling in the shadows, he finally saw that neither chance encounters ruled his life, nor his own naïve willfulness. Something more had brought him to meet that pretty girl now his wife Joan. Shawn chose to believe that God had chosen his bride for him and brought them together. He remembered the good they had already done together. Joan was not just the child of a hypocrite, but daughter of God. A ray of light passed over the cross. Shawn bowed his head.
The memory of Joan’s silhouette collapsing down to cry flooded back to Shawn with pain. He knew how much she needed to lean on him now, though before she had been his rest after a busy day’s work. He recalled how pretty and happy she had been when in another flower-filled church he had smiled and promised, “I do.” One by one, he renewed his vows to Joan Lee before that cross: in poverty of spirit and wealth, in sickness of heart and health, in the good and in the bad.
He would find new ways to be closer to her, even changing his life or adapting his dreams if necessary. They were secondary; Joan was first. God had called him to her, even now, especially now. He chose to love her and strengthen her, even if he would no longer change the world. Then Shawn returned home.
Opening the door he had closed so shortly before, he lifted her from the sofa. Beyond the tears, he could see her beauty. He could bring Joan’s smiles back. She was his wife, and he would live with her till death did them join in Heaven. Joan Lee was his vocation.