It was dark, and there was no heat. I was curled up, wrapped in a blanket that was too thin to keep me really warm. I hid my discomfort underneath a joking demeanor, hoping no one would suspect how miserable I really was. Looking back, I’m not sure I appreciated how heartbroken I was.

The place: my heart. The time: only a few years ago. The reason: life.

Life is tough, and it’s full of both joy and suffering. I reached a point where life looked pretty hopeless. Oh, I wasn’t going to kill myself. But there was a lot of pain — not because I had been abused, or traumatized, or even ill. I experienced the pain of life. I experienced the pain that my sin sowed into my very being.

In my mid-twenties, I met a young man who would lead me, quietly and with no persuasion, to the Catholic Church. I knew, somehow, that he was the man I would marry. I knew that if I was going to give in and actually get married, even though I considered it an outdated institution, it was going to be with this guy. He was different, and in being different, he was right.

Read the rest in this week’s column, inspired by Our Lady of Meritxell, at Today’s Catholic Woman.