Salvatore vividly recalls, “When I was about fourteen, I had my first encounter with Jesus. I remember it as vividly as if it happened yesterday. I had met the Focolare Movement, people who had found fulfillment in life and who were able to get this young lad interested in what they were on about. I liked hanging around with them and together with my brother, we’d find every excuse to go to their place. It was that special aura around them, the ‘presence’ of Jesus in their midst, that attracted me. The fruit of that period? The desire to meet Jesus in the Eucharist every day.”

When he was 20 he fell in love with Adriana. “I decided to declare my feelings, certain that they would be reciprocated. But the response I got was a harsh disappointment. I could not imagine my future without her. I was tempted to withdraw into myself. But I learned not to stop, and to have an open mind and heart. I persevered in loving. After a few years, I found myself with Adriana at my side, and it was then that our lifelong adventure began.”

Some years into the marriage, and with three adolescent kids, Adriana and Salvatore were immersed in a busy life, amid family, their jobs, and volunteer work. Above all, a difficult period began for Adriana. “Slowly and silently, a sense of aridity was growing in me, characterised by a lack of self-confidence. I experienced bitterness in losing people I loved, and at a certain point, there were even times when I wished I could die. But somehow, everything around me was pushing me to move on. I worked for long hours behind a teller’s window with a throng of people in line, and trying to love each one, after which I was at home, cooking, cleaning, staying with my kids, and helping them out. My relationship with God was reduced to a bleak light which was quickly fading. One day I took stock of this absence of God in me, and I was overcome by fear which shook me deeply. I prayed to ask him to reveal himself! It was almost as if I was challenging him. It was during my early morning walks, that I found a relationship with God again, and this helped me re-establish my inner peace.”

And the kids? It was an experience of detachment. Salvatore recounts the experience with his firstborn. “Ever since he was a teenager, he wanted to be a musician. He learned to play the guitar and though he never wanted to go to the conservatory, he got involved in our city – Naples – with musical groups, activities, and musicians of a certain level; He had frequent engagements with them, even if he was only 20. The prospects, however, were scarce. At 24, he decided to give his life a new turn and left for London. It was such a disappointment for us. He did not speak a word of English, and he was going to this immense and unknown city, without knowing where to stay and how to make a living. On the day of his departure, I accompanied him to the airport, and watched him disappear at the departure gates. My heart was torn between contrasting sensations. I felt fear for his life, the pain of losing him, yet I was aware of the need to respect his choices in life. That image of the plane taking off seemed to summarise what God was asking of me: to let go of the flesh of my flesh, to allow him to be different from me. God was saying, “Before he became your son, he was MY son, so do you think I will not take care of him?”

My son now lives in London, working as a musician. “Two years ago, we went to visit him. The opportunity came as he was performing in a concert in a theatre which is considered the temple of modern dance, filled to the brim by 2,000 people! He was there with with his successful band which had taken him on tour around the world.”

And at what stage are we in now? “Well, we’re experiencing a newly found freedom, even in our recent choice to leave our home in Naples for a few years and to transfer to another city, Rome, to be at the service of the international centre of the Focolare Movement.”

(A. and S. L. – Italy)

5 Comments

  • Thank you for your beautiful journey as a married couple. My husband and I have also been married for 35 years, and we have five children. It has been a journey of letting go with each of our children, entrusting them to God and His providence. Then I find that each child who comes into my life becomes my child, and there is a freedom to celebrate his or her accomplishments and struggle with the difficulties.

  • Abbiamo avuto la grazia di averli incontrati durante un incontro di impegnati a Famiglie Nuove. Sono due angeli sulla terra che vivono costantemente lanciati in amore. Con Salvatore abbiamo avuto modo di conoscere una bella storia di santità: quella di Giuseppe Moscati. Abbiamo trascorso tre giorni meravigliosi a Napoli con questa bella famiglia. Siamo eternamente grati. Buon Natale 2014 !!
    Alvaro e Fatima (Brasile)

  • Thank you Adriana and Salvatore for the gift of your experience. It encourages me to keep believing in the love of God for our children. I realized That up to now I have not completely ” let go” of my daughter when she left home four years ago. I too have to take that flight and trust more in God’s love.

  • Grazie della vostra esperienza……e, come un seguito “logico” della vostra scelta di Dio nella vostra vita, Grazie del aver accetato questo “volo” nel trasferirvi ” in un’altra città, per un servizio del Movimento nel mondo. Unita in Chiara.

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