Be Not Afraid

I Don’t Know Why (Happy Father’s Day, Mike!)

“Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.  And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.  And it happened that, while he was with them at the table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them.  With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.  Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” Luke 24:  13-16, 30-32.

The day I met my husband, it was our first day of class at Notre Dame, and he walked me home from our english seminar.  By the time we’d reached my dorm, we’d discussed more than just class; we’d shared stories about our friends and families and even talked about what we wanted to do with our lives.  The next day we stayed up all night walking around campus, talking some more.  Although I was nervous about making friends, doing well in classes, and what lie ahead in the next four years, walking and talking with Mike brought me a sense of great calm and peace.

Over the past six years of dating and three years of marriage, Mike and I have spent hours upon hours talking and walking around Notre Dame’s campus, the upper east side of Mannhattan, the streets of D.C. and Cambridge, MA, and parks in Denver and the mountains of Colorado.  Though many of my memories of being pregnant are of days and nights spent trying to understand and alleviate the pain I felt in my back and chest, one great memory I have is of the night Mike woke me up to tell me it was finally snowing.  Though it was almost 2 A.M., we bundled up and went for a long walk outside.  Walking hand in hand with Mike through the unusually quiet, snow-dusted streets of D.C. that night eased the anxiety I was feeling.  When I was lost in the great darkness of worry and fear last week, Mike suggested we go for a walk together.  Though walking and talking with him didn’t answer all the questions I have about my cancer, being a mother, and what the future will bring, it did, once again, bring me a feeling of great peace.

It’s not just Mike’s easy-going nature and unconditional kindness, or the way that I always feel as if I can tell him anything, that brings me peace when I am with him.  It’s that since we first met, I sensed that in knowing him I was growing closer to God.  I could tell right away that Mike had deep faith, and on one of our first dates he took me to the grotto at Notre Dame to pray with him.  When I confessed to Mike that I didn’t have a close relationship with God, and that I didn’t even think such a relationship was possible, he never judged me.  Rather, over time, he gently showed me the peace he had found in coming to know God through the way he lived his life.  And through the way he approached everyone with an open heart, and treated everyone he met with kindness and respect, he showed me how to actively live out a life of faith.

Since first reading the Gospel of Luke, I’ve felt that Mike and I were like the two on the road to Emmaus.  For nine years we’ve walked and talked our way through joyous days and sorrowful days.  In the last four months alone we’ve shared the most joyful day of our life, the day of John Paul’s birth, as well as the most sorrowful day of our life, the day I was diagnosed with cancer.  Yet through all that we’ve been through together, there’s been one constant:  the sense that right beside us, is God.  Although Mike and I share a deep love, I’ve learned, in many ways because of Mike’s deep faith and example, that the burning feeling I’ve always felt in my heart is a sign of my deepest desire for love that could only be satiated by coming to know God.

I am so grateful for my husband.  Not only does he love me and care for me deeply, but at a time when I was lost, he helped me find my way to God, and he continues to help me grow in my faith everyday.  He is a wonderful husband who has also recently become a wonderful father.  He loves his son as unconditionally as he loves me, and I am so excited to see him nurture and teach John Paul in the years to come.

I love you, Mike!  Happy first Father’s Day.

Click below to hear a song I wrote for Mike, “I Don’t Know Why.”

I Don’t Know Why

Before we even met, you were in my prayers.
Candles at night extinguished all my fears.
Didn’t have the words to say, so you showed me the way.

And I don’t know why you love me like you do, all the time.
And I don’t know how you see me as you do, all the time.
I don’t know why.

From the ocean to the hills, you’ve been by my side.
Those candles we lit will always be our guide.
No matter where I stand, I’m still holding your hand.

And I don’t know why you love me like you do, all the time.
And I don’t know how you see me as you do, all the time.
I don’t know why.

Our light will never fade.
That’s the promise we’ve made.

And I don’t know why you love, like you do, all the time.
And I don’t know how you see me as you do, all the time.
I don’t know why.


  1. Karen Caviale

    What a beautiful post for Father’s Day, Ali! How lucky you are to have each other and your deep faiths in God. Happy Father’s Day, Mike! I know you will be the most wonderful father ever, and, Ali, the best mother, of course)! Love you both and John Paul too. I want to suck on his head!!
    Auntie Karen

  2. Hugh

    Allison…beautiful post and song…Happy Fathers Day to Mike…I am very proud of him as a son, husband and now John Paul’s father..Love you guys…Hugh

  3. Fran Hazel

    Alison, Michael AND John Paul, We are ALL so lucky to have all of you in our family!!!! Your post and song to Michael is BEAUTIFUL, Alison ALL 3 of you are an inspiration to me—- HAPPY FATHER’s DAY , Michael—Love ALL of you!!! Aunt Fran

  4. Sherry Willems

    Ali, If I’m not mistaken, that is one of the first songs that you wrote!!!! I remember you surprising Mike on Christmas Eve when you sang it to him. It is still one of my favorites.

    Mike, JP is such a very lucky boy to have you as a dad; Ali has been blessed in her marriage to you; and Clete and I feel extremely fortunate to have such a loving, wonderful man as a son-in-law. Happy FIRST Father’s Day!!!!!!!

    Much love to all of you.
    Nana (Sherry)

  5. Tonight I sat on the back porch of Corby Hall with three other priests (two CSCs and a new friend from Ireland), and I was telling them about my very first wedding. . .about how I trekked up to Kenosha, WI, to celebrate with one of the most amazing couples I have ever met. . .two people who have faith beyond their years, who have suffered much, but who remain hopeful. . .the two of you are an inspiration to me. I will light a candle for you at the Grotto tomorrow, and you will be in my prayers all day, as always. May the Lord bless you and heal you and may Our Lady keep you close to her son’s heart.
    Much love from your friend,
    Fr. Dan

    • We were so blessed to have you celebrate our wedding, Father Dan! I’ll never forget the beautiful words of your homily…I’ve drawn on everything you’ve said many times during this journey! Your faithfulness is such an inspiration to us!! Thank you so much for your prayers. We love you!

  6. Mary

    What a beautiful song and love story you two have! It has been such a blessing to witness your love, your faith, and your marriage. Matt and I just listened to your song together over breakfast. We’re sending lots of love and prayers your way. Baby girl has been dancing around to the music. She loves you too! Maybe she’ll decide to come out and play today….hopefully! I can’t wait for her to be born.

    Mary and Matt

  7. Pingback: 31 Days of Facing My Fears: Day 31 Keeping Faith and Hope Alive | Be Not Afraid

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