40 Years in America
Donald J. Sardella
I will attempt to summarize what I believe to be the core essence and benefit of my experiences within the Unification Church over the last 23 years. At the time I met the church in 1976, I was on a leave of absence from my employment as a Civil Engineer and actively traveling throughout the United States. My purpose was to research other possible alternatives to what was deemed to be the inherited and traditional paths of life. I did this by visiting various communities, historical sites and museums, as well as reading all sorts of books on religion, philosophy and psychology.
I was looking for timeless, universal-minded principles and, in light of that, people who were sincerely studying and making effort to create a life and a world consistent with what they were learning. In the Divine Principle and the Unification Church,
I found what has proven to be a clear-cut, long-term strategic vision and context for my life. I also developed a tremendously stronger determination to go beyond my personal history and a desire to live purposely towards making a much larger level, service-oriented public contribution. All of this has impacted, and continues to impact me, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, family-wise and public service wise.
Spiritually speaking, I discovered a real-life sense of the presence of a living God, as well as a much more heart-felt appreciation and understanding of the life and the teachings of Jesus Christ, along with many other major religious figures in history.
Additionally, I became inspired about the possibility of eventually having a family. Up until then, I avoided that whole (and wholesome) idea, given what I personally felt and what I had observed. The whole proposition looked far too risky for me to seriously consider and, for many years, I was not willing to even entertain the idea.
As a result of my participation in the Unification Church, I have made that commitment and now seek to be both a model and a resource for others to do the same. Easy? No. And through the spiritual and character development process that I have accessed, I’ve been able to develop a level of internal resolve to go beyond many seemingly incessant, impossible challenges that I am sure could’ve easily derailed me many, many times over.
Without going in further detail in this brief testimony, our family is also privileged to have four beautiful children (I am biased, I am sure, though we do get a lot of unsolicited compliments in this regard, which we appreciate more than I can say). The Presence of Heaven manifested through the children, in terms of spiritual attitude and sensitivity, are a continuous source of awe and a gift for which I cannot say enough grace over.
On the level of community, I had the distinct privilege and pleasure to meet, be with and work with some of the finest people I could ever imagine meeting in my life. And I honestly feel like we’re all just getting started.
My wife, Iris, believes that, similar to the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series, we should develop our own version(s) titled "Heroes of the Heart." The focus would be to highlight the incredible and untold inspirational stories of love, sacrifice and service that we have encountered, both with our spiritual colleagues and the people with whom we have associated through our variety pack of Providentially related activities and projects.
As a final note, inspired by the heart of our elder leadership, we feel motivated and challenged to be fully responsible for our lives. That is, response-able for what we feel, what we think, what we inherited and what we’re going to do from here on, regardless of the circumstances and events we face, as well as what other people say, think or do. And utilizing the leading communications technologies and methodologies that we have access to, be the best possible, ever-evolving source of True Love that we can be.
It is my prayer and intention that you, the reader, be moved to see for yourself, beyond any public hearsay or media-skewed influences, the truth of God, be it through the Unification Church or elsewhere. May you know God in your heart of hearts and help as many others as you can do the same. Sincerely wishing you God’s Blessings.
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