ON THE HIGHWAY TO GOD
‘American dream’ usually means a stunning career, something like – how to become a millionaire from a shoeblack. But the American success may mean also a deep conversion, devotion of one’s life to Jesus and sharing one’s testimony with others.
A surprising discovery became also our participation, thanks to Piotr Jaskiernia who has been a truck driver in the United States for 30 years. – I have reached to God and it is impossible to go further – Piotr said to young people and workers of the Catholic Weekly ‘Sunday’ who found it difficult to find their place in the auditorium of the editorial office. The meeting took place on 15 February and was attended by students from schools in Częstochowa: the Catholic Secondary School of God’s Mother of Jasna Góra, Technical School of Science, Lower Seminary and Economic School. – I understand that, having a lesson of physics, you preferred to come here – Piotr Jaskiernia was joking at the beginning, for whom it was the last day of stay in Poland before his return to the United States.
From Kraków to the Atlantic
He is 54 years old and has been living in the United States for over 30 years. He was telling about himself in a live dialogue with Marian Florek who was directing the meeting in the editorial office of the Catholic weekly ‘Sunday’. He was also answering the questions of the gathered listeners. – I was brought up during the times of the Polish People’s Republic. My first work was in ‘Trasnbud’ in Krakow. The start in the country where a colour TV was a luxury and the car FIAT 125p was the biggest dream, was difficult – explained Piotr Jaskiernia.
When a hope for travel to the USA appeared, he went in a foot pilgrimage to Jasna Góra in the intention of... receiving a passport. – My Catholicism looked so at that time – he admitted. – At school I prayed fervently before every test and I remember from my sacrament of Confirmation only my fright not to be asked by the bishop about the six truths of faith or seven cardinal sins. The travel to the USA turned out to be a success. He adapted to new conditions very quickly and started fulfilling his dream very quickly; a red mustang with eight-cylinder engine, 240 km, a big house, weekend parties with friends. His week was full of hard work – 16 hours behind the steering wheel.
We were a happy couple but we had been waiting for a baby for 10 years. When a hope appeared, it seemed that we were near happiness – Piotr said.
A stone on a road
Suddenly, events started happening fast. In the 22nd week of pregnancy, there came a crisis and in the 24th week my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl weighing 600g – Piotr said. – Doctors said that Wiktoria had 5% chance to live, and if she could live, there was 5% chance for her to be healthy.
Doctors were supporting her life which was very weak when Piotr had to go to work. When he phoned his wife from California, he heard that Wiktoria was dying. – There are no accidental situations in life. Another driver appeared near me just at that moment, called for his colleague, and said on a parking: - So, let’s pray together’ – Piotr mentions. From the perspective of time, he thinks that it was a turning-point in his life; like a stone against which he stumbled, in order to see his road. During his long routes he started listening to religious radio stations and started loving the Holy Scriptures. When questions and doubts appeared, he started studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
God – a warm-hearted friend
The confession of Piotr makes a great impression: - At one moment God stopped being a picture on the wall for me, a stranger but became a warm-hearted friend with whom I must talk and with whom I want to share my worries and problems. My daughter has just reached the age of 22, is healthy, studies at university and my life has changed since her birthday.
Piotr discovered that conversations about faith are not fashionable. In my family home my grandma got up early in the morning and used to sing the Hours Prayer. At present on the chat for people at my age we can talk about everything but not about religion because at once there appears a word: ‘haunted’ or ‘mohair’.
So, he has his own blog, websites, and a forum. – The forum is devoted to motorization as well as religious matters. We have very interesting discussions here. The value of the websites is exceptional – they show that we can talk about God naturally – Piotr was convincing. At the beginning of his life road he discovered that material objects are like toys and the fact how many of them we buy, does not influence our happiness, that is, whether we are happy or not. Now, he is going further in his spiritual discoveries: - I want to share my testimony with everyone, therefore I wear a cross on my chest, I say Rosary prayer everyday and I often fast in many intentions. It gives me a sense of freedom – I know that even if I lose my work, God will have a plan for me.
Piotr encouraged young people not to be ashamed of their faith. – We can say a short prayer before a meal also in McDonald – the American trucker said to the Polish youth. During the meeting everybody could listen to fine country music. The recordings from a rich music collection were commented by Mirosław Desperak. At the end of the meeting, Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś – the chief editor of the Catholic Weekly ‘Sunday’ and Karolina Mysłek presented the ‘Sunday for Youth’ – the supplement edited weekly with the Catholic Weekly‘Sunday’. The moving testimony of Piotr Jaskiernia made a great impression on listeners and left much to think about and which concerns our road to God.
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