Randy Hain is a model of a man with an “attitude of gratitude,” and his new book tells something of his personal journey from a man with little hope to one with much to be thankful for. Raised a Southern Baptist, he left that church for pursuit of his own worldly goals, but God kept nagging him. In 2005 he had a profound conversion experience that he describes in his book, and he and his family entered the Catholic Church soon after.
Hain is now a corporate recruiter and maintains a website and blog called The Integrated Catholic Life, which focuses on helping others keep faith first while living normal lives in the world. His book, Along the Way: Lessons from An Authentic Journey of Faith, tells his own story in a way that can benefit everyone.
Fathers for Good: You once embraced the “fast track” materialism of the world, yet most guys would consider you a success. What are the hidden pitfalls in pursuing success in this world without reference to faith?
Hain: I did spend the early years of my business career focused on climbing the corporate ladder and was pursuing a life which I thought was normal and expected. This was also a period which I call the “spiritual wilderness” when I had no faith in my life. When I married my wife and our first son was born a few years later, I recognized that my life was way out of balance and I was giving too much of myself to my career. I switched jobs 13 years ago in the hopes that a smaller company with no travel would provide me the balance I was seeking. This worked for a while, but I was still felt that I was missing something. There was an emptiness and a restlessness inside me I could not explain. In 2005, a series of events – including our move to a new area of Atlanta to be near my autistic older son’s school, my turning 40 and the persistent working of the Holy Spirit – led me to a profound personal conversion and all of us into the Catholic Church in September of that year.
The pitfalls of pursuing success without reference to faith are clear to me now as I reflect on my life. I pursued all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons and rarely felt happy or fulfilled. Getting married and starting a family eased much of this challenge, but it wasn’t until I surrendered to Christ in 2005 that I recognized that all of my so-called success meant nothing compared to getting me and my family (and everyone else) to heaven. I have never been that attached to things or money, but I have always struggled with pride and doing things my way. When I finally surrendered to Christ, I had a new set of priorities which placed him first, family second and work third. My writing, speaking and ministry work today reflect my desire to help others see that we can’t separate our faith from our daily lives. I spent 23 years saying “no” to God and trying to do it my way and it left me feeling exhausted, empty and lost. Saying “yes” to him in 2005 and putting all of that old negative energy into serving him has transformed my life and put me on the right path.
FFG: How can a man be both successful in this world and a man of faith? Are there conflicts?
Hain: It is absolutely possible to have success and be a man of faith, if the priorities are straight and we appropriately define what success means. The conflicts emerge when we place our will before the will of Christ. When we pursue wealth and “toys” at the expense of being generous and charitable to others, there is a conflict. The answer lies, I believe, in placing Christ at the center of everything we do and leading integrated Catholic lives. It also means we must be the same person at Mass, at work and at home. Striving to lead authentic Catholic lives and responding to our vocation as fathers and husbands will allow us to navigate the narrow path between this world and our faith.
FFG: You were not raised Catholic, yet you found a home in the Catholic Church. What do cradle Catholic take for granted?
Hain: I was raised a Southern Baptist, but stopped attending church at the age of 16 after feeling uncomfortable with the evangelical style of the preacher and other things I felt didn’t click with me. I spent the next 23 years in the “spiritual wilderness” with no faith in my life until coming home to the Catholic Church in 2005 after a profound personal conversion. What ultimately led me into the Church was an emptiness inside I couldn’t identify and a search for the Truth. I was missing something that my pride and stubbornness were keeping me from obtaining. When I finally surrendered to Christ in the fall of 2005, I gave up 23 years of pride, ego and arrogance and began saying yes to Christ. The experience was life changing to say the least. My conversion and joining the Catholic Church has completely turned my life around and put me and my family on the right path.
I sometimes wonder if our fellow Catholics truly appreciate how blessed we are to be Catholic! We have the sacraments and belong to the Church Christ founded. We have everything in the world to be grateful for, yet it seems we often take the Church for granted. Many converts come into the Church at a time when they are mature adults and becoming Catholic is life-changing and often very inconvenient. We make the sacrifice because when you find the Truth, you want to experience it fully for the rest of your life. Why don’t we all feel this way?
FFG: What message would you like readers to take away from your book?
Hain: There have been many times over the years when I needed this sort of candid faith “road map,” so I decided to write this for others like me. The book is a great companion for the Year of Faith and Lent. My hope is it will provide Catholics encouragement and help on their faith journeys.
Get more info on Along the Way: Lessons from An Authentic Journey of Faith.