How does an ordinary day that begins and proceeds like any other day suddenly become extraordinary?
I was at an appliance store where I had just written a check to pay for a new washing machine and dryer to replace the machine which had been rattling along for a few weeks and finally gave up the ghost on Labor Day while it was laboring along with a third load of mostly bedding, and a dryer so old it was a vintage of one I left in California, when I decided to drive a few blocks over to St. Charles Church for the daily seven p.m. Mass.
The main altar lights had not gone on yet, so I walked across the church in semi-dark to the far corner where they keep the candles which are available for a donation, to place in front of any of the statues and light and send a prayer heavenward. I wrote my usual petitions into the prayer request notebook, lit my candle and sent a prayer up, then stopped to chat with Maryann and Bob Norman whom I met there years ago. Bob said, “God takes care of us, I know he does…” I took a place in a pew in front of them and Father Carlin, the Pastor, began the Mass.
To my great surprise, in walked Bernadette, from my Zumba classes. She was as surprised to see me as I was to see her. She stopped and gave me a hug and went on to join the Normans. She also knows them from the church. At the time of the kiss of peace I turned around and we all hugged. At that point Bob told me that all during Mass he was getting the words, “…she’ll be okay” in reference to me, since I told them earlier that I had a doctor’s appointment the next day to investigate a peculiar pain that kept me awake for a few hours Monday night.
Bernadette knows I live on the east side, so she was curious about my being there and I told her I was in that parish for thirteen years before we moved, and I had been in 2 wedding parties there, my son went to the fourth through the eighth grades there and, most importantly, my grandfather, a carpenter who was not afraid of heights, helped build that church. Their Mass schedule is very helpful too – the Sunday evening and daily evening Masses. I said I keep coming back and she said she does too. Bernadette received her First Holy Communion here and Confirmation and her brother is still a parishioner.
We said good night at the parking lot and I went home feeling the unseen web of connectedness was intact.