On the 11th Day of Christmas, My True Love gave to Me:

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…The Unexpected.

Waiting in line today, I did a thing.

I don’t want to talk about the thing because it was a small thing, it was a kind thing, it was a spontaneous thing, and talking about the actual thing sounds like I’m asking for a pat on the back, which in reality I don’t deserve. It really was that small.

So I did a thing, a good thing, a random acts kind of thing.

The woman was surprised.

I was surprised at my stepping forward so publicly.

The people between us weren’t quite sure what to make of it. They could have done the thing, but it didn’t occur to them. That’s not a value judgment. I went back and forth for what seemed like a long time deciding if I wanted to go ahead and draw the attention to myself. That’s just how it is for all of us. We’re going about our days, and the opportunities arise. We either take them or we don’t. It doesn’t actually matter either way, but what happened today was – 

The Unexpected.

The woman received something unexpected that wasn’t about the specific thing, but about something else, and I received something unexpected as well. 

We shared this moment, but it wasn’t just our moment. It was her toddler son and her husband across the way. It was the women between us, and the women behind the counter; a moment shared by all.

A shared thing.

I didn’t realize how good it would make me feel. It wasn’t hubris or pride, but it was that I did something that made someone else’s life a tiny bit easier, and it made my life a bit better and positive.

So when the moments appear, do the thing.

Discernment

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​​How did you discern your vocation, your call to follow Christ? Who were the people who mediated that call?

– Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Bishop Robert F. Morneau

I don’t consider what I believe or what I do through that belief and faith to be a vocation. That may just be my mind’s unwillingness to grasp the meaning of that word, and I may simply need a little more time to wrap my head around it. To me vocation equals job, so for vocation, I think more of priests, nuns or religious women, deacons, even ministry lay people, but for me simply as a follower of Christ, I don’t think of it or call it a vocation. Perhaps in time, it will become that in my mind whether or not something changes tangibly or not.

So for me, this discernment, which is another word I had to wrap my head around, is about my call to follow Christ. I didn’t recognize the call to follow at all. I came to the physical building of a church for solace, for meditation, for silent ranting, and conversing with G-d. Jesus was not part of the picture.

I don’t doubt not that He led me there, but it wasn’t with a neon sign although there was a street sign. Looking back on it now, it would have been a really sad excuse for a Hallmark channel movie; so improbable, so contrived if I’d thought of it as a five step program.

But there I was led, and once I settled in to looking inward and selflessly instead of the opposite, things fell into place spiritually. Once the call came, there were no doubts, no second thoughts. I, the queen of second guesses and wishy-washyness was shocked with which the ease of following Christ came to me.

I was looking for nothing, and I received everything. Once He reached out to me, He was there. I knew all the things I needed to know, and each step was taken with little thought, but all heart. No regrets.

The people in my life didn’t so much mediate the call as supported it, both before and after.

Prior, I had a friend who emulated forgiveness and love thy neighbor. It hadn’t occurred to me that these were Christian values until I saw it in action under no labels. Watching him forgive what I could never made me acutely aware of how many grudges I held, even if I thought there were a few strong ones, it was a few too many. I began to see things in a different light. My circle of friends supported me and held me up when I would falter, and none of that was expressly Christian or Christ-like; but was just good and decent and human.

Humanity.

Empathy.

Pushing courage into my veins like an energy drink.

After those friends, my church family was so welcoming. Before I was Catholic. Before I would ever hear the call; embrace the call, they were there in all of there capacities.

The women in the pew who talked to me, never once asking me where I’d come from or why I was there (since I wasn’t Catholic).

The priest who I was wary of since my start at Masses came before his return from Roman sabbatical. I do not like change. Any change. My middle name should be wary-skeptical-cynical.

His first homily on or around the anniversary of my friend’s mur/der about a red steamer trunk and his sabbatical that sounded remarkably like my recent pilgrimage to Wales was so profound that it left an indelible mark on my soul.

He also welcomed me into the counseling room, not so much counseling as counsel and talk, and never once asked when I would be joining the church or attending Sunday Mass. Not once.

In fact, no one in this parish community ever asked me when I would be converting. They welcomed me anyway.

The church secretary who became my godmother, so knowledgable, so kind, so full of grace to answer my questions, and fill me in on things I may not be as mindful to not growing up in the church. She is my guide and my friend.

All the people at the daily masses who said hello and smiled at me.

The medical and hot water heater help through the St. Vincent de Paul Society, never once questioning my church going (or not going), not knowing me from Adam, and helping. These men and women have a calling; a vocation.

I was never asked for a donation.

I was never asked for anything before in my heart I knew I could give it. And somehow, they also knew.

I could feel people praying for me. My life did not miraculously improve overnight, but I could feel it – people, friends, acquaintances.

Holy Spirit.

Seeing through the RCIA program, amazingly and profoundly at how much they were teaching me that I already believed since childhood and couldn’t quite put a finger on.

So many people involved and encouraging through a simple head nod and a smile.

The people (you) who read my things here and tell me their stories of their own callings or ask questions about mine or simply hit the like button. It is all part of that mediation, the meditation, the call and the give back.

The calling had been there all along; I only had to quiet myself down to hear it.