Interesting readings today! I always think of a friend of mine when I read the Nathanael reading. He and I share a special memory regarding it. Nathanael is a man without deceit we are told, a man who knows that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus came to him and told him exactly where he had been earlier. Oddly enough, the quote at the end of the daily readings today was a reminder of why that reading is special: May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. ~ St. Therese of Lisieux I am sure that Nathanael and the other apostles wondered at times if this was true. If Jesus knew where he had been, then he must also know where Nathanael was supposed to be. I think an extraordinary amount of grace comes with that peace that arrives when it seems like the last likely emotion to show up.
The past two days have been very full. I am not quite used to all the activity lately. It tires me more than I like. However, I have believed that I have been exactly where I am supposed to be. Add this to the Kaizen goal and some interesting thoughts are running through my mind. Yesterday, I went to a funeral of a 90-something-year-old nun who, at the age of 10, gave her life to God after she almost lost her sister. She promised God that she would serve him if her father would simply change his mind and try to save the sibling by seeking medical attention. Oddly enough, he did and back in the days pre-free health care, he left the girl who had prayed with the nuns to pay off the medical bills. The punch line of the story was that 70-some years later, she had more than paid off that debt. The story was shocking on some levels, that a father might just let a “girl” die because she was not that important and leave the other daughter as payment. Half a dozen sons remained at home Yet at the same time it was poignant, as the sister was in the audience and had directed her son to tell the story. The nun clearly loved her sister and willingly offered herself so that she might have life. That is the kind of love we see in the First Reading today–to lay down your life for another.
This story was told at the reception. I did not stay for all the memories but I am glad that I heard that one. It fit with the interactions of the day. I had not been back in the building where the funeral had been for an event like this for a good many years. I had visited it but being in the chapel (though technically not the same space due to renovations) brought back some marvelous memories of my own of a life built on great love, both as recipient and giver. As soon as I walked into the foyer after hanging up my coat, people, surprised to see me, welcomed me with joy and hugs. I found it a bit overwhelming honestly. A priest friend who was very important to me in my younger days gave me a big hug and immediately launched into a funny miracle story about something that had happened when he and I traveled up north for a youth retreat. There were so many familiar faces that sent me back 30 years to a time when we were all much younger. The sister who used to wear a t-shirt It’s fun to be a nun! was there. I loved that shirt. She was perfectly suited to it too. She still shone with the Light of God’s love. A man who used to work for the sisters was also there–he had been on a Habitat for Humanity build with me one year. One memory after another nudged its way into my heart. I had gone to a funeral to remember someone else’s beautiful life and ended up astonished at mine.
I think the story that came to my mind with the most impact was that of a youth retreat that I went on there. The participants had to write an offering on a round slip of paper and then hand it in. To this very day, I see clearly that memory. All I knew is that it seemed like a host to me and so I wrote, This is my body, given to You. The words and action had a profound effect on me. All these decades later, whenever I had to make a decision, I would recall that moment in prayer, where I lifted up that host and offered myself to God. I have thought of it many times during this illness, and it has brought me much peace. I do believe that I am exactly where I am meant to be and that I continue to honour that promise.
My life has been so gorgeously blessed that my heart is full. If I do not live one more day, I am grateful for all that has been. Yesterday reminded me of that once again. I will take each day, and I will continue to lift up that host in my mind’s eye and say This is my body, given to You. That shall be enough for me. We have passed from death to life because we have loved one another, we hear in the First Reading. This is my truth. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Do you believe that you are exactly where you need to be right now?
Can you recall going into a place where you used to go regularly, after a long absence, and being flooded with memories?
Heart-Nudger, I am grateful for all the memories you show me lately, for the Love in my life that has created who I am. I trust that I am exactly where you desire me to be. May I continue to live in Love and Peace. May all I do be of great service to you. Amen.