I began my day yesterday by going to church. I couldn’t think of a better way to start what I had already resigned myself to be a difficult day (even though I’m trying not to do that…this was a given). I wrote last time about how I wished I didn’t have to see and feel God’s presence in my life in hindsight. Yesterday I lived the entire day in awareness of His constant companionship. It was incredible to immediately know He was with me and in so many ways. I had barely begun the short two and half mile drive to our church before I began to cry. There was no avoiding it or trying to stop it from happening. My head would have exploded if I had tried to erect a dam. I pulled into the church parking lot and tried to figure out a way to compose myself. I sat for a minute wondering if I should just back out and drive away, as I just felt so low. When I feel this level of sadness, I truly prefer to be alone, even though that may not be beneficial or advantageous for my healing. I grabbed my keys out of the ignition, made sure my cell phone was on silent and quickly climbed out of my vehicle before I changed my mind and chickened out. This was where I wanted to be, but at the same time, it made me that much more emotional just being in these surroundings…the location of Sicily’s preschool…the place of her funeral.
Being at church allows me to feel so close to God, and at the same time, so close to Sicily. Tears are just a common occurrence whenever I am there. I just accept that. I stock my purse with Kleenex often. I walked through the double doors and headed towards the little chapel where mass is held on weekdays. I took a deep breath and opened the chapel door. I quickly surveyed the room for a vacant spot and to my heart’s joy my eyes met the eyes and smiling face of my dear soul sister, Judi Ann…Sicily’s preschool director and our beloved friend. And there next to Judi Ann was a vacant seat. I made my way over, pulled out the kneeler, ascended to my knees and cried. Uncontrollably cried. The room was completely silent and I was embarrassed but at the same time, I had no control and this truly had to be done. Judi Ann sat with her arm around me and I noticed out of the corner of my eye as she quietly wiped away her own tears. She is truly a gift from God to me! This is part of healing and I AM healing…slowly.
After mass, Judi Ann told me how she had already attended mass earlier in the week and for some reason decided to attend again. She said she had a lot of things she needed to do, and almost didn’t go, but went ahead and apparently listened to what God was telling her to do. She needed to be there…for God…as He needed her there for me! I was able to pull out of the church parking lot with a huge grin on my face. Yesterday turned out to be one of those days where life just felt good, despite the tears and sadness...it was all still good.
I treated myself by calling in a lunch order to a favorite Chinese restaurant. When I went to pick up my food, which I had requested “no scallions,” I was told that they had accidently put scallions on the first order so they made another order and threw in the first order for free. I can pick off a few scallions. Yippee-skippee…I left the restaurant excited that I could eat my favorite lettuce wraps for two days in a row. Then (as it kept getting better) as I entered Wal-Mart, the sweet little lady working as the greeter commented on how pretty my shirt was. Compliments given by strangers are one of God’s hints of His presence. I don’t know how many times my days have been made by the kind words and actions of strangers. I try to reciprocate as much as possible. But her kindness didn’t end there. On my way out of Wal-Mart, this same cute little lady stopped me again and talked to me for a few minutes…just small talk and nothing in particular. It was if she felt compelled to make me feel cared for…as if she knew it was a tough day for me. She even walked me to the doors and gently patted me on the back as I walked out into the bright sunshine. Again, I walked to my vehicle with a smile on my face. I just love people. God created some really, really good ones! I felt like crying only because I was feeling so overwhelmed just knowing I was in God’s care.
The day ended with a surprise special visit from Father Joe and two seminarians…with ice cream in hand. The care and compassion is never ending! I went to bed sighing a huge sigh of relief that we made it through another one of our “firsts” on a long list of many that we are forced to encounter…a year of “firsts” without Sicily. But true to His promise, God has and continues to take care of us!
Blessing to you all!