I turned around to rinse, opened my eyes - and saw the bottle of shampoo returned to the back left corner where it had been sitting - prior to me moving it that morning.
What? Did I do that? ...how could I have done that? My hands were busy the whole time...
It reminded me of a moment this spring when I'd used the last of the toilet paper on the roll. I took the empty roll off, and thought, "Eh, I'll do that in the morning. I'm going to bed now," and put the metal thing back in its place.
When I woke up the next morning and walked into the bathroom, there was a new roll of toilet paper in its place.
What? Did I do that? ...do I sleep-walk now? ...I don't think so.... I don't usually get up in the night to use the bathroom - and when I do it is a full-wake up process.
Thursday night, I'd had a conversation with a student about "mysterious occurrences" and a talk she'd just listened to about a nun who'd recently died and the order started to experience some "strange behavior" - i.e. the candles being blown out at the same moment in Mass every time. A priest recommended they commit to praying for her for 30 days. On the 30th day, the candles went out again - but this time at the giving of the Peace...signalling her spirit was now at peace.
So, Friday's occurrence made me wonder: have I not been praying enough for Dan? I thought that I'd received my confirmation that Dan was, in fact, at peace with our Lord.
So, this morning, I offered up my Mass for Dan, for his peace, to be fully united with Jesus.
Now, it seems worthwhile to mention that while in Ireland, I had such a strong sense of Dan. I was receiving his gift of a song in my heart, and I just felt very much like he was leading me - and leading me on to someplace new...into a place of embracing more of me...of a future... But upon returning, I haven't sensed him like that. So, the last two months in that regard have been quiet of his presence, but quite full of life.
I settled in to listen to the readings:
Reading 1IS 55:6-9Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.
Responsorial PsalmPS 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18R. (18a)
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
Reading 2PHIL 1:20C-24, 27ABrothers and sisters:
Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.
If I go on living in the flesh,
that means fruitful labor for me.
And I do not know which I shall choose.
I am caught between the two.
I long to depart this life and be with Christ,
for that is far better.
Yet that I remain in the flesh
is more necessary for your benefit.
Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.
I remain...for you.
It is better for you that I am here, Jessica.
Pray. Hope. Do not worry. (St. Padre Pio): reflect upon this was my penance this morning.
Do not trouble yourself with the why, Jessica. Only know that I am here for you. ...I was moved to tears.
Today's Gospel reading focuses on the generous love of God displayed in Christ Jesus. The generous, unmerited - based on no works or no amount of effort - love - and God's right to shower it freely on everyone based on His right as God...and our only work is to receive with an open heart.
During the Our Father, the high school boy next to me did not hold my hand. Holding hands during Mass, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer portion was one of my favorite things to do with Dan. Sometimes, during the Our Father, my open hand will feel a bit heavy - like Dan is holding my hand.
Immediately today, I felt Dan's presence. The presence of love spoke right to my heart, I am here for you. Inaudibly, I prayed the Lord's Prayer; my heart completely overwhelmed with the love of God.
I am here for you.
Those words instinctively evoke our wedding song, "I'll be Here for you", written by Robert Earl Keen. The beautiful, aching lyrics - that seemed to me melacholic for a wedding, but somehow accurate for life when we married - reaching fulfillment in our life together.
I'll be the light to guide your way onto same place new... 'Cause better days will come again; clouds will break, your heart will mend. ...I'll be where I've always been, I'll be here for you.
The truth that God was leading me to this Mass I'll detail in another post. But know, that this experience with Dan was helping to prepare for me what he is asking me, to accept one of the hardest teachings of this faith - this life: unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it bears no fruit. All those hopes and dreams, the desires that I have longed for since childhood, I must not simply take them to the Cross; I must put them on the Cross. I must let them go and die...accepting that the generous love of God for me is exactly enough in this moment. He may choose to resurrect them - and He may not...and I must accept that this is love. ...and LOVE is generous and enough- and Jesus, who is the embodiment of love, is enough for me...and can fill every area in the way He lovingly, generously chooses. ...and it will be good.
I only need to look. Look at the story of us. Perfectly imperfect. Extraordinarily ordinary. Ethereally earthly. Terrestrially transcendent.
Onward and Upward!
(as F.C. Parrish, Jr., my friend & mentor, would close every class)