For those of you who know me (and anyone who has ever been within a fifteen foot radius of me for that matter . . .), you know that I’m a crier. I cry during all the normal times (receiving nice text messages, googling vintage picture of Pope Saint John Paul II, watching elderly couples hold hands, etc.) as well as other times (movies, weddings, funerals, ordinations). So the fact that I was crying this past Sunday night while closing down Panera (here they call it Saint Louis Bread Co . . . ) should not come as much of a surprise . . . ANYWAYS.
Moving here and taking this job, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do any of this on my own – I know, I know, I have mentioned this in any number of past blog posts. I just didn’t quite realize the ways in which the support system would manifest itself once the rubber reallyyyyyy started to hit the road (aka now).
As I was sitting in Panera (Bread Co, whatever), and brooding over everything that it is happening – spreadsheets, late nights, you know, more legwork – I thought in a moment of exasperation, “I can’t possibly do this!” Just when the tears started coming (you know the type), I got a text message from a friend (looking at you, Theresa!) asking me what time I was going to run my errands the next day. This friend – probably after hearing me talk about said spreadsheets & late nights – offered to lighten my burden by running 293847 (okay, six) errands with me.
And then I remembered a friend texting me saying he would offer Mass for my intentions. And then I remembered my mom telling me that her Bible study group was praying for me. And then I remembered the friend(s!!!!!) that have answered tearful (duh) phone calls about music licenses and people that just! don’t! get! It!. And then, and then, and then . . .
Now, I’ve been the recipient of many acts of kindness since I moved to St. Louis and took this new job, but these most recent ones are not mere favors, not mere people offering to cheer me on from the sidelines; they are people participating in the work that God has called me here to do. Sure, He called me to do it, but did so knowing that the Church, the body of Christ, would come to my aide time and time again. All the text messages and emails promising prayers, the old women stopping me after Mass telling me they know this program will succeed have brought me to my knees in gratitude at all that God is doing.
The tears came that night (and have been coming!!) because I find myself overwhelmed by this great apostolate that is finally about to take off. But more than that they are tears of awe and gratitude at the ways God is showing Himself in my own life. Amidst uncertainty and anxiety, God has continuously shown me that as much as I try to do it on my own, I can’t. As troubling as this realization may be, it really is the great promise of the Christian life – the promise that God will not abandon His people. But it’s not only a promise that we wouldn’t be left alone, it’s also a promise that the Church that will always stand behind us, and God will bring ALL things to fulfillment.
SO! Here we go – things here are ramping up and the pressure is on. But the love, support, and prayers are also increasing. The upshot…? I know that God’s hand is on this apostolate. I also know that the Church is standing behind me and, more importantly, behind all the work that I am doing. And there is real joy, even if it comes after real tears, in knowing that God, His Church, and His people are walking with me.