This past week I have had the extraordinary blessing of being in Florida for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist formation. It’s a blessing because… well, it is Florida… and it is warm. Not to be underestimated after a semester in the middle of Minnesota. But more so because I’ve gotten to be with a whole course of wonderful people including my dear sister (Happy birthday, Janet!) and longtime catechist Carol P. Carol and I have crossed paths in the CGS world on any number of occasions—not only in Florida, but in South Dakota. When rental cars were pricey she found a huge monster pickup truck for much less money and hauled us around the Black Hills for two weeks even though she needed a step ladder to climb up to the front seat. Height is not on Carol’s side, but there are so many more powerful qualities that are: generosity, good humor, magnanimity, just to name a few.
This past week, she surprised me with the sweetest story. Janet and I were planning the annual family pumpkin bread bake that we do each year in honor of my mom around her birthday. (If you are unfamiliar with this tradition, click here.) Carol reminded me that when my mom first passed away five years ago, I asked on Facebook that in lieu of flowers people do some act of service somewhere in their community, since my mom was a lifelong volunteer for many different causes. Carol actually did do this! She started volunteering at the Tampa Community Development Center and has now continued volunteering there for several years. This past year during a fundraiser for the Center, she won a gift card to a diamond store. Some say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but as Carol readily admitted, she would have been more excited to win the barbeque pit. Still she went to the store and found a beautiful cross necklace that she bought and now wears, again with my mom in mind.
The world is a strange and wondrous place as we are brought into contact with so many different people and remain connected to them in so many tiny but touching ways. An act of kindness by one person, even years after they have passed on, can continue to sparkle in the world like a diamond, reflecting light in many different directions. May your week glitter with a sense of beauty and connection.
Where to find me in coming weeks:
- Check on my preaching for Word of God Sunday (January 22)… yes, I know, a little late
- Archdiocese of Louisville ALI gathering (February 9… my OTHER sister’s birthday!)
- Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary Yost Lecture in Columbia, SC (February 16… my mom’s actual birthday!)
- Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis (February 18-25… for some pumpkin bread baking!)