This is my Camino. Welcome.

Encountering mercy


I went to adoration last night and everything was kind of a hot mess.

I came from circus class, so I was wearing an odd assortment of workout gear and baggy clothes, colorful striped socks and riding boots, to begin with.

There was a lady in the front pew who kept dozing off (110% judgement free from me–I have also dozed off before). There was a man in the second pew (it’s a small chapel–maybe 5 pews, total), who kept looking around.

THEN there was an older, ethnic gentleman who entered and had a full, interactive prayer experience. He would mumble a few prayers, then rub the crucifix of his rosary up and down on the printed images of the Stations of the Cross *scrape scrape scrape scrape scrape.* Then he would alternate between kissing the image and this one prayer booklet he had. And they weren’t soft kisses, either, like I see some people use on the holy images. They were loud, smacking kisses, reverberating all across the small chapel. *smack smack smack smack* multiple kisses for every image, after he finished scraping his rosary.

Second-pew man was an older gentleman as well, and also a minority, but a different nationality than loud-kiss man.

Second-pew man kept turning around and looking at me and mouthing, “Are you all right?”

And I would smile or nod or give him the thumbs-up.

I thought that he was talking about the man who was walking and kneeling and kissing all over the tiny chapel, and, truth to be told, the distraction didn’t bother me all that much (big family life, ya’ll. One learns to tune things out).

Once my hour was up, though, I got up to go to my car. Second-pew guy followed me into the foyer.

“Hey,” he said to me, “is everything all right?”

And, staring into the face of this older stranger, I realized: really, he didn’t care about the loud-guy, somehow (and I don’t know how), he was literally just asking about me as a person.

If you had to think back, when was the last time someone has asked you if you were all right from a sincere place of interest? I can think of three people in my entire life, (maybe four) and he was one of them, this stranger from the 9:30 p.m. holy hour.

I thought about everything–all of the mad, swirling things that are going on professionally and personally and medically and all and I said, “Well, I just have a lot going on. Pray for me.”

And, he said he would. He told me his very-ethnic name and shook my hand with both of his and told me that he would.

Remember that this is the Year of Mercy and I was like, “Blah blah blah let’s all do acts of mercy”?

I guess I forgot that I would have opportunities to encounter mercy, too. Like, from the hands of a stranger at the chapel, for instance.

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