Crazy things are happening. Crazy and unexpected and hopefully (dear God, hopefully, please please please) very good. Hopefully.
I want to tell you all about them.
But, before that, listen. I went to Colorado. My life, which has been a positive whirlwind these past two weeks, has been on this ramping up-and-up which maybe (maybe?) comes to a peak tomorrow.
Two words: new job.
One word: unexpected.
BUT! But. Before we go there–Colorado, right?
In a nutshell–a new job comes up. And it’s unexpected and crazy and now life is full of that transition where you go from one thing to another thing, and you only have a week or so to do it.
I’ll tell you more later, I’m sure.
In the meantime…I went to spiritual direction. My director was like, “I’m going on retreat in a few weeks” and I thought to myself, “That sounds like the best thing ever.”
So then I texted a few people to see if anyone had time for convo and prayer (read: priest-friends). And my dear friend, Father Ryan, from Denver, said that his schedule was open on Friday. So on Tuesday I bought a flight. And on Thursday I set my butt on the seat of an airplane.
Aside: because I didn’t want to pay for luggage or even a carry-on (when did these get so expensive?!?! Seriously, though!!), it was me and one tote. Totes McGoats. Micropacking LIKE A BOSS.
Why a trip? Well. I’m a traveler. And an extrovert. It’s how I love. I love to see things. I love to be with my people. I love to have deep conversations. I love to be in places besides my standard places. I love to experience different cultures.
Also, I wanted to have time to pray. And time for nature. And having a priest-friend in Colorado is helpful in such situations.
Anyway. I got to Denver. I started driving to the town of Father Ryan’s parish. And then my phone died. So then I was required to rely on context clues. I knew the church was in the town with a university…so I watched for exit signs that said “University”, and then I exited. I asked some of the girls at the supermarket about the street he told me. They said, “12th?” I replied in the affirmative.
Then they said, “But 12th Street or 12th Avenue? They’re different.”
And I didn’t know the answer.
So then I left the supermarket and thought to myself, “I need to find some Mexicans. They’ll know where the Catholic churches are.”
And that is 100% racial stereotyping, and I admit that that is unfair and biased, but I wanted to remain truthful to the story and my thought pattern and my actions.
So then I found a taco stop. And I asked a Mexican man in a landscaping shirt where I could find the parish, and he gave me GOLDEN directions (with a faint Mexican accent). Thanks one million, super-kind Mexican man, whom I racially profiled for selfish purposes. May your prayers be forever answered, your family forever strong, your face ever smiling.
Within minutes, I was in the parish parking lot.
Father Ryan said that the rectory (read “house where the priests live”) was “right next door” and that I should “call him when I arrived.”
Easier said than done. My phone was still dead. And the parish was in a neighborhood, so there were a lot of “next door” houses.
So, I got out of my car and walked around the church. A few steps from the church, and across the street, was a 24-hour “Crisis clinic.” So, I walked inside and said, “Hi, this isn’t a huge crisis, but I’m from Michigan and my phone is dead.”
And weren’t they just the sweetest? They found me a charger, and we talked until my phone charged just a smidge enough to call Father Ryan who was like, “I was getting worried about you!” and I was like, “I’m at the Crisis clinic! My phone died!” and then he laughed and said he would walk over.
We did meet up.
Cue good, long conversations about mission and vocation and church and our lives.
Cue the monkey bars at a park we walked past.
And then, I spent the night at the home of some super lovely and super sweet young missionaries and their young family. (THEIR SON LOVED DINOSAURS AND SO DO I. Father Ryan: “I think that maybe God just made dinosaurs to delight children.”)
The next day we had a private mass…for me! We hiked the mountains! We saw kittens! We prayed a Holy Hour! He heard my confession! I talked to him about EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE! We had lunch in the mountains, on a fallen tree, next to a waterfall created by the melting winter snow. We put our hands in the water–SO COLD! So cold like icy, icy ice! We prayed a Holy Hour in a little mountain parish. We had dinner with his family. I saw the places he grew up. We drove back, and the sun was setting over the mountains–holy cow. So incredible.
To you, a reader, of course this is probably trivial. But, I hope I remember it forever. I want to, because there are so few practically perfect days where you get to be a human in a lovely world with a dear friend, so I wrote it all down and reviewed it, mentally, on the flight home late, late Saturday night.
I left out Saturday from this report, though.
Saturday I ate oatmeal with a little boy who can converse about dinosaurs on a pretty deep level. His sister is an all-star at animal noises. I drove up to the Shrine of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini, a woman who came as a missionary to the United States. I love that shrine.
I prayed another Holy Hour (Eucharist not exposed. Sad face, but, there was a tabernacle). I walked through their Holy Doors. I trekked up the hill to the giant statue of Jesus overlooking Denver and the mountains and all else. I drank from their miraculous stream.
Then a young man I know in Denver texted me, “Do you want to help me find a vintage suit for a vintage dance I’ll be attending?” and mentally I shouted, “SPEAK MY LANGUAGE A LITTLE LOUDER, WHY DONTCHA?!” but instead I just texted something like, “Yeah! That should be fun!”
And I drove into the downtown.
(I tried to hit the Holy Doors at the Cathedral. Only, there was a wedding about to happen, and no one in the wedding party knew which doors were which. I tried. May the angels in charge of marking indulgences have mercy on my attempts. It is the YEAR OF MERCY, angels).
I found the young man! We went to one vintage shop. We found a really great vintage navy suit, but it was a leetle too tight. And, that’s not a great option when dancing.
So then we went to another shop, and he found a vintage suit in Glen plaid, which he bought. It was a little short in the legs, though, so we found a K-Mart near by, and I hemmed them a good bit longer for him, in a bar, over the mango kumbacha they had on tap (gotta love hipster towns).
Then, I returned the rental car and flew home.
I flew home in the emergency row, between two men, and I went over and over and over every second in my mind. Every moment was an excellent moment. I am so grateful.
Father Ryan and I talked a bit about the hardship that accompanies the life of church-work. (That’s the line of work I’m in, professionally).
“10% of consolation,” he said, “can make you forget 90% of desolation.”
How true. How very, very true.
Denver. Prayer. Mountains. Friends.
It was truly, truly a “mountaintop experience.”
Thanks be to God.
I flew back like, “Why don’t I do this more often?!”
BUT! In a nutshell, friends-who-have-received-no-updates-in-DAYS, I have a new job. It starts tomorrow. And to deal with that/ prepare, I flew to Denver for a mini-adventure that was a blessing from the heart of Jesus.
And I love you and I hope to update more, soon.