Everyone desires the support of their friends and family. It is my prayer that everyone gets that support, I certainly do, and it feels very nice. I’ll have to post about them one of these days.
There is another support that for me has been monumental. It is the belief and trust from someone you don’t really know all that well.
There is a woman in our parish that has always held a high opinion of me. We have become friends over the years, at least as much as our age differences can allow. Her children are older then me, so to her I am sure I am just a rather nice boy. She is a strong Catholic, and seeing me grow in my faith has been of great value to her personally for some reason unknown to me. I think it’s just because she is so much holier that me, that I can’t possibly understand.
She is the type of person who is willing to put herself on the line if she thinks someone can really be helped. I remember a few years ago getting a rather strange call from her. She had found a young homeless woman who was pregnant, and had taken her into her home in hopes of helping her keep the baby instead of aborting. This young woman did not really want to raise the child, and she was calling to ask if we would consider adopting the baby.
What? You are calling me to see if I might want a baby? I wasn’t sure if she was for real at first, but as soon as I woke up from the shock, I of course said heck yes! (My wife and I cannot have more children, so this was really an exciting prospect for us.) We got to know the young woman, and sadly, things did not work out, as the young woman disappeared one day, but I will never forget that she thought of us first for such a holy task.
Over the years we have grown much closer. When I started my first business as a window cleaner, she was one of my first customers. She heard I was starting something new, and dangit if she didn’t want to help me out. She is just like that all the time. Whenever I have offered services for auction at a fundraising dinner, she inevitably wins the bid, every time.
I remember once we were on a retreat together, and I grew rather fond of a statue at the retreat center. When it was sold, guess what ended up at my door. My wife and both daughters each have subscriptions to our favorite devotional, the Magnificat, all with her name on them.
She is truly a Godsend.
So I just knew that she would have no problem loaning me a few books. One of the mandates of the formation program is that we begin to pray the Divine Office. Yes, I have an old beat up copy of Christian Prayer, but I really wanted to try the four volume set for a little while to see if I liked it.
So I casually asked if she had it and if I could borrow it, and she of course said sure. I really planned on giving it back to her next month when I can afford the set, after all, that dang thing is $200, and I have a family that just made it through Christmas.
Low and behold, here she comes one day to Mass with a brand new set of them for me. Not only that, but they are of far better quality than her own, black leather with gold edging, I mean these things are really nice.
I tried to let her know that she could have just asked for them back if she really wanted her books so badly, to which she just laughed and said,
“I knew you wanted them, and I know you’ll use them. Just pray for me once and a while.”
No. I pray for her every day. I also pray that I can learn to be so generous.