Saturday, October 5, 2013

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

I am so sorry that I haven’t blogged in an entire week. No matter how busy I have been in the past, I managed to post something for my faithful few. On Monday, I received the first round of edits on my manuscript, so I spent every moment possible pouring over it, accepting changes or making new changes of my own. This seems to be the most stressful part of publishing for me, getting every word just exactly right. But enough of my excuses, here are new words, some of which need lots of editing.

When I was in my second year of college, my friend and I went to her sister’s house in Rochester, Minnesota, for spring break. I know. Who goes to Minnesota on spring break? Starving college kids on a tight budget.

My friend’s brother drove us. We woke that Saturday morning to snow, of course, because I live in Wisconsin and I was heading to Minnesota. Why would the weather not be horrible. By mid-day, as we were one-third of the way to our destination, the snow had started to cause a whiteout on the highway. We were crawling along, only guessing that we were still on the road, snow blowing everywhere. We decided we needed to stop.

We pulled into the city of Chippewa Falls and the first hotel (perhaps the only hotel) in town was the Indianhead Motel. We got one room. Remember we were all starving college students. I believe my friend’s brother was in veterinary school at the time. Anyway, yes I spent the night in a hotel room with a guy, who was in the other bed, while my friend and I slept in the second bed. Except I didn’t sleep; I was too scared coz there was a man I hardly knew just ten feet away. Even though I was twenty years old at the time, I was nearly as pure as the driven snow outside.   

Anyway, why this story now. I was at a meeting on Thursday over past Chippewa Falls. On the way home, when I got to that point in the trip, I thought it was time to stop for something to eat. I’ve been through this town many times. The highway used to go right through town and only what seems a few years ago did they finish the bypass.

I took the exit ramp. The roads had changed, the strip mall just outside of town was nearly deserted. Even Wendy’s was closed up. The Indianhead Motel however was still there and though they didn’t have the “no vacancy” sign out, they had business.

Just then Neil Diamond came on my radio. I know, you are thinking Neil Diamond, seriously? Seriously. The night we had been stranded at the Indianhead, we had watched “The Jazz Singer” with Neil Diamond on TV.

I looked up the hill on the east side of town, to the steeple of the Catholic Church. Really? God, you want me to go up there. Apparently He did.

It was getting late in the day, and was dreary. The rain had stopped, but the clouds still hung heavy. I turned the car to the right and climbed the hill to the church.

My friend’s family was devote Catholics. That night we spent in town, when the snow had abated around supper-time, someone consulted a pamphlet in the hotel room and found that mass would be starting soon. The three of us piled back into the car and headed up the hill.

I never knew until this Thursday what the name of that church was. Notre Dame. I wandered the grounds in the fading light, taking pictures and wondering why I had been sent up here. I sighed and returned to my car. I still had a two-hour drive ahead of me.

Friday morning, October 4, which happens to be our anniversary, I went on-line to find out more about the Notre Dame Church of Chippewa Falls. The first thing that jumped out at me was that it was St. Francis of Assisi day.

You probably have picked up by now that I am not Catholic. I have a lot of friends who are, so I know a little about their faith. I know about, but don’t understand, their allegiance to the saints. A lot of their saints are pretty obscure. (For example, who has been a follower of St. Bruno?)

I think, though, that most of us have heard of Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and nature. Also, the guy that our current pope honored by taking his name. And so, it was after sixteen years of marriage, that I discovered that the date we chose is the feast day of this saint.

I think there is more to the story, but I need to wait on God’s time to find out what it is. So please stay tuned. 
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(Called the prayer of St. Francis, but history is pretty sure he never wrote it)


Holly Michael said...

Enjoyed this post...I can relate...grew up in Wisconsin, ...and yeah, I admit I kind of like Neil Diamond. Best wishes on your book. Oh, and I'm not Roman Catholic, but like St. Francis Assisi too!

Chris Loehmer Kincaid said...

Thanks, Holly, for the comment. I think that St. Francis is one of the best known - and best beloved - of the saints.