[October 28, 2015. The below story is all the more moving now. Last night at our Parish IGNITION (three night journey deeper into the heart of Christ) a number of things came together, most notably, Laurie was present. It could have gone the other way. Add Barb. Josh. Mike. Therese. Many others who were present. Each with their own stories. Pronouncing that God loves us and is working in our lives. Believe.]
Find out his parish is throwing an event to help pay the bills - tonight. I get directions. I go. At parish, I have to park a quarter of a mile away. Yes. That many cars. In front of me is a large group of perhaps 10 kids making their way also. Something starts welling up in me.
Walk through a crowded entrance. Overwhelmed. Hundreds of people. All ages. Many wearing trademark pink shirts.
Make my way into one of the large rooms. Two young brothers, 8th grade and 5th grade, are leading worship on a makeshift stage. Really, really well. And in-between witnessing to Christ. Wow. Just, plain wow.
I find the only open chair amidst others eating. Next to a woman whose beautiful head reveals she's been battling cancer also. Find out she's with her grand daughter. All smiles. All hopeful. All welcoming. Real hard time keeping it together.
I make my donation and my way to the gym for the spaghetti... perhaps 300-400 more people eating... an overwhelming sense of joy, hope, mission... love for someone I've never met... everyone having a part.
So in this sea of unknown people I feel connected in our common faith. I meet Rick who killed his first bear last week (did you know younger beer and deer aren't as "gamey" -- I invited myself to dinner:). And Tina, who attributes her battle with cancer as part of God's purpose (took my email- says she has a story to tell... stay tuned). And John, one of the leaders- who shared heartfully their simple desire to reach their arms out around Laurie. And some awesome, young kids... the musicians and their cousins... and parents, who radiate a genuine love of Christ.
And amidst all this Msgr. Billian and other priests... making their way from person to person, evidently loved and knowing names, and faces and stories...
And of course, Laurie... for whom this was all for. I couldn't help but think of a different Laurie. Two years ago. I produced a film about her. Husband and two young children. Dad out of work. No insurance. Diagnosed too late. She was called home a few months later. (http://youtu.be/STtPZCJhSog)
And yet she is part of this great communion. Somehow, she's there.
Family. Genuine. Alive. United beyond. All appropriately under a parish by the name of Blessed Sacrament. Otherwise known as Holy Communion. Communion literally means "with unity." In Jesus Christ. As real as it gets. Believe.