Sunday, June 4 was Pentecost:
“The birthday of the church – Pentecost is when the apostles went out among the people and began spreading Jesus’ message thus establishing the beginning of the church. Filled with the Holy Spirit the disciples were unable to hold in how they had experienced the mighty acts of God. We too, have seen God’s mighty deeds. The birth of a baby, an illness healed, and success in school are all God’s marvelous work. This feast day reminds us that the Holy Spirit has poured gifts upon us and we need to speak of these ways God is working in our lives. Don’t let this day end without speaking of God’s mighty deeds.”
So said the church bulletin when I started this entry. Below are just three (of many) recent Holy Spirit whispers that illustrate how God is working in my life:
Our family was driving into New York City recently and I was pessimistic because we’ve never been successful just trying to drive around NYC. My husband is a great driver and a patient man but directions are not his forte – and providing them isn’t mine. I prayed that listening to our co-pilot adult daughter and the GPS directions would get us there. This time I was just the stressed-out backseat driver trying to hold my tongue. I was also silently praying as much as possible, especially as we left the safety of I-95. I tried to focus on the scenery along the Hudson River Valley Parkway as repetitions of “Our Father” went through my mind. As we neared the piers, my daughter pointed out where she’d driven for her cruise management class. I was in awe at the same time I was offering a “Glory Be!” that she got there. As we got closer to the meatpacking district, I said a “Hail Mary” asking the virgin Mother to protect our family.
We found our desired restaurant on Washington Street. I thanked God. We also found vendors, fun music and thousands of other people. When I suggested we google a parking garage, my husband just scoffed. Our front seat drivers agreed that it was unnecessary and assured me that we could just ‘circle the block’ to ‘look for a spot’. I surpressed my reaction of laughter. We circled 3 times as I thought about our less-than-lottery chances and the small fortunes people spend in the city for access to a parking spot. Finding street parking in our native Boston is rare at best – and we were in New York City!
I recognized the neighborhood as ‘Chelsea’, where I’d walked the High Line with my friends years prior. The weekend nightlife was still “up” but nobody knew we were “coming” to save us a parking spot.
After seeing the same street vendor from four different approaches through the neighborhood, I decided to include St. Anthony in my trio of prayers. I let him know that this was a very special occasion; I didn’t want to let our daughters down. I acknowledged that it was not a need and not a big deal to others but it was to us because we are never this extravagant. I told St. Anthony that we took care of others in our daily life and asked if he would help us find a parking spot for this one celebratory occasion? As I finished my third and final prayer, my husband turned the corner and found a vehicle leaving. “Our father” and St. Anthony found us a parking spot for the night!
I am looking for a job and relying on certain benefits from my last one to support our family. Imagine my dismay when I received a call stating that I had been denied. The money I was waiting for was stripped away at the same time I needed it most. I’d already been out of work for a month and now they were changing the rules.
Our checks were written but the related deposit would not be forthcoming. I remained calm while I asked for details and questioned the deciding authority. My voice finally cracked in despair when I was adamantly told no more benefits or money would be issued. If anything, I could file an appeal but even that was already considered late. I couldn’t believe my ears, was sick to my stomach and fell to my knees. I said a faithful and desperate prayer as I hung up the line.
I stood up and walked directly to my desk to do my part. I drafted all the facts and spent an hour writing a rough draft. As I proofread the appeal, the phone rang. I gathered myself and my papers and managed to say hello. It was the manager I had talked to on the phone. She did all the talking; I only had the spirit to listen. She had just finished speaking to her supervisor. He had reviewed my claim, it was all a mistake and my payments would be released the next day. An appeal was not necessary, now that it was written, but I didn’t even mind. I saved the document to remind me how quickly my prayers were answered.
I recently interviewed for a new job and was told I’d hear the company’s decision by the end of last week. Friday came and went without any update, even despite my follow-up call to the recruiter. By 5 o’clock, I was discouraged. I reconciled myself to the fact that pursuing this position for over a month was no longer an option. I have other applications posted, that continue to be listed as active on-line, but all of which, seemed stale and uninspiring in my defeating early evening moment. Literally rocking in my chair like an old woman, I wondered what my next move should be? My i-phone was next to me but I hesitated to pick it up, yet again, to peruse unending listings of jobs where I am either overqualified or don’t understand what the hell the requirements and technical aspects even are?! It was Friday night and I didn’t want to get back on the emotional roller coaster. I was both feeling sorry for myself and trying to ponder my next move in silence. The combination finally enabled me to reach for my phone.
Sitting there was a text message from my friend on the commuter train. It was a job listing where I met, and understood, all the qualifications of the position. I had experience with each requirement listed. The corporation and position were even right here in my hometown…..3 miles away.
The possibilities of this working out for me were very suddenly very real.
I had my next move..
I know I am being watched over by not just my train friend, Maria, but also the Holy Spirit. I am hopeful and have faith about the new position she found. I posted for it on Pentecost Sunday. Now I will let St. Anthony, prayer and the Holy Spirit work in my world.