So I often get a little down around the end of the semester. The students start to filter out and the campus seems barren. We give our students carepackages from the parish community to help them study during finals. That’s the first signal that the semester is ending.
I was standing at the carepackage table in our community room, thanking parishioners as they dropped off their boxes of well…junk food really. Candy, energy drinks, cup o soups, etc. A young girl from the parish came over and started to eye all the candy through the window on each box.
“You know how you can get one of these, don’t you?” I asked.
Her eyes opened wide and said “NO! How?”
“You go to college!”
She frowned one of those “darn it, you got me” frowns. And then started making faces at me. Then she smacked me and said “TAG! You’re it!”
So here was 43 year old me chasing a 10 year old around the community room. (After 15 minutes of that, I needed a nap!) It was great and silly fun. Her dad, a great parish friend of mine called her and said it was time to go. He also jokingly told me that I could take her and their 2 dogs home with me if I really wanted to.
“OK, give Mike a hug and let’s go home.”
His daughter walked over to me and then smacked me!
I laughed heartily and began to walk back to my office.
“Hey wait!” I heard behind me.
And then she came running towards me and gave me the sweetest little girl hug.
Our parish is a special place. This weekend two of my favorite students got married and we had an amazing Sunday mass this week and we “sent forth” our dear cantor, Juliana, who is off to graduate school in Ireland this summer. We had a lot of tear-stained faces this weekend…often.
But for some reason, God is reminding me of this little girl. Reminding me that simplicity is a wonderful thing, where we experience God more deeply in our lives.
It seems that the whole world is emblazoned with God’s mark of love.
I don’t know if that happens in every parish, but it sure happens in mine.
And it is always more than enough.