My goal when I flew off to my convention last week was to try and find ways of keeping God front and center throughout the time I was there. God apparently agreed with that plan and made it very easy for me by making his presence known to me in many ways, from bumping into a friend from Grace church, to getting to know my cabbie and leaving the cab with a curried goat recipe, to discovering that my flight out was delayed by a few hours, allowing me to get to see the Art Institute of Chicago on the last afternoon.
It was a spectacular week.
God showed up on the first morning, when I discovered that one of my party was going to skip breakfast and head over to Holy Name Cathedral for mass. Before leaving for Chicago, my friend Kathy had told me to try and go there, so I immediately said I would like to join her. Yes I felt sadness that I couldn't take communion... but it was amazing to see this huge cathedral filled to the brim with people on a sunday morning. And the homily wasn't bad, either.
I felt God when I went and sat by myself on the riverwalk near our hotel. I felt his presence when looking into the leaves of a tree I couldn't identify. When I discovered a level of calm and peace within me I didn't know I had. I knew God was present when, after 4 days of rooming with two other women, it occured to me that I still felt serene.
I met God's presence on the plane ride back, when I got bumped to a new seat, wedged between two men, neither of whom was thrilled to lose the precious empty middle seat. But I struck up a conversation with the man on the window and it turned out he runs a charity to help build a school in his hometown in Haiti. He and his wife live in Brockton. I wrote him a small check on the spot and we spent the rest of the flight talking about ways that each one of us can help in a world gone mad. There were several points in the conversation when I was moved to tears by the grace of God. I am sure we will be in touch again, especially when Nguyen and I think about doing something similar in Vietnam.
The biggest thing, for me, was that I felt utterly unselfconcious for the whole time. I felt good in my skin. I didn't worry about what people thought of me. I offered to say grace at meal times. I realized that the confession has really shifted something in me. I feel like a different person. I feel, for the first time, humble and confident and totally at ease with myself, which of course means that I am at ease with everyone else. I felt, for the first time, fearless about who I am. It was an amazing week.
And the convention was cool, too! On the first day I won a drawing and ended up with hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars worth of Pampered Chef products. I won't know until it all gets delivered! LOL. (Why God thinks I need all these pots and pans, I don't know, but I am sure I will figure out what to do with it all!)
All week, I remembered that your Grace is enough.
It is enough.