The friend I'm visiting drove many miles yesterday so I could meet a real live blogger (hey, I'm one of those, too). She said later that she'd wondered that maybe we were going to meet an axe murderer or God knows who. I mean really - how does one know a blogger is who they say they are? I was pretty confident this blogger was not an axe murderer or even a stranger, really.
After several detours and phone calls for directions (map quest is slow to record detours and construction) we arrived at the house of this blogger. I'd emailed him earlier to say I was looking forward to meeting him and his family, that I'd almost written I was looking forward to getting to know him but felt like I already did through the years of reading his writing.
Our visit was comfortable and life giving. And much too short. It left me wondering how it can be that one can meet someone face to face for the first time and cut through all the niceties in what seems a split second and move to honest conversation seamlessly. I left wishing we were neighbours. Wishing dearest one had come with me because he would have met a kindred spirit, someone who understands the gift of the Eucharist from that place where words won't suffice. I realized we have precious few, well, no one in our face to face life, who has travelled the kind of path we have spiritually. When one does there is so much that is understood without needing to be voiced, all the while calling one another to take the high road. It can't get much better than that.
After a delicious lunch (gotta get that biscuit recipe) we braved directions and traffic (we only had to turn around once)and found the home of a woman I hadn't seen in 25 years. We'd been exchange students, guests in one another's homes, 30 years ago. I found much comfort in hearing her voice, the unique twang to her words that brought me back 30 years in an instant. We visited a few hours and took pictures and caught up on what's happened in each other's lives. Thanks to the Internet we were able to look up on Facebook pictures of oldest son's wedding and show her photos of my family. I had one of those moments yesterday where I realized I'd always feel like I was a teenager in her presence....our lives are linked so far back. It just doesn't compute that 30 years have gone by since we first met.
We ended the day by driving along that big highway that scares the crap out of my mom - she'd be worried if she knew I was travelling on it yesterday - and meeting up with my friend's brother for supper. He was eager to talk about his faith journey and we had the greatest visit about the path that lead us to today. His face just radiated the transformation of his inner being. I met him when he was a teenager who barely tolerated his sister's friends. We had that instant connection yesterday that comes from sharing a vibrant faith. Cool stuff.
This morning I walked to church here in little town on Lake Erie. It's always interesting to me to see how much is the same and how much is different in each parish. Today I felt like it was almost a race to get through the Mass and on to the rest of the day. Not sure how the Mass can last an hour at home with only 10 people present and be done here with 10 times the number of parishioners, in just over half an hour. The nourishment is the same. The atmosphere isn't. This particular parish will close in a month. I looked at the people this morning and wondered where they'd go and what a loss of community it would be for them, especially those who quite likely have experienced everything from their own infant baptism to confirmation to marriage to baptism of their children and grandchildren in this church.
After Mass I stopped and read the parish paper (the front page had the headline "Treating addiction as a spiritual malady" - how appropriate) while sitting at a picnic table overlooking the canal. From the canal one gazes out towards the never ending lake. At one point the bells rang and the bridge parted in two and lifted so that several boats could pass through. For this northerner it was a real treat to watch.
Tomorrow I get on the plane early in the morning and arrive home over 12 hours later. I'll be offline until Tuesday. Quite possibly early in the morning because the time change is going to take some adjusting. It will be great for getting up earlier but a train wreck for trying to stay awake past supper time.
The journey continues.