Friday, December 24, 2010

Wise Girls Still Seek Him

I was seeking Him tonight, as I do every Christmas Eve.  Looking for the Christmas star, pointing the way towards the greatest Love in the smallest bundle.

I did not have to travel as far as the Wise Men, only to Napa, as I have done the past several years to a beautiful church there.  It is not Christmas for me unless I attend the Children's Mass, and see Him, and him too.  I am not a Catholic, just a believer, and on Christmas Eve there is no place I would rather be.

It all started several years ago, when I worked as a server up Valley, in Yountville.  There was a threesome I waited on almost every other Sunday night.  Two women, and a man.  A very special man with a great sense of humor, a twinkle in his eye, and wit drier than a martini with no vermouth.

I never could figure out the relationship between the three, if they were family or old friends.  I just knew I looked forward to seeing them every time they came.  They always asked for me, it was just a given that I would wait on them.  Everyone knew.

One Sunday night as I arrived at work and got ready to go on the floor, the Hostess let me know, as she often did, I had reservation requests.  I always loved that, my little fan club of people who always wanted me to be their server.

"Who's coming in tonight?" I asked her.

"Well one of your favorites, for sure" she smiled, and her blond ponytail almost bounced as she nodded her head.

"Who?" I was excited.

"Monsignor Joseph and the Sisters."

I was puzzled.  Monsignor Joseph?  H-m-m.  I didn't recall waiting on a priest and must have had a puzzled look on my face.

"You know silly, Monsignor Joseph, you wait on him like almost every Sunday, for the last year.  He comes in with Sister Peggy and Sister Philomena.  I go to his church, you know him.  Monsignor Joseph!"

Oh my  I was shocked.

"Do you mean to tell me that man is a priest, the one I've been flirting with and being silly with the last year, and the two ladies are nuns?"  Gulp.  I never knew, they never let on.

I started re-tracing all my steps and evenings I had waited on them; what a cutup I had been, oh dear, had I said anything naughty?  That night when I approached their table I said "Happy Sunday FATHER."

He grinned.  "So, I've been found out!"

I laughed like a schoolgirl.  "Why didn't you tell me you were a priest?"

"And spoil all the fun?" he said, getting the better of me, even if he is a priest.  I like that.

I've been waiting on Monsignor and the Sisters, all of whom I adore, ever since.  Even when I made a job change, they followed me there.

I love them.  They love me.  Once Sister Peggy whispered to me as they were leaving "Father loves you, you always take such good care of him and us, and we look forward to seeing our Debbie."

It has been my tradition to attend their Christmas Eve service for the last several years, and they treat me like visiting royalty, always ushering me to a front "reserved" pew.

I had not seen them since receiving my diagnosis, although I did call Monsignor Joseph when I did.  We had a long talk on the phone; I cried and he reassured me.  That was early this Spring.

I called a couple of days ago and left a message for Sister Peggy that I would be there this Christmas Eve.  I received a voicemail from her later that day, so happy to hear from me, and  thrilled I was coming.

So there I was tonight, after all I've been through, so happy to be there Christmas Eve, with the end of my treatment in sight.  I walked in to the church and saw Sister Peggy right away, and we embraced for a few minutes, then Sister Philomena saw us and joined in.

I took Grandma with me tonight, she has attended with me the last few years.  We were both grateful to be there again; she is 86 now and suffered a stroke in the weeks prior to my diagnosis.  Husband really had his hands full this year with his Mother and his Wife.

The Sisters lead us up front, to our saved spot and the church looked absolutely beautiful, as it does every Christmas Eve.

Soon enough, I saw Monsignor making his way towards me.  He couldn't walk fast enough for me, and I could have hurdled the pews but restrained myself.

"It is so good to see you, you look just great" he said, hugging me.

"It is so good to see you Father."

"I have something for you" and I saw he was holding a small blue box.  "I got this for you, and I'm so happy to see you tonight."  He handed me the box.

Inside was a beautiful silver medal, with a pearly robin's egg blue inlay, and the Mother Mary standing there, her arms open.

Ya got to be pretty special to get a necklace from a priest.  I'm just sayin.

"The Bishop has been asking about you too, we've all been praying for you, and talk about you all the time."

I met the Bishop once when he was in town, and Monsignor brought him in to the restaurant to have dinner, and of course, meet me.

Tonight I am writing my blog with my blessed medal on, thinking about the service tonight, and all the beautiful little children as angels and shepherds telling the story of a miraculous birth in the most humble of places.

It is often said that God uses our greatest challenges to reveal to us our greatest gifts.

I have one big present coming my way.  Just kidding God.  Sort of.

Of all the beautiful, sacred Christmases I've had, and there have been so many, none is better than this one.

I feel like George Bailey in my heart tonight, running through the snowy streets of Bedford Falls, thanking everyone and everything, kissing trees, and pulling rose petals out of my pocket.

It's a wonderful life.

Merry Christmas, with much love, so much love.

Merry Christmas.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Merry, Merry Christmas to you and your family. Hugs and Kisses to the Moon and back!

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