Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Greeting the Vets

A few weeks ago I was at a lunch meeting with some DC ladies when I met a girl named Anna. Anna is a junior in college who is interning in DC for the summer and had just arrived in town two days before. I know how it feels to be alone in a strange city so I went up to her afterwards and introduced myself. We made plans to get coffee later that week.

Our coffee date was a smashing success. She is a complete sweetheart and we had a great conversation, exchanging stories about our families and realizing we both place great importance on our Christian faith. At some point in the conversation, though, I realized that she was Protestant and clearly thought I was Protestant too. AwkwardI figured she would probably be pretty taken aback to learn that I'm Catholic. I wasn't sure what to do about it - on the one hand, I didn't want to shock or surprise her. But I also didn't want to misrepresent myself or be disingenuous

I sort of agonized over it for the next week. How do you break the news to your new BFF that you're not actually the religion she thinks you are? Meanwhile we kept in touch and agreed to hang out again soon. She texted me Monday evening to ask if I would like to join her to greet Honor Flight veterans at Reagan Airport the next morning. What a cool activity! My response was Heck yes.

So I got up early yesterday morning and caught the train to the airport. We got coffee and hung out for a while before the vets got there.  There was a huge group of people waiting for the veterans to arrive.  Here is just part of the crowd:

Anna made an awesome home-made sign for the occasion.

The flight was delayed but finally the veterans arrived. It was so exciting to stand there clapping for them and saying, "Thank you!" They all smiled and were so happy to see us. A few even had tears in their eyes. We shook their hands and Anna gave a few of them hugs.

The surprise stars of the show were two adorable little Hispanic girls who were there with their mother. Those little girls were so enthusiastic and just as cute as they could be. Every single veteran waved at them, patted their heads or shook their hands.

The family talked to each other in Spanish while we were waiting for the flight to arrive which gave me the sense that they were fairly recent immigrants. As soon as the vets came into view, the mother began to cry. She was so happy to see them and so evidently grateful. It was incredibly moving to witness.

After greeting the vets, Anna and I got on the metro together to head back into the city. She began telling me about the great church she found downtown and urged me to go there with her sometime. Oh gosh. I decided it was now or never, so I got up my courage and asked, "What religion would you consider yourself?" She said, "Non-denominational Christian. What about you?" I took a deep breath and said, "I'm Catholic, actually."

Her first question made me think that she's probably never had friends who were Catholic before. She said, "That's interesting. So as a Catholic, how do you feel that Catholicism is different from Christianity?" I was floored, to be honest. Different? From Christianity? In my mind Catholicism is Christianity. I tried to explain that in the short metro ride we had left. Then I had to leave for work while she continued on to meet with her internship supervisor. I'm still a tad worried about it and I hope my little revelation didn't scare her off.

Today is my last day of work at my current job. I'm excited to be leaving and a little nervous about not knowing what my next step will be. But I had an interview this morning and another one tomorrow and I know it will all work out. I'm looking forward to the future, which from here appears vast and exciting

I won't be able to post much for the next two weeks because I'll be in California for my fellowship. I'll try to post when I can and I'll take lots of pictures to put up when I get back. My darling friend Vanessa lives in CA and promised me that we can get together while I'm there. I think that's what I'm most excited about!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, indeed! I'm so excited for our reunion!!