Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kindred Spirits

I spent Saturday at the CIC, also known as My Favorite Place in the World. A man came in who hadn't been to Confession in a long time; I showed him to our confessional and a waiting priest. A girl came in who's thinking about converting from Lutheranism; I took her to our oratory, pointed out the Scott Hahn section, and when she left, gave her a big hug (we also exchanged numbers and are new friends. Her name's Svetlana.). It was the most beautiful, powerful experience, taking people directly to sources of God's grace and to instruction on the Catholic faith. I began to understand why Mormons like being missionaries so much. Bringing people closer to God feels great.

After volunteering, my co-worker Sheila and a guy I know from Notre Dame (Patrick) went to the Shake Shack for dinner. The meal was primarily spent wondering aloud how Patrick and I didn't get to be friends sooner. We didn't even meet till Senior Week, but he's so fun and legit, and obviously such a good person, that I wish I'd known him all four years. Also, the milkshakes were delicioussss, of course. I'm so happy Shake Shack has opened in DC (my figure is not so happy about it haha).

Sunday morning, I woke up late and just barely made it to the start of Tridentine Mass. As I hurried into the nearest empty pew, adjusting my veil and squirreling through my bag for my Magnificat, I saw that the other end of the pew held a girl who was also sitting by herself and who looked about my age or a little older. After Mass, we both sort of stood there awkwardly outside the church, trying not to make eye contact with each other, but both evidently wanting to make friends. Finally I bit the bullet.

"Hi, I'm Tess," I said.

"Hi! I'm Emily."

We started talking, and it turns out she just moved here too, from somewhere in the Northeast (Delaware? I forget). We sat together at the coffee social, where I discovered that she's been working as a nanny for the past two years, and has come to DC to live with her brother, his wife, and their 5-month-old baby (I'm so jealous!). She doesn't know anyone else in the area yet. As we chatted, an adorable elderly lady came up to us with a smile.

"Which one of you is Julia?" she asked.

"Um, I'm Emily," said Emily in confusion, and we explained that neither of us answer to that name.

"Oh, I'm sorry!" the old lady explained. "One of our young parishioners is getting married next week and I've so been wanting to meet and welcome his fiancee. He told me she would be at the coffee hour. I thought for sure it was one of you."

We had no sooner bid her farewell than another old lady came up.

"Are you Julia?"

"No," we replied in unison, as a third lady came up to the second one.

"You found Julia!" she exclaimed, and Emily and I burst out laughing.

After determining that we were not, in fact, the elusive Julia, the second lady stayed to chat. Her name was Mary Pat, and she wanted to know our names too - and how to spell them. She began to write them down in a little notebook.

"This is where I write down all my people to pray for," she said. "I pray for everyone I meet." As we thanked her, she added, "You never know when it could come in handy!"

Emily and I made plans to meet up again in the afternoon, and then I betook myself to the Metro station and down to Eastern Market for brunch with Beth, a fellow Notre Dame girl who accompanied me on my Jerusalem pilgrimage. We went to the absolutely divine Le Pan Quotidien (Lillian, I'm totally taking you there when you come. Wait till you see their board of fine cheeses), where I had an omelette and a mimosa, the quintessential brunch drink. Then we sauntered down to the market, which includes an artisan arts-and-crafts section, and also a food market with such a feast of free samples that I began to regret the omelette. Finally I headed back to Silver Spring to meet Emily again, where we saw Tree of Life at the most awesome theatre ever. My roommate Colleen met up with us after that for Coldstone, and we sat in a local park for a long time after finishing our ice cream, talking and observing passersby.

I got a lot of insights from my conversation with Emily and Colleen. I've been so lucky in my DC life so far. Colleen is like a big sister already, who listens to me gripe about difficulties, and celebrates the good things with me too. Emily is one of the sweetest and most naturally likable people you can imagine, and it was clear from our conversations with other parishioners after Mass that she attracts friends very easily. Emily related how she discovered the secret to dealing with little kids, in her two years as a nanny to baby twin boys (who are now two and a half) - just don't let them get hungry or tired. As long as the boys were rested and fed, she said, they always behaved beautifully. I realized that I, too, am happy as long as I'm not hungry and tired. I think all people have a little bit of the two-year-old in them.

I don't really know what else to say about my weekend except that I'm so happy. Life is really good right now. Soon I'll post about this week, which has been marvelous and fun and even better than the weekend.

Here's what I think: post-grad life gets better and happier every single day. At this rate, I'll be in Paradise by age 30. :)

1 comment:

  1. Wahhh why are you so adorable? I miss your FACE.