Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Leave It to God to Use You

The basic thing is that I never ask myself what the result of any action will be--that is God's concern. The only question I keep asking myself in life is: what should I do at this particular moment? What should I say? All you can do is to be at every single moment as true as you can be with all the power in your being--and then leave it to God to use you, even despite yourself.
Beginning to Pray by Anthony Bloom
I had to revised my conversion story slightly. A specific part that I never spelled out is that Hannah came home and started pushing us to go to weekly Mass because her religion teacher in kindergarten, Mrs. McDaniel (a woman whose vocation clearly is to teach kindergarten, she is amazing), asked the children who went every week. She then told those who didn't raise their hands that they needed to go home and tell their parents they should be going to Mass every week. As we all know, Hannah went right home, obeyed orders, and ... well, the rest is history.

A couple of weeks ago I glimpsed Mrs. McDaniel at Mass as I sometimes do and realized that I never had thanked her. For her that was a routine part of teaching religion, but considering people's touchy feelings these days (yes, even at a Catholic school), I know that she was taking a risk in telling those little children to go home and push their parents to go to Mass. Of course, I am so very grateful that she did as it changed my life completely as well as that of our family.

I began thinking that I needed to tell her what a difference she had made, but she was always too quick in slipping out the door. Yesterday, at the 11:00 Christmas Mass, she came in. I thought, "Ok, today I am going to be so quick, I am going to catch and tell her." Then she sat down in the pew in front of me. In the place directly in front of me.

I wasn't going to lose a chance like that. I tapped her on the shoulder, meaning to ask her to stay after Mass so I could talk to her. Instead, the whole story poured out (abbreviated and very quickly) into her startled ears. She put her hands to her face, tears came to her eyes, she hugged me. As so often happens, of course, she had no idea that God used her to plant that very specific seed in the one determined person that Tom and I would not disappoint ... our little Hannah.

At the end of Mass, she turned to me again and told me that she had needed so very much to hear that message of making a difference, that I had no idea of what it meant. True enough, I didn't. However, I had that thought suddenly planted about staying alert to thank her and then she sat right in front of me with friends, where I never see her sit. This Christmas gift was coming from a bigger place than me. God never stops moving, never stops working, especially at Christmas Mass.

If you enjoy this blog, then Mrs. McDaniel has touched you too. Aren't we all happy she did her job so well, that she cared enough to send those little children home with that message for their parents? There is no telling how many people's lives she has touched through her devoted teaching of kindergarteners through the years. I am simply the one who was there to speak the words at that moment. I am positive there are many, many, many others who owe Mrs. McDaniel a large debt of thanks also.

On all their behalves let me say again, "Thank you, Mrs. McDaniel!"

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