Friday, November 2, 2012

even nearer than the angels

Your best is good enough.

My friends often tease me for calling everything the greatest or all people my favorites, or each sunrise the most beautiful. And I just laugh along, because I fail to understand how each sunset can't be the best sunset. I can't imagine living in a world where each thing can't be the most beautiful.
[Maybe I just learned superlatives wrong. hashtag homeschooled.]

In that spirit, the absolutely most beautiful sight I have ever seen was yesterday during All Saints Mass. A bunch of the ol' Vision gang attended Mass to celebrate the 21st birthday of one of our members. (Hit up the bars at midnight, hit up the Paschal Mystery the next evening. It's a great thing to be a Catholic when turning the big 2-1.)

Now, the birthday girl's roommate has left the school for the semester, but, unbeknownst to the birthday girl, her roommate was plotting to fly in this weekend to surprise our friend on her birthday. (Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Shmandy. No Frankenstorm was getting in this girl's way back to ND.)

She contacted several of us earlier to let us know what was afoot, and that she would be flying into ND on Thursday evening/afternoon. And then she would show up at the All Saints/birthday Mass and surprise the birthday girl.

With less than an hour to go til Mass, I received a text from her saying: "stuck in traffic :(".
We arranged, however, for her to sneak into Mass as soon as she arrived, and then, in the joyful hubbub of the sign of peace, surprise her unsuspecting roommate.

I missed the actual moment of greeting, but as I turned away from hugging sign-of-peace-ing my neighbors, I looked over at the birthday girl and saw her utterly shocked and surprised face burst into tears as she hugged her roommate. Her large brown eyes welled up with tears: a beautiful mixture of the pain of separation, and the overwhelming joy of reunion mingeld together. She didn't stop crying throughout the whole sign of peace, throughout communion, and the tears continued at least several minutes after Mass.
Her roommate had a grin of sheer delight on her face the entire time. The joy of the reunion shone through every pore on her face. As they hugged, clasped hands, and whispered to each other, their joy was palpable. It enveloped them in a warm glow. I couldn't stop smiling at them the whole rest of the Mass. They were enchanting, as they existed withint this happy little haven of joy that was all their own, that no one else could touch.

I was jealous to experience that joy of reunion as well. But the sight of those two friends just basking in the delight of each other's presence warmed my heart so much, I forgot jealousy. I just smiled and basked in the glow of their joy that permeated the room. As I walked out into the cold November night, and felt sadness and bitterness creep their way into my heart, and felt words of hurt forming on my tongue, I remembered their joy and their love.
And the bitterness was staved off by the image of two friends clasping hands during All Saint's Mass.

Let forgiveness be on my mind instead of anger.
Let peace be in my heart instead of pain.
Let love rule over hatred and apathy.
--from the Notre Dame Book of Prayers

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