"How’s everything going?” my lunch companion asked me today.
I went off on a three minute tirade that featured my latest rallying cry (“No one cares!”), talked about my recent unhappiness using a laundry list of grievances and generally groused about the state of the world.
Then, the door opened and a smiling face known to a lot of people in northeastern Pennsylvania came into the restaurant with her sister. I had heard she was facing some health issues that seemed inconceivable. She chatted with the restaurant’s owner, her voice filled with enthusiasm.
I told my lunch companion in a low voice that I had heard that health issues had forced her premature retirement at a very early age and wondered if it was true.
We stopped her on the way out the door. Instead of trying to avoid a question that people must wonder about, she actually answered it, then talked about her life now, away from the very public spotlight where she lived comfortably for many years. She then departed, and I promised prayers.
Do you ever think that God puts people in our lives? Do you ever think He is like a party planner, seating this one next to this one and looking on with delight as each one teaches the other a lesson?
Last night, it was Palm Sunday Mass at the church in town that offers one of the latest possible opportunities to attend. A crowd had gathered, so much so that another human shared my pew.
That rarely happens in church these days. Usually, you can stretch out and have much of the place to yourself. In fact, some people don’t really care for the company of a pew mate and by some people, I mean me. Yesterday, however, a gentleman I never met sat with me and broke the ice by inquiring where I picked up my palm. “I had to go back and get it because I didn’t see it at the door,” I confessed. He did the same thing and returned shortly.
Since it wasn’t my church, I was fumbling a bit to find the readings in the missal. He turned his to mine so I could easily see the page number, a gesture I felt was very kind for pew mates.
Each day, we have these opportunities to see what it’s like to meet strangers, encounter old friends and meet new people who might be in our lives for years to come. Although my mood has been rotten lately, I have to have hope that this cast of characters that appear and disappear from our lives are part of some grand scheme that will be revealed later. Or, maybe it’s just happenstance. Either way, I’m pretty thankful someone put them there.