Many of the articles which appear on Catholic Stand are correctly concerned about the election, abortion, medical issues, technology which blurs reality, the general economy, and the state of the world as seen from a Catholic-Christian perspective. Today, I am in a more pensive state, listening for the “light silent sound” as is discussed in 1 Kings 19:12.
A Useful Contraction
At the outset, it will be useful to establish what has become a very useful contraction in my life. The simple word “gratitude” is, for me, a contraction of the words “great attitude”. I start most of my prayer and/or meditation sessions off with things for which I am grateful. This puts me in the frame of mind necessary to chat with the Creator of the Universe, as it is a reminder of who is actually in charge of all of this, and my rather tiny place in the grand scheme.
An attitude of gratitude is also quite helpful when looking around for all of the places in and around my life which are, have been, and continue to be touched by the hand of God.
Attitude of Gratitude
An attitude of gratitude, for me, makes it very easy to be much more aware of the gentle, soft breeze of God in my life. I am incredibly impressed by that which has happened over the course of the most recent 9 or 10 months. The beauty of the most recent past is that essentially none of the events were planned.
Late last Spring, as I was out walking the dog in the early morning, I was involved in my morning prayers and simply said something such as, “You know that we have been here in Central Texas for the better part of 20 years, and while we are involved in many activities and have a wide circle of acquaintances, as well as a good number of friends, there is nothing really holding us here, so, just put us where we can be of service to you and where we can help others.”
I used the same sort of thought for a few days and then simply continued along with life.
While my wife and I were not paying any attention, He seemed to be working out the alignment of a serious bunch of stars and many items came up over the course of the next few weeks that seemed to point us towards East TN. Some of these seemed to be large, many to most were of the “light silent sound” level.
My wife and I had driven through TN several times on our way to VA where our youngest daughter, a USAF Lt. Col.(Ret), was living while finishing her career. Each time we crossed from Arkansas into TN and passed the Mud Island Pyramid and St. Jude’s Hospital, the car seemed to relax and become less stressed at the drive, and the feeling which came over me was the sense that I was home.
We drove out in May for a week of house hunting. We found one, made an offer on it, and ordered the inspection. Our daughter was enthusiastic about the house, but my wife and I were not totally on board with it. The inspection failed due to some plumbing issues and some electrical issues.
The ride back to TX gave us plenty of time to offer heartfelt thanks for protecting us from that house. When we got back to our home in TX, we would check in with the Big Guy to assure we were acting in accordance with His wishes, and not trying to force a fit to anything.
The response we got back was interesting and somewhat “cute”. My wife came upon an article that described the “Livability Index” for many of the cities and towns in the US ( this appeared in an AARP publication ).
Looking up the index for our town in Texas, it had a rating of 48. A rating it earned based on good health care, proximity to cities, and other related items. The index listing indicated that the rating might have been higher were it not for factors such as the cost of housing, property taxes, etc.
A search of the communities we had visited during our house hunting resulted in an index rating of 52. Lower housing costs, lower fuel costs, lower electric bill, but the health care rating was down a bit.
June, another trip, another house hunt, another offer, another inspection, another pulled plug. More meditation and prayer, was this our idea or His?
Third Time Is the Charm
A third house hunting trip and the stars continued to align. Our daughter had joined us on our house hunting and asked our agent if we could check on a home she had seen on the web that morning. She bought a home on a lake in East TN, and we secured a home some 13 miles away from her.
She needed to work out of a lease in VA, so, my wife and I moved into her home while the various contracts, inspections, etc were performed on the home we purchased. We were able to move into our home a week before our daughter moved into hers. Our home in Texas was sold after being on the market for only six days .
Sometimes, the “light silent sound” is actually more of a klaxon.
The Continuing Light Sound
Before we had left Central Texas, we had made contact with one of the local conferences of the Society of St Vincent de Paul here in East TN. The first weekend we were here, we attended a Council-wide meeting in Knoxville.
A couple of weeks after moving into our daughter’s home and a couple of Forms 100 (membership transfer forms for the Knights of Columbus) later, it was time for me to go to my first Knights meeting in our new parish. While introducing myself to the guys, one asked, “What did you do in your previous parish?” I mentioned that my wife and I did the homebound ministry, a nursing home ministry, and we did Communion Services at retirement communities as needed. His response was “Great! I am the homebound coordinator for this parish.” ( Did anyone else hear that gentle sound in here? )
Another fellow asked, “Have you considered what sorts of things you might wish to do here?” I told him my wife and I were very much interested in a soup kitchen in town, and would like to volunteer there. He responded, “My wife is one of the ringleaders there, give me your number”. ( That gentle sound is getting rather loud isn’t it? )
Fun with the Big Guy
My mind has long held a plan to acquire a vanity ( personalized ) license plate for my vehicle. The plate was not available, or would not / could not be issued in New Hampshire where we lived when the plate was first envisioned.
The plate could not or would not be issued in Iowa where my wife and I lived for a brief time.
The plate could not or would not be issued in Texas. So, why not try here? The worst thing which might happen is that I get the plate and have to pay higher fees each year.
My vehicle has a personalized license plate on it for the world to see.
Elijah had been exposed to earthquakes, fire, and terrible winds which beat the heck out of the mountain where he was ordered to wait. It wasn’t until “a light silent sound” that the Creator of the Universe passed by.
Simply listen with your heart, and you may find yourself volunteering in a soup kitchen in a distant town, or you may find yourself taking on an additional ministry in your current parish. No matter what, listen and react and an adventure will be had.