Continuing with my celebration of blogging forever, here's another favorite story I wrote way back when. (We're still trying to get our grandson's video prepared for YouTube. It's currently "locked.")
Last year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, My First Wife and I went to The Big City to share food with homeless people. On that day, a "perfect day for football," we spent the entire time at a city park. It was a happy afternoon. I think the warmth, the sunshine and the approaching holiday spirit had a lot to do with that. I remember serving a lot of children that day. As soon as they ate they ran to the playground equipment.
Otherwise, there was nothing unusual about the day. Well, except for that Catholic nun.
She showed up in the middle of the afternoon and stood under a wide tree not far from the street. All of us in the van noticed that a handful of people ambled over to her. A short line formed. She spoke to one person at a time. We were curious and asked a couple of men about her. "Her? That’s Nun. She gives you a prayer, if you want one," one of them told us.
"That," I told them, "is a splendid idea—and a brave one!"
I pointed her out to Chancie, and soon we walked over to meet her. I’d say she was about thirty. She was praying with a mother and her three restless kids. Some other folks were in line ahead of us. So we waited. Chancie pointed out that her skin is the color of a Styrofoam cup. Oh my, was she white! But to make up for that she had twinkling eyes and an easy, golden smile. Even while she prayed she flashed that smile. It had to be a comfort to those she prayed for.
Finally, we stood with her and explained why we were at the park. She smiled with interest at our every sentence. Then she told us, "One day I just felt like our Lord asked me to pray for these people—every day. At first I prayed in my room, but then I decided to come here and mingle. I like this much better. If someone wants me to pray for them, then I do." And she smiled. "The personal touch, you know."
"Well, bless your heart, honey," Chancie blessed. "And how long have you been doing this?"
"Oh, I guess a few months or so. But who's counting?" she asked with another smile and a little chuckle. "It's only a small ministry for our Lord."
"And for these people," Chancie told her emphatically. "They need you and they already care about you. I can tell."
Well, it so happens that she has faithfully walked to that tree every afternoon for a year and a half now. She walks there to stand there and pray for anyone who asks. Only the most bitter weather has kept her away. The police know her and watch over her. The homeless respect her and watch over her. Other service groups (like ours) tip their hat to her and watch over her. After a couple of hours of praying for street people, she walks back to her convent. Angels watch over her.
Now whenever we go to the park, we always look for her. Sometimes we run over and pray with her and get a smile. We've become great friends even though we don't get to see each other that often.
Some months after our first meeting, Chancie finally worked up the nerve to ask her her name. "Well, these precious people have given me a street name that I prefer."
"Oh, that's neat," Chancie said. "What is it?"
Her head lilted to one side and with a shy smile she said, "Nun of the Above."