Way before my son went to Our Lady of Greenwood, way before I met Mr. D. I knew about Our Lady of Greenwood. More specifically, I knew about the chapel at Our Lady of Greenwood.
I was introduced to the chapel while I was being coached by a guy named David. I was going through my divorce at the time, trying to be the best sales manager I could be, and adjusting to the life of a single mother of a 2 1/2 year old. Times were tough, they were really, really tough.
We had a weekly meeting, catching up on where I was sales wise. I was close to my goals, but I (we) felt like I was holding myself back. He insisted that I wasn’t letting the universe, or God take control. To put out to the universe what I needed and desired in my life and trust that God and the Universe would deliver.
I struggled with God then, this was ten years ago. There was one thing that stuck with me. A story he share when he found himself in trouble, nowhere to turn, and no plan to fall back on. He had lost track of his faith, and other things, perhaps more than he let on. At the end of each meeting he would give me an assignment, although, I could tell that this days assignment would be very different from any other he had given me in the past.
He looked at me very intently and said “there is a place I want you to go.” His eyes, I’ll never forget the way they looked, there was sadness, pain, and hurt, that I could see; he did not have to explain it to me. His eyes changed when he said “There is a chapel in Greenwood.” His eyes shifted to hopeful. It was something, I could tell, that he wanted to tell me for a long time. Perhaps he didn’t think I was ready, or maybe he wasn’t ready to tell me. For whatever reason he told me of this sacred place that saved his life on that day. He felt like it was time for me to go.
At first I dismissed it. A chapel? I’ve been in hundreds of chapels…he insisted this one was different. My assignment was to go twice a week for five minutes and just sit there. He encouraged me to bring a piece of paper or a journal, a lot of tissue and to stay there for five minutes. “Five minutes? That’s all you want is five minutes?” He told me to just sit quietly, write down whatever came to me, but to stay there for five minutes.
I remember the first time I went to OLG’s chapel. It was dim, lit only from the candles in the background, and the sun shining in from the stained glass windows. I dipped my finger in holy water, made the sign of the cross, and sat in the back. I looked around, not really expecting anything to happen, it was just unfamiliar territory to me. “Five minutes” I thought, hell, I’ll give it ten. Then I sat and closed my eyes, and something happened. I started to cry. Crying harder than I could recently remember, it wasn’t because of the divorce, it wasn’t because I was a single mom, it wasn’t because of my job. There was something missing that I couldn’t explain, even to David when I went back to coaching. He knew, and encouraged me to go twice a week until “we” decided I needed more or less of the chapel.
Fast forward 1o years.
The loss of my Father has been the worst thing that I’ve ever had to deal with or experience in my life. I haven’t been to church since my Father’s funeral. I wrote about Kameron getting confirmed, and him asking why we don’t go to church anymore. I tried to make myself go, I honestly did, I tried to go to church. I just couldn’t do it.
While I was driving to pick Kameron up from school today I pulled into the parking lot where the chapel is. I got out of my car, walked towards it, put my hand on the door to open it, looked up, and with tears in my eyes I had to walk away. Today was just not the day.
I don’t know if I’ll ever feel 100% confident that “this day is the day.” I’m going to try, I really am. All I know was 10 years ago I felt the arms of God around me, and perhaps that is why I started to cry. I know my Dad would want that for me. He wouldn’t want me to be so sad anymore.
So for Lent I’ve decided to give up – on giving up. It’s a process. It’s going to take a lot of work, and a lot of patience, and five minutes twice a week at the chapel.