I need to jot down a bit about the last 24-ish hours, just so I can keep it all in mind. Enjoy!
A generous friend offered for me to accompany her for an Amy Grant concert last night, and in a surprising turn of events, I was one of twelve people who got to sit in on the band's sound check, and then to meet Amy Grant and her band. Fun! Then I met a bunch of great people from a Friend's of Amy group over dinner, and then enjoyed front row seats during the concert. And I have to say, the most moving part of the evening was that is was so relational. I've always enjoyed Amy Grant's music, but I don't really consider myself a 'fan' of many people. Having met her and her band personally now, I must say that I am very impressed by Amy Grant as a person, and the time, attention, and love she clearly gives to each person she knows. I enjoyed her beautiful music and message, and overall it was a lovely evening and great experience.
Then this morning, my girls and I went down to the Cathedral of our Diocese for a World Youth Day Reunion at the Cathedral Hall. It was a lovely experience, and it was nice to be able to bring my girls, since they are still far too youthful to have attend World Youth Day itself. Both of our Bishops joined us, and we were able to communicate via Skype with our hosts from Toledo, Spain, which was wonderful! We had developed such a feeling of familial closeness and fraternal affection for our parish hosts and hosting families that I think we experienced a feeling of true reunion with them, as well, through our brief call (chaotic though it was with the large crowd assembled on our end).
In trying to help set up the Skype call, I had sent an e-mail earlier in the week to a few of our hosts, expressing our gratitude to them and letting them know of our interest in communicating with them today during our reunion. Because my Spanish skills leave something to be desired, I had typed up my message in English and put it into Google translate for the Spanish version. Before mentioning our desire to communicate with Skype, I specifically wanted to thank our hosts and to tell them that we hoped we could someday return their kindness by hosting them in California. However, I realized (after sending the message, of course) that I had typed in 'hose' instead of 'host' in English, for which the translator offered its best Spanish rendering. Thus, I basically offered to return the favor that our hosts had so graciously extended to us by greeting them in California with a hose. Nice. And then, to top it off, the e-mail address that I had for the priest turned out to be one letter off, so I realized that now I was even offering to hose off international strangers upon their first visit to California, as well. I cried from laughing so hard at my ridiculous mistake, and tried to correct my errors in a follow-up message.
But today was lovely -- we were able to arrange the Skype call, despite my numerous communication mishaps, and this afternoon I received this kind and amusing e-mail from one of our wonderful hosts:
"Hello our dear friends, thank you very much for your interest in Skypeing with us. When we read your first email, we were impressed by what we thought was an ancestral good practice in the border of the Californian desert: to welcome people you appreciate with a generous hose of water, that precious element essential for life. It is like saying: OK, I wish you a good and hydrated life. It is beautiful. Thank you very much, we were also crying from laughing so hard, and still we are, whenever we imagine the scene."Ahh, what a blessing to have made such kind and gracious friends, and with a sense of humor, as well!
I also received a little award at today's reunion, present by our Bishops, for leadership during World Youth Day. That was a pleasant surprise! I have to say, I used to be sort of an award-a-holic, winning nearly every award and scholarship known to man back in my high school/early college days, and placing much more importance on such things than I should have. As always, God and life always have their way of revealing to us the truth about ourselves, and so I'm happy to have been broken from the fixation on recognition. (Well, I'm happy for it now, although humility is oftentimes acquired through the acceptance of humiliations, which are never occasions of happiness at the time.) Still, it was an honor to have received the certificate, and in my heart I received it on behalf of all the good people who sent us to World Youth Day through financial and prayer support, and for all the people who personally helped me through those couple hellish (or purgative, at the least) years of life that, thanks be to God, have already borne many fruits of grace and redemption, so much so that to my surprise I recently led this international pilgrimage group to World Youth Day. In all things, Deo gratias.
My girls and I came home for a bit, and then went to a going away party for one of our pilgrimage group members who is college-bound. God-speed, Alex, y vaya con Dios! Use your voice, and keep the faith!
And now that the day of partying has ceased, it is time for sleep!
As always, thanks for stopping by, and be assured of my prayers.
Peace and all good,