The day finally arrived! Today I met Sister Misty for dinner.
I barely noticed the heavy 5 o’clock traffic due to the beautiful clear blue sky that seemed to be the road before me. The recent change in weather, for me, not only signals the start of a new physical season but a new educational and spiritual season that will be forged by my new relationship with Sister Misty. Nearing the restaurant, I rehearsed the prepared greeting I had planned to deliver to make a stellar first impression. Intimidation had doubled; Sister Misty is a professional and religious woman.
Coming into view was the restaurant where I suggested we meet, but there was only one car in the parking lot and its sole passenger was Sister Misty wearing a huge smile. I parked the car, with the intent of getting out and apologizing to Sister Misty for the restaurant being closed. She drove up next to me, window rolled down, smiling, waiting for Plan B without skipping a beat. I suggested Grady’s, and Sister Misty zoomed off to our destination. I fell back onto my seat realizing I didn’t say hi, I didn’t introduce myself and I didn’t apologize. I zoomed off after her with a smile. My emotions were catching up with the logic that while the situation was awkward, Sister Misty made me feel very comfortable.
Once inside the restaurant, I attempted to officially introduce myself as we stood looking over the menu. Bad idea! It was awkward, forced, not needed. We were two girlfriends joining up for a quick bite to eat. We smiled and returned our focus to the menu.
Sister Misty demonstrated that she is flexible when things don’t go quite as planned, but she is also hospitable. Sister Misty surprised me when I got to the table: She had already grabbed my utensils, napkins and straw (which the customer is supposed to pick up), a simple gesture but not a usual action when you first meet someone. The need to further dissect this action gripped me but we were about to begin eating, so I placed the idea on my mental back burner.
One day following our meet, I found myself sitting comfortably ready to enjoy a delicious meal before me, when I realized I hadn't grabbed my utensils. Inconvenienced, I go in search of utensils. I stopped momentarily in my tracks, recalling Sister Misty’s actions that I had placed on my mental back burner just days before. Did she notice I had not picked up my utensils? Her observation of my actions is not what is noteworthy; acting upon what she observed is of significance. Sister Misty chose to act and met a need. During the course of my dinner I pondered the fact that the action influenced me.
The white napkin on my lap reminded me of a perfect blank slate as I recalled Sister Misty’s conversation regarding childhood. There is an 11-year difference between her and her siblings, so she felt like she was raised as an only child. The presence of other children was scarcely missed since she had the undivided attention of the adults in her life. This cultivated in her a love for older adults, so much so she prefers their companionship to individuals her own age.
Perhaps this too is why she tends towards service. It is no surprise she feels very much at home when she visits McCullough Hall, the assisted living residence for the Sisters of Divine Providence. Sister Misty views her relationship with the older sisters not as one of providing for them but a relationship where she is receiving from them because they are filled with so much wisdom, a wisdom so valuable that it begs to be absorbed and shared.
Lost in my thoughts, I reach for my glass, no straw. I look at the liquid in my glass and think about the fluidity of life; we are all just passing by. My thoughts quickly turn to our aging sisters and recall the goal of SisterStory, of potentially helping women discern their calling to religious life. I thought about what if one day the order no longer existed, how many needs would go unmet. I thought what a perfect, beautiful fit for Sister Misty to come into religious life at this precise time. God’s providence is conducting a beautiful orchestrated dance of providing all the needs of the world. Providence has placed Sister Misty as His dancer at Blessed Sacrament Parish as Director of Religious Education. This is a place where she can share her gift of service. A place that enables her to impart the same appreciation she is acquiring from the sisters, continuing the legacy.
God can use the smallest of gestures, such grabbing someone their utensils, napkins and straw, to demonstrate His Providence. This small act is a microscopic glimpse into what His Providence can do.
How has providence been at work in your life?
“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” -Luke 12:48