A story for all of you who make it easier to believe the miracles of kindness
I am about to tell you of and the most amazing St. Patrick’s Day ever.
Let’s call it “Prepared for Kindness and Joy.”
The feast had begun with First Vespers of St. Patrick followed at St. Vincent Ferrer by a splendid and remarkable concert of Irish traditional music. Afterward, having walked to Third Avenue I decided that I had better duck into Starbucks and find the gloves buried at the bottom of a handbag in the “trunk” of my rollator, affectionately referred to as the Rolls Royce.
I found them after a bit of a search and headed for home at about 9:45. It was not until much later that I realized the handbag was not in the Rolls Royce. Also missing was my wallet. Happily keys, $5 bill, and Visa and Metro Cards which I keep in a separate pouch were with me in the “Rolls.” I decided to sleep a bit, dreamed that the bag was found and got up at around 4AM to start the calls to cancel all the cards and contact all who needed to be alerted.
I went to the 8AM Mass, which was for my late brother, Bill, SJ who sometimes wrote poetry using the pen name “Liam Doherty” and afterward I asked the celebrant Father Innocent if I might make one call on his phone. He not only said, “Yes,” but upped the ante to say come to the Priory and we can set you up in Rachel Miller’s office, with phone, internet, coffee, water, and all you might need to track/trace/cancel or alert. Brother Damian arrived at Pastor Father Walter’s suggestion with cash to carry me through the weekend and the offer to get me any needed groceries or supplies. Did I need a connector for the laptop that was running out of power? Here is Father John’s, let’s see if it works. It did.
One of my first calls was to the landline at my apartment where the one message was this, “Annette, this is Rhonda, I’m calling from my job at UPS on 12th Avenue. I found your wallet on my way to work on a seat on the #4 train in Brooklyn. I have experienced identity theft and had cards compromised and cash stolen, so I know how it feels and I want to help.” And so she did, arriving at the Church when her shift ended, where I was able to give her a cash token of my thanks, courtesy of my Parish family.
When I had recovered from that, I called Starbucks, where Barista CeCe told me the handbag was locked in the manager’s office in the basement and I should just come and collect it. When asked what it contained she said it looked pretty much like everything but a wallet and a few checks. Phone, portable hotspot, checkbook, cosmetics notebooks, etc. etc. Having learned that my Chase Branch had brief opening hours on Saturday I went with the newly recovered items and walked into the personal Banker Ron Hofmann who last June, had encrypted my phone when he learned I had not done so and thus his kindness ensured that the thief did not take the phone. Did I need to withdraw cash, did I need to make a transfer to ASC via CFO Linda Carco, trusted advisor and incomparable friend? Done!
Linda commanded me to go home and go to sleep after a “stiff drink” and some lunch. And you know Linda’s advice should never be ignored.
As we prepared to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Joseph on March 19, we were encouraged by the preachers at CSVF to honor him as symbolizing all who generously raise a child, not their own. I did that, with images of Nephew Pat; Niece Meagen and her husband Bill who made her late Brother Jim’s son their own; and treasured friends Alberta and Ray Wort in my mind and heart. And I will celebrate each and all my dearest ones whose example prepared me to be lavished with the generous love of my parish family and my own incomparable family and friends.
And so begins the next chapter. I’m ready, because unlike CS Lewis who called his book “Surprised by Joy” I am prepared to find it at every turn of the road. Thanks to all of you who demonstrate the best of human nature.