Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Take me where you want me to go

I have lived three places in my life. Savannah will always be home and I would say a rosary a day, cook my husband dinner every night and clean tile bathrooms if we could move back there. I adore all things Savannah.

My next home was that ever so classic city, Athens, GA. This weekend, I took Ross back to that home. My heart lurched as we pulled into town, feeling waves of nostalgia, longing and comfort. For seven years, I walked those hills, ate the .50 ice cream cones from Hodgsons and worshipped in a wonderful place. Being back was the most wonderful comfort I've had in a long time.

Thanks to the kinds of friends that small towns bring, all it took was a few phone calls to get great tickets, a perfect parking spot and tailgate spot. It couldn't have been easier. We set up cornhole boards on the Catholic Center lawn, pulled out Cane's (the old Guthries!) fried chicken and began our day long people watching (dear college girls, the saleslady lied to you. That is not a skirt. It is, in fact, a bella band that you have wrapped around your bottom.)  We watched my old, firecracker friend Pam, direct traffic, yelling to the country boy who got on his cb radio asking the cars to move along "hold up, I'm doing business for the Lord!"

Despite the outcome, it was a wonderful game. We stayed with Elizabeth and Ryan and ended the night with midnight hotdogs and terrapin. I didn't think the weekend could get better, though I couldn't wait for Sunday.

Sunday was the day we got to go to Mass, alone, sans baby, at The Catholic Center. The college years were so incredibly formative for me and this place, that center, was the where faith became real for me.  Sitting in Mass, I saw the lecturn that I read scripture from and administered communion from so many Sundays. I saw people who cared for me, nurtured me, loved me. I saw the tabernacle that I sat beside in the middle of one awful night, praying for strength to keep going. I listened to an amazing homily from a priest I cherish, this being the anniversary of 9/11, that challenged us to commemorate the 'event of Christ' each day, rather than the 'event of terror' of that one day. He reminded us that the best way to honor the victims was to daily celebrate Christ alive in each of us and that the "best response to the bad is the practice of the good."

I held back tears the whole Mass, longing, longing, longing to be back in Athens. I wanted to live in this place where you can see friends on opposite sides of town in the same hour, where you can dine exclusively at wonderful local businesses, and where you sit in Mass surrounded by people who know and care for you. "Community" is done so well in that town. We had breakfast with a wonderful retired couple and Fr. Tom before we left town. On the drive home, Ross asked, "why did they love you so much?" After a quick, sarcastic comeback about my overall awesomeness, I told him that this Catholic Center community loved me as well as they loved so many. I wasn't special. Those people, that ministry, is special.

I was a sophomore on 9/11 in Athens. At the time, Fr. Jack told us of a fellow franciscan priest, Fr. Mychal Judge. Fr. Judge was the chaplain of the NY Fire Department and was the first certified fatality of those attacks. This week, on the 10th anniversary, Fr. Tom challenged us to live the prayer of Fr. Judge.

Lord, take me where You want me to go,
let me meet who You want me to meet,
tell me what You want me to say,
and keep me out of Your way.

So after a fantastic weekend in that beautiful city, I am challenging myself to live this prayer of Fr. Judge. We could probably find ways to move to Savannah or Athens if we forced it. But, as the prayer says, "keep me out of your way." I know that if I try to orchestrate our path, no good will come. I will be ever thankful for my upbringing in Savannah and for those oh so important Athens years. But I will not take for granted my precious little family or our community of friends and faith that will only grow in our little burb of Atlanta.



1 comment:

  1. Keri, we so love and miss you. I am soooo touched by this post--I remember well Fr Jack's sorrow and the sheer beauty of Fr Mychal's prayer. Thanks you for this.