The Hands that Hold Mine

There are times of sheer bliss.

There are times of great peace.

There are days of uniform sadness.

The Lord yet again has taken me on a ride on the roller coaster of life (blindfolded mind you) with unseen twists, turns, flips, and slow climbs leading towards quick falls. I have found the ride to be an unexpected adventure filled with fun times, moments that take mybreath away, and days when I discovered my heart in my stomach. I have found that in my line of work that planning too far in advance for the future led to more frustrations than successes and that I must welcome many daily surprises. So when I was asked to move to the south of China for about a month to help a dear friend in need, I knew immediately that the Lord was asking me to go and joyfully lend a hand.

For the past week I have been separated from my community and living in very different surroundings. My bunk-mate changed from a 23 year old American woman, to a 5 year old half-Chinese who likes to know what I’m thinking about before I fall asleep. My religious reading before bed has changed to the Berenstain Bears and a lap full of sleepy children. My daily reception of my Beloved has changed to mentally and spiritually uniting myself to the Sacrifice. Needless to say, life is a bit different!

When Saturday finally rolled around and I was able to attend Mass for the first time in a week, I eagerly prepared my mind and heart and found how deeply I longed for Him. It was easy to feel lonely and a sadness that I masked and held within. Even during our travel to the Church, which took over an hour and a handful of subway transfers, I found my interior conversation with Jesus to be running rampant and my exterior to be completely still and calm.

When we arrived and walked into the tiny chapel filled with people, I found a stool in the back and participated in the Mass. “Why do I feel so alone, Lord? I beg to feel You beside me,” I whispered within myself. And it was within an instant that I knew my prayer was heard. Immediately when we stood to say the Our Father (or in this case the TianZhu Jing) I looked to my right and saw a sweet, teenie tiny elderly Chinese woman with her hands lifted and her beautifully aged face reverently facing the crucifix. I immediately grabbed her hand and watched as her eyes lit with astonishment and her hand grasped mine tightly. Being the sap that I am, silent tears formed in my eyes as I knew that the Lord was so very present in this moment and in my life. For the duration of Mass this sweet lady catered to me by scooting over and creating space on the kneeler and in her pew, and remained close to me as we prayed after the final blessing. It is in people like her that I see the face of God. It is in moments like those that I fall in love with Him all over again. And it is in days like these that I need to remember how much I am loved.

Please pray for my friend, her husband, and their four, almost five, beautiful children. Please pray for my community, both the one remaining in Beijing and the one that is currently being formed here in my new surroundings.

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