24 Jan

We had a surprise visit this afternoon from our priest, Father Claude.  Jade was napping and I was giving Halia a bath when he arrived.  I could hear the surprise in Michael’s voice when he opened the door.  It wasn’t just because we weren’t expecting him.  It was also because his arms were weighed down by a cardboard box full of containers of food, gifts to us made by members of the French congregation.  This was completely unexpected and I can’t even begin to tell you how touched I was — how touched I am.

The truth is that I really don’t go to church often anymore; these days it’s much too difficult to get there in time, and besides I can’t concentrate on what Claude is saying when Jade is running around (because she won’t sit still) and I’m terrified that she’s going to have a drop seizure at any moment.  Despite my spotty attendance and the fact that my French is somewhat sketchy, I’m clearly still considered a member of the community.  It would be easy to just forget about me, and this unexpected act of kindness made me feel completely accepted and embraced and blessed.

But there’s more.

Claude happened to have his 50th birthday this past week.  A couple of weeks ago, I got a phone call from one of the ladies from the church, inviting us to a party for Claude this evening.  A surprise party.  Just before he left our house, Claude mentioned that he is leaving for Quebec to visit his family, so he’d see us in a couple of weeks.  Michael and I had a good giggle over that when he left, since it was clear he didn’t know that we’d be seeing him tonight.

We made our way to the church basement at quarter to six.  The place was packed to the rafters with Claude’s friends.  There were so many of us, when Claude arrived, our cry of “Surprise!” was deafening.  You could see just how surprised he was, how happy and touched.  And then we were singing to him, and he was still looking around, finding faces he didn’t expect to see.  He told us it was amazing to him, since he had connections with everyone there, but had never seen all of us in the same place at once.  “It’s quite a feeling to look around and see everyone you love in one glance,” he said.

It was wonderful to be part of a celebration for a rare kind of man who gives so much of himself and who means so much to so many people.  When he was asked to say a blessing, he obliged, but he prefaced it by saying that really he didn’t need to because such a gathering of friends and loved ones was already blessed.  And I think I know just how he felt.

3 Responses to “Blessed”

  1. Opa January 25, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    Three cheers for Father Claude and the community. That’s really sweet. That ought to make for some proud folks over in Rome.

  2. Captain Momma January 25, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    That’s wonderful! What a blessing indeed to have that arrive at your doorstep 🙂 Glad you have that community up there.


  3. Barbara January 26, 2009 at 4:57 am #

    Heartwarming! Thank you so much!

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