A Shower of Blessings
During this past week, things keep happening to make me realize how truly blessed I am to be on this walk.
Some of the greatest blessings we receive are the little acts of kindness shown to us by strangers along the road. They are often what keep us going when we are weary. These little things in life are just what we need to give us a boost. This past Thursday was one of those days when I experienced overwhelming support through the kindness of strangers.
Last weekend, my sandals for Mass decided to become very inconvenient and break beyond repair, so Thursday morning, I was dropped off at a local shoe store to purchase new shoes. This may seem like a trivial matter, but when you wear a size 11 shoe and you’re in a rather small shoe store with limited options, finding a pair of shoes can prove quite difficult. For various reasons, I had already been feeling a little bit down that morning, and the concept of spending money on a new pair of shoes wasn’t helping the problem. It was at the shoe store, right when I needed a boost in spirit, that God sent me the first of three kindly strangers I would meet that day. I was searching in vain for a size 11 shoe that would work for weekend Masses, when a woman approached me, very excitedly, and commented on how she and I were both wearing a miraculous medal and a cross…or as she put it, “Twins!” After asking me about my shirt and hearing what I was doing, she took it upon herself to help me search the store for the proper size of shoe. She and her daughter enthusiastically watched me try on a couple pairs of shoes and then wished me luck and disappeared from the store. I didn’t choose a pair until after they had left, but their kindness brightened my day.
Later that day, while two of my teammates and I were walking through St. Louis, Missouri, we saw a man standing across the road, holding a pro-life sign. He crossed the street to talk to us. We had thought this gentleman had coincidentally been standing on the street, but it turned out that he had driven past us a few minutes before and was so excited to see us that he had turned his car around and come back just to stop and talk to us. He stood there talking to us for several minutes before heading back to his car.
Just before we stopped walking for the day, we went to a 7/11 to get slurpees and a very nice gentleman came over to the support van and asked us all , one by one, where we were from. We were surprised to find that he knew something about the area every one of us came from. He was very excited about what we were doing and asked if he could have a brochure as a souvenir. Just before we left, he told us “I’ll be praying for you.” His positive enthusiasm added still more light to my day.
So that was Thursday’s blessing: three very supportive people who brought me three smiles that I would probably not have had otherwise. I am grateful to them for their support, for their kindness, and most of all, for the prayers each one of them promised us. These are the little things that make all the difference: support, kindness, and prayer.
And speaking of prayer…I have never had so much prayer time in my life as I have on this walk. The spiritual blessing of personal and group prayer time is one blessing without which we could not survive the challenges of this journey. The hours I spend in prayer while walking have been some of the most beautiful and cherished hours of my trip. I have begun to see changes in myself…changes in my heart and in my mind…and I have noticed similar changes in my teammates. Prayer is what keeps us together as a team, what helps us keep going every day, even when we feel like all we can do is sleep, what brings us closer to God.
Daily Mass and the Divine Office have become a part of my life that I find myself looking forward to more and more each week. If, for some reason, we aren’t able to attend Mass or say our morning or evening prayers together, I feel like something is missing and my day is incomplete. Being able to receive the Eucharist nearly every day is one of the greatest blessings of Crossroads and gives great spiritual strength to us all. Without these spiritual blessings, would we have the emotional or spiritual strength to succeed? No…never…it is God who keeps us going and “without God, I am nothing.”
Another wonderful blessing is speaking at parishes on weekends and meeting all of the wonderful people who support our work. This weekend, God gave me an opportunity for which I feel incredibly blessed. I was assigned to speak at Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque parish in St. Louis. I learned upon arriving at the parish last night, that this was the last church spoken at by Andrew Moore. I feel especially honored to have spoken at this church and I felt a great sense of peace when I was there. The last two parish talks I have given, I have done terribly, so last night, I asked Andrew to help me do well. That talk turned out to be one of the best talks I have given all summer. This was not the first time I have asked this courageous pro-lifer to help me on this walk…nor was I the first team member to do so. It seems as though our prayers are always answered. Andrew has been a wonderful inspiration to me and I feel so incredibly blessed to have spoken at the same parish at which he last spoke.
These are the many little blessings I have been showered with over the past few day – the little acts of kindness, the changes for the better in myself, an increased appreciation for prayer and the Mass, and the opportunity to speak in the same parish at which Andrew Moore last spoke.
Thank you, Andrew, for helping our team…and thank you, God, for the wonderful blessings with which You have showered me. I hope the showers keep coming…they mean the world to me.
Bridget Shurtliff – Central Walk, 2013