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Mystery Trip Continues

God bless Masstimes.org.

It sent me to a beautiful, traditional church with cases of reliquaries on each wall and the tabernacle smack in the middle.

I arrived a few minutes after eight, and the man facing the statue of Our Lady was already praying Morning Prayer from the Divine Office.

I joined in at the end of the first Psalm. Half way into the second, he turned around and startled, said, “Would you like to come up here?”

Well, I guess that’s what the Holy Spirit had in mind for me. We finished the office together, and had the pleasure of praying as the Church – as One.

After that, the Rosary, led by a deacon.

The church began to fill with too many people for a daily Mass, and in a few minutes, a girl in a First Communion dress enlightened me.

After the Mass, I went back to the conference and caught the second session.

My table mates nodded politely when I said I had been at Mass – they figured I was sleeping in!

By the next break, it was clear that one of the other attendees was Catholic, and we spent a good deal of time together throughout the rest of the day.

In the evening, Michael Card and Scott Roley gave a concert. As it was about to begin, I got a text from my husband asking me what I was wearing.

He was in the back row.

So we enjoyed the concert together, twenty years after our first Michael Card concert in California, the first we’d been to as a couple.

Afterward, we spoke with him and got some great pictures.

His comment about performing: “Always play at the very edge of your ability. Everyone can play what they’re good at, but you should always stretch yourself to where you really have to depend on the Holy Spirit for help.”

Then, my last night away.

Just to show how fuel efficient the rental car was – all that travel used only four-and-a-half gallons of gas! Our van would have used more than half a tank!

What was in the Second Envelope

I thought I had it figured out when I was standing in line to check in. A map of the area on the counter shows me there are two significant Civil War battlefields very near by.

Ah hah! My astute husband, knowing I have a Civil War craving smiled last night when I went out the door to a lecture on the leadership styles of various Civil War Generals. Now I understand!

I went upstairs to my room and took a bath -not a shower, mind you. Today, there is time to bathe.

I debated whether to answer the phone when it rang, and am glad I did, because a friend was involved in a car accident while stopping by the roadside to offer a ride to my daughter, who was waiting for the bus to work.

When we were done talking, I picked up Envelope Number 2.

It read, open by 5:00 PM Friday.

Inside were more Mapquest directions, this time to a local church. Report time, 6:30 PM.

I went to a local consignment store and bought a new-to-me outfit, because there is time for that today. Then I found an authentic Afghani Kabob restaurant and watched ‘Dora the Explorer’ in Arabic while they prepared my food.

I took it to one of the Civil War sites and walked around before sitting in the car to eat. It’s perched on a small rise in the heart of a very commercial area and surrounded by raging traffic and high density housing. Hard to imagine the 4000 soldiers who died here 149 years ago this month.

Three crows screamed at me while I prayed the “Eternal Father” prayer for the souls who perished there. There is a heaviness there. I will post pictures when I get home.

Went back to the hotel to get copies of The Book of Names, as Hubby indicated I would need them.

I arrived at the church at 6:17 and sat listening to a TimeLife “Southern Songs” CD until 6:24 when I followed two ladies into the foyer of the church.

A sign on a bulletin board announced a talk by Ken Ham, an Austrailian who teaches about earth origins from a Biblical point of view.

“Ah hah!” I chortled. “He sent me to a Biblical Creation conference!” And I was excited, because the topic is fascinating.

Then, on another table, I saw his picture.

Not Ken Ham’s.

Michael Card’s.

Michael Card, whose music has provided the soundtrack to our 19-year marriage, whose sang (via cassette) to my babies in utero, to whom we still dance around the kitchen with wild abandon.

This same Michael Card is teaching a conference about “Biblical Imagination” and the Gospel of St. Mark.

And I am here for it!!!!

And just because that wasn’t enough for the moment, I walked into the auditorium, and the man in jeans with a bald pate and greying beard chatting at the front of the room turns to me and gives a friendly, “hi!”

It’s Michael Card.

I tried not to be too obvious as I snatched a picture and sent it flying through cyberspace to Hubby. Subject: NO WAY!!!

He sang to us! That voice! The warm mellow tenor which thins to reach higher tones! The quiet capability of the accomplished hands wiping songs off the keyboard like a waiter attending to bread crumbs.


And afterward, like a normal guy, he lets me effuse to him, takes my book, a photo of our kids, and my sincere thanks with the humility of a man who genuinely recognizes his place before God.

I aspire.

Thank you, Lord!

And thank you, Hubby!!!!!

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