Years ago, I heard a speaker relate a story about how God constantly whispers to us, and it is up to us to listen for those whispers and act upon them. And if we don’t, He’ll get our attention another way, even if it means throwing a brick through our window.
Well, guess who has been ignoring those whispers and finally got hit with a brick? Yes, I have to confess that I have heard the whispers, but found ways and excuses to justify ignoring them.
We have been members of our parish for about three or four years now, after transferring from another. For various reasons, my husband and I decided to take a break from volunteer activities for a while as we made the transition to a new parish.
So, we have been content sitting in our pews at Mass every weekend, dutifully taking our children to religious education and/or sacramental preparation classes every week during the school year, supporting various fundraising events and eating our share of fish dinners every Lent.
A couple of times during the last two or three years there have been trainings for lectors and Eucharistic ministers. Having served in these capacities at one time or another in previous parishes, the announcement and call for volunteers piqued my interest, but the training dates didn’t exactly fit that well into my schedule.
Our parish started working with other community churches to offer dinner to those in need. Volunteers were needed to help on the day the dinner was hosted at our location. I think I even mentioned to my husband that this might be a good opportunity for us and that it could be a way to get our children involved in volunteering, too. That phone number published in the bulletin for people to call to volunteer caught my eye at least a few times over the years. But again, I never got around to picking up the phone.
Then again, about a year ago, I heard God’s whisper and tap on the shoulder when our parish was seeking people to help begin a conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Knowing what a great service it is and knowing people who are involved in other parishes, I thought this would really be a good opportunity to model stewardship to our kids. And again I justified my inaction by thinking about how busy we were already in ferrying our three kids to various activities and the groups we were already involved with outside the church.
Well, I guess it was just getting to be too much for The Big Guy Upstairs. First came a more obvious nudge. My husband and I were approached to be part of a team that was hosting a series of social gatherings at the parish. I think it was three or four dates that we acted as wait staff and bartenders. It was a short term commitment, but with some of the events on weeknights we did have to struggle to balance other activities, but we managed unscathed. We also met and worked with some terrific parishioners that we wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise.
Not bad for easing into things, I thought. Maybe we’ll volunteer for something else sometime in the future. Nice and non-committal, don’t you think?
Apparently, God was tired of me making excuses and was ready with brick in hand. That brick came in the form of my pastor one day after Mass.
As we were visiting with my in-laws in the narthex, he swooped in, took me by arm and said, “I need your help with something.” as he pulled me away from the group. Then boring his eyes into mine, he laid out the details of wanting me to be on the “transitional team” being formed to figure out the cluster/merger of our parish and two other nearby parishes.
I agreed and am happy to serve my parish. But then I thought about the challenge that lies ahead for the team and me personally.
Ouch! I think that brick hit me square in the forehead. Next time, maybe I’ll listen to the whisper.