I had the coolest experience today.
I have a friend at work, who is my confidante, my spiritual sister. We started at this school at the same time - over 20 years ago. We have shared a lot, and when I returned to church several years ago, she was the one who listened to me and encouraged me (having returned a few years earlier herself). This year we encourage each other and share what keeps us going day after day in "the muck". One thing that keeps me going is daily Mass, and on days when I can't make it to Mass - going to sit in the empty-except-for-God church near our school after I drop off my son and before I go to school.
Yesterday, I wasn't able to do either because I had a meeting before school. Today I really wanted to go to Mass, but it was just one thing after another. When it was time to leave home, I couldn't find my keys. (Older child had knocked them on the floor in his mad dash out the door, and hadn't stopped to pick them up.) So I wasted several minutes looking for keys. Then traffic was backed up, and when I tried to avoid that, I ran into a red light that lasted forever. I knew I would be late getting to Mass, but I so wanted to go.
Finally, it was decision time. I was at a stop light. Left would take me to the "empty" church and right would take me to Mass. I had about 2 minutes before Mass started, and I was probably 10 minutes away with time to park and walk, etc. I got in the right lane..... then switched to the left, feeling rather defeated.
When I got to the church there was another car in the parking lot. I noticed it, but didn't think much of it - it's a big church, and occasionally I have been there and another person has stopped in. Imagine my surprise when I opened the door to see my friend there - waiting with a big hug. "I found your peace," she said. And then I knew that even though I wanted to be at Mass, God had other - more perfect - plans for me. I think I was awed and humbled and grateful - all together.
In the dim morning light, we prayed silently, we shared quietly and we prayed together. It wasn't what I had planned, but it was good. Better, I dare say than what my plans were. After a half hour or so, we reluctantly left, but it was with the knowledge that God would be with us, protecting us throughout the day.
There were a few "wth" moments from the thorn in my life, but I went back to that peace. And it worked. Lord, stick close to me. I need you!