I am writing today from Washington, DC, where I am attending a meeting of Catholic sisters and associates for the next few days. I had an interesting experience getting here.
Yesterday I flew in from Chicago to Baltimore and took public transportation to Washington Theological Union where our meeting is taking place. I’ve done the public transportation thing before when I lived in Washington 10 years ago so I figured it wouldn’t be that difficult. But things change, memory fails, and the morning of my travels I realized I had no idea how to get from the airport to WTU. I looked at airport and cit maps, bus and train schedules but was running out of time to figure it out. On a whim, I did a quick search online for specific instructions on how to take public transportation from BWI to WTU. Lo and behold, I found a document from someone who is “a bi-weekly commuter to DC from Rochester, NY”. I have no idea who this person is but the instructions were so clear — and accurate as it turned out — that I thought I’d give it a shot. Plus the person is from Rochester (my home town) and goes to WTU (where I had taken a class) so I figured it was a good sign!
I printed off the instructions and from the moment I stepped off the airplane I felt like I was in the hands of a total stranger, hoping to God that the instructions “worked”. And by God they did. Every step of the way, I knew what to do and how to do it — where to pick up the bus, how much it would cost, where it would drop me off, how to exchange trains, etc.
All the while I kept thinking about this unknown traveling companion of mine, this person whose care in writing up those instructions and posting them online had saved me and delivered me safely to my destination.
For me this person was an angel of sorts, someone who was present to me in a behind-the-scenes kind of way, someone who with care reached out, not even know the persons she or he would be helping.
As I reflect on this experience, I am amazed at how much this experience speaks of what ministry is, of being able to give of one’s gifts and talents even when we don’t know how these might be received in the world, of giving without expecting a return, and of being present to others in something as simple as explaining how to get from point A to point B.
In what ways have you experienced an “unknown companion” in your life?
October 30, 2009 at 10:01 am
Traveling-especially while alone-can be a very stressful experience. What a nice story of someome’s generosity of spirit making it easy for you! I guess we all need to look for small ways to be an angel to someone else. Also illustrates another way the internet can be used for the greater good. Great entry, Sister Julie. These little simple everyday details of your life and other nun’s is what I come to a nun’s blog for. A small peek in to a mysterious world I have long wondered about-not for discernment . It satisfies the curiosity about nuns of a long term catholic educated by them and uplifts me at the same time. A nice peaceful loving place to visit when the nasty snark of so much of the net gets to me. Keep it comming please!