Right after I crashed my car, about 20 months ago now, one of my priests told me to, “Get a St. Christopher medal!” Okay. So, I went to the Catholic bookstore and looked at all their medals, looking in particular for a necklace that I could wear all the time. While I was looking, I knew that I didn’t want to have a saint medal without a crucifix. It just felt wrong to have anyone on my person without Jesus there too. I picked out a crucifix and a St. Christopher. When I got home, I didn’t want to be wearing two chains, so I tried to take off one of the pendants and place it on the other chain. Well, the way the necklaces were made, you couldn’t just do this. So, I had to open the jump ring holding it on to the chain, take it off, then try to push it back together. If I remember correctly, I did this to the St. Christopher medal, since I didn’t feel right ripping apart the crucifix. They both had a little gap in the jump rings.
I presented myself to my priest and asked him to bless my St. Christoper medal, which he graciously did. I normally do not wear jewelry, but this necklace I never took off. So much so, that when my dad saw it and saw that there were gaps in the jump rings and offered to solder it shut, I declined. I thought it was fine, and I didn’t want to alter it. That, and I really didn’t want to take it off and didn’t think that my dad would agree to solder it while it was still on me.
20 months go by. I am fairly active and I’ve never had a problem with my necklace. I’ve gone jogging, swam in the ocean off Australia, ditto Jamaica — nothing. It’s always been fine. Occasionally, I have thought about having it soldered, but never got around to it.
About two months ago, on June 11, 2009, was the first time I took it off. And that was because I was in the ER and they were having me get a CT scan and required that all metal be removed.
Fast forward to today. I had a busy weekend planned. Meetings, a baby shower and a bridal shower, in addition to some other things which needed to get done. I had stayed out pretty late in Clinton/Tecumseh/Manchester Saturday night, and this morning, I pretty much just got up and headed out for Mass. I hadn’t had any time to go shopping for something to wear to the bridal shower, or take a shower or anything. During Mass, I got the sense that I should stay home today and pray. I thought about doing this, but ultimately set that thought aside. This was the bridal shower for a very good friend, and I was expected to be there. I didn’t want to let her down — I wanted to share in her day. Her shower started at 1 pm. By the time I got my shopping done, and got home, it was already 1:15 or so, and I still needed to take a shower and get ready. I did this as quickly as I could, knowing that I still had a 25-30 minute drive ahead of me to get there. I got a message from Patty, saying that she wasn’t going to make it to the shower after all and asked if I could take her present. Since I was already late and not far from home, I called her to see where she was. As it turns out, she was at a coffee shop about a mile from my house and on the way. I stopped to pick up her present and she asked me if I didn’t think that I should maybe stay home today. I was already an hour late, and I had been rushing around lately and I could really use the rest. Plus, I didn’t feel all that great today. It had been harder for me to breathe, and at this point it was 2 pm and I haven’t had anything to eat. I gave my reasons for going, and she asked me a couple more times if maybe it wouldn’t be a better thing to stay home. I was still a little conflicted, especially because I still felt that I should be spending the day at home in prayer, but ultimately decided to go. Patty told me to be careful and left with a parting, “At least think about not going.”
So, I went. The place where she was having her bridal shower was darling. It looked like a castle.
As I was driving up there, I was feeling worse — probably from not eating. When I arrived, I found out that I had missed lunch and that the kitchen couldn’t get me anything to eat. I felt like I was going to pass out or cry or something. Then, I realized that my St. Christopher medal was missing. I looked around for it, but it wasn’t anywhere to be found. I was sad that I had lost it, because it means a lot to me, but I tried to make myself feel better by thinking about the truth of the matter:
1. It was just an object, and not something irreplaceable. After all, I could go out and get another one and ask Father to bless the new one.
2. Even if Father couldn’t/wouldn’t bless another one for me, he had already blessed me, and I couldn’t lose myself.
Still sad, but not catastrophically upset. I felt increasingly bad, I felt that I was a horrible guest and I thought that I probably should have stayed at home, if nothing else but to save Krystin from having an Eeyore at her shower. After the shower, Stacy stayed behind with me as I ate something. I did feel a little better after our meal. Not great, but definitely better.
Tonight after I got home, I looked around the house for my medal, but didn’t find it. I decided to go for a walk. As I walked, I was thinking about the day. In addition to the things that I realized at the shower, I had these other insights:
1. Not only did Father bless me (and pray over me many times), but he baptized me and brought me into the new covenant as an adopted daughter of God. That right there trumps any number of blessed medals. And that is something that can never, ever be lost or taken from me. It’s now a permanent part of who I am.
2. It might be a blessed medal, but it is not a magic medal and I have never thought of it as such. I know that it reminds me of St. Christopher, and reminds me to ask him for intercession, but I also know that it is God’s grace and protection and love which are efficacious in any capacity in my life. The medal itself does absolutely nothing.
3. The thought popped into my head that while I had lost St. Christopher, I hadn’t lost my crucifix. I didn’t lose God. 🙂
4. I felt that God was saying, “Okay, so you often ask for his [St. Christopher’s] intercession, particularly when driving. Now, let’s focus less on him and more on Me.” I knew it was time to stop worrying so much about where that medal went and start focusing on the true priorities in my life. Ironically, this morning, I looked at some pictures from Katie and Joe’s wedding and saw a couple of me and was drawn visually to my necklace — normally, I wouldn’t have paid much attention to that detail. Also ironically was the fact that when I was driving here, usually I ask for St. Christopher’s intercession (not every time I drive, but when I do pray in this way, it is usually directed at him). However, today, I was praying to Jesus.
5. More irony. God told me to stay home and pray. I didn’t listen to Him. Then, He had Patty try to tell me to stay home today. I didn’t listen either. Now, my medal for the Saint who is the patron of travelers…is gone.
That has to be a coincidence . . . right?? 🙂