Friday, September 08, 2006

Hound of Heaven

I had an unusual experience today, and it has left me asking the Lord if there is a message he wants to get across. I rather suspect so.
This afternoon, I brought my work to the lakefront to get in some of the lovely, still summery day. On my way back, just as I approached the corner of Randolph and Michigan, I noticed a young man with a white cane on the edge of the park, tapping around in a wide arc as if lost. "Are you trying to go somewhere?" I asked. "Yes, I am trying to cross Randolph and then Michigan." "Me, too." Remembering what my friend Sr. Sheila told me about assisting a disabled person, I extended my bent arm, and he lightly touched my elbow and off we went. But when we got to the other corner, as I left, I saw that he had gotten turned around again and was facing north on Michigan. Back I went. "Are you where you want to be, or are you just getting your bearings?" I told him he was on the west side of Michigan, facing north, but he still didn't have a sense of where he needed to go, so I took him by the shoulders and spun him around to face due west on Randolph. I sure hope he got where he was going, because I was by then feeling rather embarrassed at having been so "direct" in my approach. (It is part of being an extremely task-oriented person.)
Well, a little over an hour later, at Mass, there was a blind woman in the front pew. When the Extraordinary Minister of Communion did not come to the usual station by the side aisle (where I and the blind woman were heading), I asked if she would like some assistance. "Yes!" she said with vigor, taking my arm. So arm in arm we went to Communion, and arm and arm we went back. I put her hand on the pew and she patted my arm "thanks." And then I realized that twice in one afternoon, I had assisted (or tried to assist!) blind people on their way.
Chicago  has lots of cane-tapping pedestrians. They generally walk with assurance, rarely seeming to want or need anything in the way of direction or assistance. But today, in the space of two hours, I had come across two people who needed and wanted assistance, and I was the one who happened to be there at that point.
Since this was right after Communion, I could ask the Lord directly if there was a message in this. Was there a meaning I was supposed to "get"? A mission? Or was it just an interesting factoid?
The words of the prophet Isaiah came to mind: "I will lead the blind on their journey. By paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them and make crooked ways straight."
I love that passage; it's marked with a Post-It in my Liturgy of the Hours. And now I suspect it is also a message. The Hound of Heaven has become a Guide Dog.


Anonymous said...

WOW. What a profound experience..The Hound of Heaven was cited by Father Twellmeyer in reference to his guidance into the Jesuit Order. In English Lit. I was introduced to this work of Francis Thompson. It is one which I never tire of reading...and you were living it.

Jim H. said...

Sr. Anne,
Some would say you're being there to help two sightless people in a short span was a 'coincidence.' I say a "coincidence" is simply when God chooses to remain anonymous! God bless you and your vocation. Jim H.