|Kappel St. Niklausen|
Four of us decided to hike up to Kappel St. Niklausen. We were planning to spend the morning and discussed whether or not to picnic. Since there was always plenty of food, at meal time, I said that I'd buy the picnic and we'd share. But when I went to pay, I didn't have to; it seems the picnic was in lieu of a lunch. There was plenty of food for all of us, even though it was a picnic for one.
The day was beautiful and we chose a trail that went the long way around. Either we didn't go far enough, or we chose the wrong way, but after an hour or so, we gave up, and turned back. That was fine; the scenery was breath taking. The company was good. The weather was cool--perfect for hiking. We were enjoying our blessings.
During our stay at St. Niklausen, the Chapel of St. Niklausen's bells always brought us to prayer. I don't know if they rang every hour, but they did ring the Angelus.
The Chapel was surprisingly beautiful. I was surprised because from the outside it looked stark and utilitarian, not ornate in the least. The ceiling was made up of saints. There's a beautiful pulpit, one of those architectural marvels in a winding staircase, and of course, a reminder that we are mere mortals.
After a little while, half our group left to go back to a hot lunch. Sister Pauline and I stayed. We took pictures and prayed a Dominican Rosary. When we were hungry we noticed something that should have been evident before. Our picnic was in Avis' backpack. And she left before us!
So we headed back. On the way back, Sister Pauline said that she'd eat the picnic lunch with me, so that I wouldn't be alone. I was grateful.
But when we got back, she forgot and went inside to eat lunch.
I looked for Avis, thinking that she owed me; she took my picnic, so she should stay with me, so that I wouldn't be alone.
I did find her. She gave me the picnic. She left me and went inside to eat.
I was miffed, to say the least.
I was angry and hurt. There I was, left standing on the outside, looking in on everyone laughing and having a good time. Didn't anyone think of me?
What could I do? I decided to make the best of it; I really had no choice. I offered up my hurt feeling as penitential sacrifice and asked God to forgive my anger and resentment. But still....
I followed a path away from the hotel and sat down on the furthermost bench. So there I was, alone with God.
I can't tell you what happened next. His grace somehow turned my attitude around. I don't know how. All I can tell you is that I sat on that bench, "pissed!" I got up off that bench with an outlook that was positive, cheerful, optimistic, grateful, and very thankful. How? Why?
Before that moment, I was on vacation; after that moment I was on retreat. God finally got me alone.
The sun was so gentle on my face. The wind caressed me. I think I napped. When the bells from Kappell St. Niklausen tolled, I went inside for some "one on one" with God, in Adoration.
Later that night, when I couldn't sleep, I went outside on my balcony. I could see the room next door had its lights on--Avis' room.
I reached over my balcony(risking my life) and tap, tap, tapped on her window. She got up. After she asked me if I were crazy, I asked her if she felt like talking.
We spent a couple of hours giving each other spiritual direction. ;-)