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by Charles McKelvy
She looked up from the computer and repeated: “Game over.”
He stopped removing items from his briefcase and repeated: “What?”
She pointed to the screen and said: “According to this guy, global warming is not only real, but we have so seriously damaged the planet that we will be extinct in a matter of decades. Game over.”
“Oh,” he said, turning back to his briefcase. Then he stopped, looked at his wife and said: “Say, maybe we should take that trip to Italy you’ve always wanted to do. Just break the piggy bank and go. Carpe diem.”
She smiled. “Yeah, let’s do it.” She turned back to the expert on the computer screen and scowled. “But what if he’s wrong? What if we spend the nest egg on a trip to Italy and the game’s not over?”
“Then we’ll get jobs as greeters at Shop-til-You-Drop and you can play your clarinet by the side of the road. Those games will never be over.”
“Hmmm, indeed, Bella.”
“Si. Andiamo, Bella.”
“Global warming or no global warming, let’s seize the day and head for Italy.”
I know; I know: winter can get out of Dodge any second now. But, I must confess, I love winter. And, I will be sorry to see this doozy of a winter go. Such were my thoughts the other day at the Art Institute in Chicago as I gazed at my favorite painting, which I would like to share with you now:
(Aboard the Pere Marquette) Nothing could be finer than to be seated on the upper level of a Superliner car on an Amtrak train speeding through one’s home town of Harbert, Michigan on a snowy March morning. To wit:
A Lenten Journey
by Charles McKelvy
(Aboard the Pere Marquette) I am writing on a train about riding on a train on Ash Wednesday, 2014.
Specifically, I am writing as I ride on Amtrak train 371, the Pere Marquette. I am so doing because I decided to be a catholic-Catholic this Lent and part from my routine of attending Mass at my homogeneous parish in southwest Michigan. I am thus journeying to Chicago to begin my Lenten journey at Saint Peter’s Catholic Church (www.stpetersloop.org) at 110 West Madison Street in the heart of Chicago’s Loop.
I want to be marked with ashes with all God’s children, not just the lily-white crowd with whom this lily-white old guy normally worships.
So I am sitting on a train named for a French Jesuit priest/explorer thanking God for this opportunity to go forth in the snow and cold on a comfortable train that will deliver me into the bowels of a great city stuffed with strangers in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
I know I will see Jesus in Chicago today.
Maybe at Mass; maybe during the imposition of ashes down in the basement of Saint Peter’s.
But I will most likely encounter the risen Lord out along the slushy sidewalks where the unwashed misfits sit and beg and cajole and bother the busy people who don’t have time to even make eye contact.
I pray that I may take the time to make eye contact today.
Because if I don’t, I will miss many a chance to look Jesus Himself right in the eye, on Ash Wednesday no less.