Sometimes, one just wonders about that age old question of, “Does God exist?” Today, I had one of those experiences that makes me really wonder whether or not my negativity on that subject is real or not.

If there is no God, there must be something else, some sort of higher power.

Over thirty years ago, we had the pleasure to meet what I thought was a younger couple at our local parish. At that time, we were practicing Catholics. Since that time, much has happened and although I feel very Catholic, going to mass and taking part in the parish community is not working for us at all. That ship has sailed. Things happened and a priest sent in to take our progressive parish backwards came in to power at a time when we apparently were hanging on to our faith in the parish by a thread. The institution has failed us by not addressing the abuses of the past and present and just goes on and clearly the world is going to hell in a handbasket while they stand by and watch. Yes, there are so many who are doing good, but that cannot make up for the hidden abuses and the refusal to set things right. 

Nonetheless, this ‘younger couple’ has come back into our lives. She had been the religion teacher for our youngest and he had been a fellow participant at CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish), a retreat that I attended back in the day. Our renewal happened in a really interesting way. I was thinking about a stir fry meal we had with them and looked it up in our records. There it was and it included our friend’s name. I wondered what had happened, thought they were still in the area, and looked them up, finding him on LinkedIn and her on Facebook. I contacted her and we touched base. I found out that this person who appears to me as a brilliant elementary school teacher (which I have every reason to believe is on point) was retired, had taught in Highland Park, and was pursuing French. I told her of the French Conversation Hour I supervise and she came in and brought a good friend doing the same. We have been speaking in French ever since.

Today, we met up for brunch at their home. It was wonderful and our discussion topics were all over the place and went from past to future and we discussed everything from politics to the Church. I cannot help but believe that this was not a happenstance thing, that Mama Wong’s stir fry was just a chance sort of thing. As it happens, she doesn’t even remember making the chicken that we remember being served to us in their Highwood apartment.

Our very Catholic (the husband, as the wife is Jewish), yet questioning friend, listened to us today and asked if he could tell us what was going on with our beliefs. He said it in one word, “irrelevant!” He hit the nail on the head. The institution of the Church is irrelevant and clearly not meeting our needs.

Life has a habit of surprises, and by jove, this was a good one! Who else can say that in this day and age?

About Richard Koerner

Seventy something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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