I will be honest, Wednesday was an emotional roller-coaster. I was called in early to sub which of course throws off the day anyway, but more so since I wanted to blog and get some other things done. At about 10:30 the school received a phone call that a man had gone to two locations in a town about 10 miles from ours and shot six people. Four were confirmed dead. The communities that are affected are small, close knit, factory communities. Herkimer and Mohawk. Remington Arms supports a lot of the tax base…ironically. But lest we take a turn, this post is not about guns. It is about spending the day on high security alert. Though our school was not in any real danger, because of Newtown there was much activity and concern. Our district is very conscientious about security, it is their number one priority. My own kids were at the schools that were on the other side of town, just over the hill from Herkimer. But, I knew they were safe so my job was to assure other parents that their kids were safe and it was merely business as usual with all the adults on high alert. As they were trying to determine whether or not to have after school activities (as this man was still unaccounted for) we were bearing it with some humor…as you must. When I was checking if religion classes were still being held, one of the other people said, “Is it white smoke or black smoke” which was very funny in light of waiting for the conclaves decision.Five minutes later, religion is cancelled and I get a text from a friend…that in reality there is white smoke. We have a Pope! So I start telling people, there really is WHITE SMOKE!People who know the families, who live in the communities, in the meantime are coming into the school (or work there) and so the anticipation was doused by the reality of what was happening to our sister communities. This illustrates what our heavily Catholic community saw on the news.
I will be honest, I knew little about the man who they chose, but I had seen his name in passing. But a huge smile came across my face and I knew the Holy Spirit had prevailed. I have no idea why, but this felt right. Since then the more I learn the more I like him. I am sorry for his position on Gay marriage but I think he is sincere in his attempt to follow the Gospel. Where I find hope is in his open heart, his understanding of the suffering of people, his desire to be part of the people of God.We all need conversion in some areas of our lives, our Pope is no different and I believe in the deepest part of my heart that this is a man who wants to do good and who is one with the Spirit in many ways. Let’s pray for him as he asked us to. Let us pray for our wider church and for ourselves that we don’t get bogged down in single issues so much that we lose sight of the Gospel call in our own lives.