Communion Communication “Coincidence”

Our daughter celebrated the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Eucharist this year. Because of schedules and commitments, many of her out of town aunts and uncles were unable to celebrate with us, but they were all with her in spirit.  One other notable absentee was her Poppa who died just over two months before her First Communion celebration.  Through this entire year of preparation for these Sacraments, my wife and I had been concerned that my parents would be unable to travel and attend due to my father’s illness and frail state of health. Mom could have put Poppa into a care facility for the weekend and come by herself, but that would have really been hard on both of them. As it ultimately turned out, that decision did not have to be made.

Over the past two months I’ve had a number of people express sympathy to me for my father’s passing.  Anyone who has lost a parent or close family member can relate to my appreciation for those expressions of sympathy.  But one common phrase I’ve used in response to everyone’s condolences is that even though it is sad to realize that he is gone on earth, “his passing is much more relief than grief.”

I’ll never forget the words my sister said to me when Dad was preparing to come home from the hospital and transition to home hospice care.  She said, with all the love in the world, “I hope he goes fast.”  I think the reason that her words struck me so hard is because she was already in a place or frame of mind where I wasn’t at yet myself….  I was able to pray in general for God’s will and that I be accepting of that will, but I wasn’t able to ask for a quick transition to the next life stage.

We all deal with death of a loved one in our own way and I am at peace.  As the saying goes, “Life Goes On” and my life has gone on in the weeks after we buried Poppa, but not without a few reminders from him Popping in now and then.

Just to name a few:

* I have found a plethora of pennies and nickels in odd locations and in spots right next to my car when I park at the grocery store or Target — often in the parking spaces far away from the store where there is less likelihood of the more regular foot traffic.  This has happened so much more often over the past two months than I ever remember before — so often that I haven’t/couldn’t keep track of the circumstances of each find.

* In the week or two after the funeral, my niece randomly selected a library book from school about a classical music composer/piece that my dad used to play for her mom when she was a little girl. My sister had never shared those details with her daughter before the day she brought home the library book.

So to bring things full circle… When the time came for my daughter to celebrate her First Communion earlier this month, we no longer had to worry about whether her grandparents would be here or not.  Grandma didn’t have to worry about whether she would need to put Poppa into a care facility and Poppa wouldn’t have to feel like he was being left out.  And in the midst of other last minute roadblocks in the planning and preparation (Grandma’s car transmission deciding to go out mere days before her travels to be with us for First Communion), we received one of the biggest reminders from Poppa that he is still with us.

Buried in a nightstand in her bedroom, just days before she was supposed to come up for First Communion, my mom found the zippered book cover below containing a prayer book with a small children’s rosary inside a snap pocket also tucked in the zippered cover. She said that in the 47+ years that she and Dad were married, she did not know that he still had this.

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The inscription page says:

REMEMBRANCE OF MY FIRST HOLY COMMUNION

Name: Thomas F. Lukacs
Address: Center Ave.

Received First Holy Communion
in St. Agnes Church
on May 26, 1940 and was
Confirmed on                  19      
Rev. Jos. F. Dooley, Pastor

20150503 Altar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could that have just been a coincidence that these items from Poppa’s First Communion remained hidden from the rest of us for almost 75 years, and yet my mom found them mere days before Poppa’s youngest grandchild received the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time?  Yeah, right…

Praise God!!!

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The story behind the Blog…

In 1998, I started a personal home page while I was an AOLer.  Over the next few years, I edited the pages to include new ideas and links while deleting some of the old ideas and broken links.  My site moved from AOL to a user page on a smaller independent ISP and most recently to a new server with a new domain.  The page, as it currently is, is not updated often enough, but feel free to take a look.

One of the pages I added along the way is the story of my wife and I.  Not coincidentally, I titled that page There are No Coincidences with God.  It is my firm belief that every one of us experiences daily uncountable “non-coincidences”, but we don’t always see or recognize them.  These encounters might also be called graces or answered prayers or encounters with angels or any number of other descriptions.

My question(s) to you: What if there was no such thing as “coincidence”?  What if everything we experience is a part of God’s divine plan?  Would we look at our encounters and our personal choices differently?  Maybe not… but maybe!

A few years ago, even after posting the story of my wife and I to my web site, I began noticing more and more often that these “non-coincidences” seemed to occur more frequently than I ever realized.  But I also found that after a few days (or sometimes even a few short hours) I could only remember the more obvious and profound “non-coincidences.”  I lost track of many other “non-coincidences” and it bothered me.  Years ago, I used to journal my thoughts and ideas on an infrequent and irregular basis, so I decided to start up that practice again, but with exclusive regard to my “non-coincidence” experiences.

So I started up a new Word file on my computer and began to jot down some of my experiences.  After a number of months I had about ten or so entries in my journal, but it wasn’t until late October of 2008 that I realized two things after getting a phone call from a friend.  First, I still did not record all of my experiences.  Second, and more importantly, even those recorded experiences — for the most part — I did not share with anyone else.

I asked myself what good was I doing to track my own experience with “non-coincidences” if I didn’t share them with others? Sure, I added the There are No Coincidences with God idea to my web site and encouraged others to share their experiences with me*, but the real power to the idea that There are No Coincidences with God is in the ongoing reinforcement and personal witness of that idea.  It is not a one time experience never to be witnessed again.  Read Mt 5:14-16; Mk 4:21; Lk 11:33

*(I’ve only had one person e-mail me of his experience, but I chose to not re-publish others’ stories without the consent of all involved).

So, I decided to make this my first foray into true blogging.  I don’t claim to have any special knowledge, insight, or credentials and I am not necessarily looking to debate the theology or skepticism of those who question the existence of God.  Those who want to debate that idea should take a look at Three Steps to the Fountain and direct your arguments to the webmaster there.  All I can say is that I’ve witnessed the love of God and I absolutely believe that There are No Coincidences with God. I want to share these experiences with others and hear of their own.

Some of these instances will be more profound and significant than others, but none are insignificant. Some of my stories will be more personal than others and may contain comments or thoughts that make them seem childish or incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t shared my personal experience.  An “inside joke” means nothing to the person on the outside.  That won’t make the encounter any less valid to me, so I choose to journal those as well.

I have no idea how often I will add new entries.  I guess that will depend upon how observant and in tune I am to the daily graces that I receive.  But I welcome any reflection or comments and invite you to share your own experiences which tell you in your heart that There are No Coincidences with God.  Let this blog be a sounding board for all who believe.

I have a number of past experiences in my journal that I will post here in the next few weeks and will move forward from there.

Praise God!

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