September 23, 2008 – Search
I lived Cursillo over the weekend of September 18-21. For those who don’t know what it is, Cursillo is an intense “short course” of Christianity and of God’s love. ::Flashback:: Back in 1987-89, I attended a few teenage retreats called “Search” while I was in high school in Steubenville, Ohio. Each retreat was led by a team of guys from all the area high schools with two rectors and a priest spiritual director.
Search was probably my first intense encounter of God’s love for me in a setting similar to Cursillo, but on a teenage level. I served on three or four teams after my first Search as a participant. The last Search during my senior year of high school was very emotional and intense and I became very good friends with our two classmate rectors Mark and Brandon. Mark and Brandon both went on to attend the Franciscan University of Steubenville. I went to that university as well, but I did not live on campus while Mark and Brandon did. We continued to be friends, but lost touch not long after college graduation. I saw Brandon at our ten year high school class reunion, but Mark wasn’t there. I don’t believe I’ve seen either of them since.
On the Tuesday after living Cursillo, I had a court hearing in the Cleveland Municipal Court at 9:00 a.m. On average, I go to Cleveland about once every 4 to 5 months; sometimes more frequently, sometime less. I was still dragging from a weekend without as much sleep as I normally get, and I had to be on the road early to battle the Cleveland morning rush hour traffic. (I am spoiled for living less than one mile from my Sandusky office and generally face no traffic at all on my daily three minute commute). I got to Cleveland around 8:30 and parked in an underground parking garage. I took the underground tunnel — I think only the attorneys and regulars know it — to the Justice Center. A guy in blue jeans and polo shirt got onto the same elevator with someone else in a suit and tie. The polo shirt guy looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure until he started talking to the suit and I heard a familiar voice. As they got off the elevator, I reached out and put my hand on his shoulder and asked, “Brandon?”
I haven’t seen this guy for years. We went to high school and college together in a small town 135 miles away and by some freak chance we ended up in the same underground tucked away elevator in the Cleveland Justice Center where at least 500 or more people were filtering in that moment for morning court appearances. This Search reunion “just happens” two days after I experienced Cursillo. That is not coincidence.