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Piano2It’s Saturday night and I’m finally sitting down to relax and enjoy a little quiet time. We just finished dinner an hour or so ago – our usual Saturday night fare of grilled hamburgers. My wife’s in the kitchen making a pie for tomorrow, and my daughter, Grace, is in the basement watching a movie on Netflix.

I’m thinking back over the day and how I seemed to have worked hard but really didn’t get much accomplished. Several thunderstorms rolled through today which kept me from getting my yard mowed. Grace, who’s been home from college for about three weeks, kindly helped pick up branches which the storms had blown out of the many trees in our yard.

I recall the phone conversation I had with my close friend, Jerry, earlier today. We’d been playing phone tag for a week and we finally connected. Jerry is one of the men who have been by my side the last three years as I’ve been on my spiritual journey. We try to talk frequently but our schedules over the last month have kept us from it. As usual, our conversation started off with asking each other how our “walk with Jesus” has been going. I shared how my spiritual life has been on the dry side lately and I’ve struggled to feel as close to Him as I would like. Jerry admitted the same. We talked about what we could do to stoke our fires and bounced some ideas off each other. I love having Catholic friends with whom I can have that kind of conversation. I care for their spiritual health and I know they care for mine, too.

I told Jerry I have missed recognizing the “God-moments”, those instances when I feel particularly close to Jesus or feel God working in my life. They have become so important to me but they seem to have been absent the last few weeks. I told him that deep down inside I know the problem is really me. I’ve been so busy with “things”, I haven’t taken the time to “smell the roses”, if you will. I haven’t paid attention to the subtle ways God reveals Himself. As I sit here and think about our conversation I tell myself I need to do better at recognizing His little blessings.

My quiet reflection is interrupted by a tune being gently played on our baby grand piano. It is Grace playing, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Avita. She’s playing it beautifully and flawlessly. She puts so much feeling in her music. I love to hear her play. I realize how much I’ve missed her piano playing since she’s been away at college.

She changes up the tempo and begins to play a real oldie, “Mary’s a Grand Old Name” by George M. Cohan. She makes it look effortless. Her lithe fingers caress the keys and magic makes its way to my ears.

I start to cry. It dawns on me that it’s not the music causing my eyes to leak. No. Instead, I truly feel how blessed I am as a father. As I watch her play, I realize the beauty of the music she is making pales in comparison to the beauty she has within her. I love her, as I do all my children, with all my heart. I think about how God must feel the same way about them, and me, too. Now, sotto voce, I say a prayer giving thanks to Him for His grace and for allowing me to have my Grace in my life.

I finish my prayer by offering God an extra thank you for knowing just what I needed to end my dry spell and bring me back to Him. Amen.

(A Double Dose of Grace was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)

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