I have returned from the latest round of galavantations… visiting my parents… hanging out with daughter #1… and moving daughter #2 back into her college dorm.

It is always a fun time of year filled with family barbecues / meeting college roommates / and Dutch letters at the finale days of the farmers’ markets.

[ This year, westbound flights were jammed!  So there were very few standby seats for us non-rev passengers.  We were chatting about it at the end of a long day of waiting in the SLC airport and a young guy chimed in… Oh, there’s a big festival in Reno!

Oh… yea… Burning Man ( I said )  That’s this week.

He smiled when I called it by name and I thought to myself… that’s where he’s headed… I can tell.  Sure enough… at baggage claim that night, he retrieved a duck-taped cooler on wheels.  Yep… he’s a Burner! ]

There’s Always a Story

So flying into Salt Lake City, I got the very last open seat… more by chance than anything.  4 people were on the list ahead of me… but when the gate agent started calling out names, no one was there.  They had all given up hope of getting on the over-sold flight.  I caught wind of the situation and promptly appeared right in front of her.

You have your bags?  she asked frantically.  Yep.  Okay, you’re on!

Prior to that moment, I was probably getting stuck in Minneapolis for the night.

So I galavant down the jetway to claim the very-last-middle-seat-in-the-very-last-row-on-this-very-large-plane.

Woot!  Woot!  God is good.

Are you a nun?

Towards the end of the flight, the guy next to me strikes up a conversation.  He was very chatty.

[ Turns out he is a science professor at the University of Utah heading home after vacation.  I heard all about the rabbit exhibits at the Minnesota state fair. ]

Finally he asks… So what kind of work do you do?

I take a deep breath as I think to myself… Here we go.  This is always a complex conversation because so few people understand the Catholic Church.

I say… I do Catholic youth ministry for the Diocese of Reno.

He promptly asks… Are you a nun?

That’s odd… No.  I’m married with kids.

He looks confused… So you’re not ordained?

That’s odd again… No… [ and a quiet grin spreads across my face because that’s always an intense conversation because so few people understand the Catholic Church… ]

He fumbles for thoughts and words… So you’re not a nun or a priest… what do they call you?

More odd… I’m called a lay minister.

And we quickly start talking again about rabbits as he whips out his iPhone to show me pics of his 6 pet bunnies.

There is always a story brewing in my adventures.

The Moral of This Story

Odd questions elicit odd answers… and unexpected lessons.

In this case… confirmation / affirmation of my vocation.

I am a lay minister who loves doing youth ministry in the Catholic Church.

I have struggled with tremendous consternation / contention over this for the past two months… to the point that big life changes need to be made.

And this stupid little Are you a nun? question pushes me to center.

What now, God?  What next?


About Elaine Menardi

Heading off on a new adventure! I solve problems and make ideas happen.

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