It can be really tough sometimes - as a single adult - to get oneself to church on Sunday.
I know so many great people who have given up on church. They feel they have prayed and prayed and either never got anything out of it - or - that no matter what they do God's just not listening to them.
I have two girlfriends in particular that I pray will get back to church.
One is a tougher case than the other.
The second, we'll call Lola. I talked to her before Christmas when we caught up on my breakup - on what was going on with her. Perpetually single, and maybe a little relieved to have me back in those ranks.
I don't see Lola often but I used to count on seeing her in church on Sunday. At least we caught up on a weekly basis.
She told me that she just can't make it to church lately because it just doesn't seem to help. She's so discouraged and feels God has forgotten about her. I understand that frustration, I really do. Been there. But it makes me so sad.
As I drove to church this morning I thought of who I might get to see. My friends whose baby I sponsored in baptism? I saw them last week. The cheerful, quick witted friend whose smile reminds me of Matt Damon? He's straying from church too lately. Will I see Lola in her usual seat?
I quickly asked God to bring her back to church - it would be so nice to see her beautiful smiling face!
I didn't see any of my friends during Mass today.
Yet I was touched by the story of Saul - who God called by name.
After Mass I was chatting with the older lady next to me - the woman who was the first person to greet me the first time I ever attended this church! That's special because I've been to churches where no one said a word to me for more than two years. She's the reason I came back!
Then out of the corner of my eye - Lola!
"You ARE here! Praise God!" I gave her a hug and she smiled broadly.
I told her how I thought of her before Mass, while I was parking my car.
She told me, "Well, I was half tempted to sit on the couch and watch the news. It was that or blow dry my hair and get to church. I got here late but I got here!"
We determined that it's likely the exact moment she was debating between the sofa and church - may have been the moment I said my little prayer.
Now I'm not saying I had anything to do with it. God was pulling her to Mass this morning, but maybe He let me whisper encouragement.
We single ladies need all the support we can get.
And never underestimate the power of prayer. He hears even the little ones.
And sometimes, just being the person someone else can count on to be there - is the best gift you can give that day.