God uses every moment we give him. I didn’t get far with my morning offering today. It seems the spiritual forces are in serious conflict during this Holy Week, and distractions are far from sparse. So on the way to get my brakes fixed this morning, I prayed, “I offer You this day, my prayer, my work, my struggles, my difficulties and my joys…” and that is about as far as I got. But it was enough for God. I checked in and sat down in the waiting room, trying to get to the pile of papers that had invaded my over-sized purse with a hostile takeover. “Somebody loves cats!” He said as he looked at no less than 8 framed pictures of cats hanging on the waiting room walls. I looked around and agreed. “The book I am using as a lap desk is a book about cats too!” I noticed. No long after we were talking about beloved pets present and past and then on to family, children, grandchildren and the like. My mouth has not received its graduation certificate in “Thoughts Scanned and Strained” and still spurts forth whatever my brain processes, sometimes even before the thought is processed I am speaking it. Before I knew it, I was telling him about Cirque’s request to go to confession once again, even though she has gone once already since her first reconciliation service last month. “You don’t need to go every week.” LB explained to her yesterday in the car. “Only when you really did something mean on purpose”, JD added. “Keep a list Cirque,” I explained “and the things you did on purpose you can tell Father when we go after Easter.” Since her zeal for confession fills my heart with joy, I shared this bit of a story with the stranger, who seems to have an appreciation for his kids and shared a family laugh or two with me earlier. A spot opened up even deeper in our conversation, and he related to me a friend of his who was Catholic and used to remark about his love for confession. I agreed, and said I call it my “facial” because I walk away feeling more refreshed than if I had spent $100 to relax in a spa. We seemed to agree about the fact that getting things off your chest feels good, and how the churches who do public confessions must have an assembly with tremendous courage! He told me his grandson was living with him, because he feared for his own father’s soul (the son of this nice gentlemen) and the father was so against religion, that when the grandson left his father a bible and verse to read to help along his faith, the father packed his bags up and kicked the son out of the house, whereby he moved in with his grandfather, who was sharing this with me. I felt great sadness over this and expressed my sorrow for the situation. His eyes seemed teary and just then then service manager came around the corner and said “Jack! Your car is ready!” With that harshly timed interruption the man stood, said good-bye and left. A few minutes later he came back into the room and seemed to be determined to share, “You know I left the church.” He explained that his old minister told him after he went away to serve in the military for three years, upon his return he owed three years worth of tithing. The nice man’s face showed distress and hurt as he explained that he was crushed completely by this. I tried to console him with “That is very sad. That must have hurt you deeply.” He said he had a library of books about religion and in his mind, the only thing that matters was how you feel about yourself in the end. That you would end up in Heaven if you truly believed you did your best. Sensing his distress, and not wanting to be added to the list of religious fanatics who had hurt this kind man, I simply tried to add a bit more to his equation with “It’s about the relationship with him”. I hoped he understood that there was love awaiting in that relationship with “him”, who is Jesus. That even though we are all trying to be good people, the world tells us we are “okay” under lesser circumstances than we are capable of managing. Shouldn’t we push ourselves to love beyond ourselves? To the point of charity–which is giving sometimes beyond what we are comfortable with, or what we even have to give? Mother Theresa says if we do so, the only thing left in the end, will be more love. I know for sure that God loves this man, because he created him, and he wants him for Himself. I know for sure that humans inadvertently say hurtful things to each other, without thinking (especially some of us who don’t have the degree in processed thoughts yet!) and I know that God’s love is bigger than all of that. I just wish the guys who fixed my brakes, could install the gadget that makes my mouth speak whatever God would have me say! Do they make those?