CHAPTER 18 – QUIET TIME
Caite Jo didn’t remember much of the week that followed her papal encounter in Rome. She realized soon after leaving the audience hall that she was very tired. It felt like the last six months of her life had happened without sleep and she needed to rest. She slept for most of a day before leaving Rome and she slept on the several plane connections that she and her family had to make before getting back to Montana. Even though everyone wanted to hear what happened in Rome, she slept and stayed close to home for the several days. A week later she finally felt like she was waking up. She also felt like a different person.
“How was she different?” she asked herself. It was a difficult question to answer. In her quiet time alone she considered herself and how she felt. She could still remember the innocent exuberance that had propelled her across the months from her first encounter with Bishop. Now, at least for the moment, she didn’t feel the energy that had moved in her during that time. She would have been worried, but the seasoned veterans of her intuitive dialogue had warned her that there would be periods of time when she would have to “recharge her batteries.”
That was ok with her except that in the calm, she was left with an uneasy feeling. She finally tracked the feeling down and “opened it up” as her intuition had taught her and she found a truth that had changed her. Her experience had revealed to her that the world, even the best and holiest corners of it, was impressed by power. She had been given the grace of a little power to speak the truth and that grace had brought her face to face with other powers that either rejected her, feared her, mistrusted her or on the other hand, loved and accepted her. People having power over other people was the reality of the world, the power to love others or the power to hold others in negative judgment was something everyone did every day. This reality made her stop and wonder. She had witnessed how a few individuals had great power that allowed for great and consequential judgments. Those judgments often were wrong. She knew this led her to her personal dilemma. She was going to challenge powerful people who for various reasons were wrong and that activity was going to be hard work. When she reached this conclusion, she knew she’d better get more sleep.
When she felt that she had almost restored her batteries, three things happened that slowed her down and kept her in a place of solitude.
First, she encountered the Bishop one more time by accident. She went to the airport with her brother to meet their grandfather, walked through the moving door and was face to face with Bishop. He was there with a contingent of supporters who were seeing him off as he left for his new Midwestern diocese. The contingent gasped as she looked him in the eye and as he stood there frozen scowling at her. She was aware some of her innocence was gone, because she hesitated for a moment before saying “hello” sensing the misguided power of the man in front of her and for the first time fully appreciating the mistaken judgment that he followed. Before she could say anything, several people took the Bishop by the arm and moved him away from her. The words of “ignorant,” “arrogant,” and “disrespectful” could be heard as the crowd moved across the terminal room from her.
Second, she became aware that Fr. Hugh’s health was deteriorating. She knew that he would only have a short time left to do his work at the college, to serve the many people who had come to depend on him. She could have been sad. She did have an anticipation of loneliness at this loss, but she was happy because she knew the great adventures that were ahead of him. Her heavenly friends had taught her that after death, the real fun began. She started to prepare herself for the time when he would step into the next story.
Third, her brother revealed something to her that made her want to take more time to stop and think. As they sat in the airport waiting for the late arrival of the plane, with the bishop’s coterie mumbling across the room, her brother told her how much he loved her and admired her. Her example had inspired him and he wanted her to know something, something he had known for a long time but hadn’t told anyone. He was gay.
As her brother talked to her about his life, she listened intently. Her love made her reach out and hug him. As she stood holding him close to her heart, looking over his shoulder at the Bishop invested with the power of the Church she also loved, she felt tired. She knew she was going to need some more quiet time and good sleep to get ready for the next chapter in the story.