Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NCYC Traders, My Pockets, and the Angel Gabriel

This is a picture of Isaac at the National Catholic Youth Conference recently in Indianapolis.  He is having a conversation with the girl seated behind us, trading items that they have brought or collected during this pilgrimage that we were on.  I was totally moved by this interaction, (and thousands like it over the weekend, one of which included me wearing a necklace of cheese!)  It sounds something like this: 

Isaac:  Wanna trade?
Girl:  Sure.  (Opens her arms and indicates the treasures hanging from her neck and pinned to her shirt.)
Girl:  What would you like? 
Isaac:  What would YOU like?  (Proudly displays the treasures he has amassed, including the cool cow hat that moos and lights up.) 
Girl:  What did you bring with you? 

At this point, Isaac shows her the red cloths we brought to represent the cloak of St. Martin.  He shared his cloak with a freezing beggar, then Christ appeared to him in that same cloak in a dream.  (The word "chapel" comes from the churches built to house the remains of St. Martin's Cloak.)  She agrees that would be a great trade for her white beaded necklace.  They trade, smile, and go on about their business of worshipping with the other 23,000 teens in attendence.

So then God puts this other transaction in my mind.  There's this girl, about the same age as the girl in the picture.  And this guy in a white suit comes up to her and says, (and I'm using the Swager-ized translation here) "Wanna trade?" And she says, "Sure, what would you like?" (Her arms open wide.) And he says, "I'd like you to carry the son of God into this world.  I'd like you to be his mother, and share in his pains and bear the shame of people talking about you being an unwed mother.  They may even stone you.  She probably thought about it for a minute...trying to comprehend this bargain.  "And in return, he will raise you with him to glory, and become the most perfect variety of love ever imagined, and all will call you blessed."  "Uh, you know I'm a virgin, right?"  She clarifies the deal.  "Yep, I know.  This kind of love is much more than sex can ever be."  "I am the handmaiden of the Lord...Let it be done as you say...Deal!"  I like to think they traded, smiled, and went their ways.  

So I kept seeing these two stories and how they were alike, and then this little guy at school blew me away.  I'll call him Mikey which is not his real name.  Mikey has a different way about him.  We were working very hard at the concept of  "Make a candy cane, give it a shoe, that's the way we make a 2."  It's pretty tough for Young fivers.  He was really struggling with where to put his free hand, and where to put his fingers on the pencil, and really, it was like watching a fish try to ride a bicycle.  This fella was not born with a pencil in his hand, but he really wants to make a 2.  So I reach into my waitress-type apron pockets that I wear at school, and I find a ring with an eyeball on it.  I slip the eyeball ring on Mikey's pointer finger of his free hand, and tell him that hand gets to watch what the other hand is doing.  (BIG kudos to Isaac's old OT!) Pretty soon, there it is...a candy cane...a shoe....by golly!  It sure looks like a 2 to me!  Mikey and I take a second to rejoice!  Then, in his slow-talking, I'm-on-my-own-schedule sort of way, Mikey says,"Mrs. Swager, when God made you he put a lot of good things in your pockets."  I told him I was sure he had great things in his pockets, too, but he pointed out that he was wearing sweatpants that had no pockets, and the point was totally lost on him.  But not on me. 

I do have a lot of good things in my pockets.  And God put all of them in there.  I hope I can be like the girls in the stories above.  I hope if a man in a white suit visits me, I can open my arms (and my blessing-filled pockets)  and ask "What would you like?"  And I hope I have the courage to say, "Let it be done to me as you say." 

What's in your pockets?  What are you willing to trade?    

1 comment:

  1. Amy - a beautiful story and writing! You are a treasure!