It is finished
I wrote a book. Just now, just today, I added that last chapter to the book that has taken over my life, my book about Lourdes. Working title? Malade: A Pilgrimage Story.
I’m sitting in Panera and 14 seconds after I typed the last word of this book about my pilgrimage to Lourdes, I hear singing in Latin. It sounds like the rosary being sung in Lourdes. I mean, it sounds EXACTLY like the rosary being sung in Lourdes. They use the same cantor every day, with a very distinctive voice, and I will never, never forget that voice.
I look over my shoulder. Two blonde teenagers are holding their phones and giggling. I turn back to my computer, surprised that these girls are blaring Latin chant in public, but who knows? What a weird coincidence.
The music continues. It is not quiet — I am 30 feet away and I can hear it clearly. This is a public place. I can’t shake the feeling that this is the chant from Lourdes. Finally, I push back my chair and walk in that direction to “refill my drink.” The music gets louder as I approach.
I look at the girls. They are still giggling nervously, but their phones are dark and quiet. Okay, they are not blaring Latin chant.
At the next table, a little girl sits with a McDonald’s Happy Meal on the table in front of her, next to a phone. The screen is on. This is the source of the music. I look down, and I see the Rosary Basilica. She is watching a video of the nightly Rosary Procession in Lourdes. It is that cantor. They are praying that rosary. And this four year old is sitting in a Panera in Pflugerville, Texas, watching it, loudly enough for the entire restaurant to hear.
I look up at the woman she is with. “Is that Lourdes?”
“Yes, that’s Lourdes. I just got back. I went there as a volunteer.”
I look at her in absolute shock, unable to form sentences. Before the boulder in my throat gets too big, I stutter:
“We took our son to Lourdes last year as a malade, and I went back this year as a volunteer. I just finished writing a book about it. I mean, literally, five minutes ago, I wrote the last words at that table right there. My computer is sitting open. And then I heard this music playing, and I thought, ‘That sounds like Lourdes, but it can’t be.’
“And it is. You are playing the Lourdes rosary.”
We proceeded to have a delightful, emotional 10 minute chat about Lourdes, and exchanged contact information. And I know, suddenly, that whatever happens with this book next, I was supposed to write it. I have been faithful, even if it will never be commercially successful.
Thanks be to God for his tiny and amazing mercies, every day, now and forever.
I’m a Catholic wife, mother of six, and writer who wrestles with the problem of pain. What does faith look like in times of adversity and struggle? I’m so glad to have you here, joining the conversation. Learn more about me 🠖
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