October 7, 2011

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Remembering surprises that make life enjoyable

Shirley Vogler MeisterOne day after Sunday Mass at Christ the King Church in Indianapolis, I talked with a parishioner who lives in our north side neighborhood.

Cheryl and her husband, Steven, and their children have a home on the East Drive of Hillside Avenue.

My husband, Paul, and I raised our daughters on the west side of Hillside Avenue.

Cheryl shared some information about the hummingbirds that come to their property, and I told her that our next-door neighbor, Frank, gets an abundance of them, too.

I consider hummingbirds to be one of the special blessings in nature.

A few days later, I heard our two cats meowing at our front door, and I figured they were watching chipmunks or squirrels. Our cats, Domino and Elmer, are indoor pets so the outdoor critters are safe.

Later, I went into the living room and noticed our cats looking out the storm door so I peeked out, too. There was a lovely bag on the porch.

As I brought it in, I found a hummingbird feeder and bottle of nectar. I saw no name, but suspected that Cheryl might have been the gift-giver because of our Sunday conversation. When I called her, she acknowledged the gift.

Paul and I put the feeder in various places in our yard without tempting anything but wasps and bees. Then we placed it by our neighbor Frank’s fence and, sure enough, the tiny birds arrived to dine on nectar.

Sometime after that, I received another surprise in the mail from Jerry and Elizabeth Traub, also Christ the King Parish friends. It was a typed conversation that supposedly took place between God and St. Francis of Assisi.

The entire “conversation” between God and St. Francis covers the illogical things that are going on with our planet. God created so much abundance and beauty in logical ways. However, we humans somehow bungle what we do with the earthly blessings that God has given us.

There have been many happy surprises from parishioners throughout our 50-plus years of worshiping at Christ the King Church, and schooling our three daughters at Christ the King School and then Bishop Chatard High School.

Paul and I were extremely active in our earlier years. Health issues with our elderly parents and other unusual challenges kept us from being as active during our three daughters’ years at Bishop Chatard, although I did work in the library there for a while.

Even in the busyness of daily life, it’s important to recognize and appreciate surprises that come our way—and also to create surprises for others whenever possible.

Paul and I have learned so much from our younger years about the priceless things in life, which truly are blessings.

Good friends and neighbors are blessings, much like hummingbirds that also create joy in life—and love our planet, too.

There is much to be done in our lives, and much to be done to care for our planet.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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