How Great Thou Part

My sister drives the car while I ride shotgun. My three boys chatter behind us . We are hungry. Scratch that, we are starving, so we drive to scout out the perfect lunch spot before our drive back to Sarasota. We are smack in the middle of Orlando, Florida. A seemingly perfect spot for restaurant surplus.

“Let’s look for a Chick-fil-A,” I say.

Squeals of enthusiasm fly from the backseat.

My sister nods in agreement. This clinches it. All eyes begin to hunt the landscape.

Twenty minutes later, different screams are cast from the backseat. The boys are weary of this game.

We surrender. My sister and I decide it is time to jump on the highway and look for our best choice there.

“I’m going to say a Saint Anthony prayer,” I announce. “Tony will find us a Chick-fil-A.”

He is my favorite saint. My ‘go to’ guy. I call on him so much, that I now refer to him as Tony and joke that it may be saint abuse.

“Colleeeeeeeeen!” my sister gasps. She places the emphasis on the “Lene,” just as my mother did whenever I shocked her. “You can’t pray for that!”

“Watch me,” I shoot back.

I recite the Saint Anthony prayer, “Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around, let a Chick-fil-A be found.”

My sister’s head shakes with disapproval. I have visions of Sister Lisa Marie and the nuns of our grade school youth.

I try and blame the Chick-fil-A people.

“Why do they make the chicken soooooo yummy that you crave it?” I ask.

No response. Just silent disapproval.

We inch onto the highway. My boys glance outside, eager to spot our destination. They know their mom. They hear my Saint Anthony pleas so often that they now believe him to be magic, make that miraculous.

My sister gasps again. I turn to look towards her. Her mouth is now open. I shift my gaze towards the first exit. We have gone barely a mile or so before we discover the Chick-fil-A.

The boys erupt with joy.

“See,” I say with a smile. “Saint Anthony always works.”

My sister sits speechless. Not sure whether to lean back on the stance of not praying for little things or to realize that perhaps it’s actually okay to pray for these things.

So is it the Catholic in us that makes us feel like we can only pray for specified intentions? The really serious stuff?

I think it is. I felt that way once. However, I let go of that barrier a long, time ago.

I now pray wide open.

I pray big and small, tiny and huge, bitty and giant, teensy and monumental.

There is no differentiating my conversation with my faith.

It may have started as the Catholic school girl in me thinking it was wrong to pray this way. Only now, it is the Catholic school girl in me that simply just says, “pray.”

My phone rings a few weeks after our chicken sandwiches.

“What’s that Saint Anthony prayer again? asks my sister.



Follow me on Facebook at Colleen Sheehy Orme and on Twitter @colleenorme

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