1. Spent a fabulous 5 days in and around Chicago. Had a work event that was beautiful and engaging. Got to share my monograph with some folks. It was terrific. Then, I had a couple of R&R days with a dear friend. We didn't do anything exciting, but we had the best time.
2. The theme of the weekend seemed to be "The Kindness of Strangers." When my friend and I were shopping, I wanted to see how a sweater looked on me, but there was no mirror to be found. A lady near us said, "No problem! I was a Girl Scout and we are resourceful!" She whipped out her camera, took a couple of pics of me, and showed them to me. The sweater looked great, it was on clearance, and I got it.
3. I took the Metra back from the 'burbs into Chicago Sunday, and I was dragging my ridiculously heavy suitcase. (How have I not learned how to pack light by this point in my life???) A young man graciously offered to get it off the train for me, keeping me from either simply tossing the damn thing down the stairs and likely taking out another passenger or breaking my back trying to lug the thing down.
4. I bought some lunch at Union Station. (Like most other large transportation hubs, there are a lot of beggars and panhandlers about.) A women came up to me with a few dollars in her hand, and said she was trying to get enough to feed her kids. Now, I very rarely give anyone money. But something about her seemed very genuine. I said, "Would you like to share my sandwich?" and she gratefully accepted it. She really was hungry.
5. The Catholic church near my friend's house is one I have attended a handful of times. This time, I went to the Saturday evening Mass. That affirmed for me what I had experienced there before: everyone in attendance, including the priest, seemed to want to get this thing over as quickly as possible. I would say a good 1/3 of the congregation left immediately after Communion. There was not one bit of reverence that I could see anywhere around me. It made me very thankful for my home parish.