Long before we even considered buying this house--before we even knew we would be living in Norwood Young America (the small town with a big name), Max made a request. He said to me one day, "Whatever house you guys buy, make sure that it has a church nearby so I can bike to it for adoration."
I remember I responded to this with a scoff and a snort. It's not that I didn't think it was a good idea or possible, it was just that we were overwhelmed as it was about buying a house at all. People kept asking us where we planned to live and we would respond helplessly, "Wherever the house is." Because when you don't have much money to work with, it is slim-pick'ns on where you're going to live. So for this reason, I pretty much laughed at Max's request. As much as I would have loved to have a nice Catholic church just down the road, it didn't seem possible and I sure wasn't going to mention it to our realtor as a "must have" on our list either.
However, he kept bringing it up. "Don't forget about the church," he would say, as though we had some sort of say in the matter. I finally told him, "If you want us to find a house with a church nearby, you will have to ask God to make it happen" and I left it at that.
For myself, the matter was forgotten, and Max didn't bring it up after that. I was more concerned with where we were going to live, what the neighborhood would be like and yes, even about a church nearby. However, my idea of "nearby" was different to Max's. I was expecting we would have to drive to a Catholic church and I wasn't sure how far we would have to go. Being out in the country and in a small town, it's hard to know what to expect what will be out here--not like a city where you know that everything is crammed in together.
And yet, here we are, six months later in our new house...with a church just a few blocks away literally within biking distance. I know that a lot of people might think that this is just a coincidence, but if you could see this town and how scanty it is with Catholic churches...what are the odds that we had a chance to find the perfect house in a great neighborhood down the road from the only Catholic church in town?
It wasn't until yesterday that I realized that Max's wish had come true. I had told the kids, "Today I will bike with you to adoration but one day when you're older, you're going to bike to it by yourself." And then in a flash I went back six months ago and heard Max's voice, "Whatever house you guys buy, make sure that it has a church nearby so I can bike to it for adoration."
Max's insistence that we must find a Catholic church nearby within biking distance I admit, was ignored by me. But all this time later, in the most uncanny way, God showed me that this was "the plan" all along, revealed in advance to a 10 year old kid.
It's a good reminder to me that God takes care of us, even in the small ways that seem unimportant to us. My kids will get added support that they will need in their lives--and hopefully in their adult lives too--by biking on their own to adoration. It will hopefully be a place of refuge, a little nook to run to, when they are seeking something they can't find here. This is what adoration has been to me and I have always hoped that it would also be this for my kids.
Time will tell, of course. Like all things in life, it's always up to us to take the initiative to make the effort to go. But it's a great consolation to know that God wants to keep us close and nearby to His heart, and makes sure there is always a way to get there.