Blessings at Brunch
My plan for an aesthetically pleasing brunch had worked. The sunny patio of The Post House Inn had teak tables, white umbrellas, and the perfect amount of dishware emblazoned with its name. To my right was Jessie, whom I had only known for eight months, but I already counted as a best friend. To my left was Charlotte, our new friend who dazzled us with her zest for bright colors and Jesus. Charlotte just had that knack for speaking about her faith against the backdrop of her vibrant life in a happy, genuine way. Her Instagram made you want to redecorate your home, while saying the rosary.
The beginnings of our conversation were effusive if a bit polite. Backs straight, hands folded in our laps and demurring about Monsignor’s homily that morning, we ordered the exact same plate- eggs, bacon, grits, toast, collards. Very Charleston. We admired our surroundings and each other’s dresses. And eventually, we slid into the topic of careers.
As I poured cup after cup of English breakfast tea (from the teapot the waitress brought to the table—how chic), I listed to Charlotte talk about owning her own business, her clients, and her approach to social media managing. Jessie spoke about feeling in a rut at her current job and her earnest wish to do a one-eighty and own a flower farm. I shared my love of customer validation surveys and my dream to work in venture capital funding start-ups.
It was like a spark had been lit. Charlotte and I heaped ideas for the flower farm on Jessie and offered our various services (Charlotte, marketing and I, finance and management). St. Fiacre, Patron Saint of Gardeners, had made himself known to Charlotte before she moved to South Carolina and now she knew why. I detailed ways we could use data analytics to predict demand for Jessie’s flower crop. Heck, if she was going to buy a few acres, why not host field trips and events next to the blooming fields? We made plans to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina to pray for our various aspirations and we planned all the way into the stars.
The warmest feeling squeezed at my heart, and it wasn’t sweat from the South Carolina sun. This brunch was a prayer answered. Funny enough, I hadn’t prayed for it. There had always been a desire to sit and talk business with like-minded women rolling around in my heart. Oh, to have a high-powered pow-wow at a trendy locale! But somewhere buried deep was the desire to have a group of Catholic girlfriends who also wanted to have high powered careers and loved to dine at the “in” spots.
I couldn’t remember the last time I had a close, Catholic friend. To me, Catholic friends with similar interests seemed like such a far-fetched hope, I hadn’t even put it on my wish list. Catholic, Catholic, Catholic. For so long, it was just a fact about me, never a trait in common.
I had never been able to place my finger on what was missing, but here it was being gifted to me by God: Community. I sat around that teak table and drank it in (along with the tea—I went to the bathroom six times). Blessings, I kept thinking.
How blessed am I, how lucky am I to belong to a God who knows me better than I know myself? Who nourishes my soul in ways I can’t comprehend? Let’s be honest—I like to be in the know. I’m practically the poster child for Type A. He set me down exactly where I was supposed to be and no amount of planning or research, no reservation on OpenTable could’ve achieved what he did on the patio of Post House Inn.
Finding community in a new city or life stage, let alone friends who share your faith can be difficult and is made even more so in there isn’t a one size fits all solution. What works for one gal may not work for the next, but the first and most simple thing you can do is (say it with me now) pray. During the time I struggled to find my footing in Charleston, I wish I had brought my desire before God. For as many times as I told my mother, my college friends, and anyone who would listen how much I would like to find a community, I neglected to bring it to God. Even if you don’t know what you want in a faith community, ask God to lead you to one that will help you grow, lift you up, and make you laugh.
Do your research, contact your diocese to see which local parishes offer interest groups (i.e. Young Adults), and start volunteering through the Church. If you attend a bible study, speak up! People are listening and it is incredibly likely your words will spark a conversation between you and a new acquaintance after the group discussion wraps. The task of finding a Catholic community may seem daunting but remember: God knows our hearts. He sees our desires and leads us towards our future. He wants community for you, and he will deliver.
The bounds of my new community have continued to grow, as have our ideas, ambitions, and our faith. The memory of that August brunch serves as a constant reminder. Whenever the pressures of the future make my chest feel like a balloon about to pop or I’m plagued with stress about my next career move, I remember whatever gift God will grant me next may not even be on my registry, but it sure is something I’ll love and need. And for that I send God up a silent thank-you note.
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