By Gerry Fischer
I taught at Catholic Schools in Louisville for over 11 years, for the most part at St. Simon and Jude. My principal was Sr. Michelle Duvall, an Ursuline Nun. When students have tragedies in their lives, teachers are often called on to help ease the situation. One month we had several such tragedies in our school, the least of which was a divorce. There were deaths in more than one family, and serious illnesses. I was overwhelmed by it all and asked Sr. Michelle why bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow that? Michelle told me we live in this world, and bad things happen, but God does not set out to hurt his people. Where you see the hand of God is when people come together to make things better for the unfortunate.
There is an old saying that states, “It’s a blessing in disguise,” meaning what seemed bad, turned out to be a blessing. Sometimes things work that way and sometimes more mysteriously. When something you perceive as a bad experience for yourself, comes about, it may be so that you can be a blessing to others. Its kind of confusing, so let me explain.
Jeff Stull had a harrowing experience when he was in an automobile accident. The last thing he remembers was seeing the car he was riding in sliding sideways toward a tree. His next recollection was standing in some grass and seeing a house he recognized. He walked to the house and rang the doorbell. A lady he recognized answered the door, and he asked to use the phone. She screamed and slammed the door. Jeff went in front of the garage and set down, numb, confused, badly hurt and likely in shock. A moment later a man appeared with a towel and wrapped it around Jeff’s head and told him an ambulance was on the way. He stayed with Jeff. Later Jeff found the tree the car slid into was uprooted, and the car’s front end sheared off a fire hydrant. The blessing was of course Jeff surviving the crash, and getting aid; but the man who rendered aid to Jeff was also blessed, although he probably didn’t realize that until later. It is written, “Whatever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.” His kindness and compassion, is his earthly reward, but there will be another.
My friend Ron, has a friend who was driving, late at night, down a little used and unfamiliar country road. Something happened, and the car ran off the road and into the trees. He was thrown from the car into the woods badly injured. He always kept a flash light under his seat for emergencies. Someway, the flashlight was thrown from the car where it was stood on its end and turned on in the middle of the road, a beacon of light on a lonely road. A driver saw the light, stopped his car and Ron’s friend was rescued. There are too many blessings to unpack here.
My friend, upbeat little, Missy Pipes told me of her experience when she had her heart transplant. Sometime during a critical part of the operation, she had a wonderful feeling and became aware of the most heavenly music. It got better and better. She reluctantly left that experience when she was told, now was not her time.
I had my experience at Jewish Hospital after a heart attack. I flatlined, and while more or less dead, I stood in a field walking toward a light, feeling better and better the closer I came. Bill Whalen was the second person I told. He listened and asked, “did it fill you up.” I knew immediately what he meant. Missy and I also spoke of this. He then told me “his” experience. I know Bill is basking in that light right now. One day God willing, with a little work, faith and grace, we may all be.