Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Postcards (08/29/05)
TITLE: Divine Handwriting
By Joseph Civitella
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The postcard from Rome arrived first thing in the morning, unmarked, except for my name and address. There wasn’t any message on it. Just an image of the Vatican on the front side.
But I didn’t know anyone in Rome. None of my friends or family were traveling abroad at this time of year. Who sent me this postcard? And why?
I studied the handwriting. My name and address were printed in neat letters and numbers, evenly spaced, in black ink. I couldn’t identify any more clues regardless how closely I looked, and so I put the card aside. I had to get back to the numerous tasks of my busy day.
Sometime after eating lunch at my desk, I decided I should go for a short walk to the nearby café, even just to get some fresh air. But as I rose from my seat I froze in mid-stride. I happened to glance at the postcard, and somehow something had been written on it! “God is…”
I stared in disbelief. How could this be? No one came into my office the entire time I was there. And I surely hadn’t written anything on the postcard. Was this some kind of a joke? Just then my executive assistant walked into my office.
“Jeannie, you won’t believe this,” I said. “I got this postcard this morning…” But I stopped myself.
“Well congratulations, Bob. I’m happy you got a postcard!” She flashed her usual quirky smile. “Now here’s the annual report you wanted.”
“Thanks.” I ignored the report, picked up the postcard, and stretched my arm across my desk towards her. “Am I going blind, or is there a message appearing on this postcard?”
She looked at the postcard. “That’s nice. ‘God is the purveyor.’ Are you becoming religious now?”
“What did you read on there?” I reached across the desk again and took the postcard from her.
“Bob, you’re going white like a ghost! What’s wrong?”
I looked at her, then again at the postcard. “Maybe I’m finally going crazy, Jeannie, but I could swear there wasn’t any message on this postcard when I got it this morning.”
“Maybe you are going a bit flaky, Bob. You’re not immune to the stress around here.”
“Yeah, but I could swear…”
“Listen, go out for lunch. Get some color into that handsome face of yours.”
I put the postcard in my jacket pocket, and strode out of the office building. It was a beautiful warm day, and the sun felt great on my skin. I strode along to the café, and ordered my cappuccino. While waiting at the counter, I took out the postcard, and looked at it. Not again! “God is the purveyor of your highest truth…” I closed my eyes and put my head in my hands. Was I hallucinating the whole thing?
“Your cappuccino, sir.”
“Thank you,” I replied, and made my way to an empty table. My head was starting to ache a little.
I gazed out the window. One of the front doors at the church across the street was open. Without thinking, I instinctively got up and left the café. I climbed the steps to the church almost like I was walking on a cloud in a dream. I stopped at the front door and peered inside. After so many years, would I still be welcome into the house of the Lord?
Something pulled at my heart. As I floated slowly towards the altar, I felt the tears welling up inside me. It all felt timeless, like everything melted into everything else.
I knelt at the altar, and made the sign of the cross. Then I rose to my feet, and walked to a spot behind the altar where the priest stands. I took out the postcard, and read the written words out loud. “God is the purveyor of your highest truth and your deepest insights.” Then I closed my eyes, and said “Let us praise the Lord for the unity of body, mind and spirit, as demonstrated to us by Jesus Christ. We are all children of God, we are all a miracle of creation. As it is in divinity, so be it in humanity. As it is in the universe, so be it on earth. As it is with love, so be it with everything."
I opened my eyes, and saw a congregation standing before me. In unison, they responded “Amen.”
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