Pilgrimage at the Mall

I took the kids to the Mall Friday night.  I’ve complained frequently over the past several years about how increasingly hard it is to find a Nativity scene in the “Christmas”/”Holiday” decoration sections at stores anymore.  Most department stores don’t even carry them.  Oddly enough, Hallmark carries them year round.

We hardly ever go into Hallmark, and I had the whim to do so.  So we were all impressed by the Nativity scene (another devotion St. Francis started to provide people with a chance for mini-pilgrimages to the Holy Land).  

Well, you know how something always happens just when you’re afraid of it?  You say, “I’m going to put this where I won’t lose it,” then you forget where you put it? 

Well, we only have one key to our spare car.  We’d been using the Pontiac most of last week to save gas because there was a problem with my motorized chair.  So I had to move stuff back into the Chevy on Friday evening, and brought out both sets of keys.  I went back in to deposit the keys with the Pontiac key.  When I got back to the car, I realized I’d dropped the wrong set of keys on the desk, but I had all the kids in the car and thought, “Oh, Mary won’t need the car, anyway,” and went off to the Mall.

Two hours later, I got out to the car to find that I’d locked my keys in the car.

Skipping around the timeline, it turned out to be the usual scenario: somebody did somethign to distract me while I was getting Clara out of her carseat, and the keys were right under it.

However, at 8 PM, all I knew was I was locked out of my car.  I called Mary to call Triple A and took the kids back in.  We retraced our footsteps. Went around JC Penney.  Then went to Hallmark.  Reason I bring this up is that, shortly after we arrived back at Hallmark, I realized that Gianna wasn’t with the group.

I turned around, and, about 5 feet behind me, Gianna was at the display of Nativity scenes.

More precisely, she was *kneeling* at the display.  Had her hands folded in the “proper” pointing-up style that gave me so much grief in CCD, and her head bowed.

“What are you doing?” I asked, guessing already.

“I’m praying to Baby Jesus that you’ll find your keys.”

Well, it took about 2 hours.  We had to wait for Popalock to come, but, providentially in response to Gigi’s prayers, a police officer drove by (mall security had already declined to help) at 9 PM and said he’d wait with us.  I had gotten the kids some Chick-Fil-A, and they ate it on the grass as we waited . The officer radioed another officer nearby, and he came over.  They tried to use Officer 2’s “jimmy”, but it didn’t work.

Allie asked, “Why don’t you call a car thief?”

Officer #2 laughed and said, “They just break in the windows, dear.”

After the two officers proved my Chevy Express is a virtually impregnable fortress, Officer #1 left, and Officer #2 kept us company till Popalock got there. 

It was an adventure.  We had fun.  It was all quite providential.

And it gave me the chance to see the powerful image of Gianna in prayer at Hallmark.

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