Great holiness consists in carrying out the little duties of each moment. -St. Josemaria Escriva
Last night, I attended a parent meeting at my parish, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Having just made a cross county trek from my son’s high school tennis match at Heritage Christian, I was a tad sweaty, disheveled and out of sorts. However, I was actually a few minutes EARLY for said meeting when I ran into the very sunny, articulate, and uber organized Michele Matson who was finishing set-up for the onslaught of confirmation parents. She’s pictured above with her husband, Kevin.
Michele is on staff at OLMC in their faith formation office. I don’t know her personally at all, but I’ve interacted with her a few times over the past five years or so. She has a natural humility about her that is just incredibly beautiful. I noticed it 5 years ago when my son Drew went through confirmation and she held my hand a bit, ever so patiently, as we were late to the process. Let me explain to you what I love about Michele by giving you one small example.
A few of us who were early and trying to be efficient with our time last night thought we would write our checks to pay for our child’s confirmation retreat fee while we waited. I handed the checks to Michele, and she seemed happy to take them but also she wanted to know what they were for. I explained, and she graciously took them and said thank you. Later in the evening, it became clear that we had definitely handed that money to her out of order and that it should have accompanied a form we had not yet been given. However, rather than correct us, she had simply set those checks of ours to the side, creating an extra step for herself…and then she matched them up with our forms when we came back through the line, (which was the appropriate process), a bit later.
It might seem like a small thing to go out of your way a bit, but here’s the deal. Michele has nearly 200 young people going through this process. When you add up the parents and 200 students she’s dealing with in order to get all the logistics solved, it would be VERY understandable if she had chosen to correct us in that moment. Had it been me in her shoes, I very likely would have said something eloquent like “Hold your horses! We aren’t there yet!” That’s not what Michele is about. This is what I have discovered about her each time I’ve come into contact. St. Benedict has a quote I like, it reflects an idea to which I aspire, with utter futility. “Be careful to be gentle, lest in removing the rust, you break the whole instrument.”
Michele deals everyday with people in a variety of places, spiritually speaking. Had she told me to “hold my horses” and wait for further instructions, I certainly would have laughed and said “no problem!” Michele doesn’t know me well enough to know that about me, though. Hers is a holier, more thoughtful approach. Who’s to say that the mom sitting at the next table over isn’t interacting for the first time with the parish and might leave feeling a little bruised from the same correction which made me laugh? We just have no idea what burdens people are carrying, so it’s lovely to tread lightly. My point is, going out of your way to answer questions, to be kind, to explain things thoroughly…well it’s the sort of treatment which changes hearts and minds. Michele and I are not similarly graced, so I find her humility impressive.
I’m so incredibly thankful for positive and selfless folks like Michele in this big, sometimes impersonal world. Faithful people who work hard, gracefully, to serve the needs of others always remind me of the important work left to do in my own soul, truth be told. Thank you, Michele, for all you do each day at OLMC! You are a hardworking and fantastic human, and I know Jesus is smiling at the world through your bright face! YOU ARE A BIG SCOOP OF AWESOME!