"There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast." Charles Dickens.
"...the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:5
My family loves baseball. We are rabid Yankees fans (please don't hold that against us) but New York City is just a wee bit too far from Buffalo for us to spend any time in their famous new ballpark (as a matter of fact, the last time we were in Yankee Stadium was to see Pope Benedict!). Buffalo has a minor league team, the Bisons, affiliated with the Mets (you may hold THAT against us if you wish) and we love spending occasional evenings sitting in the stands eating popcorn and peanuts, watching the game, and hoping just this once we'll get on the Kiss Cam. Not to mention the futile dream of finally scoring a souvenir in the t-shirt toss.
Earlier this evening our community's superior called with tickets for tonight's game, a last minute gift we gladly accepted, and we made our way to the downtown ballpark. Coca-Cola Field is a 19,000 seat gift former mayor James Griffin gave to the city about twenty five years ago, and we love it. Not a bad seat to be found. We sat on the first base side, and were treated to a double-header against the Syracuse Chiefs, first game a win, second a loss. In between we ate two tubs of popcorn, two bags of peanuts (which I am presently paying dearly for...oh. the pain) and five Cokes. Teresa went to the bathroom six times in about three hours. I have a suspicion these were primarily unproductive. She likes to wander.
Friday night games are followed by fireworks, and tonight was no exception. As the fireworks began my wife received a phone call on the cell. Emergency. Our seventeen-year-old, who did not come with us because she worked until 9PM, was home alone. Someone had broken in.
We ran to the car and drove quickly. Our neighbor graciously took our daughter to his home as the police searched the property. By the time we returned the police were gone, and I did a search of my own. My daughter was fine; she never even saw the intruder. Nothing seemed to be missing. The house was all in order. Praise God. She told the police that the man was grumbling and grunting, and seemed to be stumbling. They told our neighbor that because nothing seems to have been stolen it was probably a drunk who stumbled in the wrong house. Little consolation to our frayed nerves.
I have a sick little feeling inside - I am sure some of you are familiar with it. A feeling of violation; our sanctuary, our home, has been infiltrated by something that seemed foreign, something that we heard about on the news but never thought would directly affect us. Tonight every noise is cause for alarm. That may take some time to heal.
Despite all that, the initial panic, the fear, the feeling of violation, there is reason to rejoice. Our daughter is safe, most importantly. The house is intact. Our neighbors are a blessing. The police apparently responded within two minutes with six (count 'em --six) cars. And he didn't take my laptop (tongue in cheek). God is good. Tonight I will pray for Mary's Mantle of protection, for thousands of angels, and for St. Michael to personally stand guard...I know he's busy, but just for tonight. We're all a little wired. Most of all I am grateful to God that my family is just scared...not injured, not broken, not hurt in any way physically. Scared is okay. I'll take it.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in our day of battle, be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits that wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.