For years, Father Nyoka of St. Monica's parish in Malawi, Africa, has prayed for his flock. One of the things he prayed for was roofs on his buildings. When I asked him about it, he told me recently:
I pray for my parish community. I ask them to join me always in praying for safe prayer houses. As the rainy season draws near, we get more worried about those who pray under trees or in buildings that are not roofed or poorly done.
I started following him on Twitter many moons ago. I follow every priest I find. My pinned tweet is this one:
Priest: What are your sins?
Me: There's a priest on Twitter I don't follow.
Priest: (sighs heavily) That's a mortal sin, son.
Following priests is something I do as a lark. It's fun.
I don't always read Twitter from my stream. Instead, I'm a heavy user of lists. They curate my content and I put accounts I don't want to miss into those lists. For whatever reason, something Father Nyoka posted caught my eye and I added him to my Christian list.
When the Russians invaded Ukraine and the West, led by America, chose to send weapons instead of negotiate a peace, the situation in Malawi went from chronically bad to dramatically worse. They needed fertilizer imports from the war zone, imports interrupted by the conflict. Father Nyoka posted about it several times.
I contacted him and asked if I could help. We talked about the food situation and his dilapidated buildings. When my 60th birthday rolled around, we threw a huge party. I didn't ask for gifts, I asked for donations to St. Monica's. Between our friends and us, we sent a tidy sum. Food was procured and roofs installed.
Like a dummy, it took me months to realize what had happened. God used me to answer the prayers from the chaps and chapettes at St. Monica's. Duh. When I finally realized it, I asked him in a DM and got the reply above.
I asked Tim's question on Twitter a few days ago.
"I'm praying, but there's no voice in my head, and no sense that anyone but me is even listening. So what does it matter whether I do it or not?"
I've received some great answers which I will catalog at a later date, but my favorite was one that said sometimes God sends people instead of messages. I thought of this in relation to my online relationship with Tim.
When I write, I always write for a specific audience, almost always for a specific person. For the last 10+ years, more than half of my blog posts have been written for Tim. This blog has been the product of reflection and prayer in addition to healthy doses of snark, nastiness, outrage and general silliness.
I won't presume to suggest that God put me in Tim's life for a purpose, but I know for a fact that He put Tim in mine for one. With my usual rapier-quick mind, it took me until last night to realize it.
For Tim, Lord, I am truly, truly grateful.
This is not to say that I don't write for the rest of you as well. My son is named after Mostly Nothing. Ohoian has been a mentor for me for twenty years. The SLOBs - Deano, BDaddy, WC Varones, Mut, et al, welcomed me into their crew when I needed it most. Ilion is always welcome, as charmingly irascible as he may be. Foxie doesn't comment as often as she used to, but she's still in my heart. I'm leaving people out here, so don't take it personally if I didn't mention you. You all inspire me.
That being said, Tim has been my muse more often than not. I needed one and God sent me a champ.