It was just one of those days. It seems nothing was going right. I get out of bed and just feel downright blah. What a way to start a beautiful day.

I said to myself, “Frank, why are you acting so miserable? It’s not like you!”
Oh well, maybe I’ll get over it.

As usual, I sit down with Marie. She begins a pleasant conversation and I completely ignore her. I have my head buried in the sports page.

She, in her own kind way, asks, “Are you listening to me?” I do not even look up.

She then says, “Frank, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!”
“Yea,” I answer and say no more. About then, I realize that she has ended the conversation. I get the silent treatment FOR GOOD REASON.

“Well,” I say to myself, “time to go down to the Trout Run before I get into more trouble.” Trout Run is my Shangri-La. It is on the shoreline of Lake Erie in Fairview, Pa. When I want peace and tranquility, I like to sit on the bench that overlooks the lake. It relaxes me and puts me at ease. It is also my home of silent prayer. With your eyes closed, there is nothing like hearing the waves gently splashing and the warmth of the sun on your face. It is indeed a spiritual abode.

Well off I go, and there is my bench. I sit, close my eyes and begin to contemplate what is going on with my attitude. Suddenly, I feel someone next to me. I open my eyes and here is this stranger. Never saw him before.

He asks, “Do you mind if I sit next to you?” I say, “No.” After all, it is not my bench, even though I think it’s mine because of the time I spend here. This fellow is dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, has a short scrubby beard and seems harmless. So for a few seconds, neither of us says anything. Then I open the conversation by telling him people call me by my nickname, Shiky.

“What do they call you?” I ask. He says, “I go by the nickname JC. You seem to be bothered by something, what is it?” I begin to tell him the happenings of the morning.  He kind of smiles and says, “Anything serious?” I reply, “Not really, just my miserable attitude that popped up.” Again, he kind of smiles and says, “Well, I think you know how to resolve that.”
“How?” I say.

He says, “Sometimes, our human emotions do get the best of us and you’ve got to step back and take a deep breath and get into your spiritual mode. Isn’t that what you were doing before I sat next to you?”

“Yea, I guess you are right. I had my eyes shut, contemplating what happened this morning, and when I opened my eyes, you were there.”

“You see,” he says, “silent prayer is not only good for the soul, but it is an elixir that invigorates our humanity.”

He is so right. Where did this guy in jeans and a t-shirt come from? He is not just an ordinary Joe. He sure put me at ease. I am no longer miserable. In fact, I feel a peace come over me and I close my eyes again and say, “Thank you, Lord.”

I am awakened by a sudden rush of fluttering wings of a white dove. And JC, who was sitting on the bench, is gone. I look up the road and there he is. He turns around and waves.

I holler out, “JC, what’s your name? My name is Frank.”
“My name?” he answers.
“You’ll figure it out.”

ALLELUIA!!!!!!  Francesco