“Blessings arrive in the most unexpected circumstances, all we have to do is open our hearts to receive them.”
About a month ago we returned from Santa Fe, NM to our longtime home of Mt. Crested Butte to attend the Mountain High Music Festival. We have been supportive of this fundraising event for several years benefitting two important non-profits in Gunnison Valley. It features 3+ days of performances by many Nashville songwriters and recording stars. Crested Butte resident, Dean Dillon who wrote many hits for George Straight over the years is a big part of the success of the event. You will find many musicians that give their time and talent such as Jamey Johnson, Scotty Emerick, the 2016 winner of The Voice, Sundance Head and the headliner featured this year was non other than Toby Keith. It is an amazing event and you never know who you will meet, leaving fond memories long after the festival has passed.
The first evening of our three night experience was enjoyable as we had wonderful seats next to a really nice couple who happened to be looking for a new home in Crested Butte. I quickly and with a smile mentioned about our sweet home being for sale on the mountain. They responded with curiosity just as the show began.
On the second night of the festival as we waited for the doors to open to take our seats our attention was directed by a friend to a man dressed in black with a hat and collar. This friend also mentioned that he was a priest who loved music and had attended the festival last year.
Before long the doors opened and we hurried to find a couple of good seats and upon sitting down I realized the priest was sitting one seat away on my left. We settled in and said hello to another friend who was seated behind us and as the seat on my left directly next to me suddenly became available I noticed the priest move over to sit alongside of me.
My husband, who was on my right and I cordially visited with him and found out he was also from NM and was indeed quite fond of music and particularly singer-songwriters. He has in fact designed Rosaries for a few of these musicians. Throughout the evening we became friends, as I learned about his life as a priest and his passion in finding classic old cars and restoring them to auction off at the church raising funds for future priests to attend seminary.
As we continued to talk about music and to sing along to songs we knew, I became increasingly aware that I was experiencing a profound blessing in my life. At some moments all I could do was place my hand over my heart in gratitude …. and to breathe. It is difficult to explain but it was a healing experience that was occurring as I watched the performances that I took home with me.
On the third and last evening of the festival, we arrived checked our coat and waited for the doors to open to find our seats. Although we didn’t talk about it, my husband and I felt guided over to the exact seats as the night before and as we sat down I quickly thought to save the seat next to me by placing my sweater on it, just in case.
Just before the show began I felt the need to leave my seat and step into the lobby just outside the door, as soon as I did I noticed our priest friend standing alone in the now empty lobby and our eyes met. He had just arrived and I promptly informed him that I had saved his seat from last night, if he was interested. He immediately responded with a nod and a smile and we hurried into the room to sit down.
The entertainment was incredible and we loved seeing Toby Keith for the first time especially in this small venue but the most impressive individual I met that weekend was our new friend, Father Matthew. The spiritual uplift I received from meeting and visiting with this Messenger of God lasted for weeks.
At the end of the festival we exchanged contact info and parted with a beautiful prayer blessing. We stayed in touch, and a few weeks ago I received a message from him saying he wished to make a Rosary for me. I felt honored to be asked, not even sure why he offered such a kind gesture but I was thrilled. We collaborated on the colors of the gemstones, the accent pieces and the cross which are all just stunning as well as the workmanship and design.
This week when my husband handed the package to me from Father Matthew I was overjoyed. As I opened it and held the exquisite Rosary in my hands I cried tears of gratitude at receiving what felt like a healing balm to my grieving soul. What a gracious blessing. I have never received such a personal and meaningful gift as this, and will treasure it always. Just holding it in my hands brings a sense of peace, hope and joy that is calming and resonates with me. I look forward to a renewed practice of dedicated prayer in this way and will hold Father Matthew in blessing and prayer for his compassion, generosity and friendship.